The Overheads

The Overheads, featuring Vernon Cornelius, Charlie Anchant, Lim Thiam Soon, Eric Tan, Hensen Beng and Chris Chew, released their first CD in 1990. There are two original compositions on the album, The Lion's Song (Steve Hogan/Vernon Cornelius) and Easy Me (Eric Tan). Other titles included It'll Be Me, Black Is Black, Mr. Bojangles, Rave On, Lucille, Without You, Rock Me Gently, Talk To Me Baby, A Song For You and You Really Got Me.


Rach said...

Ha ! I remember them. They had a great run at Happy Days, Shaw Towers ? Don't Play That Song was a big big favourite among the crowd there. Something of Dream Team with that line-up of musicians. It was like the who was who from days of glory. Really glad that they managed to get a CD out, something which many other good bands failed because of their busy commitments. "Easy Me" is my pick of the album. Very meaningful lyrics by Eric Tan. Thanks for reminding us of The Overheads ! I still have a beautiful T-Shirt of the group, a collector's item for me.....

Extract of lyrics from Easy Me...
"I'm just an easy going rock and roll woman, two feet on the ground, simple hopes, simple plans, nothing too profound. Step inside my world to music, that's been keeping me so long, rock and roll songs...."

JoeWuSeattleWaUSA said...

The first time I heard "The Lion's Song," in 2003, I wept. And I kept playing that song over and over again. It felt like Vernon Cornelius was speaking to me from the other side of the world. Me, an expatriate who had been away from his homeland for 35 years, and Vernon was telling me, "It's OK, you are still a Singaporean, you are not an outsider, we still love you even though you've been away from home for a long time."

This song has the power to stir up your long buried emotions, the ones you swept away many years ago, when you were barely 17, as you struggled to eke out a life for yourself in a foreign land. And Vernon Cornelius has the gift to unleash the full impact of that power. This is a great song.

"While we worked in the sunshine we brought up our families
Our sons and our daughters were no strangers to the sea
As we went on with our living, enjoying our liberty
We laid a strong foundation for the years we're yet to see

Oh, to be a land forever strong
Let the whole world hear our Lion's song
Oh, to be here forevermore
This our homeland, our Singapore...

One man had a dream, that dream became a reality
Let's keep our dreams alive!"


It has frequently dawned on me that Eric Tan would be a most interesting person to get to know. I would love to find out directly from him what inspired him to write some of the most stirring songs in the history of Singapore Pop Music.

Going back to his days with The Trailers in the 1960's, some of their strongest songs were Eric's compositions. "Do It Right," "Don't Laugh (You'll Cry)", "Quiver" and "Run Away Hide" all come quickly to mind. Those were the creative thoughts of a young man flourishing in one of the top bands of the Golden Era.

The autobiographical lyrics of "Easy Me" with The Overheads in 1990 clearly portrayed Eric Tan as a man who had found inner peace, the kind only a happily matured man could attain. By 1990, the sunny days of the Golden Era were over. Eric had totally accepted his place in the history of Singapore pop. He might never ever attain the world-wide fame and fortune of someone like Paul McCartney, another songwriting bass guitarist like him, but that's OK, his life was still very remarkable. To the people who knew him, or just of him, Eric was a man who had fulfilled his dreams.

It's no surprise to me that my two friends here, Vernon Cheong and Rachael Ann Tan, would quote the same introspective lyrics from "Easy Me." Good job, Eric Tan!

"I'm just an easy going rock and roll man,
Two feet on the ground,
Simple hopes, simple plans,
Nothing too profound.
Step inside my world
To music that's been keeping me so long,
Rock and roll songs...."

Vernon said...

RESPONSE to Joe Wu of USA & Rach.
May I answer to both these postings...

Thank you very much Joe Wu & Rach for your kind and much appreciated comments, I am humbled by your kind compliments!

Joe, I was teary-eyed, touched & overwhelmed reading your posting. It brought me right back to the era of my own band at the time, "OVERHEADS", and recording with them.

My interest in Singapore History at this time had gone full-blown, and I wanted to write a song which would tell the Singapore story "From Sir Stamford Raffles to Mr Lee Kuan Yew. 1990 was the year Mr Lee was to step down, and it was my little tribute to him for the legacy of advancements he had made for this country!

Until then nothing like this had ever been written. I'm pleased to add that in 1994, "The LIONS' SONG" was inducted as one of the National Songs of SG, and printed in a special book compilation with accompanying CD.

It may also please you to note that I convinced our "Guitar God" Reggie Verghese to play that awesome guitar-solo.

The success of "OVERHEADS" History led to "The "QUESTS'" recording of "In quest of The QUESTS".

"OVERHEADS" had an amazing more than 2-year run at "HAPPY DAYS" in Orchard Theatre Building from 15 March 1989.

Rach, Eric Tan who was then working for me was pushed into writing at least one song for the album, and for Charlie Anchant to sing more!

Joe, Your roots and emotions are where your family came from, especially where you were born. Though I was born in Malaysia, I never lived there, but grew up, schooled and blossomed here. Hence my roots are in Singapore!

I had been anti-establishment before, but can't deny the incredible developments and progress they have contributed to this country.

I could go on story-telling even more, but do not wish to bore, at this time.

Thank you for reading this.

Sincerely, Vernon Cornelius - 11 Aug 2008

Andy Young* said...

Hi Vernon,
We met but it was a passing glance, ie: when I left the Silver Strings and you joined them as vocalist. Read about you in Joe Pereira's book, "LOTGV" and heard you sing time and again.

Hope you will contribute some to this new blog I started, not for anything but the love of Singapore's 60s music.


Vernon said...

Thanks Andy Young, but I was never a fully-fledged member of the Silver Strings.

Just for the record, I left the CHECKMATES officially end April 1965, having given them one month notice in March 1965. I was already singled out to be the next QUESTS' singer, and the reason why I left the CHECKMATES. The QUESTS had to fulfill the already contracted Keith Locke & the QUESTS' "PUSH PUSH Show' which toured Malaysia in April that year.

So in April 1965, in between bands, and still wanting to perform, my Uncle Mervyn arranged 2 gigs at Kuala Lumpur's Merlin Hotel & Subang Airport Restaurant, and I briefly used the "SILVER STRINGS". In their kindness, Bassist & Band Leader Audie Ng got me to sing with them, for at least 2 gigs, one was at the Chinese Swimming Club.

My permanent stint with The SILVER STRINGS was incorrectly stated in Joseph Pereira's "Legends of the Golden Venus"! I hope this sets that record straight!

Wish you well Andy, and to you and everyone reading this, I send my warmest regards,

sincerely, vernon cornelius

Alice said...

Hi - I am looking for Steve Hogan... he was co writer of Lion Song ... can anyone help... best wishes Alice