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The Strollers

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60s Band


The Strollers from Kuala Lumpur was formed in 1965. They were always compared to as Malaysia's answer to The Quests, the top band from Singapore "across the causeway." The comparison was for popularity and top act from the two neighboring countries which once belonged to the same Federation.

The Strollers was really a different band playing heavy and a lot of late sixties styled pop-psych music with killer organ, guitar & flute. The original band comprised of Michael Magness (vocals, organ),
Nand Kumar
(vocals, congas), Billy Chang (bass guitar), Hassan Idris (lead guitar) and Ramli - replaced by Hussein Idris (drums).

Some of their best loved hits were Just as I Am (sang by Nand), Silly Joke (sang by Billy), and Do What you Gotta Do (sang by Michael). They recorded the acclaimed psychedelic "Waiting is …" album in 1973 before disbanding.

Billy Chang revived the band for awhile by teaming up with Terry Thaddeus on guitar, Richard Gomes on keyboards and singer Azman Warren. (In 2008 after 15 years lapse, ex-Stroller drummer Hussein Idris has recruited some well-known musicians to form The Stroller2: Hussein (drums/vocals, The Strollers 1969), Casper (bass/vocals, The Memories 1978), Desi (lead vocals/percussions, The Memories 1983), Nan (lead guitar/vocals, Grim Preachers 1970) and Lord (keyboards/guitar/vocals, The Boys 1985.)

The Strollers are long gone from the music scene but their only album, Waiting Is…, remains a highly collectible record.

French label Underground Masters released it on CD. Wohn Records in Korea released a limited edition of 500 LPs in 2006. The album is still listed on eBay and several specialist sites. In 2000, Malaysian label Life Records put out a compilation of various single and album tracks.

Malaysian band The Strollers consisted of Michael Magness, Billy Chang, the late Nand Kumar and brothers Hassan & Hussein Idris. The band had two songwriters, Billy and Nand. Unlike other Asian bands, The Strollers had strong original compositions. Their sound was heavily organized [sic] around Michael Magness's keyboards. Stylistically they were part prog rock and part hard rock.

However, they could also sing pretty pop songs. Some of their popular radio songs in the '70s in Malaysia were penned by the band and they included Silly Joke, Midday Sun, Just As I Am and It's A Beautiful Feeling.

But their strongest single was the one they did not write. It was a cover of Jimmy Webb's Do What You Gotta Do, distinctive by the heavy organ sound. All other versions were different from this.

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