Saturday, February 25, 2017

Feng Fei Fei (鳳飛飛) Queen Of Hats

UP TO 4,000  

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.
Apparently, this songstress has such a haunting voice a phoenix would fly down quietly to listen to her sing when she begins her song. 😉

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?

掌聲響起  - 鳳飛飛 (Feng Fei Fei): Video Richard 1298

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. 
Many of her female fans commented that her hats were outlandish and some fashionistas would check out her hats during her shows. In fact one website mentioned that, she was in a league of her own when it came to her fashion choices and the elegant hats she wore definitely reflected her impeccable fashion sense.

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.
She started singing young and at 15 won a TV championship in 1968 that started her on a path to stardom. It took three years where she sang at open festivals, banquets and weddings accepting meager payment for her performance.

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.
                        Feng Fei Fei Gold Album 1976 January 1st.

Fei Fei contributed to public welfare regularly, both in kind and services and continued even after she became well known, performing during National celebrations and entertaining troops on an island where they were stationed. 

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 ?

    雁儿在林梢 n 温暖的秋天 on Channel 8 (2008) Video by Dragon Can Fly

A Short Song Selection:

When I Hear Applause 掌声响起 
Forever My Love 枫叶情
Cloud of Romance 我是一片雲 
Ask the Wild Goose 问雁儿

Cold Rain 寒雨曲
Remembrance 怀念
Years Flow as Water 流水年華
Another Kind of Homesickness 另一種鄉愁 

A Love Seed 一顆紅豆 
Fascination Moon, Melodious Bird 月朦朧鳥朦朧 
Observing Lotus Falling 又見秋蓮
Maple Leaves 楓葉情

Images: Google.
Information from Mr. Chan Kin Kow and Feng Fei Fei Websites.
  鳳飛飛 - 金盞花 - Calendula Officinalis Fei-Fei Fong Video by: schichwan.


Michael Lee (Sydney, Australia):
Hi Andy,
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.

Hiroshi Deguchi (Japan):
It's a shame I haven't met her, but is she a girl sung in the song "Singapore Pie" by Liang Wern Fook? It is one of the songs contained in the cassette tape called "Sing Singapore '92".

Andy Young:
Thanks to all of you who LIKE this post. Hiroshi, I am not sure if it's the same lady singer but let me find out. And Michael with your informative and fair comment about appreciating rather than comparing. You are right sir. Yes, these two singers were on top of the ladies hit parade for sure.

Stephen Han:
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”.

Andy Young:
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.


    Fabian Foo said...

    Hi Andy,

    Feng Fei Fei is a popular singer with the Chinese in Taiwan as well as in Asian countries. Many of her fans like us grow up listening to her Mandarin songs. Many Taiwanese and local singers in the 70's and after like to do her songs on TV and gigs and some even record their own versions. I like the original songs but some of the cover versions are just as good given a new tempo. Most of us will get to hear lots of songs by FFF in KTVs and Getai shows as her songs are well known and crowd pullers.

    Of course the other singer who is also very popular from Taiwan is Teresa Teng. TT is well known in all countries on earth and she sang in many other languages.

    Sad that both well known personalities passed away in their prime. We can only keep them in memory and sing our hearts out to their songs in everlasting love for music.

    Fabian Foo


    Subjective it's a personal choice - to me Teresa is lie Elvis and Feng Fei Fei like Cliff.


    Dear Andy,

    During the younger days, in the 60's I've met this sweet and gentle singer. She's someone I know who's down to earth. Jovial and clean kind of person, no airs about her and easy to get along with.

    Is she better than Teresa? Well that's subjective but TT is definitely more famous. I am just sharing my opinion, not being judgemental, because I met her before. But sadly, both good people had left us.

    Thanks Andy for all your dear friendship all these years.

    Best Regards,

    YEN CHOW said...

    Hi Andy,

    She was an idol when I started to listen to the radio at a young age. Famous but not as famous as Teresa Teng.

    FFF songs are happier ones. TT songs are more sentimental. But they are good in their own way.

    For technique I think TT may be better. But you know when FFF sings the APPLAUSE song, it is felt right in the heart. TT didn't make me feel this way. It's like, "After so much hard work, everyone finally recognizes your effort.. that kind of feeling.


    Each singer has her plus points FFFtends to emphasise to bring out her feelings in her song whereas TT is a natural and her singing effortless.

    But both are good and comparison is difficult unless both sing the same song. That's y two cents worth.

    Each has her strengths n weaknesses depends also on the listener.

    IRENE YAP (1970's RECORDING ARTISTE) said...

    Both equally good. Cannot comPare them cos they have different styles. I used to sing her, QIAO QIAO MEN, translated means: KNOCK KNOCK DOOR or perhaps KNOCKING ON THE DOOR.


    Teresa Teng is like Carpenters and Feng Fei Fei is like Celine Dion. She was with Silver Strings at Oasis Night Club in 1969.

