James Wong (lyricist)

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"Jim Wong" redirects here. For the American musician, see Jimmy Wong. For other uses, see James Wong.
James Wong
Wong Jim on stage.gif
Chinese name 黃霑 (traditional)
Chinese name 黄沾 (simplified)
Pinyin Huáng Zhān (Mandarin)
Jyutping Wong4 Zim1 (Cantonese)
Birth name Wong Jum-sum (Chinese: 黃湛森; Cantonese Yale: Wong4 Jaam3 Sam1)
Born (1941-03-16)16 March 1941
Panyu, Guangzhou, China
Died 24 November 2004(2004-11-24) (aged 63)
Hong Kong
Occupation Composer, actor, movie director, screenwriter
Genre(s) Cantopop
Hong Kong musical tongue twister
Instrument(s) Piano, harmonica
Years active 1962 - 2004
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Wong.

James Wong (Chinese: 黃霑, Wong Jim; 16 March 1941 – 24 November 2004, also known as "Uncle Jim") was a Cantopop lyricist and writer based primarily in Hong Kong. Beginning from the 1960s, he was the lyricist for over 2,000 songs, collaborating with composer Joseph Koo (aka. Gu Gaa-fai) on many popular television theme songs, many of which have become classics of the genre. His work propelled Cantopop to unprecedented popularity.[1][2][3][4]

He was also a well known in Asia as a columnist, actor, film director, screenwriter, and talk show hosts. He took part in creative directing positions within the entertainment industry in Hong Kong.

Wong died of lung cancer after a four-year battle at the age of 64 in 24 November 2004 at 00:46.[5]

Education[edit]

Wong was born in Panyu, in what now is part of Guangzhou, China and migrated to Hong Kong with his family in 1949. He completed his secondary education at La Salle College. In 1963, he graduated from Chinese Department, Faculty of Arts of the University of Hong Kong. Wong received an MPhil degree from the University of Hong Kong in 1983 for his study in Cantonese opera (A study on the problems of Cantonese opera). In May 2003, in the midst of his fight with lung cancer, he obtained a PhD degree at the Department of Sociology, University of Hong Kong. The title of his thesis was "The rise and decline of cantopop : a study of Hong Kong popular music(1949-1997)".[6]

Career and contributions[edit]

Exhibition of Dr James Wong's works during University of Hong Kong's CAS Openday in October, 2005
Music Blanket is one of James Wong's favourite personal collection

Wong had participated in a variety of media fields including advertisement, movie and music. He was best known for his achievements as a lyricist of Cantonese songs in Hong Kong. Beginning from the 1960s, he was the lyricist for over 2,000 songs, collaborating with composer Joseph Koo (aka. Gu Gaa-fai) on many popular TVB TV drama theme songs, many of which have become classics of the genre. His works had pushed the development of Cantopop to unprecedented popularity. Joseph Koo, might be one of his closest friends, but James Wong acknowledges that Koo is the exact opposite of him, saying that he (Wong) is handsome (in nature), while Koo has a terrible reputation, he curses or uses vulgar while Koo doesn't know how to curse!

At the same time of being well known and praised for his creative works in the entertainment and advertisement fields, Wong was also famous for his vulgar and indelicate image, including jokes that lightly touch on adult topics. It is said that his charismatic nature blends so perfectly with his jokes that he makes everyone laugh until they fall off their chairs. He had a series of best-seller books on adult-oriented jokes. He was regarded as the one breaking the cultural barrier to taboos in Hong Kong during the conservative environment in 1970s. He is best remembered as the person who came up with the slogan "Two kids are good enough" for The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong.

Wong hosted several TV programs, mostly interviews or talk shows oriented towards adults, on both TVB and ATV. One of the talk shows called "Off-guard Tonight" (今夜不設防), co-hosted by Wong and his close friends Chua Lam and Ni Kuang on ATV, is particularly remembered.

Since the 1990s, Wong's creative works had become less popular, and many entertainment companies featured less of Wong's songs. Some TV shows hosted by Wong were also unpopular. Wong had decided to return to Hong Kong University to get a doctorate degree, about Hong Kong popular culture. His essay is now in the library of Hong Kong University.

On 24 November 2004, Wong died in Union Hospital in Hong Kong. His funeral was a low-key family funeral as per his wishes. At this moment, Hong Kong people reflected on his career and accomplishments. For the following few days, the news of his death had become the headline of media in Hong Kong and his compositions were played throughout the week. A remembrance ceremony took place at Hong Kong Stadium, over 15,000 attended this ceremony.[7]

Important works in lyrics[edit]

