Sunday, June 21, 2009

Memory Lane, Dubai

I was having an e-mail conversation yesterday with Len Chapman of the great nostalgic and informative website 'Dubai As It Used To Be'. I have a link to it over there on the right.

He told me that he's uploaded to the site a great Dubai anthem from the seventies and eighties, 'Back in Dubai' by Sal Davies.

Going back to my earlier post about our mobile disco, we had a copy of the original seven inch 45rpm vynil record in our collection and played it at every gig. When we sold the disco the record went with it and I've been looking for another copy for years.

The one available on the net is slightly later, from an album made in '83 or '84 by Sal with The Establishment.

A couple of bloggers have given links over the past few months so I now have it in my Favourites folder. A great bouncy song and one that always went down well at the discos.

It was a long time ago but I remember that Sal had a regular gig at the Safari Club. I can't now remember the hotel that was part of - either the Carlton Tower or the Riviera I think. Certainly on Baniyas Road along the Creek in Deira. Sal was from Africa, Kenya I think, or maybe Tanzania.

Len was also asking about another, later, song and I was able to remind him that it was 'Life in the Emirates' - that's online too so we can listen to it again, thankfully.

First, I'll give you the link to the 'Dubai As It Used To Be' page with the record. Have a listen but do spend some time on the site, it's fascinating, nostalgic for those of us who were here back then and is probably a real eye opener to those of you who weren't.

It's also a historical document because it talks about the people and some of the events which helped to build Dubai, from before the UAE was formed in 1971 and through the seventies and eighties. It has fantastic photographs too.

'Back in Dubai' is here.

If you'd like to hear the other track I mentioned you can find that here: 'Life in the Emirates'.


ZeTallGerman said...

Awwww, I remember listening to the audience singing-along to "Life in the Emirates" on a Friday afternoon in the Dubai Country Club... of course, that's another building that's been demolished since then :-( Thanks for sharing these links! They'll be great for a leaving-Dubai-party one day!

Lalaine Gueco said...

Hi Seabee! I am a regular reader of your blog.I came to UAE in 1990, went home to Phils in 95 & came back to Dubai in 2003.To say I MISS THE OLD DUBAI is an understatement!
2 months ago I auditioned for a singing group called DUBAI VOICES.When we were thinking of the repertoire, I started singing" Hala marhaba..the life in the Emirates.."The group asked me about it, I happily shared the song with them and now it is one of the 21 songs that we will be singing when we perform all over the malls in Dubai from the 25th June to 14th Aug !
Shameless plug :)

Seabee said...

Lalaine, I'll watch out for you :-)

Lalaine Gueco said...

Thanks Seabee!I will be looking out for people singing along with us when we do Life in the Emirates :)

Btw, Dubai Voices will be at the city center this starts at 6:30!

rosh said...

Seabee, curious, why don't you write the 'UAE' in place of 'Dubai'? The whole nation has gone through change. There's so much more to the UAE than Dubai.

Seabee said...

Rosh, that's very true of course. I say Dubai because that's where I was, that's where most of my experience back then was, it's Dubai that I have photgraphs of.

BTW, there was virtually no talk of the UAE in Dubai back in the seventies. The word Emirati was not used. The UAE flag was rarely flown, it was the red and white Dubai flag which appeared everywhere.

Mealone said...

A couple of Dubai Golden Oldies just told me the Safari Club was not attached to a hotel although it was located next door to the Oasis Hotel (later The Phoenecia Hotel). The Sahara Club was located across the road from the Safari Club.

Mealone said...

Seabee not Seebee! Sorry. But at least I spelled Phoenicia correctly!

Seabee said...

mealone, the Oasis, of course. Thank you.

Mealone said...

Hi Seabee
dubaiasitusedtobe now has a Dubai1969 page with a video that includes a brief glimpse of the Sahara Club

Seabee said...

Thanks for the heads-up, what a great movie! I first came here a few years later but I recognise a lot of what's in the film.

Anonymous said...

hi lalaine, i think i know you. am tony luna my

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,I'm the editor of Esquire Middle East and I stumbled cross this blog while researching a piece we are doing on bars in the Middle East. I've been in the Gulf for 13 years so I know the place pretty well, but I'm looking for people who go further back to get stories. Drinking stories.
These stories concern bars in the region. We want anecdotes from the old days. The places you used to go. The weird/fun/downright crazy stuff that used to happen.

We need bars from all over the region, so any memories of Garvey’s in Doha, the Dilmun Club in Bahrain or drinking in Sharjah would be gratefully received.

Just a few lines will do. (More is you’re feeling generous). It would just be great to bring back the hazy old days in print. And if you can think of anyone to pass this on to then please do.

I’ll send a free copy to anyone who responds with a story!

Finally, as another free gift to all you good people, check out the link below. Sal Davis, circa 1984 with his legendary UAE hit, Back in Dubai.

Thanks to the blog host, My email is

Lisa Cullen said...


I don't know if you still look at the comments on here I am looking for an MP3 version of the Back in Dubai song to play at my mothers funeral. We lived in the Emirates during the 80's as a family and my parents have since moved back unfortunately mum has spent time in the UK recently having cancer treatment. as dad will be taking her ashes back to Dubai as that is where she considered home to be we feel it wold be a fitting tribute but i am struggling to find the tune for the crematorium to play.
any help appreciated.


Lisa Cullen said...


I am trying to find an MP3 or CD version of the Sal Davies song Back in Dubai to be played at my Mums funeral as that is where she calls home after fifteen years, but has sadly passed away in the UK following a battle with cancer. As Dad will be returning to Dubai with her ashes this seems a fitting tribute if anyone can help


Seabee said...

Hi Lisa. Sorry to hear about your mum.

I don't know where to buy it but you could download it from the link at the bottom of my post, which takes you to Dubai As It Used To Be site.