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Samuel Hui Koon-kit (born 6 September 1948), usually known as Sam Hui, is a Hong Kong musician, singer, songwriter and actor. He is credited with popularising Cantopop both via the infusion of Western-style music and his usage of vernacular Cantonese rather than written vernacular Chinese in biting lyrics that addressed contemporary problems and concerns. Hui is considered by some to be the first major superstar of Cantopop, known as the God of Song.
|Education||The University of Hong Kong (B.SocSc., 1971)|
Rebecca Hui (m. 1972)
|Parent(s)||Hui Sai-cheung (father)|
Lee Sin-wan (mother)
Hong Kong Film Awards – Best Original Film Song
1991 The Swordsman
|Also known as||God of Songs (歌神)|
|Genres||Cantopop, Hong Kong English pop|
|Labels||Diamond Records (1967)|
Contec Sound (1983-85)
Cinepoly Records (1985-90)
|Associated acts||The Lotus|
Hui was born in Guangzhou in 1948. He and his family arrived in Hong Kong as refugees in 1950, and originally lived in Diamond Hill. Hui graduated from the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Hong Kong, Ying Wa College and St. Francis Xavier's College in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Hui and his two older brothers, Michael and Ricky, worked on several comedies in the early 1970s. Hui has also gained credit for popularising Cantopop, by incorporating the idiosyncrasies of Western popular music into the old Cantopop genre.
In 1967, Hui joined record label Diamond Records. He started his career as a host on a youth music TV show on the TVB network. Sam and Michael Hui starred as the hosts in Hui Brothers Show (Chinese: 雙星報喜; Jyutping: soeng1 sing1 bou3 hei2; Cantonese Yale: sēung sīng bou héi), which premiered on April 23, 1971. At that time, he was the lead musician of a band The Lotus. In the early years of his career, Hui performed English songs that were popular in Britain and the United States. He wrote the theme songs for the comedies produced by his brother, Michael Hui, and started performing Cantonese songs. Sam Hui's first Cantonese hit, "Eiffel Tower Above the Clouds" (鐵塔凌雲) -- originally titled "Here and Now" (就此模樣) -- was first played on the Hui Brothers Show in April 1972.
Hui's first Cantonese album, Games Gamblers Play (Chinese: 鬼馬雙星; Jyutping: gwai2 maa5 soeng1 sing1; Cantonese Yale: gwái máh sēung sīng; literally: 'ghost horse double star'), was the partial soundtrack to the Michael Hui-directed film of the same name. This album became popular, selling 200,000 copies, and was one of the major musical works that helped to start the popularity of Cantopop.
Hui's music gained popular appeal, particularly with the working class, for its simplicity and the relevance of the lyrics. A prolific songwriter, a noted recurring theme in his music is that it often describes or humorously satirises Hong Kong society and events. One of his most popular songs during the mid-1970s was the theme song of the film The Private Eyes, which humorously reflected on the harsh realities of middle and lower-income Hong Kongers. Others such as "Song of Water Use" (制水歌), which referenced the days of water rationing during the 1960s, and "Could Not Care Less About 1997" (話知你97), which encouraged Hong Kong people to adopt a carpe diem attitude instead of worrying about the imminent handover to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997, were more topical in nature and referenced local events. While some of his songs are lighthearted, others carried philosophical messages brought out through artful use of Chinese words that have multiple symbolism. Examples can be seen in his farewell song in 1992 and "From the Heart of a Loafer" (浪子心聲), where for Cantopop, the sophisticated language and messages were rare in the lyrics of contemporary artists.
Hui signed a contract with Golden Harvest in 1971. On a personal note, Hui is closer to his middle brother Ricky (deceased 8 November 2011) than to their oldest brother Michael. Sam and Michael reportedly fell out with each other after their pre-1985 successes. However, in Michael's Chicken and Duck Talk (1988), Hui appeared in a short 1-minute cameo, playing the role of himself as master of ceremonies at the grand opening of Danny's Chicken, and contributed to its theme song for its end credits entitled "You Have Your Say" (你有你講). Then in 1990, the three brothers reunited in Front Page, a lampoon on Hong Kong's sometimes over-zealous entertainment news industry. Hui also collaborated with several popular singers such as Leslie Cheung both musically and on-screen culminating in the hit single written by Hui and composed by Cheung entitled Silence is Golden (沉默是金), which Cheung also sung as a solo track on his 1987 album, Hot Summer, as well as the catchy tune, I've Never Been Afraid (我未驚過) in 1989 as the end theme for Aces Go Places V.
Hui also starred in the Aces Go Places, a series of Hong Kong action–comedies in the 1980s, with Karl Maka. Hui held a farewell concert in 1991 and 1992, in which he invited many music celebrities and officially declared that he would not be active in the movie industry nor in Cantopop in the future. He was once seriously injured while filming The Legend of Wisely in Tibet due to lack of oxygen, thereafter falling very ill and many of his fans pointed out that this near fatal accident may have been pivotal on his decision to retire as they superstitiously believed that he was haunted by a spirit.