  • It's a Small World (世界真細小) Chinese adaptation
  • Below the Lion Rock (獅子山下)
  • The Bund of Shanghai (上海灘), theme song from TV series The Bund (1980)
  • All Kind Sentiments (萬般情), theme song from TV series The Bund II (1980)
  • Shanghai Beach of the Dragon Tiger Battle (上海灘龍虎鬥), theme song from TV series The Bund III (1980)
  • When I'm Asked (問我)
  • Both are forgetten in the mist (兩忘煙水裡)
  • Tao (道), theme to the Tsui Hark-produced A Chinese Ghost Story
  • A laugh in blue sea (滄海一聲笑), theme to Tsui Hark's The Swordsman
  • A Man Should Stand Strong (男兒當自強), theme song to Tsui Hark's Once Upon a Time in China series about Wong Fei Hung; set to the traditional Chinese tune On the General's Orders (將軍令)
  • No need to remember old dreams (舊夢不須記)
  • Childhood(童年)
  • Work Hard (奮鬥)
  • The Legend of the Book and Sword (書劍恩仇錄), theme song from TV series The Legend of the Book and Sword (1976)
  • Hotel (狂潮), theme song from TV series Hotel (1976)
  • The Legend of the Heroic Knights (近代豪俠傳) (1976)
  • Horizon Solitary Traveler (天涯孤客) (1976)
  • The Great Vendetta (大報復), theme song from TV series The Great Vendetta (1977)
  • A House Is Not a Home (家變), theme song from TV series A House Is Not a Home (1977)
  • Vanity Fair (大亨), theme song from TV series Vanity Fair (1978)
  • The Romantic Swordsman (小李飛刀), theme song from TV series The Romantic Swordsman (1978)
  • Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre (倚天屠龍記), theme song from TV series Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre (1978)
  • The Flaming Ceremonial Fire (熊熊聖火), sub theme song from TV series Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre (1978)
  • The Giants (強人), theme song from TV series The Giants (1978)
  • The Oath Must Enter the Mountain of Sword (誓要入刀山), theme song from TV series Luk Siu Fung III (1978)
  • Not Sentiments (情未了) (1978)
  • Game of Death (死亡遊戲), theme song from the movie Game of Death (1978)
  • Over the Rainbow (天虹), theme song from TV series Over the Rainbow (1979)
  • The Passenger (抉擇), theme song from TV series The Passenger (1979)
  • Chor Lau Heung (楚留香), theme song from TV series Chor Lau Heung (1979)
  • The Heroes of Man and Sea (人海奇譚) (1979)
  • Wind and Clouds (風雲), theme song from TV series This Land is Mine (1980)
  • Leaves Depart From the Tear Hard to Endure (難忍別離淚), theme song from TV series In Search of (1980)
  • The Brothers (親情), theme song from TV series The Brothers (1980)
  • The Discovery Bay (發現灣), theme song from TV series The Discovery Bay (1980)
  • The Invincible Medic (仁者無敵), theme song from TV series The Invincible Medic (1980)
  • Five Easy Pieces (輪流傳), theme song from TV series Five Easy Pieces (1980)
  • Eunuch (龍仇鳳血), theme song from TV series Eunuch (1980)
  • The Adventurer's (衝擊), theme song from TV series The Adventurer's (1980)
  • Famous Sword (名劍) (1980)
  • Using Love to Steal a Heart (用爱将心偷), theme song from TV series The Shell Game (1980)
  • Personhood Loves Freedom (做人愛自由), theme song from TV series The Misadventure of Zoo (1981)
  • Cheers (飲勝), sub theme song from TV series The Misadventure of Zoo (1981)
  • In Love and War (烽火飛花), theme song from TV series In Love and War (1981)
  • Breath and Depths of Mountains and Waters (萬水千山縱橫) (1982)
  • Forgets With All One's Heart the Sentiment (忘盡心中情), theme song from TV series The Legend of Master So (1982)
  • Heart Debt (心債), theme song from TV series Soldier of Fortune (1982)
  • Being at a High Game (胸懷大志), theme song from TV series The Emissary (1982)
  • Approaches the Upstream Silently (默默向上游) (1982)
  • You're the One Who Decides to Love (愛定你一個), theme song from TV series The Radio Tycoon (1983)
  • Heroine (巾幗英雄), theme song from TV series The Legend of the Unknowns (1983)
  • Hands Over My Heart (交出我的心), theme song from TV series Woman on the Beat (1983)
  • The Emperor Descendants (皇帝子孫) (1983)
  • In Dream Several Sorrow (夢裏幾番哀), theme song from TV series The Foundation (1984)
  • I Cannot See My Tears Flow (不見我淚流), sub theme song from TV series The Foundation (1984)
  • It Will Be Throughout Lucky (始終會行運), theme song from TV series The Duke of Mount Deer (1984)
  • Sentimental Cold Lust (情冷情熱), theme song from TV series Sword Stained with Royal Blood (1985)
  • Me and You, He and Me (我與你 他與我), theme song from TV series The Rough Ride (1985)
  • The Song of Chu (楚歌), theme song from TV series The Battlefield (1985)
  • The Flying Fox of the Snowy Mountains (雪山飛狐), theme song from TV series The Flying Fox of the Snowy Mountains (1985)
  • In the Sentimental Past (當年情), theme song from the movie A Better Tomorrow (1986)
  • Leaves Behind My Fond Dream (留下我美夢), theme song from TV series The Return of Luk Siu Fung (1986)
  • Holds Up the Head to Sing to the Day (昂首向天唱) (1986)
  • Will Rush Toward Future Day (奔向未來的日子), theme song from the movie A Better Tomorrow II (1987)
  • The Infinite Journey (無限旅程), theme song from TV series The Price of Growing Up (1987)
  • Still the Heart Was Thinking You (仍然心在想你), sub theme song from TV series The Price of Growing Up (1987)
  • The Humanity's Mistake (人類的錯), theme song from TV series Born to Be a King (1987)
  • Youth Heart (少年心), sub theme song from TV series Born to Be a King (1987)
  • Hu Han Dream (胡漢夢), theme song from TV series The Legend of the Book and Sword (1987)
  • The Chrysanthemum Tears (菊花淚), theme song from TV series Deadly Secret (1989)
  • Small Boat Lover (扁舟情侶) (1989)
  • Wild Rose (野玫瑰) (1989)
  • The Special Express (特別快車) (1989)
  • Heart of Fire (焚心以火) (1990)
  • Does Not Hope Again Tangled Up (不願再纏綿), sub theme song from TV series The God's of Demons of Zu Mountain (1990)
  • Long Flow, Not Rest (長流不息) (1992)
  • Detains the Fall Scenery (留住秋色), sub theme song from TV series The Buddhism Palm Strikes Back (1993)
  • To Die, To A Unique Skill (絕世絕招), theme song from TV series The Legend of the Condor Heroes (1994)
  • Difficult Even Agreement (意難平), theme song from TV series Against the Blade of Honour (1994)
  • You Come to My Next Full Moon (圓月下你來依我), sub theme song from TV series Against the Blade of Honour (1994)
  • Splendid Story (精彩故事), theme song from TV series Corner the Con Man (1997)
  • Has You Rarely (難得有你), theme song from TV series Corner the Con Man (1997)
  • Top of the Head, One Piece of the Day (頭頂一片天) (1998)
  • The Cool Breeze Does Not Dye (清風不染), theme song from TV series Justice Sung II (1999)
  • Beautiful Fate (美麗緣份), theme song from TV series Better Halves (2003)
  • The Sentimental Often In (情常在) (2004)

