|Birth name||Cheryl Lau Sang|
|Also known as||Cheryl Gray|
5 August 1951 |
1999, 2004, 2007
|Labels||HMV, Private Stock, United Artists, EMI-Odeon, Sutra|
|Associated acts||Bee Gees|
Cheryl Lau Sang (born 5 August 1951), best known as Samantha Sang, is an Australian singer from Melbourne who had an earlier career as Cheryl Gray. She had a number eight hit in Australia with "You Made Me What I Am" in 1967. By 1969, she had relocated to the United Kingdom, where she worked with the Bee Gees before returning to Australia in 1975. Sang reconnected with the Bee Gees in 1977 and had a number three hit with their song "Emotion" on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978, which also peaked at number two in Australia and at number eleven in the United Kingdom. The related album, Emotion, reached the top 30 on Billboard 200 and included two other Hot 100 singles.
Sang was born to Reg and Joan (née Clarke) Sang in Melbourne, Australia, the great-great-granddaughter of a Chinese herbalist and surgeon. Her dad, Reg, ran a singing school and performed professionally as Reg Gray.
Sang began her career, at the age of eight, by singing on Australian radio. She entered and won talent contests. In December 1966, she released her debut single, "The Real Thing" (not to be confused with fellow Australian Russell Morris' 1969 hit song "The Real Thing") under the name Cheryl Gray. It was issued by EMI Records on their HMV label and was quickly followed by her second single, "In a Woman's Eyes".
Her third single, "You Made Me What I Am", was released in May 1967 and reached number eight on the Go-Set Top 40. Teen magazine, Go-Set ran a poll in August for pop performers and Gray was voted third in the 'Top Girl Singer' category behind Lynne Randell and Bev Harrell. Sang released three more singles on HMV but none charted. She became a singer on Australian television, but she felt her career was limited if she remained in Australia. In 1969, Sang travelled to the United Kingdom where Barry Gibb (Bee Gees) heard her singing and urged his manager, Robert Stigwood, to sign her. Under Stigwood's management she changed her name to Samantha Sang. Barry co-wrote "Love of a Woman" with his brother Maurice. Sang's version – with Barry Gibb supplying backing vocals, guitar and producing – was released in August. It was a minor hit in some European countries.
Sang followed with "Nothing in the World Like Love" written by UK pop singer-songwriter Labi Siffre. Visa restrictions forced her out of the UK and she returned to Australia. By 1975, Sang had changed management and signed with Polydor which released three singles and her debut album, Samantha Sang and Rocked the World. She starred in the Australian production of The Magic Show. In 1977, she recorded "When Love Is Gone", the theme song, for French drama film, Bilitis.
She visited Barry Gibb in France whilst Bee Gees were recording songs for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. A new song, "Emotion", was written for her by Barry and Robin Gibb. The single was co-produced by Barry with Bee Gees' production team of Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson. Released in 1978, with backing vocals by Barry, it showcased a softer style and became a major hit worldwide. It reached number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 in March 1978, and earned a platinum record. It peaked at number eleven on the UK Singles Chart and at number two on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart.
Her following album Emotion, although not produced by Barry Gibb, included a version of "Charade", a little-known Bee Gees song from their 1974 album Mr. Natural. Emotion peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard 200 and achieved a gold record in March 1978. Determined to succeed on her own merits, Sang did not record another Gibb song to capitalise on her success, but chose a disco track, "You Keep Me Dancing" as her next single. It peaked at No. 56 on the U.S. Hot 100 (NZ # 21, Canada AC #10) and was followed into the charts by her cover of Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour". She recorded a cover of Eric Carmen's Top 20 single, "Change of Heart", featured as the B side of "You Keep Me Dancing." Her third album, "From Dance to Love", was released by United Artists in 1979.
Residing again in Melbourne, in 1999 Sang made a short return to live performing, with her father, Reg, as guest vocalist. In 2004, Sang's three albums were released for the first time on CD in a two-piece set as the compilation, The Ultimate Collection.
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