I first heard of The Strollers when my band played alongside the group in 1967 at the Chin Woo Stadium. The members then were Billy Chang, Hassan Idris, Ramli and the lead guitarist who went by the name of "Din". The band was good compared with the others, as their sound was more cohesive and "alive". We never met after this gig until the release of their first single in 1969.
As for Michael Magness, he only became known to me when I saw him played lead for a Klang group called the Blue Dominoes at one of the RTM radio musical shows, located then at the top floor of the Federal House. He later replaced "Din" and together with the rest, they went on to make Malaysian musical history.
Jimmy D'Olivero and Ramli left the group in 1970 and they were replaced by Nand Kumar and Hussein Idris. Jimmy, I believe, has migrated to Australia. Sometime in the mid-seventies, Michael left the group and he, too, headed down south for Australia. His replacement was none other than the late axeman, Terry Thaddeus.
Although the group disbanded in the late seventies after releasing several albums, members of the group in the last decade, have started to return to the music scene, but not as the original group. Billy, Hassan and Hussein, for some rhyme or reason, formed their own "Strollers" groups and have been seen performing at places such as Uncle Cili [PJ Hilton] and Hard Rock Cafe. Hussein helms "The Strollers2" group. You can catch the write-up of the group here.
I will always remember the group performing live at the Federal Disco [Federal Hotel] in 1970/71 when we would be there dancing the night away to the pulsating beat of the group.
Here are my three favourite Strollers hits.
I Wanna Thank You [A song popularised by Mark Lindsay]
Do what you gonna do [A Jimmy Webb composition, popularised by Tom Jones, The Four Tops and Linda Ronstadt]
Just As I Am [A composition by Billy Chang]
One of the main highlights of the group and probably the first ever for a Malaysian group, their 1973 album "Waiting is ....." was singled out by a Spanish label for a CD release in May 2006.
On a postscript note, Nand Kumar passed away in the early nineties due to liver ailment.
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