Thursday, December 08, 2016

Led Zeppelin In Their Forever Book! Wow!

One of the easiest books to read or browse through, this fabulous coffee table publication tells an interesting tale about the guys who composed the incredibly successful rock song, *Stairway To Heaven and other staggering hits.

Thick at 220 pages and priced at a sale for S$15, I just grabbed it with another similar one about the other rock group, Rolling Stones. Of quality print, biographical and associated pictures of the four guys who made it through to the struggling end, Led Zeppelin (above) first gathered during a 1968 London space to become one of the world's biggest bands at an almost unprecedented level of success.

Contents are simply pegged and formatted into four parts, Dazed and Confused, Electric Magic, The Song Remains The Same, A Whole Lot of Love. Then there's the important Discography where L.Z. fans can browse through with eternal contentment the list of recordings, albums and awards this group would have harvested during their years of performing.
From Yardbirds to Led Zeppelin (not 'Lead'avoiding mispronunciation) the electric four went on to receive, World's Top Band at a London award. But the road to stardom is never easy, with slippery shocks along the way. What with heroin addiction, the passing away of a son and the death of one member, a whole lot of love, a Live Aid concert and other positive factors helped to heal the battle scars of Rock Zeppelin. 

Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonzo Bonham are saluted page after page in this forever book (it never ends). And it's not outdated. 
Published in 2009, the featured and worth-duplicating images include Robert Plant with Alison Krauss and another with Nelson Mandela. There's another with Jimmy Page and Leona Lewis performing Whole Lotta Love. 

That's it. The book is what it is, an illustrated biography. Can't reveal more cause this posting is not a book review. I'm about half way through and have yet to check the rest out...

The content of this original post is copyrighted. 

Please click under Comment Page below to read Mr Michael Bangar's experience with Led Zeppelin.

There is no intention to promote the book or use its copyright photographs for financial gains since this post is just a book reader's love to share pop music stories.

*Jerry Fernandez' book title, To Be A Rock But Not To Roll, comes from a line in the song.

Images: From the original book. 
Published by Transatlantic Press 2009.


Saturday, December 03, 2016

Al Hirschfeld Caricatures Pop Singers

Pop singers, like many celebrities, need to be immortalized. One way is to use caricatures. Al Hirschfeld, to me, is one of the greatest artist of his kind. Below are only a few of his work. He was a Hollywood great.  He must have been a happy and healthy caricaturist; he died at 99.

I used to check out his drawings from US entertainment magazines that I bought in the 50's and 60's and had fun trying to guess who the characters were.  Hirschfeld has become the only artist to have a Broadway theatre named after him.

 Selected at random from Google Images, do you know who these singers are? Most have gone away but some are still around.

Hirschfeld’s 1999 picture of Liza Minnelli is his work in color. It is an achievement he often sought i.e. to capture a perfect likeness using minimum lines. He achieved Minnelli’s stance with only a line; his pen never left the page. Similarly with Sammy Davis Jr. above.

                        And the man himself, caricaturist Al Hirschfeld.

If you scored 10 out of 10, that's fab but if you got less, you should read my blog more often.πŸ˜„

Write out the answers on Comment page.

There is no intention to profit monetarily from these caricatures by Al Hirschfeld but only to show how he had influenced and entertained many senior Singaporeans who enjoyed his artistic talent. If, for any reason, these pictures are not for publication, please inform blogger by writing on the Comment page.

Images: Al Hirschfeld, Google.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Scott Page From Pink Floyd, Supertramp and Toto


As a performer he is widely recognized as the saxophonist and rhythm guitarist for Pink Floyd, Supertramp, and Toto.

He produced projects for The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Janet Jackson, Garth Brooks, Scorpions and others.

As an artist, his continued work as a recording and as a session musician continues to draw interest from Pink Floyd fans and other music fans alike.

Scott Page is the son of Bill Page, a musician and entrepreneur who is best known for his work as a reed player and member of the Lawrence Welk band. Bill Page also performed with Judy Garland, Frank Gorshin, Barry Manilow and on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

The Junior Mr Page today frequently serves as an invited guest lecturer and panelist at numerous new media conferences and university symposium.

He is an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music, in the Music Industry program.
Scott Page, performing at The Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, California on June 17, 2015, as a special guest of Brit Floyd.

Information: Wikipedia.
Image: Twitter and Wikipedia: 1987atomheartbrother - Own work

International Stars Connect With Andy's Music Blog

These top stars from the music and movie industry have connections with this blog.

Russell Hitchcock, one half of Air Supply, commented on Rex Goh's guitar playing on John Cher's Facebook post, "Amazing player and a cherished friend."

Stephen Fry, an actor and comedian too, made similar comments and recommended that pop music lovers read about Rex Goh on this blog. Rex is an international lead guitarist with Air Supply.

