Christmas Wishes from The Quests !

Dear Fans,

Merry Christmas from The Quests comes with a log-cake specially designed by one of their fans HJ Teo in 2007. Members featured in the photo above from left to right were Jap Chong (leader of the band - rhythm guitarist), Samuel Toh (bass guitarist), Jimmy Chan (keyboards), Lim Wee Guan (drums), Reggie Verghese (lead guitarist extra-ordinary) & Vernon Cornelius (lead vocalist).


Singapore 60s - Treasures From The Vault.

As a follow-up to "Singapore 60s - The Definitive Collection", Universal Music just released another album, "Singapore 60s - Treasures From The Vault", featuring more local groups and artistes from that era. Details of the track list are as follows:-

CD 1
1. Mr. Twister - The Crescendos
2. Frankie - The Crescendos
3. 45 RPM - The Checkmates
4. Sylvia - The Checkmates
5. I Don't Want You Around Anymore - Mike & Herb
6. What Can I Do - Mike & Herb
7. Do You Care - Heather & The Diamond Four
8. Hey, Mr. Moon - Heather & The Diamond Four
9. I'll Never Be Mad At You - Wilson David & The Jets
10. Yours - Wilson David & The Jets
11. To Sir With Love - Ernie Djohan & Her Buana Suara
12. Let's Pretend - Ernie Djohan & Her Buana Suara
13. The Unfaithful Kind - Henry Suriya & The Boys
14. It's No Sin (To Love You) - Henry Suriya & The Boys
15. You Better Move On - Katherine & The Firebyrds
16. Yes I've Fallen - Katherine & The Firebyrds
17. Wedding Bells Soon - Ray Johnson & The Diamond Four
18. Help Me Little Girl - Ray Johnson & The Diamond Four
19. Do Re Me - Stevie Loraine & The Clansmen
20. Walk With Me - Stevie Loraine & The Clansmen

CD 2
1. You're The Boy - Shirley Nair with The Silver Strings
2. If You Ever Go - Shirley Nair with The Silver Strings
3. L'Edera - Girvin Sisters with The Dukes
4. Without You - Girvin Sisters with The Dukes
5. You Don't Know, Baby - Teresa Khoo & The Five Notes
6. Unspoken Words - Teresa Khoo & The Five Notes
7. Chains - Alan Lyford with The Thunderbirds
8. Love Me - Alan Lyford with The Thunderbirds
9. The Boy I Love - Aida Mustafa with The Steps
10. Give Me Your Hand - Aida Mustafa with The Steps
11. There'll Never Be - Mark Yun
12. Never Die - Mark Yun
13. Burong Kaka Tua - Marie Tang & The Commancheros
14. Fireball XL 5 - Marie Tang & The Commancheros
15. China Doll - Tom Reyes with The Moonglows
16. Things - Tom Reyes with The Moonglows
17. Singapura - Sandra
18. Sunrise In Malaysia - Boy & His Rollin' Kids
19. Your Cheating Heart - Sonny Bala & The Moonglows
20. Kentucky Waltz - Sonny Bala & The Moonglows

Cheers !


My Recollections Of The Quests

Looking back at the few albums that I have assisted EMI Singapore to compile in the past, this one stands out as my favourite. As a Quests fan since my school days, I have followed the fortunes of the group over the years. Surprisingly, despite being an avid fan, I never had the opportunity to personally meet up with any member of the band until long after they have disbanded !

I still remember the first time I met up with Jap Chong, the leader of the band, about 5 or 6 years ago. It was over lunch at Suntec City, together with Sam Toh and Vernon Cornelius. Besides myself, there were a few other 60s music fans, including the Guru of 60s music Joseph Pereira. My first reaction was......"Wow ! after all these years I finally caught up with some members of the famed Quests." Although I was abit awed by the occasion, Sam Toh made me feel very much at home after the initial introductions. They were all great guys. Since then, I had the honour of meeting up with other members of the band, including the great guitar legend, Reggie Verghese and his predecessor Raymond Leong. The only member I missed out meeting is the late Mr. Peter Richards.

During my younger days, whenever I spinned my old Quests vinyls, I often hoped that someday EMI Singapore would release all their music on CD for the benefit of their fans and also for preservation of such musical treasures from the past. After years of yearning, my opportunity finally came in 2003 when Ms Pearl Wong of EMI contacted me for assistance in compiling an album for The Quests under their "Recollecting" series, as their master tapes were no longer available. EMI had earlier released two albums of this series for Tracy Huang and Francis Yip successfully. Well, I was most glad to oblige with my collection of vinyls, and the first Quests double CD album was released in 2003, featuring most of their hits.

