When it comes to classic Chinese songs, there are some old songs that are so popular that they can’t be replaced with others – even with the new and modern ones. Each of these old Chinese songs retain some good memories of the past. One old song can even be covered many times by different singers or actresses. You probably have heard one of them – and it was possibly not even by the real singer.
The Wandering Songstress (天涯歌女)
There are some classic old songs from the 30s and most of them remain the popular classic Chinese songs up until today. The Wandering Songstress, for instance, was sung by Zhou Xuan and it was the theme song for ‘Street Angel’, a movie in 1937. The lyrics were created by Tian Han while the music was made by He Luting. Because of the song, Zhou Xuan was becoming very popular and well-known in China.
When My Dear Come Again (何日君再來)
Another song by Zhou Xuan was When My Dear Come Again, also released in 1937. Again, it was also a part of a movie theme, ‘Stars Moving around the Moon’. One of the main factors that made this song popular was the soft melody. Somehow, it creates a mellow and comfortable feeling that makes people feel lazy. This is a perfect song for leisure and relaxed time.
Four Seasons Song (四季)
The Four Seasons Song was another song by Zhou Xuan and it was still a part of the movie, ‘Street Angel.’ The composer of the song was He Luting and the writer was Tian Han. Just like the two songs, this one was also released in 1937. No wonder if Zhou Xuan became very popular in China because of these songs!
In That Distant Place (在那遙遠的地方)
Another one was In That Distant Place, which was composed by Wang Luobin. It is basically a classic song that was adapted from a folk song – Kazakh folk song – ‘The Western Song King’. This song has become one of the most popular and widely known music in China, getting praised as the master art creation.
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Night Jasmine (夜來香)
Even when the decades have passed, there are always new songs being created and made. Some of the classic Chinese songs were created in the 1940s. One of them is by Li Xianglan with the title ‘Night Jasmine’. The song was composed and also written by the same person, Li Jinguang. It was first released in 1944 and sung by Li Xianglan. After her, there have been many singers covering the song. But one of them, Teresa Teng, is the most popular one. If you have heard the song, you probably heard Teng’s version.
Shanghai Night (夜上海)
Another popular classic Chinese songs from the 40s was Shanghai Night and it was sung by none other than Zhou Xuan. It is so popular that it has made into the lists of the most popular songs in Shanghai for the entire period of 20th century. The song itself was released in 1946. The lyrics were created by Fan Yanqiao and the music was created by Chen Gexin. Zhou Xuan, by this period, has become an iconic Chinese film actress as well as singer. This is a theme song for ‘All-Consuming Love’, a movie. If you hear it, there is a strong sense of jazz music, which reflects the cosmopolitan charm and appeal of the old days – especially in Shanghai.
Ali Mountain Girl / Alishan Girl (阿里山的姑娘)
Ali Mountain Girl was released in 1947 and was composed by Zhang Che who was working together with Deng Yuping the song writer. The song was created as a movie theme, ‘Storm Over Ali-shan Mountain’ released by the same year. The first singer was Zhang Qianxi but many singers have covered it since then, included the famous Teresa Teng. Since Ali Mountain is located in Taiwan, the song itself is full of authentic Taiwanese characteristics and flairs.
Jasmine Flower (茉莉花)
The song was composed by He Fang and it was released in 1957. It was one of the popular classic Chinese songs from folk songs. The song was based on ‘Flowers Tune’ from Nanjing City in Liuhe District. Then He Fang, a military composer, adapted the song to a present version. It was about girls who are full of shyness of the love life and life in general. They wanted to pick flowers but they didn’t have the courage. The song wasn’t only popular in China but also the world. In fact, it was considered a great representation of Chinese culture and value. Because of its popularity, it is also known as the second national anthem of China.
Fine Wine and Coffee (美酒加咖啡)
In 1972, Teresa Teng sang Fine Wine and Coffee. The song was quite popular all throughout Southeast Asia and also the mainland of China. Teng has managed to become one of the most popular Chinese singers then. Another top classic song by Teresa Teng are The Moon Represents My Heart, Tian Mi Mi, and Ni Wen Wo Ai.
Naturally, the popular traditional Chinese songs are quite many – not only limited to these songs. These songs are only the representation of the ones that are mostly known by people – including the ones heard by the global platform. Which of these classic Chinese songs have you ever heard?
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