2008/07/24

The Thunderbirds

The Thunderbirds were formed in 1963 with Tony Chong, Hamzah Hussein, Victor Lam and Derrick Fitzgerald. In 1965, they released their first EP, titled Tony Chong & The Thunderbirds, with Tony Chong, Derrick, Harvey, Ivan Fitzgerald and Freddie Tan in the line-up. The tracks included Little Lady and I'm As Sad As I Can Be. Their greatest hit, My Lonely Heart, composed by Harvey and the group's Manager Gerry Pasquel, was released in 1966. Its one of the most popular local compositions, until this day. Other hits included You Were Made For Me To Love, I Miss Your Love & more...

Information through the kind courtesy of Joseph Pereira, aka Goldenvenus.

30 comments:

JoeWuSeattleWaUSA said...

Looking back, the Singapore music scene in the mid-60's was definitely alive and jumping and scorching hot. What a cornucopia of remarkable Made in Singapore pop music, all those local singers and groups springing up from everywhere, their creative juices collectively making that decade the Golden Era of Singapore pop music. London was not the only place on earth that was swinging in the mid-60's. It was also the best of times to be a teenager in Singapore.

If they ever built a Singapore Pop Music Hall of Fame, there would be so many well-deserving inductees from the mid-60's alone. The Crescendos, The Sundowners, The Quests, Keith Locke, The Trailers, Naomi and The Boys, The Jets, The Cyclones, just to name a few here, would all be inducted for sure.

So would The Thunderbirds.

They proved themselves to be one of the top-tier headlining groups in Singapore, starting in 1966, with stellar recordings like "My Lonely Heart" and "You Were Made For Me To Love."

Knock me down, but I can actually remember watching The Thunderbirds performing "My Lonely Heart" on black and white television. Also "You Were Made For Me To Love" sometime later on. That Harvey Fitzgerald surely knew how to emote when he sang. And brother Derrick showed himself to be a very gifted guitarist.

As a matter of fact, if they ever built a Singapore Pop Music Hall of Fame, one of the most popular exhibits would for sure be the electric guitar and the metal bar that Derrick Fitzgerald used when The Thunderbirds were recording "My Lonely Heart" in the studio. Talk about iconic guitar licks, talk about one of the most sublime moments in the history of Singapore Pop History.

Anonymous said...

hihi,

i just fell in love with the songs 'My Lonely Heart' by Thunderbirds and 'I know' by Naomi & the boys.
do you have the lyrics for these songs? if you dun mind, pls send them to me. thanks.

sharyn ong

ALFI CHAEIR said...

i'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR THIS RECORD FOR A LONG TIME. THUNDERBIRDS WAS MY FAV BAND. I DON'T KNOW IF THEY ARE FROM SINGAPORE. I'VE ASKED HELP FROM FRIENDS WHEN THEY WENT ABROAD, BUT THEY COULD NOT FIN THE ALBUM. CAN YOU HELP ME FIND IT FOR ME. CONTACT ME:achaeir@gmail.com.
MANY THANKS

rogerpoh said...

Thanks for the memories. I have a friend who sang under the name of Andy Young then. Do you know him?

Anonymous said...

please post the lyric of thunder birds songs on websites including "you were made for me"

thanks

Rommy P

prozacgrrl said...

Tony Chong.... that's my dad! Woot!

Anonymous said...

Tony Chong is your dad ? Far out. Tell him he is a great guy. Thunderbirds and then Western Union Band. To be a member of two ground breaking bands is some achievement. You must be proud of your dad.

Regards.

Joseph.C.Pereira

Anonymous said...

Both "The Straits Times" & "Today" of 14 Sep 09 published a report on The Thunderbirds' lead guitarist Derrick Fitzgerald's current predicament with stroke which forced an early retirement from music on him. This is the same guitar hero who gave us the distinguished slide guitar sound in the band's classic "My Lonely Heart".