This was followed by a second double CD release in 2004, "Recollecting The Quests Vol. 2 the legend continues..." with an improved packaging. This particular album was very special to me as I was given the opportunity to include most of the songs recorded by the group during those "lost years" when they were performing in Hong Kong. You may term some of these songs as "rare" materials. The album was also a personal triumph for me because I finally succeeded in getting most of their recordings converted from vinyls to CDs, thus offering fans the chance to reminisce about those glory days when we were young. Another comforting thought was the preservation of their music through the years. It was in some ways a closure for me as well, my own way of thanking the boys for helping me shape a part of my life through their music. Thanks for the memories, guys.......

And here are details of the tracklist from my all-time favourite Quests album:-

This Side.

1. Come On And Shout
2. Love Has Gone
3. The Man From Madrid
4. Dum Dum
5. I'm On Top Of The World
6. I Want A Home
7. Mockin' Bird Hill
8. Ding Dong Twist
9. I'll Be Your Man
10. Shanty
11. All My Sorrows
12. Honey House
13. Please Try And Understand
14. Instrumentally Western
15. I'll Be Looking Out For You
16. Come On Down To My Boat
17. What's Wrong With The Way I Live
18. Guantanamera
19. Never Ever
20. I'll Never Fall In Love Again
21. Hur Pi Tzu Shau Shiang
22. The Return Of Spring
23. Sayonara

That Side.

1. La La La Means I Love You
2. A World Of Tomorrows
3. Pop Inn Theme (1968)
4. Gallopin' (1968)
5. What Is Soul ?
6. Sunshine Of Your Love
7. Hey Girl
8. Soul Finger
9. Love Is Blue
10. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
11. Sound Of Silence
12. Proud Mary
13. Traces
14. Time Is Tight
15. I'll Wait A Million Years
16. Don't Forget To Remember
17. When The Clock Strikes Twelve
18. Love At First Sight
19. Holiday
20. The Cage
21. Who'll Stop The Rain
22. American Woman
23. Love And The World Loves With You.

Cheers !


Recollecting Singapore 60s.

EMI & Warner Music has recently re-issued the two Recollecting Singapore 60s albums that were orginally released in 2007. This double CD set is a compilation of 40 tracks by local and regional artistes from the 60s & 70s who recorded under the EMI label.

The artistes featured include The Quests, The Sundowners & The Tornados, The Blackjacks, Matthew & The Mandarins, The Surfers, Asha Puthli, Rita Chao, The Xperiment, Sarah Chen, Straydogs, Frankie Cheah, The New Topnotes, Sugiman Jahuri, Sakura Teng, Pietro Attila & The Warlocks, Tony & Terry, Tania, Western Union Band, Anita Sarawak and Lam Leng.

For those who missed out on these two CDs the first time round, this is a good opportunity to pick them up before its too late. There is also the added bonus of four Christmas songs by The Quests. Something from the past, and yet another collector's item. Cheers to local music from the 60s & 70s !


A Journey Through Local Music

Dear Friends,

Yet another opportunity to travel back in time and listen to local music from the 60s and 70s and more.... Artistes performing on 8th August 2009 at Esplanade Amphitheater include:-

1900 – 1940 hr: Matthew & The Mandarins
2000 – 2040 hr: Robert Fernando & Clement Chow
2100 – 2140 hr: Vernon Cornelius (Lead vocalist of The Quests)
2200 – 2240 hr: Gypsy.

Checkout the Esplanade - Theatres On The Bay website for more details. Cheers.


100 Greatest Singapore 60s - The Definitive Collection

The onset of the Sixties saw Singapore well poised to ride the waves of international pop trends. It had been a scant six years since the first wave of Rock and Roll hit our shores. To the elders it had seemed like the end of civilisation as they knew it. This was youth culture. At once mysterious and alluring. The elders had no part it. The music was for the most part unintelligible but it conveyed its message to the young. Soon a few of the brave were venturing forth creating what they heard on records. Singers, duos and trios abounded. Only a few bands such as The Stompers and Esquires formed before the Sixties loomed.

