Thursday, June 03, 2010

Pan Wan Tjing, Rebecca - Sings, Acts, Travels

Pan Wen Tjing or Rebecca Pan, born in Shanghai, China, is possibly one of the top divas from the 60s who still enjoys the privilege today, having accumulated about 50 years of show business experience.

In 1957, she began as a singer in a band at Hong Kong Caesar's Palace Nite Club where she replaced a friend for a few weeks. She gained a following, had the first ever fan club formed for her in HK and Nie, Nie, Wo, Wo became the theme song, written specially for her by Diamond Records where she cut her vinyls after going solo.

As she is able to sing in many languages namely: French, Italian, Arabic, Indonesian, Thai, Japanese, Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese, and English, Pan was able to tour the world. With her multi-lingual singing ability she recorded the international evergreen, Rose Rose I Love You (1961) in both Chinese and English. Another hit, Second Spring (1965) by Yao Min, followed. Pan also recorded Ding Dong Song with the success of the musical, The World Of Suzie Wong by Lionel Bart.

In 1972 when other singers were still struggling to achieve stardom on stage, Pan had already formulated her own Broadway-styled movie musical and acted in Pei Niang Niang. She even directed this movie which is better known as Madam White Snake among her English speaking fans. It is a modern interpretation of the classic Chinese folk tale and the fusion musical proved a controversy, but it drew crowds. If Loving You Means Hurting You became the most successful song from the show.

She had starred in more than half a dozen art-house films and won a Golden Horse Award (equivalent to the Hollywood Oscar) in a Hong Kong production called, Days Of Being Wild. Pan is so popular that her music can be heard in many Hong Kong films. One movie is In The Mood For Love with her interpretation of Bengawan Solo and another movie is Flowers Of Shanghai.

According to some websites, she was credited with introducing Mandarin songs to an international audience, became Hong Kong's biggest music export and had performed in Singapore, India, Thailand, Israel, Australia, England, France, Spain and the U.S. She is still known as the Travelling Star.

Did she sing her swansong in Singapore and retired afterwards? Anyone?

Edited articles from 2 websites: Andy Lim.


Teoh said...

So excited to see the this post about Rebecca Pan. The first record that I bought was Rebecca Pan's "Greatest Hits", a record that was released in 1965. I managed to collect another LP of Rebecca Pan, "Oriental Pearls" too.

She is so versatile in singing songs of different languages. She is simple full of flare. Even my children love her songs.

Teoh said...

Did Rebecca Pan ever retire?

She had a concert with the accompaniment a full orchestra a few ago. They make a CD out of that concert and I even bought that CD.

I am searching hard for that CD now.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you for the response BC. A good friend, not too keen on pop music, gave me his whole collection of vinyls recently and I found a Rebecca Pan EP. Since then I have started looking for her records.
Beautiful voice and I can distinctly hear the Shanghainese accent when she sings Mandarin. Or am I wrong?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes, I understand she did a concert not too long ago. And you have a copy of the CD? It's a treasure.

Teoh said...

Andy, it is very difficult to find Rebecca Pan's LP over here too.

So far, I found her LPs in the market only 3 times. I bought her LPs on 2 occassions. One the 3rd occassion, I didn't buy because the vendor wanted to see it at a very high price.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

It's the same over in Singapore as prices are just as high here. And I know with this blog, prices are shooting upwards.

I wonder if record vendors from KL read my blog? I know many in Singapore do and I get the same reception everytime. "Expensive. You want or not? No bargaining."

Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,

I just went to your blog and saw your post on Rebecca Pan.

As you like Indonesian kronchongs, I thought you'd like this one. 'Pulau Bali'.

NOTE TO ALL: Do support Andy's blog, if you haven't been there recently.

Larry Lai

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Larry, beautiful song by a beautiful singer. 'Pulau Bali' is a childhood favourite of mine; when life was simple and the country peaceful.