March 27, 2014

78 RPMs 2: Hue Lee ~ Rose, Rose, I Love You

   
       






      



Pathé Records
Shanghai, 1941
78 RPM recording
photo by Styrous®





Rose, Rose, I Love You is a song that is dear to me because when I was in Junior High I was seriously in love with a girl named Rose. I was 15 (how serious can a 15 year-old be?). Although the song is about a romance in China, it was our song; however, the theme of the song proved all too prophetic.  Our "love affair" ended when I went off to High School and her folks moved back to the Philippines taking her with them, of course.

Rose was a Chinese popular song, Méigui méigui wǒ ài nǐ (玫瑰玫瑰我愛你), first recorded by Yao Lee (姚莉) in 1940.  The song is also known under the titles Shanghai Rose and China Rose. Yao Lee's Mandarin version was also released in the US and UK in the early 1950s by Columbia Records, catalog numbers 39420 and 2837 respectively. Yao Lee was credited as "Miss Hue Lee" in this release. Other early releases have also credited her as "Yiu Lei." The original Chinese lyrics were by Wu Cun (Ng Chuen; 吳村 Wú Cūn) and the music was credited to Lin Mei (林枚), a pen name for popular song composer Chen Gexin (陳歌辛)

Rose and I listened to the English version which was recorded by American singer Frankie Laine and the Norman Luboff Choir, with Paul Weston and his orchestra, on 6 April 1951, and released by Columbia Records as catalog number 39367. The English-language lyrics were written by the British radio presenter Wilfred Thomas. The English lyrics have little in common with the original Mandarin, but they pay subtle tribute to the titular Mandarin phrase "méigui méigui" (lit. rose petal) by including the English phrase "make way," with its normal English meaning.


English lyrics:

Rose, Rose I love you with an aching heart
What is your future, now we have to part?
Standing on the jetty as the steamer moves away
Flower of Malaya, I cannot stay

Make way, oh, make way for my eastern Rose
Men crowd in dozens everywhere she goes
In her rickshaw on the street or in a cabaret
"Please make way for Rose", you can hear them say

All my life I shall remember
Oriental music and you in my arms
Perfumed flowers in your tresses
Lotus-scented breezes and swaying palms

Rose, Rose I love you with your almond eyes
Fragrant and slender 'neath tropical skies
I must cross the seas again and never see you more
Way back to my home on a distant shore

All my life I shall remember
Oriental music and you in my arms
Perfumed flowers in your tresses
Lotus-scented breezes and swaying palms

Rose, Rose I leave you, my ship is in the bay
Kiss me farewell now, there's nothin' to say
East is east and west is west, our worlds are far apart
I must leave you now but I leave my heart

Rose, Rose I love you with an aching heart
What is your future, now we have to part?
Standing on the jetty as the steamer moves away
Flower of Malaya, I cannot stay
(Rose, Rose I love you, I cannot stay)

Songwriters:
Henry Thomas Wilfred, Christian Langdon,  Traditional,


The song reached #3 on the Billboard magazine music charts in 1951. At the same time Columbia released Yao Lee's original Mandarin version in the US and UK under the English title, Rose, Rose, I Love You.  The song was covered by Petula Clark with new lyrics under the title May Kway (I mean, REALLY!) which entered the UK charts on May 5, 1951 and peaked at #16. Hong Kong singer Anita Mui sang the Cantonese cover of the song in 1989 and was featured as the theme song of the Jackie Chan film, Miracles. Mui also sings this song in the 1988 film Rouge. Aneka also covered Laine's version in the early 1980s, adding new original English lyrics with an almost but not quite disco tempo. This single was released by Ariola Records but did not chart. The original Mandarin version of this song was also covered by Taiwanese singer Joanna Wang in her 2009 album Joanna & 王若琳.

Dato' Zainal Alam sang it in English, Malay, Chinese & Tamil (it's a pretty interesting rendition). He began his career in broadcasting as an announcer for the British Radio Station in Penang. Soon after the British returned, he was made Station Manager and sent to England to study Broadcasting Management. Zainal Alam then went to USA to take up a Government Management Program. After the 1957 independence, he was given the task of managing the entire northern states. Just as Malaysia was incorporated, he was appointed the Regional Director of Broadcasting. The 'Whites' refer to him as the Bob Hope of Malaysia and the 'Blacks' as the Bing Crosby. He died on 12th December 1991.


 ~ ~ ~

Rose, Rose I Love You on YouTube:
(listed by interest to me)
Yao Lee on YouTube
Anita Mui on YouTube
Aneka on YouTube
Joanna Wang ~ 王若琳 - Mei Gui Mei Gui Wo Ai Ni on YouTube




I still think with fondness of my lovely Rose from all those many, many years ago.



Styrous® ~ Thursday, March 27, 2014

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