With his need of financial assistance now, I hope Universal Music can release The Thunderbirds' complete catalogue on CD with net proceed from sales to be donated to him.

Tian

Anonymous said...

To me, the all-time most popular local recording ever done was "MY LONELY HEART" by The THUNDERBIRDS. Until present days, you can still hear this song been sang at local KTV lounges and pubs. Its an ICON of our proud 60s local genius.

This song has been recorded by several other artistes in different languages, Mandarin, Bahasa and probably more.

Don't Play That Song by Keith Locke & The Quests comes close, but no close enough to challenge The Thunderbirds. The Quests may be the one of the most established local group from the 60s, but The Thunderbirds gave us the best song from the period. Long live The Thunderbirds !

Luke Chan

savvyyeo said...

Yes, I agree "My lonely Heart " by the Thunderbirds is the best song from the period. Personally, next will be "Unspoken Words" by Theresa Khoo.
With My Lonely Heart, the guitar work was brillant and in Unspoken Words, its the Piano combination with the guitar.

Regards.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed that there are still fans remembering our local singers and groups after more 30-40 yrs !

We did had a good variety of talents, even among the ladies. I can recollect names like Cynthia Lau, Hazel Lee, Peggy Tan, Ruby Wah, Julie Sudiro, Ervinna, Eunice Sim, Kartina Dahari, little Marie Tang, The Tid-Bits and of course Teresa Khoo & Her Five Notes.

The song Unspoken Words was from her first EP together with Say Yes My Boy, A Lover's Concerto and You Don't Know Baby. My favourite then was Eunice Sim, especially when she sang "The Breeze & I" during the Talentime Contest that won our hearts and support. Those were good treasured times for us. Regards.

Sue.

Laila said...

"My Lonely Heart" was a real tear-jerker from the 60s. It was also released at a time when local music was riding high on the scene here. Personally, I rate this local composition as the best of the best, credit to the composers and The Thunderbirds. Even Rita Chao & The Quests gave recognition its popularity by recording a Mandarin version. The outshoot of that recording was a gift from Reggie, who gave us a new dimension of the guitar flicks of this lovely tune.

Its about time the recording companies give more recognition to this great band. How about a CD compilation of all the Thunderbirds' songs plus the bonus of those by Heather ? There are enough materials for a double CD. Food for thought Mr Joe Pereira, the Guru of local music.

regards,

prozacgrrl said...

Hi again,

My dad--Tony Chong--is currently playing with The Trailers (2nd guitar), with its only original member, Victor Woo/Wu. They've been gigging around the country.

Best!

Anonymous said...

I've seen them perform recently. They offer alot of Shadows' numbers and often ends with The Trailers' Do It Right. They also have a lead singer, someone by the name of Winston Koh who does Cliff Richard hits. Good entertainment for old timers like us.

GJ

Anonymous said...

Winston Koh was the lead singer with The Flying Phantoms during the 60s and they were well known for performing Cliff Richard & The Shadows' repertoires. They were in the same neighborhood (Hoot Kian Road) with Mike & The Mysterians.

Bassist Sam Toh, who replaced Henry Chua in the Quests line-up, was the orignal bassist with The Flying Phantoms.

Tian

Anonymous said...

(MY LONELY HEART)
The music was a’playing
And my heart was a’swaying
But I knew right then
I wouldn’t dance again
The people were a’laughing
While I, I was a’crying
For you were gone
And I was left alone
You, you stole my heart that night
The night you said goodbye
And now, now I beg of you
Please return my heart so I may cry
Every night I dream
I will meet you someday
But I know it’s true
I won’t be seeing you
*You, you’ve been my only one
But now, now I’ll always be blue
For I, I’ll be the lonely one
Just wishing and hoping to find someone like you
I guess I will never
Ever find another
For I knew
It will always be you

Semoga liriknya benar,
Salam Indonesia.

Mattias Yeo said...

My ALL time fav song currently... :) overtaking Lobo's "How can I tell her"

Did anyone actually heard the "other version" they performed?

