Every year on April 1 and September 12 fans seize the opportunity to commemorate legendary Hong Kong superstar, Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing, known affectionately as “Gor Gor” in local showbiz, as the two dates mark the anniversaries of his death and birth.
Today, on what would have been Gor Gor’s 62nd birthday, STYLE salutes this prince of Canto-pop by picking his five most remarkable dancing moments from the 1980s to the 2000s, as we recall his irreplaceable charms which will never fade.
1. 1982: The androgynous dancer
In 1982, Cheung released his breakthrough album, “Wind Blows On” (風繼續吹) beginning his rise to fame.
In 1984, TVB held a charity variety show to raise funds for Po Leung Kuk, a local charitable organisation. Cheung’s contribution was to give a dance performance in which he played the androgynous dancer who performed both the male and female roles.
Five iconic looks of Canto-pop superstar Leslie Cheung
2. 1986: Duo on fire
It’s well-known that Cheung had a very intimate friendship with Anita Mui Yim-fong, who died of cervical cancer in 2003, the same year as Cheung’s death.
The Canto-pop king and queen of the 1980s performed together in another charity show for Po Leung Kuk in 1986, singing and dancing the song Iceberg Fire (冰山大火), which was included on one of Mui’s best-selling albums, “Bad Girl” (壞女孩) in 1985.
The song was an adaptation of the Japanese singer, Momoe Yamaguchi’s song, Rock'n'roll Widow.
3. 1987: The sleepless dandy
Cheung’s singing career reached its apex in the late 1980s. In 1987, he released the album “Summer Romance” which eventually went seven-times platinum – with 350,000 albums sold – becoming the year’s best-selling record.
The album’s greatest hit was Sleepless Night (無心睡眠). The song’s quick tempo, appealing rhythm and heavy beat saw Cheung win prizes galore, including the “Gold Song Gold Award” at the 1987 Jade Solid Gold (JSG) Best Ten Music Awards.
4. 1990: Yuddy’s Mambo
After announcing that he was retiring from the music scene in 1989, Cheung then concentrated on his acting career and his efforts very quickly began to pay off.
Cheung starred in the classic drama Days of Being Wild (阿飛正傳), directed by Wong Kar-wai, the sought-after Second Wave film director. Cheung took the lead role of Yuddy in a stellar cast which included Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau and Carina Lau.
His performance won Cheung his first Best Actor Award at the 10th Hong Kong Film Awards.
5. 2000: Greatest Heat
Cheung resumed his music career as a songwriter in 1995. He then staged two world concert tours in 1996 and 2000. For the latter, called Passion Tour, Cheung invited the famous French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier to design the costumes.
Cheung sang the song Greatest Heat (大熱) clad in a metallic suit of blazer and trousers, with his long hair spread wide and flying around his shoulders.
It was Cheung’s last public stage performance in Hong Kong, yet the memories of his idiosyncratic charms will never be forgotten.