Sam Hui

Sam Hui
Born (1948-09-06) 6 September 1948 (age 71)
EducationThe University of Hong Kong (B.SocSc., 1971)
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actor
Years active1967–92
Rebecca Hui (m. 1972)
Parent(s)Hui Sai-cheung (father)
Lee Sin-wan (mother)
Hong Kong Film AwardsBest Original Film Song
1991 The Swordsman

Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Musical career
Also known asGod of Songs (歌神)
Brother Sam
OriginHong Kong
GenresCantopop, Hong Kong English pop
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • harmonica
  • violin
  • piano
  • sanxian
  • drums
LabelsDiamond Records (1967)
Polydor (1971-83)
Contec Sound (1983-85)
Cinepoly Records (1985-90)
Polygram (1990-92)
IEC (2007-present)
Associated actsThe Lotus

Samuel Hui Koon-kit[1][2] (born 6 September 1948), usually known as Sam Hui,[1][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12] is a Hong Kong musician, singer, songwriter and actor. He is credited with popularising Cantopop both via the infusion of Western-style music and his usage of vernacular Cantonese rather than written vernacular Chinese in biting lyrics that addressed contemporary problems and concerns.[13] Hui is considered by some to be the first major superstar of Cantopop, known as the God of Song.[14]

Early life[edit]

Hui was born in Guangzhou in 1948. He and his family arrived in Hong Kong as refugees in 1950, and originally lived in Diamond Hill.[15] Hui graduated from the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Hong Kong,[16] Ying Wa College and St. Francis Xavier's College in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Hui and his two older brothers, Michael and Ricky, worked on several comedies in the early 1970s. Hui has also gained credit for popularising Cantopop, by incorporating the idiosyncrasies of Western popular music into the old Cantopop genre.[17]



In 1967, Hui joined record label Diamond Records.[18] He started his career as a host on a youth music TV show on the TVB network. Sam and Michael Hui starred as the hosts in Hui Brothers Show (Chinese: 雙星報喜; Jyutping: soeng1 sing1 bou3 hei2; Cantonese Yale: sēung sīng bou héi), which premiered on April 23, 1971.[19] At that time, he was the lead musician of a band The Lotus. In the early years of his career, Hui performed English songs that were popular in Britain and the United States. He wrote the theme songs for the comedies produced by his brother, Michael Hui, and started performing Cantonese songs. Sam Hui's first Cantonese hit, "Eiffel Tower Above the Clouds" (鐵塔凌雲) -- originally titled "Here and Now" (就此模樣) -- was first played on the Hui Brothers Show in April 1972.[20]

After completing his degree, Hui signed a contract with Polydor and produced his first single in English, "April Lady".[21]

Hui's first Cantonese album, Games Gamblers Play (Chinese: 鬼馬雙星; Jyutping: gwai2 maa5 soeng1 sing1; Cantonese Yale: gwái máh sēung sīng; literally: 'ghost horse double star'), was the partial soundtrack to the Michael Hui-directed film of the same name.[21] This album became popular, selling 200,000 copies, and was one of the major musical works that helped to start the popularity of Cantopop.[22]

On June 17, 1979, Hui became the first singer from Hong Kong to perform at the Tokyo Music Festival.[23]

Hui's music gained popular appeal, particularly with the working class, for its simplicity and the relevance of the lyrics. A prolific songwriter, a noted recurring theme in his music is that it often describes or humorously satirises Hong Kong society and events. One of his most popular songs during the mid-1970s was the theme song of the film The Private Eyes, which humorously reflected on the harsh realities of middle and lower-income Hong Kongers. Others such as "Song of Water Use" (制水歌), which referenced the days of water rationing during the 1960s, and "Could Not Care Less About 1997" (話知你97), which encouraged Hong Kong people to adopt a carpe diem attitude instead of worrying about the imminent handover to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997, were more topical in nature and referenced local events. While some of his songs are lighthearted, others carried philosophical messages brought out through artful use of Chinese words that have multiple symbolism. Examples can be seen in his farewell song in 1992 and "From the Heart of a Loafer" (浪子心聲), where for Cantopop, the sophisticated language and messages were rare in the lyrics of contemporary artists.


Hui signed a contract with Golden Harvest in 1971.[18] On a personal note, Hui is closer to his middle brother Ricky (deceased 8 November 2011) than to their oldest brother Michael. Sam and Michael reportedly fell out with each other after their pre-1985 successes. However, in Michael's Chicken and Duck Talk (1988), Hui appeared in a short 1-minute cameo, playing the role of himself as master of ceremonies at the grand opening of Danny's Chicken, and contributed to its theme song for its end credits entitled "You Have Your Say" (你有你講). Then in 1990, the three brothers reunited in Front Page, a lampoon on Hong Kong's sometimes over-zealous entertainment news industry. Hui also collaborated with several popular singers such as Leslie Cheung both musically and on-screen culminating in the hit single written by Hui and composed by Cheung entitled Silence is Golden (沉默是金), which Cheung also sung as a solo track on his 1987 album, Hot Summer, as well as the catchy tune, I've Never Been Afraid (我未驚過) in 1989 as the end theme for Aces Go Places V.

Hui also starred in the Aces Go Places, a series of Hong Kong action–comedies in the 1980s, with Karl Maka. Hui held a farewell concert in 1991 and 1992, 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.


