Teresa Teng

Teresa Teng
Chinese name 鄧麗君 (Traditional)
Chinese name 邓丽君 (Simplified)
Pinyin Dèng Lìjūn (Mandarin)
Pe̍h-ōe-jī Tēng Lê-kun (Hokkien)
Birth name Teng Li-chun (鄧麗筠)
Ancestry Daming, Hebei, China
Origin Republic of China (Taiwan)
Born January 29, 1953(1953-01-29)
Baojhong, Yunlin, Taiwan
Died May 8, 1995(1995-05-08) (aged 42)
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Resting place Chin Pao Shan (Jinbaoshan), Taiwan
25°15′04″N 121°36′14″E / 25.251°N 121.604°E / 25.251; 121.604
Other name(s) Teresa Tang, Teresa Deng
Occupation Singer
Genre(s) Mandopop, Cantopop, J-Pop
Instrument(s) Singing
Label(s) Taiwan: Yeu Jow (1967–1971), Haishan (1971), Life[disambiguation needed ] (1972–1976), Kolin (1977–1983), PolyGram (1984–1992)
Hong Kong: EMI (1971), Life[disambiguation needed ] (1971–1976), PolyGram (1975–1992)
Japan: Polydor K.K. (1974–1981), Taurus (1983–1995)
Years active 1967–1995
Associated acts Debbie Gibson, Crystal Gayle, Hibari Misora, Tiffany, Charlene, Olivia Newton-John

Teresa Teng (born January 29, 1953 – May 8, 1995) (traditional Chinese: ; simplified Chinese: ; pinyin: Dèng Lìjūn; Wade–Giles: Teng Li-chun; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tēng Lē-kun, Japanese: テレサ・テン), was an immensely popular and influential Chinese pop singer from Taiwan. Teresa Teng's voice and songs are instantly recognized throughout East Asia and in areas with large Asian populations. It is often said, "Wherever there are Chinese people, the songs of Teresa Teng can be heard." Her songs enjoy popularity among Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Indonesian listeners as well.

Teng was known for her folk songs and romantic ballads. Many became standards in her lifetime, such as "When Will You Return?" (何日君再來) and "The Moon Represents My Heart" (月亮代表我的心).[1] She recorded songs not only in her native Mandarin but also in Taiwanese, Cantonese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and English.[citation needed]

Teng, a lifelong sufferer from asthma, died in 1995 from a severe respiratory attack while on holiday in Thailand. She was 42.



Early life

Teresa Teng was born in Baozhong, Yunlin County, Taiwan, to a mainland Chinese family from Hebei. She was educated at Ginling Girls High School. As a young child, Teresa won awards for her singing at talent competitions. Her first major prize was in 1964 when she sang "Visiting Yingtai" from Shaw Brothers' Huangmei opera movie, "The Love Eterne" (梁山伯與祝英台), at an event hosted by Broadcasting Corporation of China. She was soon able to support her family with her singing. Taiwan's rising manufacturing economy in the 1960s made the purchase of records easier for more families. With her father's approval she quit high school to pursue singing professionally.


Teng's singing style conveyed simplicity and sincerity. Yeh Yueh-Yu, a professor of Cultural Theory at the University of Southern California said, "It was the sweetness in her voice that made her famous. She had a perfect voice for folk songs and ballads, and she added traditional folk song stylings into Western-style compositions." Her voice was also described as being "like weeping and pleading, but with strength, capable of drawing in and hypnotizing listeners." Songwriter Tsuo Hung-yun said Teng's voice was "seven parts sweetness, three parts tears."

Teng gained her first taste of fame in 1968 when a performance on a popular Taiwanese music program led to a record contract. She released several albums within the next few years under the Life Records label. In 1973 she attempted to crack the Japanese market by signing with the Polydor Japan label and taking part in Japan's Kōhaku Uta Gassen, a year-round singing match of the most successful artists. She was named "Best New Singing Star".[2] Following her success in Japan, Teresa sang many Japanese songs, including original hits such as "Give yourself to the flow of Time" (時の流れに身をまかせ Toki no Nagare ni Mi wo Makase?) which was later covered in Chinese as "I Only Care About You" (我只在乎你).