"Sexy Rexy has been a guitar great in Sydney and the world for eons. It was great to hear about your Singapore background Rex Goh. The direct link to make it easy for people if interested is here."

Rick Astley, pop star with so many hits, appeared in the same show with The Silver Strings for its first opening season of, Rolling Good Times. A posting on this blog featured behind the camera scenes.
                Rick Astley n me, beside the lady,*Ch 5, Rolling Good Times.

And on this November 2016 month, Scott Page from Pink Floyd, Supertramp and Toto fame followed Andy on Twitter.

I can't ask for anything more. It's made my year.

Thanks to all the singers, actors and readers involved, especially writer John Cher.

*Media Corps Singapore, 2015.

Images: Google and A Personal Collection.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Floyd Cramer Backed Elvis Presley On Piano

A busy man, especially with what he's doing, way up on top in the financial world, Henri Gann took time off in between plane flights to write me a piece from his iPhone. Thanks again Henri.

It's Halloween again in America ! With all the Rocky Horror news on the American election, I thought it's a good time to pause and listen to the soothing music of Floyd Cramer.

Recently I was waiting for a flight in the Cathay Marco Polo Lounge when I heard some soft piano music playing in the background. The song was Last Date, a hit by country music pianist Floyd Cramer. 
I found myself searching the Internet for information about Cramer and what I found surprised me. For one thing, I didn’t realize that Cramer had passed away almost twenty years ago. I also learned that he played for Elvis in the early days. 

Floyd Cramer was known for his signature piano style which included "out of key" notes or "slip style notes." These methods gave his music a lonesome, cowboy feeling. The style originated with Don Robertson and Chet Atkins but popularized by Cramer, who accompanied over a quarter of Nashville’s country music in the 60's. 
His emotional playing has had a meaningful impact on many other musicians. As singer Jimmy Dean once said, "No orator ever spoke more eloquently than Floyd Cramer speaks with eighty-eight keys."

Remarkably, Cramer was a self-taught. He went on accompany Elvis and his band in the 50's, which included the legendary Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and Fontana, and The Jordanaires. As he recounted, " Generally we would start recording about 6 pm and then we would work until the sun came up when we would send out for Elvis... favorite KFC."

When Floyd left Elvis to pursue his own career, as stated later on in his memoir, "I had placed myself in an unenviable position to many." 

You can hear Cramer’s piano accompaniment on Elvis’s “Judy” and “Puppet on a String.” You can even hear him in the background of “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Don’t Leave Me Now,” and “Don’t Be Cruel.” 

Beyond his work with Elvis, Cramer and his accompaniment had a big impact on other hits from the 60's. You can listen to this distinctive style on Hank Locklin's “Please Help Me I am Fallin’,” on Jim Reeves' “Four Walls,” on Brown’s “Three Bells,” and on Patsy Cline's unforgettable, “Crazy.” 
What would Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely,” The Everly Brothers, “Till I Kissed You,” or even Brenda Lee’s, “I Am Sorry” be without Floyd Cramer’s sweet piano accompaniment !

When Cramer pursued an independent career, he succeeded in composing and performing the billboard hits like the Last Date, On the Rebound, and San Antonio Rose. All in all he had recorded more than fifty solo albums. Floyd had hits all the way up until the 80's, when he composed the theme song for the wildly popular television show, Dallas.
My personal interest in Floyd Cramer goes back to my days playing lead guitar for the Trekkers in the 60's in Singapore. I was influenced by my brother's extensive country collection, and I would find myself listening for Floyd's piano notes whenever he had a record playing. 

The Trekkers even played their own guitar version of Floyd Cramer's, On the Rebound, which had a broadcast in one of Rediffusion Discovery Series Shows recorded at the Odeon Theater.

I was fortunate to witness one of Floyd Cramer's last performances in Los Angeles in the early 1990's. I took my whole family to see the country great at the local Pasadena Ambassador College Country Series.

Floyd Cramer was inducted into the Golden Metronome Nashville Country Music in 1974. He died of cancer in 1997 at the age of 64, and was posthumously inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame that same year and the Country Music Hall of Fame later on. His grandson Jason Coleman continues to play in his grandfather’s style: with lots of emotion and feeling.

Sent from my iPhone.
Images: Google; Henri Gann (right).
An Original Article: Copyrights Reserved.
You Tube Videos:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

'What A Wonderful World' Connected Incidents

                                  TTC Paterson Road Campus 1960's

Good friend James Kwok doesn't reveal himself too much because he is a quiet and private person but when I asked him to write a little tale for me for this blog, he relented and sent this piece below. Just shows how songs influence our lives in so many ways.

