2008/07/18

Susan Lim & The Crescendos

he Crescendos, featuring Susan Lim, Leslie Chia, John Chee and Raymond Ho. Their first recording "Mr. Twister" sold more than 10,000 copies in the local market. Other recordings over the years included Frankie, In The Good Old Summertime, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, Waktu Fajar, Bengawan Solo, The Boy Next Door, Besame Mucho, Rinky Tinky Twist, The Other Side Of Town, Hey Big Boy, My Bonnie, Everybody Loves A Lover, Long Tall Sally, Silver Threads & Golden Needle, He's The Boy, Lenggang Kangkong, Has Anybody Seen My Boyfriend, Walk On By, Are You Getting Tired Of Your Little Toy, Lemon Tree and A Lover's Concerto. A compilation of all their recordings was released on CD in 1994. Towards the end of her singing career, Susan also recorded a solo EP with The Thunderbirds that included songs With Every Little Tear, Another Morning, The Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde and Baby, Now That I've Found You.

9 comments:

JoeWuSeattleWaUSA said...

(From my archives, 2003):

The first time I heard the name of Susan Lim, there was an instant connection - for that was also the name of my cousin. Sometimes the heavens provide plenty of opportunities for young, mischievous brats to bug the heck out of their older siblings or cousins.

"1, 2..., 1, 2, 3 !! You ought to see my baby twist... He goes around like this..."

I remember the first time I saw The Crescendos on television. 1963. They were singing "Mr. Twister" and "Frankie," from their first SP. It was only black and white TV in those days, yet Susan Lim (with her stylish 60's hairdo), John Chee, Leslie Chia and Raymond Ho looked really hot doing their choreography. It was the beginning of the worship of Susan Lim.

"The Boy Next Door has really got me dreamin'... (Dum dee dum dee, The Boy Next Door...)"

I remember when "The Boy Next Door" ruled the airwaves. Could not wait to hear it on Rediffusion every afternoon after school. The flipside, "Besame Mucho," featured Susan Lim's high register but "The Boy Next Door" was truly the song that made The Crescendos a household name in Singapore.

"In the Good Old Summertime..., In the Good Old Summertime..."

And then came that killer EP in 1964. "In the Good Old Summertime," "Just A Closer Walk With Thee," "Bengawan Solo," and my favourite Crescendos recording of all time, the soft and yet gripping "Waktu Fajar."

Another EP followed which, to me, was not as good or as memorable. It was not until recently that I found out the four songs were "Rinky Tinky Twist," "The Other Side Of The Town," "Hey, Big Boy" and "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean."

"I don't want a lonely mansion... With a tear in every room..."

In 1965 I finally discovered I could buy my very own records, so one of the first EP's I bought was The Crescendos' latest release at that time. "Everybody Loves A Lover," " Long Tall Sally," "He's The Boy" and the song that made me buy this record, "Silver Threads And Golden Needles."

After 1964 the airwaves became inundated with hits from England and from America and from the other local acts like The Quests, The Trailers, and Naomi & The Boys and others. Somehow Susan Lim and The Crescendos got smothered in the second half of The Golden Era of Singapore 60's Pop Music, I thought. There was so much originality and creativity in pop music that no one had much time for singers or groups who did not write and sing their own original songs.

In 1968 I left Singapore for the United States. Didn't hear any Singapore 60's pop music again until 2003 (35 years later!), but I remembered many of the hits because they were always playing in my head. The Crescendos helped me to remember my childhood days in Singapore.

In 1970 I heard that Susan Lim was presumed drowned off the eastern coast of the Malaysian peninsula. What an immense tragedy!! Singapore had lost her very first pop superstar, her first pop queen.

35 years after that heartbreaking loss we all still remember Susan Lim with affection. For me there is always that one unforgettable song that I can listen to over and over again.

"Nasib nya seorang gadis... Yang tinggal dalam desa..."

Rest in peace, Susan. We still love you.

Joe Wu

Vernon Cheong said...

Thanks Joe. The Crescendos were indeed one of the best local group in Singapore, until this day. Many of us still remembers them fondly and can easily relate to them with our growing-up years. My favourite song is still Waktu Fajar, as one can imagine the local kampong village with farmers working hard in the padi fields...a traditional scene of our good old days. Cheers bro.

Rach said...

The Complete Crescendos CD album was not available for sale at the CD shops. I recall purchasing it through mail order. Should have opted for more copies instead of only one ! Its a great collection of all their recordings, let alone the EP Susan recorded with The Thunderbirds. The audio quality could have been better but I guess nobody is complaining....just glad that we got our hands to a copy. Great if someone would do a reissue of the CD, the audio would be better with improved technology over the years.

Jane said...

Joe, The Crescendos was definitely great and a "die die" must have their album ... haha thank goodness I kept their latest EP. Just for your info, the late Susan Lim was the daughter of my ex school principal and was a tragedy of her loss. I hope that eventually there will be a CD compilation release of all their songs of The Crescendos. And will be a great collection too. Cheers!

Vernon Cheong said...

Hi Jane,

There was a CD compilation of The Crescendos' past recordings, released by Polygram Records in 1994. Total of 22 tracks. Its titled The Complete Crescendos. The CD sleeve is posted here.

Cheers.

Jane said...

Thanks Vernon... gotta look for this CD compilation. Much thanks.

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Ben van Althuis said...
Hello,

In the first place compliments with your blog.

I like to have a copy of the CD from
Susan Lim & The Crescendos can you help me? This one is not released in Holland so I hope you can (and will) help me.

If I can help you wit Dutch Indo-rock please let me know.

benvanalthuis@gmail.com

Thank You,

Ben van Althuis

Vernon Cheong said...

Hi Ben,

The Complete Crescendos CD was released by Polygram Records in 1994. Its no longer in print.

However, Universal Music recently released a boxset of 100 Greatest Singapore 60s recordings and there are 8 tracks by Susan Lim & The Crescendos plus another 4 by Susan Lim herself, making a total of 12 tracks.

Popular Book Store in Singapore have an online website where you can place your order. If you encounter problems getting it, do let me know. Thanks.

vernon cheong

Unknown said...

I remember Susan Lim with great fondness..I had the honour of playing guitar for the Crescendos for their shows with Hermans Hermits at the National Theatre and also recorded with them for Susan's last EP with them ..it was mu first ever recording on a proper record and am still very proud of it..Walk on By, Are you getting Tired of yourlittle Toy. Lemon Tree I remain grateful to the Crescendos for giving me the chance....when the Meltones perform at the Esplanade on July 4th we are inviting the Crescendos to be our guests. two of them have accepted the invite..jimmy Appudurai