Awards[edit]

Wong received numerous awards for his works.

- Music Awards

  • 1981 忘記他, The best cantopop, 4th Top Ten Chinese Golden Pop Music, RTHK
  • 1982 兩忘煙水里, The best cantopop, 4th Top Ten Chinese Golden Pop Music, RTHK
  • 1989 Best Lyricist, 2nd Hong Kong Artist Awards (香港藝術家年獎)
  • 1990 Golden Pin, 13th, Top Ten Chinese Golden Pop Music, RTHK
  • 1991 Hall of Fame, RTHK (Radio and Television Hong Kong)
  • 2000 Hall of Fame Award, CASH (Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong).
  • 2002 Hall of Fame Award for 25th Anniversary, 25th Top Ten Chinese Golden Pop Music, RTHK

- Film Awards

Filmography as actor[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Growing With Hong Kong: The University and Its Graduates, the ... 2002- Page 317 "Good lyrics are an essential ingredient of Cantonese songs and James Wong Jum-sum, lyricist and composer, has created more than a thousand to ..."
  2. ^ Yiu-Wai Chu Lost in Transition: Hong Kong Culture in the Age of China - 2013 Page 83 "The Cantonese version was written in 1974 by James Wong, the Godfather of Cantopop, when a Walt Disney show ... While Hong Kong Disneyland highly valued James Wong's lyrics, the Hong Kong government tended to think differently."
  3. ^ Jingzhi Liu - A Critical History of New Music in China - 2010 Page 584 "stage—songs in Cantonese by popular composers like Sam Hui (Xu Guanjie), Joseph Koo (Gu Jiahui), James Wong (Huang Zhan) and Lai Siu-tin (Li Xiao- tian). These new-style Canto-pop songs were welcomed with open arms by the young people of Hong Kong, because the lyrics, ..."
  4. ^ World Music Volumn 2 Latin and North America Caribean India Asia ... Simon Broughton, Mark Ellingham, Richard Trillo - 2000 - Page 49 "Amongst the Chinese - and particularly the Cantonese-speaking population of southern China and Hong Kong - by far ... Cantopop (Cantonese pop) began to appear in the 1970s - an amalgam of Western soft-rock and mellow Cantonese lyrical singing — 'Southern China-meets-the West', ... Joseph Koo and James Wong were the groundbreakers, composing Cantopop song for TV themes in the 1970s."
  5. ^ "Hong Kong Government statement on Wong's death (Chinese only)". Hong Kong Government. 24 November 2004. Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  6. ^ "In memory of Dr James Wong". Hong Kong University. Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  7. ^ "Memorial Service at Hong Kong Stadium". China Daily. 6 December 2004. Retrieved 2007-06-14. 

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Paula Tsui
Golden Needle Award of RTHK Top Ten Chinese Gold Songs Award
1990
Succeeded by
Roman Tam