    JACKIE LADY said...

    I don't really know Feng Fei Fei songs but I do listen to Teresa Teng.

    ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

    Appreciate all your comments dear folks.

    It came within the hour of posting. Shows how many Chinese fans of Feng Fei Fei there are and how popular she still is.

    I am not too familiar with FFF's singing as I am with Teresa Teng but we really cannot compare them. Each songstress, as many of you have mentioned, has her own merits.

    But we miss them and their presence since both were familiar in Singapore when they were still around.

    Again thank you all with the detailed stories about both our stars.

    OC HOCK (MALAYSIA) said...

    Thanks for your very informative story of Feng Fei Fei. I will share it with my Sydney Chinese girl friends. They will love it. These ladies are crazy over singing.

    JERRY SARAM said...

    I prefer TT because of her strong voice. But music is a matter of choice; a personal preference.

    FL said...

    Andy, for me, both Fei Fei and Teresa were both good singers and great entertainers during their times. Each had their own styles, presentation and crowd pullers. Sad that they left their fans too early. For the singers, their songs live on and on...... Thanks for the article.

    ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

    Hi FL,

    Yes, I feel the same way too as expressed. They are both at the top of the list and have their own imitable style.

    Thanks again for your constant support.

    Also to Jerry Saram and Hock, thanks for comments and interest in this blog.

    ks apan Youtuber said...

    經典的鳳歌之一,詞曲優美加上鳳姐富有濃烈情感的溫暖歌聲,十分撼動人心,百聽不厭!! 絕佳的視聽享受,很棒的 分享!! 感謝您 !!

    (One of the classic songs, beautiful lyrics and music along with Sister Feng; full of strong feelings of warmth. Great audio, never get tired of listening to it! Perfect audiovisual enjoyment, Great share! Thank you!)



    (First heard this song last year on television. Like it because it's a Feng Fei Fei song. When I started to get to know the good singer, she had unfortunately already left us for a while. Only on You Tube a glory of her past, singing. Somewhere she and her loved ones are living together happily.)

    matt tan zbraXing MJST canada said...

    who is better??? LOL, if you go to the other social-media, the same thing is constantly rechurned... jeff beck or hendrix; mahanvishnu mclaughlin or coryell; cochran or vincent; presley or richard; ... but that's a white cultural obsession, as if mine's bigger, better, faster, richer,etc..
    i remember how i started playing music in canada, meeting lots of kids coming up to me asking why i don't play with so many pedals as "(xxx) of (xxx)". well, i said, richie blackmore doesn't even have to much on the floor other than turning up his marshall.
    but yes, you look a lot better with more on stage.
    back to tt or feng. i have not heard of feng, but as a new fan of mandarin, japanese, and korean movies, teresa teng is mentioned a lot here... also on yt, and if you walk through any chinese town, you will also never seem to miss hearing tian mi mi
    or moon represents my heart by , you guessed it tt.
    i say, it's not about who's better; it's just tt had a much better publicist,
    then feng,etc.. like hendrix or elvis.
    marketing is what makes you "the best"; as for music, or any art, who is really the best. everyone is the best, because they amuse the ears/eyes/heart of the beholder.

    CCS@SUSS said... Anyone going for this movie?

    chakap chakap said...

    Fei Fei's first movie:

    One of Taiwan's legendary singers, the late songstress Feng Fei-fei made her silver-screen debut in 1979 in this wartime romantic melodrama set in the mountains of Yilan during the final days of World War II. Young and free-spirited Shiow-lan (Feng) falls in love at first sight with Charng-rong, a worker at her father’s lumber mill. She likes to sing, he likes to write music. With their parents’ approval, the two decide to get married but their plans are thwarted by Japanese lieutenant Yokoyama who has set his eyes on Shiow-lan. Yokoyama drafts Charng-rong and sends him to war in Southeast Asia where almost certain death awaits. The movie was one of the few literary and artistic films by Chen Chun-liang. It was also the first movie that was restored by the Taiwan Film Institute via public fundraising in Taiwan. Although the movie had the icing of a melodramatic story on the outside, its core was full of patriotic passion against Taiwan’s colonial master Japan. Popular songs in the movie sung by Feng Fei-fei include the title song Love in 'Chilly Spring' and 'How Can There Be Flowers Without Soil'.

    CCS@SUSS said...

    @chakap Chakap. Did you go?

    Anonymous said...

    If guess, in the Chinese music world and international music scene, TT is far more recognizable and has a higher standing. But both are good singers and contributed immensely to Chinese pop music in the 70s and 80s


    Michael Lee
    Hi Andy,
    Teresa is less flamboyant than Fei Fei but nonetheless a top class singer in a class of her own.

    Thoo Mei Lan
    I love this video on YouTube too!
    Her rendition of 何日君再來 is so heart melting.
    So 哀怨. Makes me cry thinking of what it must be like to see your lover leave to fight in the war and most likely would not return 😢