In 1974 the song "Airport" (空港) became a hit in Japan. Teng remained popular in Japan despite being barred from the country briefly in 1979 for having a fake Indonesian passport she purchased for US$20,000. The subterfuge had seemed necessary due to the official break in relations between Taiwan and Japan that occurred shortly after the People's Republic of China replaced the ROC in the United Nations.

Teng's popularity boomed worldwide in the 1970s after her debut in Japan. Singing by now in Cantonese, Japanese and English besides her native Mandarin, Teng's popularity quickly grew in Malaysia and Indonesia. In Taiwan she was known not only as the island's most popular export, but as "the soldier's sweetheart" because of her frequent performances for servicemen. Teng was herself the child of a military family. Her concerts for troops featured popular music and Taiwanese folk songs that appealed to natives of the island as well as Chinese folk songs that appealed to homesick refugees of the civil war.

In the early 1980s, continuing political tension between mainland China and Taiwan led to her music, along with that of other singers from Taiwan and Hong Kong, being banned for several years in mainland China as too "bourgeois".[3] Her popularity in China continued to grow nonetheless thanks to the black market. As Teng songs continued to be played everywhere, from nightclubs to government buildings, the ban on her music was soon lifted. Her Chinese fans nicknamed her "Little Deng" because she had the same family name as Deng Xiaoping; it was said that Deng the Communist leader ruled China by day, but that Deng the singer ruled China by night.[1]

Teng's contract with Polydor ended in 1981. She signed a contract with Taurus Records in 1983 and made a successful comeback appearance in Japan. In 1983 Taurus released her most-acclaimed album, Light Exquisite Feeling (淡淡幽情). This album consisted of settings of twelve poems from the Tang and Song dynasties. The music, written by composers of her earlier hits, blended modern and traditional styles of East and West. The most popular single from the album today is "Wishing We Last Forever" (但願人長久). The number of hits released in the years from 1984–1989 make them "Teresa Teng's Golden Years" in the views of her fans. She was the first singer to win the All-Japan Record Awards for four consecutive years (1984–1988).

Teng performed in Paris during the 1989 Tiananmen student protests on behalf of the students and proclaimed her support for democracy. On May 27, 1989, over 300,000 people attended the concert called "Democratic songs dedicated to China" (民主歌聲獻中華) at the Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong. One of the highlights was her rendition of "My Home Is on the Other Side of the Mountain."[4]

Though Teng performed in many countries around the world during her career, her hopes of performing one day in mainland China never materialized. The Communist Party of China eventually invited her to do so in the 1990s but she died before the opportunity came.[5]

Death and commemorations

Teng died from a severe asthma attack while on holiday in Chiang Mai, Thailand at the age of 42 (43 by Chinese reckoning) on May 8, 1995. She was an asthmatic throughout her adult life. Teng was given state honors at her funeral in Taiwan, with the flag of the Republic of China draped over her casket and then president Lee Teng-hui in attendance among thousands in mourning.

She was buried in a mountainside tomb at Chin Pao San, a cemetery in Jinshan, Taipei County (now New Taipei City) in northern Taiwan. The grave site features a statue of Teng and a large electronic piano keyboard set in the ground that can be played by visitors who step on the keys. The memorial is often visited by her fans. (This represents a noteworthy departure from the traditional Chinese practice of shunning grave sites.)[6]

A house she bought in 1986 in Hong Kong at No. 18 Carmel Street has also become a site of pilgrimage for her fans soon after her death. Plans to sell the home to finance a museum in Shanghai were made known in 2002,[7] and subsequently sold for HK$ 32 million. It closed on what would have been her 51st birthday on January 29, 2004.[8]

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of her death, Teresa Teng Culture and Education Foundation launched a campaign entitled "Feel Teresa Teng". In addition to organizing an anniversary concert in Hong Kong and Taiwan, music fans paid homage at her shrine at Chin Pao San Cemetery. Additionally, some of her dresses, jewelry and personal items were placed on exhibition at Yuzi Paradise, an art park outside Guilin, China.[9]

In May 2002, the wax figure of Teng was unveiled at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong.

