So Happy: 50 Years of Singapore Rock

Photo: Dawn Chua
So Happy
Photo: Little Ong
The Analog Girl
Photo: Martin ChuaThe Analog Girl (aka Mei Wong) put the Little Red Dot on the map when she was voted by TIME as one of five Asian acts to watch in 2008
Opposition Party
Photo: Firuz Bin El Haj Shabazz MailkWhen they donned their leather jackets and combat boots in 1986, Opposition Party became one of the island’s first punk rock groups
Zircon Lounge
Photo: Zircon LoungeThe grand-daddy of the local indie music scene, Zircon Lounge was formed in the early ’80s and led by the incendiary Chris Ho
Photo: Joseph PereiraIn the ’60s, the Straydogs were thrown out of concert halls because they only wanted to rock the blues – and nothing else

Way back in the ’60s, Singapore had a vibrant music scene. Bands like the Quests and Naomi & the Boys shimmied at gigs around town, flooding the island with surf rock ditties. And then the iron fist of the authorities came slamming down in the ’70s. Rock ’n’ roll was banned. Long hair was demonised. Jukeboxes were silenced.

Strange – but beautiful – how that has all changed. Local music is now being trumpeted by the very authorities who clamped down on them decades ago. And to celebrate the long and mired 50 years of Singaporean music (#SG50), creative studio fFurious is putting together an exhibition of the scene’s best moments, with support from the Singapore Memory Project’s iRememberSG Fund and The Substation.

Titled So Happy – it takes its name from a track by power pop act the Oddfellows – the show culls archived photos, writings and other memorabilia from 1965 to the present day. And we’ve got a few exclusive previews for you, right here. Remember: rock ’n’ roll can never die.

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