Obituary

Yao Lee sang Rose, Rose, I Love You

Chinese singer Yao Lee made her name in Shanghai during the 1940s.
Chinese singer Yao Lee made her name in Shanghai during the 1940s.PHOTO: SHIN MIN FILE

SHANGHAI • Rose, Rose, I Love You singer Yao Lee has died at age 96.

Yao, who died last Friday, made her name in Shanghai during the 1940s.

While another of her hits, Ren Sheng Jiu Shi Xi (Life Is Like A Show), was featured in 2018 blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians, it is Rose, Rose, I Love You which many fans identify her most with.

The song was originally titled Mei Gui, Mei Gui, Wo Ai Ni (1940), with a 1951 cover version by American Frankie Laine opting for the Rose name to go with English lyrics.

Yao, who started singing at 13, continued her career in Hong Kong after pop music was frowned upon by the communists after they took over mainland China in 1949.

In the 1970s, she was tapped by EMI Music Hong Kong to scout for talent, though she reportedly could not convince Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng to come on board.

On Weibo, Lee's death was described as the end of a great Shanghai music era, when she and fellow singer Zhou Xuan reigned.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2019, with the headline 'Yao Lee sang Rose, Rose, I Love You '. Print Edition | Subscribe