Seven Great Singing Stars

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Six of the seven stars. Left to right: Bai Hong (白虹), Yao Lee (姚莉), Zhou Xuan (周璇) Li Xianglan (李香蘭), Bai Guang (白光), Wu Yingyin (吳鶯音). Missing in the picture is Gong Qiuxia

The Seven Great Singing Stars (Chinese: 七大歌星; pinyin: qī dà gēxīng) refers to the seven most renowned singers of China in the 1940s.


Several of the stars acted in films, and their music played a prominent role in developing the Cinema of China. They dominated the Chinese pop music industry in the 1930s and 1940s which was centered in Shanghai, and often performed in a genre known as Shidaiqu.[1] Amongst the earliest of the stars to emerge in the 1930s were Zhou Xuan, Gong Qiuxia, and Bai Hong. In the 40s, Bai Guang, Yao Lee, Li Xianglan, Wu Yingyin also became popular and these seven were grouped as the seven great singing stars of the period.

Shanghai was occupied by the Japanese starting from 1937 to 1945. Li Xianglan, who is Japanese, came to prominence in this period although her Japanese ancestry was not revealed at that time. After the Communist victory in 1949, there began a large migration of people from Shanghai to Hong Kong, and the Communist Party of China also denounced mandopop as Yellow Music, a form of pornography, which effectively ended this period in Shanghai. The film and music industry had already begun to shift to Hong Kong in the 40s, and by the 1950s Hong Kong had become the center of the entertainment industry.[1] While some of the seven continued to perform for many years, two of its best-known stars, Zhou Xuan died in 1957 and Bai Guang stopped recording in 1959.

The stars[edit]

English Name Sobriquet / Alternate name Chinese Name Born Died Examples of Best-Known Hits
Bai Guang Queen of the Low Voice
白光 1921 1999 "Waiting For Your Return" (等著你回來)
"Hypocrite" (假正經)
"Autumn Night" (秋夜)
"If I Didn't Have You" (如果沒有你)
"Revisiting Old Dreams" (魂縈舊夢)
Bai Hong White Rainbow 白虹 1919 1992 "He Is Like The Spring Wind" (郎是春日风)
"Drunkard's Lipstick" (醉人的口紅)
Gong Qiuxia "Big Sister" 龔秋霞 1916 2004 "Best Wishes" (祝福)
"The Girl by the Autumn Water" (秋水伊人)
"Dream Person" (夢中人)
Li Xianglan Yamaguchi Yoshiko (山口淑子)
Ōtaka Yoshiko (大鷹淑子)
李香蘭 1920 "Selling Candy Song" (賣糖歌)
"Fragrance of the Night" (夜來香)
"The Second Dream" (第二夢)
"Ocean Bird" (海燕)
Wu Yingyin Queen of the Nasal Voice
吳鶯音 1922 2009 "Heartbreak" (斷腸紅)
"The Moon Sends My Love From Afar" (明月千里寄相思)
"Spring Returns to the World"(大地回春)
"I Have This Love" (我有一段情)
Yao Lee Silvery Voice
姚莉 1922 "Rose, Rose, I Love You" (玫瑰玫瑰我愛你)
"Meet Again" (重逢)
"Congratulations" (恭喜恭喜)
"I Can't Have Your Love" (得不到的愛情)
"Love for Sale" (賣相思)
Zhou Xuan Golden Voice
周璇 1918 1957 "The Wandering Songstress" (天涯歌女)
"Shanghai Nights" (夜上海)
"When Will You Return?" (何日君再來)
"Song of the Four Seasons" (四季歌)
"Yellow Leaves Dancing in Autumn Wind" (黃葉舞秋風 )

See also[edit]