Saturday, February 28, 2009

Samuel Hui

Samuel Hui

Samuel Hui Koon-kit, usually known as Sam Hui, is best known for being a star in the Cantopop and movie industry in Hong Kong's from the 1960s to 1990s. He was born on 6 September 1948. He graduated from the Arts Faculty of University of Hong Kong, Ying Wa College and St Francis Xavier's College in the late 1960s to early 1970s. He and his brothers Michael and Ricky made several comedy blockbusters in the 1970s. He is also acknowledged for popularising Cantopop, by incorporating the then unknown idiosyncrasies of Western popular music into the Cantopop genre.

He started his career as a host to a youth music TV show on TVB. At the time, he was the lead musician of his band named The Lotus. In the early years of his career, he sang Western songs from Britain and the U.S. However, he began singing Cantonese songs when he wrote the theme songs for the comedies produced by his brother Michael Hui.

His music appealed to the Hong Kong masses particularly the working class with its simple lyrics and light-hearted nature which was popular in Hong Kong music in the late 1970s. He penned most of the compositions and personally wrote most of the humorous lyrics that generally encompassed current issues in Hong Kong such as the song Could Not Care Less About 1997 (話知你 97), which literally encourages the Hong Kong public to throw caution to the wind and enjoy their life instead of worrying about the imminent Handover to China in 1997.

On a personal note, he was closer to his middle brother Ricky Hui than to their eldest brother Michael Hui, and he and Michael reportedly fell out with each other after their pre-1985 successes. However, in Michael's Chicken and Duck Talk (1988) Sam appeared in a short 3-minute cameo, playing himself as master of ceremonies at the grand opening of David's Chicken. Then in 1990, the three brothers reunited in 'Front Page', a lampoon on Hong Kong's sometimes over-zealous entertainment news industry.

Sam also collaborated with several popular singers such as Leslie Cheung both musically and on-screen culminating in the hit single co-written by both Hui and Chung entitled Silence is Golden (沉默是金) which Hui also sung as a solo track on his 1987 album Hot Summer, as well as the catchy tune "I've Never Been Afraid". Sam also starred in the Aces Go Places, a series of Hong Kong action–comedies in the 1980s, with Karl Maka.

He held a farewell concert in 1991-92, in which he invited many music celebrities and officially declared that he would not be active in the movie industry nor in Cantopop in the future. He was once seriously injured while filming The Legend of Wisely in Tibet due to lack of oxygen, thereafter falling very ill and many of his fans pointed out that this near fatal accident may have been pivotal on his decision to retire as they superstitiously believed that he was haunted by a spirit.

Despite reiterating his plans for retirement, Hui came back for a short stint in the movie Winner Takes All co-starring Nicholas Tse and Ruby Lin. This he maintained, was a result of being unable to ignore his heart's desire.

In 2007, Hui signed with EC Music and released his first album in 17 years, named "Life is Good" (人生多麼好).