MelFitzgerald said...

Derrick Fitzgerald <--- My daddy! This is a great blog. Kudos!

Anonymous said...

Remind me about my special girl.. She left me... I love "My Lonely Heart" since I heard at the first time. When I play this song, I always repeat continuously.


Vicz

chris lee said...

Hi,I am 58 years of age.This was during my teenage years and very close to my heart.Been trying to get the chords for the songs for ages.cant find it anywhere.hope someone could post it on the net for me.would like to share and play this great song for the young generation today.This is what i call real music and songs not the stuff that we find today.thanks.

Zhou said...

Is there any way I can purchase their songs? :)

Vernon Cheong said...

Hi Zhou,

There is a 6-CD Box Set released by Universal Music some time back containing local recordings from the 60s. Title of the box-set is Singapore 60s - The Definite Collection. There are 8 Thunderbirds tracks on this set, including their greatest hit My Lonely Heart. Stock are still available at HMV Somerset.

Regards
vernon cheong

Mattias Yeo said...

Yes, I did purchase this 6-CD box set from popular some time back. Great Set, but a little disappointed that the sound quality of the song "My lonely Heart" is a bit "off".

The youtube version sounds better! Just a heads up! :)

And oh yeah; my ALL TIME fav song still...

Anonymous said...

Without any doubt, My Lonely Heart is still the BEST LOCAL song ever written and recorded by a local group from the 60s days. The Thunderbirds are still the best of the best.

Ken Lim

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, this song ranks along some of the greatest regional hits during that period that includes Midnight In Malaya by Boy & His Rollin Kids, Oh Malaya by Anneke Gronloh, Ramona by Blue Diamonds. The song has an international flavour and appeal. Something we can proudly call "Made In Singapore". Yes, My Lonely Heart is tops among all the local releases during the 60 years. What memories, thanks for posting Mr Rainbow. It was love at first hearing for me.

Christina Lim

Anonymous said...

Yep, could not agree wz you guys more. My Lonely Heart is an icon of Spore 60s POPs. It's even been recorded by other groups and singers like Rita Chao & The Quests in Mandarin, there is also Malay version of this song and its available on KTV albums. What more can we say about this song except that it was not given the due level of recognition and credit by the media writers. There were a few other Thunderbirds recordings that came close to this song - You Were Made For Me To Love, I Miss Your Love. If there was a nomination for best local song from the 60s , I am sure they would have won it hands down ! Till this day, I still come across fans singing this track at KTV lounges. Nobody does it better than The Thunderbirds! Love you guys.

Eva Hendricks.

Anonymous said...

Hiya, great memories of The Thunderbirds at Carriage Bar, York Hotel. Its a pity their songs were not released on CDs. With Heather's lot of songs, there is enough materials for a great album.

Jenn

Anonymous said...

To: Universal Music

A CD collection of The Thunderbirds' recordings is long overdue. We fans are getting older by the years so please don't keep us wait any longer. Fans' hearts do feel lonely without it.

We also have not seen the release of Volume 2 to Universal Music's 6-CDs box set "Singapore 60s - The Definite Collection". There are still many more recordings which should be able to contain on 6 CDs to form vol 2.

Tians

Anonymous said...

To: Universal Music

A CD collection of The Thunderbirds' recordings is long overdue. We fans are getting older by the years so please don't keep us wait any longer. Fans' hearts do feel lonely without it.

We also have not seen the release of Volume 2 to Universal Music's 6-CDs box set "Singapore 60s - The Definite Collection". There are still many more recordings which should be able to contain on 6 CDs to form vol 2.

Tians

Anonymous said...

I was a frequent visitor to Singapore (from Sydney) during the 80s and early 90s and almost always stayed at the York Hotel. On one of my earlier trips, downstairs in the Carriage Bar, I came across Rick and the Thunderbirds, and was lucky enough to join them on stage for a few vocals on a couple of my visits. Great guys, great memories!!!

Keith Rowe