The Story Of The Stylers (Our Songs)

Latest Update ! The Stylers Box-set of 06 CDs has been released by Warner Music on 19 Sep 11. Stock available at all major stores including HMV, Gramaphone, CD Rama, That CD Shop, MJ Multimedia, among others.

During the early 60s, The Shadows were one of the most popular instrumental groups among Singapore teenagers. Anyone who was capable enough to pick up a guitar and strum some musical chords would like to emulate themselves as The Shadows. That was also a boom period for local music with The Crescendos leading the charge towards stardom, followed by The Quests and others.

Among the thousands enthusiastic young lads who chased the dream of The Shadows were four teenagers from the East Coast of Singapore – Rahman, Frankie Abdullah, Idros and Randy Lee Keng. They teamed up as a band with 3 Guitarists and a Drummer and called themselves The Angels, managed by Randy’s Uncle. Rahman was on lead guitar, Frankie on bass, Randy on rhythm and Idros on drums. When Rahman left the group in 1962, John Teo replaced him on lead guitar and when Idros left, Osman came on as the group’s drummer. By then the group’s name has changed to The Rhythm Strikers. Most of their early days' practice sessions were held at Joo Chiat Terrace. While performing at one of the functions organized by Cathay Organization, the establishment’s manager, a Caucasian, suggested that the group take on another name change to The Stylers, since they were performing with a lot of style, commitment and showmanship on stage.

As the group gained more confidence over time with frequent practices and party gigs, they decided to participate in the Cliff Richard & The Shadows Contest organized by Shaw Organization in late 1962. To their own surprise, the group emerged as Runner-Up with The Shadows' greatest hit - Apache, 2nd to the eventual winners – The Stompers. Surprised was the feeling because there were much more established groups during that period. A group called The Trekkers came in third.

Following this success, the group was offered several contracts and gigs over the island and even landed up with a 2-year Tea Dance contract at the popular Celestial Room at Amber Mansions, Orchard Road.

Over the years there were more changes to the group’s line-up. When Frankie, Osman and Stewart Chew (vocals) left, Ronnie See (vocals), Douglas Tan (bass) and Alvin Wong (drums) from The Burns joined them. It was during their stint at the Celestial Room when Robert Song joined the group as well. Robert was also responsible the The Stylers icon design with two bunny ears on the “S”. In late 1963 or early 64 they had their first recording contract sealed with Miracle Records together with a singer by the name of Maggie. The record was a big success as this was followed by several more recordings and offers of contracts by different recording companies in the region, including live performances at the National Theatre, Musical Express and Early Bird Shows at the Capitol and Odean cinemas. The Stylers were also high on demand for Getais, a yearly event and most of the districts in Singapore where they performed would book them one year in advance. The Stylers has finally arrived!

During the 60s and 70s, The Stylers were one of the most popular local group, proficient in both Eastern and Western music although they were much better known among the Mandarin speaking masses. They were probably the local group that released the most records in different languages including Mandarin, English, Hokkien, Cantonese, both instrumentals and vocals, and even a few Malay albums. The group produced more than a thousand records in total, which also included works with other popular artistes from Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia. Some of these artistes included Wang Chin Yuen, Chang Xiao Yin, Lena Lim, Lin Ying, Victor Wu Kang, Yuli, Chen Jie, Maggie & Judy Teng, Chopstick Sisters, Pearl Sisters, comedians Wang Sa & Ya Fung, Nan Hong, Donny Yap, Kok Peng Kim, Huang Li Qin, Simon Junior, Rahiman Rahim, Chen Kum Cheong, Long Piau Piau, Yao Su Rong, Zhang Wei Wei, Fong Fei Fei, Jenny Tseng, Lau Chi Weng, Ervinna, Robin, Lisa Wong, Michelle Xie, and Huang Xiao Jun among others. In addition, the group recorded with more than 30 different recording companies from the region. The group’s repertoire of Eastern and Western music ranges from A-Go-Go, Off-Beat Cha Cha, Classical Chinese Instrumentals, Soul, Rhythm & Blues and more.

The group’s line-up remained stabilized until 1980 when Lawrence Lum from the SBC Orchestra replaced the late Alvin Wong. Members of the Stylers also set up their own recording company with themselves and their manager Ronald Tham as shareholders.

Like all successful groups, The Stylers band also eased out of the entertainment circles gradually in the 1990s when Robert Song migrated to the Philippines while John and Randy decided to venture into other businesses. But their music still lives on till this day and members of the group are still active in the music scene. Thanks for good music and memories, guys.

Well, the good news is that The Stlyers are planning to release a 6-CD Box set compliation of some of the past recordings soon. The compilation would include instrumentals of popular English, Mandarin & Malay tunes, vocals in English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Hokkien from the 60s/70s era. Don't miss out on this fabulous box-set titled "Our Songs" which will also contain past photos of the group through the years as stock will be limited ! Cheers.

Compiled by Vernon Cheong with thanks to Randy Lee Keng.
01 July 2011


Happy New Year 2011 !

The Singapore Swimming Club held a New Year's Eve Ball on 31 December 2010 at their newly renovated ballroom. Entertainment for the glamorous event was provided by a 6-piece band featuring some of Singapore's best musicians - Ivor Lesslar (lead guitar), Jap Chong (rhythm guitar), David Low (bass guitar), Phillip Koh (drums) & Benson Goh (keyboards). Other top entertainers that ushered in the New Year together with the guests included Reim de Wolff (Blue Diamonds), Vernon Cornelius (Quests) and Jasmine Tye (Singapore Idol). It was an unforgetable evening of great entertainment, fun and joy, with Vernon rolling back the Cliff Richard years, Reim charming the guests with the Blue Diamonds' hit years and Jasmine reassuring us that the future of local pop music is in good hands and still vibrant. And of course there were fond memories of our 60s' hey days with members of the Quests (Jap & Vernon), Blackjacks (David & Phillip) and Cells Unlimited (Ivor Lesslar) showing their immense talents on stage. Thank you for the music and a great evening guys.........Cheers to 2011 !