Songs of Zhou Xuan (周璇)
Zhou Xuan, born in 1918 or 1920, was one of China's most famous singer in the 1940s. She was also an actress, having acted in over 40 films. Separated from her natural parents at a young age, she was raised by adoptive parents whose family name was Zhou. At the age of 13, she took Zhou Xuan as her stage name, 'Xuan' (璇) meaning beautiful jade in Chinese.
In 1932, Zhou began acting as a member of Li Jinhui's Bright Moon Song and Dance Troupe. At the age of fourteen, she won second prize in a singing contest in Shanghai and was given the nickname "Golden Voice" (金嗓子) for her effortless high-pitched melodies.
Zhou began her film career in 1935, and she achieved stardom in 1937 when director Yuan Muzhi cast her as one of the leads as a singing girl in Street Angel. Zhou rapidly became the most famous and marketable popular singer in the gramophone era up to her death, singing many famous tunes from her own movies.
After introducing "Shanghai Nights" (夜上海) in 1949, Zhou returned to Shanghai. She spent the next few years in and out of mental institutions owing to frequent breakdowns. Through the years, Zhou led a complicated and unhappy life marked by her failed marriages, illegitimate children, and suicide attempts.
In 1957 she died in Shanghai in a mental asylum at the age of 39 during the Anti-Rightist Movement. A possible cause of death may be encephalitis following a nervous breakdown.
天涯歌女 – The Wandering Songstress (周璇)
"The Wandering Songstress" (天涯歌女) is one of the more famous songs of Zhou Xuan (周璇); the song having been sung by many singers later on. The song was originally sung by Zhou Xuan in the 1937 China film “Street Angel” (马路天使). In the film, the song was originally called "The Wandering Song" (天涯歌).
何日君再來 – When Will You Come Back Again (1937)
Another famous Chinese classical song sung by Zhou Xuan. The song was made popular in more modern times by Teresa Teng. The tune was written by Liu Xue'an during an undergraduate party at the Shanghai Music Conservatory where an impromptu song-composing competition was suggested. Liu wrote the melody quickly, played it as a tango song and won the approval of other students. The director Fang Peilin liked the tune and asked Huang Jiamo to write the lyrics to be used for his new film.
The song was originally sung by Zhou Xuan and first appeared as an accompaniment to the film Three Stars by the Moon (三星伴月), a 1937 film of Zhou Xuan produced by the Yihua film company. The film was one of the last silent movies made in China, and the only silent movie Zhou Xuan starred in. The songs in the film were probably played to the audience on a gramophone synchronized with the action.
采槟榔 – Picking the Benelnut
Another of Zhou Xuan’s song made popular again by Teresa Teng
Nights of Shanghai (夜上海)
A song sung by Zhou Xuan in the 1947 China film Shanghai Nights.
四季歌 – "Song of Four Seasons" from the classic Shanghai film Street Angel (1937)
月圓花好- Blooming Flowers Full Moon