Singaporean singer, songwriter and lyricist Su Yin (舒雲) had a deep, powerful, bass baritone voice suitable for the Mandarin songs that he belted out. Whether it was an Eric Burdon, Engelbert Humperdinck, a Bobby Helms, Mick Jagger, Ray Peterson or even a Blue Diamonds hit Su Yin could make each song his own. And in Chinese.
His singing style went down well with local Chinese fans. Also known as Henry Fu, he became one of the most popular pioneers promoting Mandarin songs during the 60s and was instrumental in establishing Chinese artistes like Rita Chao, Sakura Teng and others from the EMI Mandarin pop stable.
Su Yin, as was the culture in the 60s, covered western pops widely and released several albums with another home grown guitar group, The Quests. Some of his tracks included: Ramona, Greenfields, Green Green Grass Of Home, Love At First Sight, Yesterday, Lady Jane, Fraulein, You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, House Of The Rising Sun, Portrait Of My Love, First Bend Of The River, Summer Wine, Tell Laura I Love Her among others. Apparently, these translated versions by Su Yin, proved popular enough for Mandarin listeners to buy them in quantity profitable for the industry.
He was a manager with a record company and would usually sing covers with lyrics written by a well-known Chinese composer Li Tian (黎天). One song, which attracted much attention is Mona Lei (蕾夢娜), a Mandarin version of the Gilbert/Wayne 1940 evergreen Ramona which appeared on his Long Play album called, A Green Pasture At Dusk (黃昏放牛＊一片青青的草地), released in 1967. Another, Tell Laura I Love Her came with Grand Prix sound effects that haunted me for days!
Because of his following, he had appeared in many pop shows at the National Theatre, Victoria Memorial Hall and other venues all over Singapore. Since he could sing Mandarin favourites too, his regular appearance on the Chinese television channel, radio and Rediffusion proved as successful and Su Yin who often sang on stage with his own guitar, became synonymous with 60s music.
But the one song that launched Henry Fu Su Yin's career in 1965 was Yodelling Cowboy (黃昏放牛) which sold a staggering *100,000 copies in Asia. That was big, anytime!
A Happy Dragon Year To All. My year!*Information from local TV series: Rollin' Good Times screen crawler uploaded by: shcg1shcg.
Images: Andy Lim Collection.