2-disc collection of all 27 NDP songs: My August 9th - 50 Wonderful Years

My August 9th - 50 Wonderful Years features 27 National Day songs performed by original artists

Home-grown singer Clement Chow, who sang the original version of Count On Me Singapore, is featured on the CD.
Home-grown singer Clement Chow, who sang the original version of Count On Me Singapore, is featured on the CD.PHOTO: ST FILE

If all the National Day songs were compiled in the right order on a CD, would you play it in the car on the way to work?

Mr Lim Sek, 56, chief executive of events and management company Music and Movement, believes it would be.

"If I just arranged the songs according to the year they debuted, it would be a boring playlist. That's why I put the more upbeat songs together and the ballads together, and it suddenly becomes the kind of CD you would listen to on your morning drive to work," he says.

He spearheaded the production of My August 9th - 50 Wonderful Years, a two-disc collection of all the original versions of the 27 National Day songs to date, from Stand Up For Singapore (1984) to JJ Lin's Our Singapore (2015).

It is the first complete compilation of National Day theme songs that were written for and performed at National Day parades since 1984. It is available at all Popular bookstores for $22.90 and from Apple's iTunes store for $9.98.

Given that this year is Singapore's Golden Jubilee and such a compilation of National Day songs had never been produced, it is surprising that the idea to do it came about only two months ago.

Mr Lim says: "The idea came about in late June when I was talking to singer and composer Dick Lee. We realised that it hadn't been done yet and we were shocked. Especially as it's our 50th National Day, all the more reason we should have a definitive collection."

My August 9th was compiled by Music and Movement, with marketing from Warner Music.

The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (Compass) also assisted in the production of the album by granting Lim the rights to use the songs and providing useful contacts to obtain the original copies of the songs.

The production was surprisingly difficult. As the songs were not stored in a central system, he had to approach the individual National Day Parade committees and the original singers and composers to get copies of the songs.

"Previously, the only place you could get all the songs was on YouTube. However, the quality wasn't that good, so we had to source it from committee members' personal collections," he says.

Forty per cent of the sales of the CDs will go to the Sing50 Fund, which originates from the Sing50 mega concert held last night and which aims to promote Singaporean music and musical talents in schools.

The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth required a part of the profit to be given to charity and Mr Lim chose Sing50 as the beneficiary.

The ministry will also be giving copies to schools under the Sing50 fund. Mr Lim says: "It's just appropriate to be using the money earned from a CD featuring local artists to support a fund that aims to nurture future singing talents."

Although the album contains song lyrics, as well as personal messages from most of the artists,

Mr Lim is disappointed that the compilation does not contain other extras, such as a sing-along version of each of the songs and an in-depth booklet containing more information about them.

"We were pressed for time this year. We can do an even better compilation next year and include things such as music videos and sheet music and make it an even more definitive collector's edition of NDP songs," he says.

Above all, he is convinced the double-CD will not be something people will play only in August every year.

"After listening to it a few more times, I realised that the songs aren't just NDP songs. They're pop songs in their own right.

"I think as a nation, we should be proud that we've managed to produce so many musical talents and that all the songs are so good."

•My August 9th - 50 Wonderful Years is available at Popular bookstores for $22.90 and from the Apple iTunes store for $9.98.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2015, with the headline 'All NDP songs in one set'. Print Edition | Subscribe