It was a Cliff Richard and The Shadows concert in Singapore held in November 1961 that opened the floodgates. Suddenly light bulbs popped in more than a few budding Singaporean musicians. The blueprint for a band. Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar and drums. Fronted by a singer. Suddenly bands were forming all over the island and clamoring for gigs wherever they could get it. The entrepreneurs, owners of restaurants and night clubs sensed an economic opportunity. If they could offer venues for the bands to play in that would bring in the punters. They were not slow to follow it through. Venues mushroomed round the island and then tea dances were held over the weekends. To be young in the Sixties was to be spoiled for choice. Shows almost every night and bands and singers by the dozens.

It would not be long before the recording companies would come sniffing. They were skeptical initially. Yes there is a lot of excitement but would it sell. Into the fray entered Philips. They signed Ruby Wah and released an EP which contained Jazz and mainstream oriented material. Respectable sales but no real indicator. Then they decided to take a chance on a vocal quartet fronted by the irrepressible Susan Lim. This was the Crescendos. Their first two releases sold upwards of 25,000 units and hit number one in both Singapore and Malaysia. At that time, Malaysia and Singapore was considered one market and it was not uncommon for a single to be released simultaneously in Singapore and Malaysia and followed by a long haul tour the length and breadth of Malaysia.

Suddenly the gates were swung wide open. Philips decided to go whole hog. Their talent scouts checked out venues and shows all over the island beginning 1964. There was a joke then that the depth of talent in Singapore was so deep that semi finalists of the Radio and Television talentime of that year were being signed. The artistes that you hear on this collection shows that diversity. Philips signed a wider range of talent than other labels. They were not afraid to take a chance on bands playing Rhythm and Blues such as The Cyclones, Bryan Neale, those playing the new fangled Soul such as Denni Wilson and The Commancheros and even emerging psychedelic which peeps out via Clansmen and Stevie Lorraine.

However pop still ruled the roost and artistes such as Naomi and The Boys, Shirley Nair and The Silver Strings, The Thunderbirds, Wilson David, Sonny Bala and The Moonglows, The Dukes with their various singers, Henry Suriya, Veronica Young and Heather provided plenty of releases in that direction. The releases became a flood in 1965 and fans were delirious knowing that each week would bring new releases from Philips. They did not disappoint and soon enough by 1966 had the largest roster of artistes in Singapore. They also entered the Malay and Mandarin market when they realised that Pop Yeh Yeh and Mandarin Pops had their own following.

For a four year period from 1965 to 1968 Philips had a major presence in the Singapore music scene and made names like Naomi Suriya, Shirley Nair, Heather, Thunderbirds, Cyclones, Alan Lyford household names not only in Singapore but also in Malaysia and even in Brunei where some of these acts did shows. This five cd box set of Philips Sixties depicts a time in Singapore's pop music history when the universal fever for pop also reverberated here and the breadth of styles and music played here reflects that diversity. Perhaps a feat never to be repeated.

By Joseph.C.Pereira, Author of "The Legends of the Golden Venus' book


Those Were The Days

Reunion Of The 60's - remember the concert that was held at the Vivocity Amphitheatre in November 08 ? Well, fans of local music from the 60s are in for yet another great treat again ! Another musical trip back in time to those glorious days of the 60's has been scheduled on 23 & 24 July 09 at the Singapore Orchid Country Club. Check out the details on the accompanying poster. Incidentally, these are exciting times for fans of local music....more good news are in store in the coming days. Hang loose guys !

Best Regards,
vernon cheong


My Recollections Of The 60s

Looking back through the years, the 60s was probably one of the most exciting periods for the post-war babies. Some of the events that captured my imagination and left lasting impressions until this day helped shape my life and destiny to a certain extent.

The first pop song that rang in my ears during my early childhood around the late 50s was Fraulein by Bobby Helms. That was also when Rediffusion began to eclipse Radio Singapore as my favorite broadcasting station. At that time, Rediffusion was the rallying point for teenagers who were hungry for western music, culture and more. A very competent and popular group of DJs helped its cause, with the likes of Mike Ellery, Larry Lai, Eric Lim, Peggy Ross, Noreen Sales, among others.

Programs like Top Tunes Of The Week, PO Box 608, British Top 20s, Stars On Wings, and Rediffusion Discovery Show etc. kept most of us glued to the music box day and night. The talentime shows brought some of the best entertainment value, not only during the show proper but also during the audition stages. The potential contestants were required to showpiece their talents to a panel of judges before they could qualify for the competition. There was this guy who probably held a metal plate with a stick, waiting for the signal from the judges to “strike off” contestants in the midst of their performance with a loud “GONG!” I always wonder about the feelings of a 4-piece instrumental group that had spent weeks or months practising their song only to be struck off within a minute or less during their audition. Remember this funny bit?