Thank you James for connecting Louis Armstrong's famous hit with memorable incidents in your life:

"Earlier this month some former students (many years my junior) from my primary school organized a get-together to celebrate Teachers Day.   They invited former teachers and students who are still contactable for a time of memory recollection by friendly folks over food and fun. 
           What a Wonderful World: Louis Armstrong. Video: atyourserviceable

Among the songs played was ‘What a Wonderful World,’ which sure brought back memories for me. I first heard it over Rediffusion back in 1967. The following year, at the Teachers Training College Dinner n Dance, all of us in the final year joined in singing it as our farewell song. 

As the years passed, the song, with its meaningful and uplifting lyrics sung to an unforgettable tune, has been aging without growing old. Then just last weekend at the birthday party for one of my grandsons, his parents played it on the karaoke and got all the parents and grandparents to sing along. 

As I looked at my grandchildren and all their many young friends, and at my children and their spouses, the words of the last stanza are right now still echoing in my mind: 

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow, 
they’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know. 
And I think to myself, What a Wonderful World. 
Yes, I think to myself, What a Wonderful World. 
Wo Yeah..."

Monday, November 21, 2016


This blog is going into its 9th year today, having started it on 21st November, 2008. Again thank you all very much for the support. Time just flashes by and you're into a new year.

I look at past pictures on this blog and wanted to show off the many friends that I met during this journey but it would be a challenge. Yes, I may just miss posting some...

So just words, and words are all I have.

Images: Google.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

John Cher's Tribute To Musician Donald Thaver

Memories Of The Last Visit And Last Farewell.

Friday, 30th September 2016:

Ivor Lesslar and I paid a visit to Donald Thaver's home. It was a rainy day when we arrived, Donald was seated on his sofa fronting the main door.  He was expecting us. He had not been well at all. He greeted me with a smile and I moved forward to shake his hand. 

We chatted a while after which Anita Thaver, Donald's daughter,  showed me around her beautiful home.  When I returned to take my seat again, our conversation got a bit more serious as we discussed his health issues and what was happening to him.
           Donald, Ivor and John (pix with Thaver family permission)

Since he was unwell we decided not to overstay the welcome.  We bade him goodbye and said that we will see each other again.  He looked at me straight in the eyes as we shook hands, smiled and said he did not think so.

Wednesday, 5th October 2016:

Following the visit I decided, very urgently, to do a short story about Donald as it was obvious time was against us! To do it, I needed both Ivor's and blogger Andy's help.  After meeting them for coffee we agreed as to the content of the article.

Friday, 7th October 2016:

The article was published and within 6 hours, from publication time at 3.15 pm to 9.00 pm, the story shot from zero position on, Favourites Top 10 Posts of the Week to first position on the blog.  Undoubtedly a testimony to Donald Thaver's popularity!  I was so glad that he got to read the published article.

Monday, 17th October, 2016:

Exactly ten days later Donald Thaver left for his Peace in the Valley.  The news of Donald Thaver's passing spread like wildfire within the small Singapore music circle. Family and friends visited. Many friends, relatives, media and music personalities paid their last respect. Donald knew full well who was present.

Donald had expressly told his family that it was to be a party, a celebration complete with music and food. And his wish was carried out.  There were lots and lots of music and merry making!  

Near the closing of the final night, Anita Thaver thanked everyone for their prayers and support throughout the difficult period for her family.  She then told everyone that it was Donald's wish to have his buddy Ivor Lesslar play one of his favourite Shadows numbers, Theme From Deer Hunter, Cavatina, during the party.  Ivor played the piece beautifully.  

Thursday, 20th October, 2016

The Requiem Mass was conducted at the Catholic Church of The Divine Mercy, Pasir Ris, on  Thursday at 12 pm.  During Mass, the priest among other things, said that Donald was prepared all along and was more than ready.  He told the congregation that it took courage for a man to say that he was ready to die.  Clearly whatever his other shortcomings may be, "Donald Thaver held on to his faith in God. He strongly believed that Life is changed, not ended."

Donald's Fender Stratocaster:

This is Don's prized possession, his Fender Stratocaster.  This guitar is the tool of his trade. He expressed himself with it.  He could show his talent and his craft to everyone with it.  He shared his happiest days and his deepest joys with it.  He shared his regrets and his pain with it.  

Indeed the guitar was a part of his very existence!  The two put together was magic.  They have brought comfort,  happiness and tears to countless people who enjoyed their brand of music, people whom they will never get to know personally but nonetheless have met in spirit  through their music.

And now the leader of the band has left.  While his guitar gently weeps!

And Don, I beg to differ from what you said at our last goodbye,  we will meet again!

Farewell brother Donald Thaver!

Images: A Personal Collection.
Article by John Cher. Copyrights Reserved.