A song I’d like to sing…

During my teenage years, I partied and danced…and I wrote letters to the radio stations requesting for songs to be played for my friends all over for the cheap thrill of hearing one’s name on the air and getting known by many. Though I knew virtually every popular song on the charts then, I never sang or played music at the time.

It was only when I started teaching in Kanowit in the late 70s that a colleague of mine encouraged me to sing. He could play the guitar very well but he was the shy type and would not sing – so he got me started, me singing and him playing the guitar and singing second voice. I remember the song was the Everly Brothers’ “Walk Right Back”. I really had to learn from scratch at that point in time and every time he joined in, singing the backing, I would go out of tune. It took me sometime to get used to it before I was able to sing it at a school function without making a fool of myself.

Eventually, I started to learn how to play the guitar myself and that was when I bought this songbook…

Old songbook

I cannot remember the exact year but it was around that same time and I think I paid RM10.00 for that thick collection of all kinds of songs.

I could not play the guitar well – just the simpler basic chords like G, C, D7 and Am…and any chords that would require me to press more than one guitar string, I would not be able to manage – F, for instance.

Thus, there were many songs that I could not play but I could manage this one

Don't cry Joni

…or this very popular one that guitarists at the time loved to play along with songs like “Hotel California”

Temple of the King

But on the whole, I was never good at it – just good enough to pass the time and entertain myself strumming some of the songs I’d like to sing. LOL!!!

Eventually, karaoke took the world by storm. If I’m not mistaken, the word karaoke in Japanese means empty music…so there would only be the music minus the vocal tracks. Thus, the so-called minus-one cassette tapes came into the scene…

Minus-one cassette tape

…and I bought quite a lot of those not just for me but for my students to sing at school concerts. Honestly, I do not see any point struggling with a guitar (which in the first place, I cannot play well) when I can sing to the music performed by a whole orchestra – exactly like in the original songs.

Eventually, the laser disc took over…and after that, the vcd (video compact disc) and now, the dvd (digital video disc) and with the lyrics appearing on the screen, there isn’t any need for anyone to learn/memorise the lyrics of songs anymore…and songbooks like the one I have and minus-one cassette tapes have now become a thing of the past.