RITA CHAO PASSED AWAY IN JULY 2014.
ONE OF THE BRIGHTEST STARS IN THE SINGAPORE 60s MUSIC WORLD MS CHAO LEFT A LEGACY THAT WILL BE REMEMBERED BY ALL WHO KNEW HER AND LOVED HER, BOTH AS A SINGER AND AN ENTERTAINER.
MAY SHE REST IN PEACE.
When I posted the above news item a few readers wrote in to comment about Ms Chao. Writing to a few friends who had worked with her on stage, I received three replies, one each from Ronnie See of Ronnie and the Burns; Victor Koo, a blogger; Larry Lai, 60s DJ from Rediffusion and Danny Koh, pianist and leader of Danny and The Musicators.
From Ronnie See:
Rita Chao was popular during the 60s; she was singing duet with Sakura Teng during the Musical Express Sunday Morning Show at the then Capitol Theatre. The duo were better known as the a-go-go singers. Rita has a sweeter voice than her partner Sakura.
Both of them are pretty good but Rita has a slight edge over Sakura because she sings both in English and Mandarin. During that time Henry, Soon Yin the Managing Director of local EMI was promoting them.
I was singing with The Stylers then and backed the girls and the late Soo Yin too during the morning show. Tan Swee Leong was the emcee. Rita's manager was none other than her elder sister Mimi Chao. I am not sure if Rita had emigrated but Sakura lives in WC, USA.
From Larry Lai:
I remember Rita Chao as a sweetly innocent girl, but painfully shy and reticent. In all the times we worked together with Sakura, I hardly had more than a few polite words with her. Her sister Mimi, who was her manager, was the one I negotiated with... I wish her well.
From Danny Koh:
I did two records with Rita Chao but was not close to her at all. Tony Zee, the Trailers' drummer, had worked with her during recordings too. It has been a long time.
From Mr Rainbow (You Tube):
Rita Chao, aka Seow Mei-Mei, the A-Go-Go Queen of the 60's. Recorded her first EP with The Quests that included one of her greatest hits during that period, Shake, Shake, Shake or Yeow, Yeow, Yeow in Mandarin. Like Sakura, she sang in Mandarin, English and Japanese. Most of her recordings were accompanied by The Quests. Sixteen Candles was one of her most popular English songs.
From Victor Koo:
I remember being mesmerised by the young pretty faces, the sweet singing and the suave dance moves of the a-go-go duo Rita Chao and Sakura Teng when I was a kid in the 1960s.
I was staying in a cramped 4-storey SIT flat in Cheng Yan Place with my parents and 4 growing siblings. Lying down on a bed, I watched their performances from a close distance via our very first black-and-white TV set mounted on the wall next to the bed, much like in the hospitals nowadays. I believe this could be a contributing factor to my developing high myopia from a very young age.
*As for Mike Ellery, I remember him as a DJ. His voice came through the Rediffusion service which we also subscribed to at $5 per month in those days. Fortunately, there was a limit to how loud the Rediffusion set could be turned on. Hence my hearing was not badly affected by Mike Ellery's music. May Rita and Mike rest in peace.
Image/Video from Google and You Tube.
|MIKE ELLERY AT REDIFFUSION STUDIOS IN THE 60s SINGAPORE.|
NOT SOMETHING I LIKE TO DO, ANNOUNCING THESE NEWS PIECES, BUT MIKE ELLERY HAS JUST PASSED AWAY ON 3rd FEBRUARY, 2015.
TRAGEDIES ABOUND AS FATHER TIME COMES AROUND!