Samuel Hui

Samuel Hui
Background information
Chinese name 許冠傑 (traditional)
Chinese name 许冠杰 (simplified)
Pinyin Xǔ Guànjié (Mandarin)
Jyutping Heoi2 Gun3git6 (Cantonese)
Origin Hong Kong
Born (1948-09-06) 6 September 1948
Xiguan, Guangzhou
Other name(s) Brother Sam
Occupation Musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, actor
Genre(s) Cantopop, Hong Kong English pop
Instrument(s) Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, piano, harmonica, violin, drums, sanxian
Years active 1967–92
Associated acts The Lotus, Michael Hui, Ricky Hui
Spouse(s) Rebecca Hui (1972–present)
Children Ryan Hui (born Sept 3, 1976)
Scott Hui (born Feb 14, 1978)
Parents Hui Sai-cheung (father)
Lee Sin-wan (mother)
Ancestry Panyu, Guangdong
Influenced by Elvis Presley, The Beatles
Influenced Beyond, Albert Au, Jacky Cheung
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Hui.

Samuel Hui Koon-kit (born 6 September 1948), usually known as Sam Hui, is a Hong Kong musician, singer, songwriter and actor. He is credited with popularising Cantopop both with the infusion of Western-style music and using popular, street Cantonese jargon in his lyrics writing. Hui is considered by some to be the first major superstar of Cantopop, called the God of Song.[1]

Early life

Hui graduated from the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Hong Kong,[2] 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.[3]



Hui started his career as a host on a youth music TV show on the TV network TVB. Sam and Michael Hui starred as the hosts in 精裝雙星報喜 (The Hui's Brothers Show). At that time, he was the lead musician of his band named 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.

Hui's music appealed to the Hong Kong masses, particularly the working class, with simple lyrics and a light-hearted nature which was popular in Hong Kong music in the late 1970s. One of his most popular song during the mid-1970s was the theme song of the film The Private Eyes. It was a humorous reflection on the plight of the harsh working life for middle and lower class in Hong Kong. He wrote 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 encouraged Hong Kong people to throw caution to the wind and enjoy their life instead of worrying about the imminent handover to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. While some of his songs are light-hearted, others have philosophical messages that are brought out with 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, sophisticated language and messages are rare in the lyrics of contemporary artists.


On a personal note, Hui is closer to his middle brother Ricky 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 3-minute cameo, playing the role of himself as master of ceremonies at the grand opening of Danny's Chicken. 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".

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 1990s, Hui's father had 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 some reservations against his performing, mainly that he could 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. 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 a show in Vancouver, Canada, in the Pacific Coliseum, and also in Toronto, Canada, in which he dedicated this concert 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 (and the first singer to ever acknowledged with the title), he decided to come out of retirement in 2004 and held multiple come-back concerts in which he was welcomed by a Hong Kong public and sell-out shows. In these concerts, he paid tribute to the recent passing of close colleagues, Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui in 2003 and claimed that their deaths had influenced his decision to come out of retirement, culminating in his comeback song in 2004 with '04 Bless You. 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

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

English albums


[4] [5]

See also


  1. Tony Mitchell. "Tian Ci – Faye Wong and English Songs in the Cantopop and Mandapop Repertoire". Local Noise.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. "Samuel Hui". Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  5. "Samuel Hui". Retrieved 9 March 2010.
Preceded by
Lau Dong
Golden Needle Award of RTHK Top Ten Chinese Gold Songs Award
Succeeded by
Tang Ti-sheng
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