Those Fabulous Quests !

Recently, I had the opportunity of meeting up with some members of "The Quests" to catch up over the good old 60s days. Its been quite sometime since I last met the boys but they were as friendly, cheerful and humble as ever. Everyone looked good and cracked jokes over each other, led by the ever playful Sam Toh. According to the boys, Sam has not changed since the day he joined the group and recorded his first SP as a Quests, Da Doo Ron Ron w/z I'll Be Looking Out For You in 1967.

The fun and laughter days of recording at the EMI studios at McDonald House in Orchard Road with other popular 60s artistes like Rita Chao, Sakura, the late Suyin, among others, were fondly remembered. Sakura was the live-wire while Rita was the calm and charming effect in the studios.

When the conversation moved from Singapore to their Hong Kong days, everyone livened up with their individual favourite tales from the Pearl of The Orient. Those were fun but tired days as the boys worked almost 7-days a week without any rest. They remembered Sam Hui and several members of some of Hong Kong's most popular groups like The Mystics, the lady who serves one of the most delicious porridge by the side lane in Kowloon, the local media that publishes any news about them to increase circulation, an event as mundane as a hair-cut among themselves, or when Jimmy Chan had a simple flu, made front page entertainment news. Even the local taxi drivers recognised them on the roads and there was a Quests Fan Club, headed by a very resourceful young lady, Margie Jon.

At some stage of the lively conversation, there were differing thoughts over the fate of certain musical instruments used by the group at the famed Mocambo Nightclub during those good old days. Eventually, the only point of consensus among the boys was that "It was fun while it lasted...no worries where those instruments are now......haha".

It was indeed a very well spent Sunday afternoon among good buddies and friends. Looking at the latest photo of the boys, one can easily understand the secret behind the success of this great local group from the 60s, they were like a family, looking after each other through the years. And fans like us were their extended family members ! Thanks for the good music and fond memories, guys. Cheers to Life !

(Featured photo from L to R : Front - Reggie Verghese, Sam Toh, Jimmy Chan, Back - Vernon Cornelius, Jap Chong)


carina said...

Dear Vernon,

Thanks for your interesting post on the Get-together with The Quests. What an attractive photo shot of the boys, older but definately retaining the aura of superstars from the 60s here.

Really glad to see that all of them are looking well after all the years and the family spirit is still strong among the members.

Yep, I remember their fan club here and the club's first party held at the Mocambo Nite Club sometime in 1968? Uncle Ray Cordeiro was also present together with several guest artistes like Anders Nelson.

During their time here, we treated The Quests as a part of Hong Kong's pop scene and I believe many of our groups have learnt much from them while they themselves were versatile enough to change their music to suit our local preferences.

Incidentally, where was Wee Guan? Guess its not easy to gather everyone together.

Warmest regards to Jap, Reg, Sam, Wee, Vernon and Jimmy. Thanks for the fond memories left behind in Hong Kong as well.

Love you guys,

Pamela said...

Hi Vernon,

Thanks for reminding us that once upon a time there was this group that has achieved international fame beyond our shores. The Quests were the pride of Singapore local music, suppressing some of the best from the region. Their conquest of Hong Kong speaks volumes of the aura of this super group of fine musicians and entertainers.

There is no doubt that the boys has been in close touch with each other like "brothers-in-arms" thru the years but I am still wondering why they have not re-grouped as The Quests per se while many of the other local groups from that era has appeared in concerts, fronted by only one or two of their original group members.

Perhaps the boys prefer us to remember them as what they were and not what they are today. Its a real pity as most of the members are still active in the music scene today.

Fortunately, we still have fans like you who keep us in the loop about our favourite group thru sippets of news on your blog and the occasional release of their albums.

I am very proud to grow up during the best era of local music here and associate myself as a big fan of The Quests, the best of the best from this region.

kind regards,

once upon a time said...

Hi Vernon, thanks for capturing these moments. i was singing to these song when i was still a kid, my sister, chinese ed. so i got to learn to sing n she can follow. looking back all these beautiful memories swinging along with these songs in mind, though i dance to "i got the feeling black eyed peas" but i still love these beautiful songs

Anonymous said...

Hi Vernon,

The QUESTS is still very much a household name in Singapore Pop Music. I remember their first hit with Keith Locke, You Lied or Don't Play That Song & Be My Girl..yeah ! yeah !. Everytime we tune into radio station or redifussion, they play these songs. They also have some other hits like Pop Inn, Tea Break, Shanty, Silly Girl, Sound Of Music and some I cannot remember. After they left Singapore for Hong Kong, I lost track of the group but I read in the then Fanfare news that they were more popular there with several hits, in particular Mr. Rainbow. Thank you for reviving those moments to remember. Right on, the guys still looking as if they were in the 60s, trim and fit. Guess most of them would be in the 50s + but all looking like Peter Pan ! How about a reunion concert guys ?

Bernie Bey.

Anonymous said...

Hello Vernon,

The Golden 60s Years of LocalPops started with a big bang by Susan Lim & The Crescendos and the euphoria almost ended when Vernon Cornelius & The Quests left for greener pastures in Hong Kong, with an assembly of the finest musicians and entertainers from Singapore.

I remember the group started with very impressive tunes like Shanty, Galloping, Tea Break, Watch Your Step/Pop Inn Theme and graducated into the regional scene with albums like The Questing, The 33rd Revolution, The Best Of The Quests and many other countless releases. During those happy years of local pop music development, they were joined by other groups like The Strollers, Thunderbirds, Trailers, Checkmates, Falcons, Silver Strings, Moonglows, singers like Shirley Nair, Veronica Young, Heather, Frankie Cheah, Elaine Kang and several more.

Glad that their recordings were released over the last couple of years on CD albums through your kind efforts and that of Mr Joe Pereira. Its amazing that you are still keeping the 60s branding relevant with your blog and hopefully there will be more CD releases. Many thanks, my contemporary friend.

Mandy May, KL

Anonymous said...

Great blog ! Very informative and interesting. A good stroll down memory lane with sights and sounds. Have you any information about a group, The Patricians from the 60s? They participated in several Rediffusion Discovery Talentime Shows but not sure whether they released any records. Keep up your good work.

Yvonne Yoong

Laila said...

Dear Vernon,

Glad to learn that the Quests members are still very much in touch with each other. A picture is better than a thousand words, just look at the broad smiles on their faces ! Life must be good with the boys.

Carina, your post is very interesting since we don't have much news about the group in Hong Kong. Do share more "gossips" with us, like who were their girl-friends, favourite songs at Mocambo, the places they frequented and all that we have missed out here. Please do moderate your posts for obvious reasons. We don't want to upset anyone inadvertenly, right? LOL !

Hey Vernon (the blog author), its about time you feature some new songs on the blog. I've been listening to the present lot for many months. With your vast collection of Singapore local music, I am sure you can thrill and surprise us more !

best reagards,

Anonymous said...

Dear All, dear Quests, With interest I have seen all web sites with great music. I'm a Dutch (55) lead guitar player and lives in Holland for only 3 months a year and the rest in Indonesia.
I very much like to meet you and play old music rock 'n roll and shadows.
Interested? Please contact me by mail gde55@xs4all.nl
Regards. Gerard Derksen

greypanther said...

Dear Vernon,
Any chance of re-issuing their collection on CD?