Count on Me, Singapore composer Hugh Harrison has finally spoken up. The Indian composer Joey Mendoza said he had never heard Count on Me, Singapore though his own song I Can Achieve sounds just like the Singapore song.
Mendoza said he wrote his song in 1983, three years before Count on Me, Singapore was composed and sung as a National Day song in 1986.
Harrison is surprised at the “wild coincidence” that Mendoza’s song is so similar to his. He writes:
“From what I saw Joey messed up when he transcribed the lyrics and wrote We are told no dreams to hold that we can try for. What does that mean? I guess you have to ask Joey. The fact is, the song evolved both lyrically and melodically over several months with input from both (sic) the government, the agency and the musical production team. All these stages are well documented.
It would certainly be a wild coincidence after all the changes that took place that we happened to land exactly on Joey Mendoza’s version. I think he would have a hard time producing any evidence of creation, performance or production of the song in 1983. In fact, it would be impossible since Count on Me Singapore did not exist prior to 1986 and was composed specifically for Singapore with input from Richard Tan of MCI, Brian Watson from McCann-Erickson, Jeremy Monteiro and numerous others.”
Singapore — Pauline Communications, the company that apparently plagiarised the Count On Me Singapore song, has taken to social media blaming the Indian composer for the entire saga.
In a Facebook post on Sunday (Mar 14), they wrote: “We would like to inform you that we had produced this song with the help of Mr Joey Mendoza who sold the copyright of the lyrics and music to us, claiming he owned it.”
The company added that they were sold the copyright in 1999 when they produced a CD titled” We Can Achieve”.
“We were not even aware, that this song has been the National Day song of Singapore since 1986”, the communications company explained.
“We have a goal for Mother India/ We can achieve, we can achieve” lyrics are written, copying the lyrics from the 1986 Singapore National Day song.
Every mention of ‘Singapore’ was replaced with “India”. The song title was also changed to “We can achieve” instead of the familiar ‘Count on me‘
In response to their Facebook post, on Monday (Mar 15), Mr Mendoza said “that the original version of the song ‘We Can Achieve’ was first written at Bal Bhavan, Mumbai, in 1983, and thereafter performed on 1st May, 1983”.
He added that the Singapore version, ‘Count on Me Singapore’, was only produced in 1986.
The original 1986 song was composed by Hugh Harrison and sung by Clement Chow, and is widely recognised as one of the catchiest patriotic Singapore songs ever written to date
“I don’t hold claim to the ‘Count on me Singapore’ song. With no intention to hurt anyone’s feelings, I want to lay the fact clear that I’ve written the ‘We Can Achieve’ song”, Mr Mendoza wrote. /TISG