Saturday, 19 December 2015


My spare time has been quite limited recently, that's why this month all you get is this very short post about the mysterious Johnny Tan and his one-and-only release.

I tried hard to find some information about him on the Internet, but all my efforts were useless... I easily guess that Johnny's "15 minutes of fame" happened a few years ago when small label Outhouse Records stole one of his pictures - the same you can see scrolling this page a little bit - to grace the cover of the vinyl bootleg compilation "Chinese Rocks"...

"Shakin' All Over", the title track from the EP featured in this post, was also included on such compilation, along with other rare cuts by The Stylers, The Quests, Shao Fong Fong, The Steps, The Silverstones and many others.

I usually try to avoid personal comments on the artists themselves, but I must admit that Johnny's trendy apparel and his superquiff ( this the correct English term for his hairstyle?) make him look a bit over the top, in a manner of speaking.

Despite his tall stature, his frail falsetto voice suggest me that probably Tan was still in his early teens when he recorded the tracks compiled on the release presented on this page.

The excellent accompanying band featured on these recordings is Charlie and His Go-Go Boys, a Singaporean group that in 1966-67 released many instrumental EPs and one album on Swan Records (...or Star Swan...), the same independant label that also released Johnny Tan's EP sometimes in 1967.

While searching for more information about them, I chanced upon two other bands with a similar name which were active in Singapore during the late '60s / early '70s: Charlie and His Boys and Charlie and His Orchestra... Could it be that Charlie simply opted for a change of name when the A Go-Go trend was over?

Anyway, as usual, I would really like to know something more about Johnny and Charlie, maybe someone out there can share any information? Thanks in advance!

edit 16.06.2016:

A visitor of this blog was kind enough to provide some information about Johnny Tan, here's what he wrote:

«Johnny Tan was in RTS (Radio Television Singapore) Talentime 1968 with the song "My Bonnie". His performance was out outrageously "CAMP" as you can see from his record covers. Singapore audiences were not ready for this kind of performance at that time. He released only one EP and disappeared into obscurity. Such a shame!!! Even though I was very young at that time, I can still recall.»

Well, thank you so much for your precious contribution Daniel!!!

Johnny Tan as he appears on the back cover of "Shakin' All Over"

Here's the track list for this 7" EP:

01. Shakin' All Over (2:52)
02. My Bonnie (1:46)
03. Love Potion No. 9 (1:47)
04. My Love (2:36)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in December 2015 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the complete original artwork.

Please have a look at the comments section for the download link.

Side A obviously begins with "Shakin' All Over", a famous Rhythm'n'Blues number originally performed by U.K. band Johnny Kidd & the Pirates in 1960. During the years the song has been covered many times, most notably by The Guess Who in 1965 - available here.

The song is followed by "My Bonnie", a traditional Scottish folk song which was also recorded by Tony Sheridan and The Beat Brothers - an alias for The Beatles! - in 1961 (...original version is available here).

On Side B we find the immortal "Love Potion No. 9", a song written in 1959 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and originally performed by The Clovers. An alternate version of the original was also included on the soundtrack release for the movie "American Graffiti" in 1973.

The EP ends brilliantly with a cover of Petula Clark's international hit "My Love", a song written by Tony Hatch in late 1965; here's a playback of the original version.

The following clips offer a complete preview of the remastered EP, enjoy!

A few more information about Johnny Tan, Charlie & His Go-Go Boys and the 60s Singapore music scene is available here:

If you have any other useful information about this post, or if you spot any dead links, just get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

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