Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Rita Chao: And A Letter From A Relative

Rita Chao, a very popular Chinese recording artiste from Singapore in the 60’s and 70’s, released both Mandarin and English records in Singapore and Malaysia. According to sources she also had many fans in Japan.

Ling Ying (凌雲) to her Mandarin-speaking fans, had the accompaniment of The Quests, an honour indeed since the group was the top band within that decade and recorded several hits for Rita Chao on the EMI label. She is fondly remembered by her knee-high boots, sexy miniskirts or alluring bell-bottoms.

She has demure features, truly a representative of the 60s era and cut a petite figure next to the more active Sakura. She has a sweet, soft and musical voice particularly suitable for the romantic ballads that she renders e.g. Butterfly, Happy Happy Birthday Baby, Sixteen Candles. Her rendition of The Thunderbirds' My Lonely Heart is exceptionally lamenting where she interpreted the song using Mandarin lyrics but with the same original backing accompanied by The Quests.

She does not possess powerful vocals, but these vocal folds do heat up the audience with her cover versions like Woolly Bully, Hanky Panky using Ooohs and Ahhs, especially with tight, heavy and rhythmic beat of The Quests. Rita was followed by both male and female fans everywhere she went.

On Sunday 23rd March, 1975 in the Straits Times Press Singapore, Rita Chao was reported to be leaving for Hong Kong to make a movie with comedians Wang Sa and Yeh Fong called, Professional Swindler, Genius Thief. During the interview she was remarked to have said that she was tired of singing all the time and would act in more films if this one proved successful.

She lives a very quiet life today and is still the subject of chatter on many followers lips as to her whereabouts.

On January 23rd 2009, I received a letter from a reader called Jane. She wrote:

*Hi Andy,

Rita Chao already retired from singing and by the way, she is a distant relative of my late dad. Sad to know that I last heard she was helping or working in a church in Yishun. Rita will be in her late 50's.
In the late 60's she did a performance in Penang, Malaysia together with Sakura. My late Ah Kor (elder brother) took care of them during their short stint of stay. Not sure if I can still find that old photo taken in Penang.


My reply:

Hi Jane,

Thank you for writing and apologies for not reading your letter earlier. If you are still reading this blog please write in when you can to tell us more, and if you still have that photograph let me know your email address so I can write to you.


Image 1 from Google: fRita Chao.

Image 2 from Google: Rita Chao (left), Sakura Teng (right).

*I cannot verify that the information provided is true and hold no responsibility for its authenticity.


Victor said...

Rita and Sakura were big singing stars in Singapore in the 1960s when TV was still in black-and-white. They were also my favourite singers at that time.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Victor. Their CDs are still selling and their vinyls have all but dissapeared in the second-hand markets in Singapore, Malaysia, HongKong and Taiwan.

Unknown said...

Its sad to know of her passing on.I have had all her vinyl albums n extended play cuz m a ardent fan of hers in d early 60s.Rest in peace Rita

Unknown said...

Sad to know she had passed on and m d last one to know abt it.Anyway m a big fan of hers n hav all her vinyl albums n extended play as well tho most of d songs are already on d albums too.Rest In peace Rita

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Joey for your response. I wish I have all her vinyls. If you have any to spare and wish to sell some let me know.

Do visit again.

Roland said...

Oh dear! I didn't know that my favourite singer during the 60s had already passed on. RIP Rita!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

That's why you must read my blog.
Thanks, Roland for visit.