There was another program entitled “Feuding And Fighting”, hosted by two of the most popular DJs from Rediffusion. Each week there would be a contest between two pop groups or artistes and fans would vote for their favorites, e.g. Beatles vs Rolling Stones, Cliff vs Elvis, and each of the DJ would lend support to one of the two contesting parties. During the program, there would also be some contests where listeners were invited to participate by naming the title or artiste of songs featured and prizes given out to winners were normally the latest LP albums. There was this occasion during an evening show when the DJ announced that the first listener who turned up at the Rediffusion studios at Clemenceau Avenue would receive a gift. Not surprisingly, the winner was someone who turned up in a pair of pajamas! There was also a 15-minute program when listeners were given a chance to be the DJ and got to select his/her own choice of songs. Those were really fun days, thanks to Rediffusion.

When I started my record collection, the first SP that I purchased from a shop along Middle Road was by The Fabulous Echoes of Hong Kong. The titles on that SP were Little Peanut Shell and Waray Waray. Ring a bell to anyone? Don’t think so because both were not hits at all! When the local groups came knocking at the door, Susan Lim & the Crescendos stood out prominently with hits like Mr. Twister, Waktu Fajar, The Boy Next Door, Besame Mucho, and the list went on and on. Don’t Play That Song by Keith Locke & The Quests was a major milestone in local music. The first time I heard the song, I thought it was by a foreign group! Another great vocal recording then was My Lonely Heart by The Thunderbirds. Of course, there were many other great recordings from the local scene, but I shall not attempt to name all of these for the simple reason that I may omit some inadvertently. They were all great tunes from a golden period, rich with local talents and strong support from fans.

Some of the songs that reminded us about the wonderful region we reside in included Singapura by Sandra, Oh Malaya by Anneke Gronloh, Midnight In Malaya & Sunrise In Malaysia by Boy & His Rollin’ Kids, Malaysia Wonderful by The Sundowners & The Tornados etc. Each time I hear any of these songs now, I would try and recall what I was doing during that period in time. A strong sense of nostalgia.

The Xperiments also stood out after my two-year interval from the local pop scene, serving National Service. They were the resident group at the Lost Horizon, Shangri-La Hotel at Orange Grove Road. My colleagues and I frequented the joint despite our meager monthly income of about $280. That’s when I was introduced to the “horns” or brass instruments, listening to songs like Vehicle by the Ides of March, We Got To Live Together by Buddy Miles, and some of the evergreen favorites like Let Me Try Again & Love’s Been Good To Me by Frank Sinatra, If I Could Reach You by Johnny Mathis, After The Lovin’ by Engelbert Humperdinck, among many others.

Besides live performances by local acts at the National Theatre and the Singapore Badminton Hall, there were also the more economical options, like the Musical Express Show at the Capitol and the Early Bird Show at the Odean cinemas. For an admission fee of only $2, you got to enjoy about 2 hours of live entertainment by some of our best local talents such as The Trailers, The Thunderbirds, The Quests, Sakura Teng, Rita Chao, Lara Tan, top comedians like Uncles Wang Sa & Ya Fung, Hamid Bond & Ah Leng, et al.

And there was Sungei Road where you could get second-hand items ranging from radios, magazines, watches, clothes, records etc, anything under the sun! Record stalls were in abundance, carrying local and foreign recording labels. The Mandarin pop culture was more dominant here, loudspeakers blaring out latest releases by The Stylers, The Travellers, Wang Ching Yuen, Lina Lim, Chang Seow Ying, Ling Seow, Suyin, Sakura Teng, Rita Chao, Lara Tan, Lam Leng and more. Among the goodies, there were also bootleg versions, selling at half the price or even less! I picked up several records by local groups and artistes from here, until this day. Time has moved on, but Sungei Road is still the same as it was during the 60s.

Well, these are just a few recollections of my 60's years which I hope would also rekindle your own favorite moments of those times. Do share them with us here. Cheers!

Best Regards,
Vernon Cheong


The Quest To Be The Best

The original duo who formed The Quests -the first local group to record an LP - Jap Chong, the rhythm guitarist, continues to rock the house down with gigs, while Raymond Leong, who played the lead guitar, is now a successful engineer.

"It was our passion and love for music that helped us succeed. Our main aim was to entertain. Also, without the Talentime at Queenstown Technical School all those years ago, there would not be The Quests" - Jap & Raymond.