During the late 1980s, Hui's father advised him to retire to avoid the stresses he endured from hosting concerts. Hui's "lack of oxygen" suffered on a previous film, was actually carbon monoxide poisoning. His mother purportedly also had reservations about his performing, including that he might injure himself on stage. A Hong Kong concert in 1990 supposedly marked his early retirement, however Hui then agreed to host a 42-show concert series. Around the time of the 30th show, Hui's father died but despite his grief, he continued to host. During 1991–1992, Hui hosted a total of 14 shows in Hong Kong preempting his actual retirement. He also hosted shows in Canada, in Vancouver, at the Pacific Coliseum, and Toronto, Ontario, which he dedicated to his late father. Despite reiterating his plans for retirement, Hui came back for a short stint in the movie Winner Takes All co-starring Nicholas Tse and Ruby Lin. This he maintained, was a result of being unable to ignore his heart's desire.
Widely acclaimed as the "God of Song" in Hong Kong (the first singer to be so acknowledged), he decided to come out of retirement in 2004 and held multiple comeback concerts in which he was welcomed by a Hong Kong public at sell-out shows. In these concerts, he paid tribute to his recent passed close colleagues, Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui in 2003 and claimed that their deaths had influenced his decision to return to performing, culminating in his 2004 comeback song '04 Bless You (04' 祝福你). Hui performed in a concert in Kuala Lumpur on 19 and 20 February 2005 with his brother, Ricky Hui, and sons but has not made active plans for any follow-ups. He also performed in Vancouver on 15 December 2005 and in Singapore on 29 March 2008. In 2007, Hui signed with EC Music and released his first album in 17 years, named "Life is Good" (人生多麼好).
Hui is married to Filipino-American Rebecca "Rebu" Fleming, with whom he has two sons, Ryan and Scott. Ryan is also a singer-songwriter and has released several albums, while Scott has pursued a career in film, directing a few videos for his brother.
- 鬼馬雙星 (1974)
- 天才與白痴 "The Last Message" (1975)
- The Private Eyes (1976)
- 財神到 (1978)
- The Contract (賣身契) (1978)
- 79夏日之歌集 (1979)
- 念奴嬌 (1980)
- Security Unlimited (摩登保鑣) (1981)
- 難忘您‧紙船 (1982)
- 最佳拍檔大顯神通 (1983)
- 新的開始 (1983)
- 最喜歡你 (1984)
- 最緊要好玩 (1985)
- 熱力之冠 (1986)
- 宇宙無限 (1986)
- 潮流興夾Band (1987)
- 許冠傑新曲與精選 (1987)
- Sam and Friends (1988)
- 許冠傑89歌集 (1989)
- 香港情懷90 (1990)
- 90電影金曲精選 (1990)
- 歌神與您繼續微笑04 (2004)
- 人生多麼好 (2007)
- Time of The Season (1971)
- Morning After (1974)
- Interlude (1975)
- Came Travelling (1977)
- Back Alley Princess (馬路小英雄,1973)
- The Tattooed Dragon (龍虎金剛, 1973)
- Chinatown Capers (小英雄大鬧唐人街, 1974)
- Naughty! Naughty! (綽頭狀元, 1974)
- Games Gamblers Play (鬼馬雙星, 1974)
- The Last Message (天才與白痴, 1975)
- The Private Eyes (半斤八兩, 1976)
- Money Crazy (發錢寒, 1977)
- The Contract (賣身契, 1978)
- Security Unlimited (摩登保鑣, 1981)
- Aces Go Places (最佳拍檔, 1982)
- Aces Go Places 2 (最佳拍檔大顯神通, 1983)
- Aces Go Places 3 (最佳拍檔之女皇密令, 1984)
- A Family Affair (全家福, 1984)
- Robby the Rascal (1985)
- Working Class (打工皇帝, 1985)
- Aces Go Places IV (最佳拍檔千里救差婆, 1986)
- The Legend of Wisely (衛斯理傳奇, 1987)
- Chicken and Duck Talk (雞同鴨講, 1988; Cameo)
- Aces Go Places 5: The Terracotta Hit (新最佳拍檔, 1989)
- The Dragon from Russia (紅場飛龍, 1990)
- The Swordsman (笑傲江湖, 1990)
- Front Page (新半斤八兩, 1990)
- Laughter of the Water Margins (水滸笑傳, 1993)
- All's Well, Ends Well Too (花田囍事, 1993)
- Winner Takes All (大贏家, 2000)
- "In pictures: Canto-pop superstar Sam Hui's 40 years in the limelight". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
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- "Samuel Hui". chinesemov.com. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
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- Yip, Pui Yee (1994). The uses of Sam Hui : an investigation of the formation of cultural identity in Hong Kong (PDF) (M. Phil. thesis). Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong Graduate School.