In the heavy rock hierarchy of Malaysia, Wings are undoubtedly up there with Search as kings of the genre. Proving that they’ve only grown better and louder with age, the band have still been tearing up stadiums and performing for sold-out concerts these past few years. And coming soon, Wings will be performing for a live-streaming concert dubbed “Wings Kita Merdeka 2020”.
But before that, let’s take a look at why they’re considered one of the best Malaysian rock acts ever…
Rock kapak was on the rise in the mid 80’s when four teenage boys; Awie, Syam, Zul and Jojet, formed their own band, Wings in 1985. Two years later, they snagged a record deal and took the scene by storm after releasing ‘Belenggu Irama’, produced by M. Nasir. Powered by awesome rock n’ roll hooks with attitude, and looking the part to boot, their fan base grew overnight and the album sold 180,000 copies, making it the biggest-selling debut album by any Malaysian rock band.
While some acts of the era were dogged with constant mocking of not being able to play “live”, Wings (featuring Awie, Joe, Eddie and Black starting in 1988) further built their brand through offering nothing less than blistering “live” spectacles. Even without a second guitar player, the foursome packed a big and complete sound, punctuated by Awie’s raw and magnetic frontman charisma. They regularly played in front of big crowds of 10,000 people and later on, proved their mettle at stripped-down shows and even with orchestras. In 2011, Wings was given the honour of performing at Istana Budaya alongside the Orkestra Simfoni Kebangsaan (OSK), an achievement not many bands can claim having.
Banned but Never Broken
While their debut album resonated with rockers nationwide, government-controlled media including radio and TV, banned most of their songs for their counter culture elements. A few years later, rock concerts were prohibited altogether and male performers with long hair, including Wings, couldn’t appear on TV. But they braved through the disdain and restrictions, and emerged stronger than ever.
Iconic AJL moments
Wings’ second release, “Hukum Karma” sold 200,000 copies and produced two mega-hits, ‘Misteri Mimpi Syakilla and ‘Taman Rashidah Utama’. The power ballads became monthly champions on TV3’s ‘Muzik Muzik’, which took them to the prestigious Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL) stage in 1989. And with a TV audience of millions, they put up two memorable performances – one complete with a choir and the band members in suits. Although they lost to Search for the Best Performance award and came in 2nd and 3rd, those performances are still talked about till today.
Blessed with prolific songwriting collaborators including M.Nasir, the late JS Kevin and Bob Lokman, the hits simply rolled for Wings throughout the past three decades. Songs like ‘Sejati’, ‘Bernafas Dalam Lumpur’ and ‘Cinta Seusia Kita’ are considered iconic and are classics now. Wings’s constant presence on the radio charts as well as the aforementioned ‘Muzik Muzik’ is simply unparalleled in terms of entertainment and musicality.
2 Million Records Sold
After their super successful debut album, Wings’s next six records sold an incredible 1 million copies. Their commercial appeal has held steady over the years even through periods of hiatus and some key member changes (apart from Awie who went on to forge a solo and movie career, the band also had two other vocalists: Mel and Mus of May). In total, the band has sold almost 2 million units locally including 29 studio produced ones, some “live” ones, and compilation albums.
35 years and counting
Five years ago, Wings marked their 30th anniversary and it was an emotional and triumphant period of commemorative concerts and roadshows that culminated in a mega show under the floodlights and heavy rain at Stadium Merdeka before a strong crowd of 25,000. And in conjunction with their 35th anniversary and the country’s 63rd Merdeka Day, they’re ready to unleash their arena anthems yet again with ‘Wings Kita Merdeka 2020’. Featuring a line-up of Awie, Black, Eddie with Syah and Edrie on guitars, the gig will also create history as the band’s first ever online show.
The concert will go live at 7.30pm on 29th August 2020. Tickets are priced at RM35 and are available at www.galactix.asia.
Article was first published on Redbull.my