Late Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng would have celebrated her 65th birthday today. The star died aged 42 after an asthma attack in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 1995. Teng built up a huge collection of hit songs with her sweet voice over a 27-year career, and was a huge influence on others such as Faye Wong.
In the Hong Kong movie Comrades: Almost a Love Story (1996), starring Maggie Cheung and Leon Lai, there is a line, “Wherever there are Chinese people, Teresa Teng’s songs can be heard”. Director Peter Chan Ho-sun’s film paid tribute to the singer and featured some of her iconic songs.
Here are five of Teng’s most popular songs.
1. The Moon Represents My Heart
Most Chinese people know this love ballad by heart. The song, written by Taiwanese composer Weng Ching-hsi, was first performed by a Taiwanese singer in 1973. When Teng re-interpreted the song in 1977 and included it in her album, it became a huge hit. Chinese and international stars, including Leslie Cheung, Anita Mui, Hayley Westenra and Katherine Jenkins have done cover versions.
2. Tian Mi Mi (Sweet As Honey)
Featured in the 1979 album of the same title, the song is a cover version of the Indonesian folk song Dayung Sampan. The song was later used as the theme song of Comrades: Almost a Love Story.
3. I Only Care About You
Teng first released the Japanese version of this song, penned by Miki Takashi and Araki Toyohisa, in Japan in 1986. It reached number six on the Japanese pop music chart Oricon. The following year, Teng produced the Mandarin version of the song and it was a huge success. Faye Wong, Gigi Leung, Cass Pang and Yoga Lin have done cover versions of it, Taiwanese rapper MC HotDog sampled the song in one of his hits.
4. May We Be Together Forever
With excerpts of a poem by Song dynasty writer Su Shi and music composed by Taiwanese musician Vincent Liang, the song was released in 1983. Faye Wong covered the song on her album, Decadent Sound of Faye, to pay tribute to Teng, her favourite singer, in 1995. The song also became one of Wong’s classics.
5. Goodbye My Love
This is one of the hits from early in Teng’s career. The love song was first released on Teng’s Japanese album in 1974. The original was from veteran Japanese singer Ann Lewis. Teng released a Chinese version in 1975, which portrays the helplessness and sorrow of two separated lovers. Teng burst into tears several times while performing it on stage.