Known as one of Indonesia’s classic musical acts, the band peaked in popularity in the days far before the advent of private television companies, delivering stripped-down pop songs at the then-only TV station, TVRI.
Hailing from the Bojonegoro-Tuban area in East Java, the band started out as Koes Bersaudara (Koes Brothers), consisting entirely of the Koeswoyo siblings. Its antics of pioneering Beatles-influenced rock ‘n’ roll subculture in Indonesia was proven to be controversial, as the brothers were subsequently arrested by the Highest Operation Commando (KOTI) in 1965. They were eventually released just the day preceding the nation’s coup d’état, on September 29. This experience resulted in their song “Di Dalam Bui”.
Infamously, they never owned any legal rights to their works- they were paid only by the time they produced an album. Consequently, the band never enjoyed any form of royalties whenever their works are being reproduced. In recent years, the band members have apparently been having financial problems despite the fact that their musical legacy has obviously left its mark on the local music scene.
The band still performs live, the enthusiastic spirit of these legendary songwriters and musicians belying their age. Oldies but goldies such as CintaMu Telah Berlalu, Mobil Tua, Angin Laut, Diana, Maria, and Kapan-Kapan have lost nothing of their freshness and appeal; the audience, currently consisting of three generations of Koes Plus fans, tends to know all the lyrics by heart. Their only English song, ‘Why Do You Love Me?’ was a number one hit in Australia
Koes Plus – Why Do You Love Me?
The times has come
That we must be apart
The memory is still in my mind
But you have gone
And you leave me alone
Why do you love me, so sweet, and tenderly
I’ll do everything, to make you happy
But now everything
It’s only a dream
A dream that never comes
I only wait
Till trus love will come
But you have gone, and you leave me alone