Yao Lee (Yiu Lei, Miss Hue Lee) 姚莉

Yao Lee’s (姚莉) singing career spanned from the 1930’s thru 1970’s. Her most famous song, Rose, Rose, I love you (玫瑰玫瑰我愛你), became the only song written by a Chinese which was to become a major English-language international hit. She recorded the song in Shanghai in 1940. The song is representative of a very unique period in Chinese popular music, the shidaiqu (時代曲 – music of the time or popular music), which is considered to be the early model of the modern Mandopop 流行音.

Frankie Laine recorded the song in English in 1951. It reached #3 on the Billboard music chart. In the English version of Rose, the lyrics were changed and Rose became the mysterious “Flower of Malaya”. She was later identified as Rose Chan, an iconic striptease dancer who was very familiar to the American and British nationals stationed in Malaya and Singapore during the post-war era. Rose, Rose, I love you continues to be very popular, and has been recorded by Petula Clark and countless singers over the decades. Yao Lee’s original version also appeared in the soundtrack of The Pillow Book (Peter Greenaway, 1996).

The original Chinese lyrics of Rose, Rose, I love you were composed by Wu Cun (吳村) and the music was credited to Lin Mei (林枚), a pen name for popular song composer Chen Gexin (陳歌辛). Yao Lee recorded it in 1940 as an interlude for the movie Singing Girl (天涯歌女). The song proved to be so popular that it was released as a single on Pathé Records (EMI). The English language lyrics were written by a British correspondent, Wynford Vaughan Thomas. Frankie Laine recorded it with the Norman Luboff Choir and Paul Weston and his orchestra in 1951 on Columbia Records.

* 1930s – 1940s: The Seven Great Singing Stars (Republic of China):
Bai Guang (白光, White Light)
Bai Hong (白虹, White Rainbow)
Gong Qiuxia (龔秋霞)
Li Xianglan (李香蘭, Yoshiko Otaka 大鷹淑子)
Wu Yingyin (吳鶯音)
Yao Lee (姚莉, Silver Voice)
Zhou Xuan (周璇, Golden Voice)

(English translation of the original song)
Rose, Rose, so stunning!
Rose, Rose, so ravishing!
You open in late summer on tip of a branch,
Rose, Rose, I love you!

Rose, Rose, you touch me deeply,
Rose, Rose, my love is true.
You open in late summer beside the thorns,
Rose, Rose, I love you!

I pledge my heart, my tender love,
Your pure brilliance radiates the whole world.
I pledge my heart, my tender love,
Your pure radiance illuminates the world.

Rose, Rose, so stunning!
Rose, Rose, so ravishing!
Opens in late summer on tip of a branch,
Rose, Rose, I love you!

Rose, Rose, your limbs so slender,
Rose, Rose, your thorns so sharp.
Today stormy rains may ravage you,
Bruising your limbs and graceful body.

Rose, Rose, your heart is hard.
Rose, Rose, your thorns are sharp.
In future stormy rains may ravage you,
May crush your mellow fruit.

Rose Chan

One Response to Yao Lee (Yiu Lei, Miss Hue Lee) 姚莉

  1. […] Miss Hue Lee(aka Yao Lee & Yiu Lei) – Rose Rose I Love You (Columbia) […]

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