The same friend who recommended me to listen to Lee Yee told me that he thinks Teresa Teng has been overrated by her audiences in the '80s. I told him she was the best then. But he disagreed. (Just to clarify, both have already left the world for the big gig in the sky.)
He mentioned a lady whose name in Chinese means, The Phoenix Flies and that, "She is superior to Ms. Teng and that includes, her beauty, personality, and style," he added.
No arguments here. So here she is, not Tsai Chin (蔡琴) or Zi Wei (紫薇) but a Taiwanese singer and actress who was called, The Queen of Hats because of the differently beautiful and coloured hats she wore when she was on stage. Sometimes even her clothes have similar matching colours with her hats. A gimmick? No. It was her signature tune.
Feng Fei Fei (鳳飛飛) was one of the most sought after cabaret queen for stage, screen, TV and radio. At her peak she had recorded more than 80 albums and held sold-out concerts all over Asia in the last 40 years or so.
Compared to Teresa Teng who had a beautiful and sweet voice, Feng Fei Fei had a sexy and charming voice. In fact both of them had special vocal resonance and excellence. incomparable to many Chinese singers during that period. Could this voice preference be just a personal choice?
Fong Fei Fei, real name Lin Chiu Luan, was born in Daxi, Taoyan City in 1953. She had appeared and starred in many films and the television variety show patrons filled the studio filled to capacity whenever she was performing.
It wasn't the hats that contributed to her many fans but her beautiful, clear, crisp and well-enunciated singing. But she mentioned in an interview that the first time she wore a hat to perform, the audience response was so overwhelming, she decided to put on one each time she was in a show. In her entire career, it was mentioned that she owned more than 600 hats.
She was one of the five Chinese Heavenly Queens in the 1970's. Perhaps this title was in comparison with the seven Shanghai Divas that came from the 1950s. Feng was a student of Liu Jia Zhang, a well-known and respected tutor who also taught other famous Taiwanese divas during the early years of Chinese pops.
Her chance finally came when one of her songs was included in a compilation album in 1971. She released her first album called, Wishing You Well when she joined a known label.
Success followed and in 1974 Fei Fei received another award when she was in Singapore. Crowned one of the Top Ten South East Asian Singers, the title brought audiences to their feet.
She married in 1980, received a patriotic title award in 1981 for her dedication to the country, won Taiwan's Golden Bell Award in 1983 and 1984. During President Ma Ying Jeou's inauguration in 2008, she sang two songs when he was sworn in for his first term.
Fei Fei lived in Hong Kong for about ten years and continued singing till 2011 before she passed away on January 3 in 2012. She was 58 and suffered from lung cancer. In less than a day her fans rushed to CD stores all over the country and bought her albums.
A pop diva indeed.
So my dear readers. Who's your choice? TT or FFF ?
Maple Leaves 楓葉情
Michael Lee (Sydney, Australia):
She is one of the truly talented Chinese singers, like Teresa Teng whose songs I never grew tired of listening, bearing in mind I am English educated. However, I will always love and appreciate good music.
Both Fei Fei and Teresa are outstanding singers in their own way. It is unfair to compare and say one is better. Just imagine what will happen if I was to say Clapton is better than Knopfler. It is ok for someone to prefer someone to another, just like food.
Just to add, during the '80s and 90s my family watched their shows every week on the then Star Hub subscribed TV channel.
As Roy Orbison was well known for singing on stage with his dark glasses on, Fong Fei Fei was famed with singing with her beautiful hats on. I like her version of Bobby Vee’s hit “More Than I Can Say”.
Wow, Stephen, that's a unique and cute comparison. I haven't heard her version of Bobby Vee's. Will check it out. Thank you. And the others too. Thank you for clicking the LIKE and Victor for sharing.