During the late 1980s, Hui's father advised him to retire to avoid the stresses he endured from hosting concerts. Hui's "lack of oxygen" suffered on a previous film, was actually carbon monoxide poisoning. His mother purportedly also had reservations about his performing, including that he might injure himself on stage. A Hong Kong concert in 1990 supposedly marked his early retirement, however Hui then agreed to host a 42-show concert series. Around the time of the 30th show, Hui's father died but despite his grief, he continued to host. During 1991–1992, Hui hosted a total of 14 shows in Hong Kong preempting his actual retirement. He also hosted shows in Canada, in Vancouver, at the Pacific Coliseum, and Toronto, Ontario, which he dedicated to his late father. 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.

The handprint and autograph of Sam Hui at the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong

Widely acclaimed as the "God of Song" in Hong Kong (the first singer to be so acknowledged), he decided to come out of retirement in 2004 and held multiple comeback concerts in which he was welcomed by a Hong Kong public at sell-out shows. In these concerts, he paid tribute to his recent passed close colleagues, Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui in 2003 and claimed that their deaths had influenced his decision to return to performing, culminating in his 2004 comeback song '04 Bless You ('04 祝福你). Hui performed in a concert in Kuala Lumpur on 19 and 20 February 2005 with his brother, Ricky Hui, and sons but has not made active plans for any follow-ups. He also performed in Vancouver on 15 December 2005 and in Singapore on 29 March 2008. In 2007, Hui signed with EC Music and released his first album in 17 years, named "Life is Good" (人生多麼好).

Personal life[edit]

Hui is married to Filipino-American Rebecca "Rebu" Fleming, with whom he has two sons, Ryan and Scott. Ryan is also a singer-songwriter and has released several albums, while Scott has pursued a career in film, directing a few videos for his brother.


Cantonese albums[edit]

  • 鬼馬雙星 (1974)
  • 天才與白痴 "The Last Message" (1975)
  • The Private Eyes (1976)
  • 財神到 (1978)
  • The Contract (賣身契) (1978)
  • 79夏日之歌集 (1979)
  • 念奴嬌 (1980)
  • Security Unlimited (摩登保鑣) (1981)
  • 難忘您‧紙船 (1982)
  • 最佳拍檔大顯神通 (1983)
  • 新的開始 (1983)
  • 最喜歡你 (1984)
  • 最緊要好玩 (1985)
  • 熱力之冠 (1986)
  • 宇宙無限 (1986)
  • 潮流興夾Band (1987)
  • 許冠傑新曲與精選 (1987)
  • Sam and Friends (1988)
  • 許冠傑89歌集 (1989)
  • 香港情懷90 (1990)
  • 90電影金曲精選 (1990)
  • 歌神與您繼續微笑04 (2004)
  • 人生多麼好 (2007)

English albums[edit]

  • Time of The Season (1971)
  • Morning After (1974)
  • Interlude (1975)
  • Came Travelling (1977)


[24] [25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "In pictures: Canto-pop superstar Sam Hui's 40 years in the limelight". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Knock Off". Sight and Sound. Vol. 9 no. 7–12. British Film Institute. 1999. p. 43. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Review: a mellower Sam Hui plays the hits again". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  4. ^ "A family affair". The Straits Times. Singapore Press Holdings. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Sam Hui to hold first concert in Malaysia". The Star. Petaling Jaya. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  6. ^ Written at Hong Kong. "Hong Kong's pop of gold". The Canberra Times. Canberra, ACT. AAP, Reuters. 5 January 1978. p. 10. Retrieved 15 May 2018 – via National Library of Australia's trove.
  7. ^ ""Chan Is Missing" in Chinatown". New York Times. 24 April 1982 [digitalized in 2010s]. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  8. ^ Charles, John. The Hong Kong Filmography, 1977–1997. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-4323-9.
  9. ^ Chu, Yiu-Wai. Hong Kong Cantopop: A Concise History. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 978-988-8390-57-1.
  10. ^ 曾與阿倫夾Band [In the past formed a band with Alan]. Sing Tao Daily (Canada) (in Chinese). 17 July 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  11. ^ 羅志華; 蕭潮順; Au, Albert; 蕭潮文; et al. (Sam Hui as guest) (2014). 我們都是這樣唱大的:許冠傑 (in Chinese). Radio Television Hong Kong. Retrieved 15 May 2018 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ Ebert, Hans (3 February 1979). "Cantonese: Language of hits in Hong Kong". Billboard. p. 77.
  13. ^ How TVMost show made its audience feel like Hongkongers, EJInsight, 12 Jan 2016
  14. ^ Tony Mitchell. "Tian Ci – Faye Wong and English Songs in the Cantopop and Mandapop Repertoire". Local Noise. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012.
  15. ^ Man 1998, p. 85.
  16. ^ Chun, Allen John Uck Lun; Rossiter, Ned; Shoesmith, Brian (2004). Refashioning pop music in Asia: cosmopolitan flows, political tempos, and aesthetic industries. Routledge. p. 146. ISBN 0-7007-1401-4.
  17. ^ Liu, Tao Tao; Faure, David (1996). Unity and diversity: local cultures and identities in China. Hong Kong University Press. p. 184. ISBN 962-209-402-3.
  18. ^ a b Yip 1994, p. 12.
  19. ^ Chu 2017, p. 201.
  20. ^ Chu 2017, p. 48.
  21. ^ a b Man 1998, p. 86.
  22. ^ Chik 2010, p. 512.
  23. ^ Chu 2017, p. 204.
  24. ^ "Samuel Hui". Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  25. ^ "Samuel Hui". Retrieved 9 March 2010.


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Lau Dong
Golden Needle Award of RTHK Top Ten Chinese Gold Songs Award
Succeeded by
Tang Ti-sheng