Influence on popular culture

  • Her songs have been covered by a number of singers, including Faye Wong who released a tribute album (Decadent Sounds of Faye, 菲靡靡之音, 1995) of Teng's popular hits.
  • The 1996 Hong Kong film Comrades: Almost a Love Story (甜蜜蜜 – Tiánmìmì) directed by Peter Chan features the tragedy and legacy of Teresa Teng in a subplot to the main story. The movie won best picture in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and at the Seattle Film Festival in the United States.
  • Her songs are featured in various films, e.g. Rush Hour 2, Prison On Fire, Formosa Betrayed.
  • In 2007, TV Asahi produced a tanpatsu (単発, TV movie), entitled Teresa Teng Monogatari (テレサ・テン物語)[10] to commemorate the 13th anniversary of her death. Actress Yoshino Kimura starred as Teresa Teng.
  • Teresa Teng, Judy Ongg (1950–), Agnes Chan (1955–), Ouyang Feifei (1949–) and Yu Yar (尤雅, 1953–) were billed as the "Five Great Asian Divas" during the 1970s and 1980s due to their huge cross-cultural popularity.[citation needed] The music of Teresa Teng remains the most popular.
  • Her song "Toki no Nagare ni Mi o Makase" was played numerous times in the film "Ban zhi yan" (also known as "Metade Fumaca" which means "half smoked" in Portuguese), including the opening scene. It can be called the theme of the film.

Awards received in Japan

Teresa Teng received the following awards in Japan:[11]

  • The New Singer Award for「空港」(Kūkō) in 1974.
  • The Gold Award in 1986 for「時の流れに身をまかせ」(Toki no Nagare ni Mi o Makase).
  • The Grand Prix for「つぐない」(Tsugunai) in 1984:「愛人」(Aijin) in 1985; and「時の流れに身をまかせ」(Toki no Nagare ni Mi o Makase) in 1986. This was the first time anyone had won the Grand Prix three years in a row.
  • The Outstanding Star Award for「別れの予感」(Wakare no Yokan) in 1987.
  • The Cable Radio Music Award for「別れの予感」(Wakare no Yokan) in 1987 and 1988.
  • The Cable Radio Special Merit Award (有線功労賞) in 1995 for three consecutive Grand Prix wins.


  1. ^ a b Wudunn, Sheryl. "Teresa Teng, Singer, 40, Dies; Famed in Asia for Love Songs." The New York Times. May 10, 1995.
  2. ^ "Pop diva Teresa Teng lives on in Chinese hearts". China Daily. 2005-05-12. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-05/12/content_441430.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  3. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. (February 19, 1991). "A Taiwan Pop Singer Sways the Mainland". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE4DD153CF93AA25751C0A967958260. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ Video at YouTube.com
  5. ^ Zhao, Lei (August 3, 2006). "Why Teresa Teng Could Not Visit Mainland China". Southern Weekend (via Sina.com). http://www.zonaeuropa.com/culture/c20060805_1.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  6. ^ Teresa Teng's grave. North Coast & Guanyinshang official website. Retrieved 2 Jan 2007.
  7. ^ Taiwanese diva's home 'for sale'. BBC news, 29 July 2002. Retrieved 2 Jan 2007.
  8. ^ A Retrospective Look at 2004. HKVP Radio, Dec 2004. Retrieved 2 Jan 2007.
  9. ^ "Teresa Teng in loving memory forever". China Daily. 2005-05-08. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-05/08/content_440103.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  10. ^ テレビ朝日|スペシャルドラマ テレサ・テン物語
  11. ^ " テレサ・テン データべース (Teresa Teng Database)", Retrieved 14 Dec 2007.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
George Lam
Golden Needle Award of RTHK Top Ten Chinese Gold Songs Award
Succeeded by
Alan Tam

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Teresa Teng — (chinesisch 鄧麗君 Dèng Lìjūn, W. G. Teng Li chün, Geburtsname: 鄧麗筠 Dèng Lìyún; * 29. Januar 1953 in der Gemeinde Baozhong, Landkreis Yunlin, Taiwan; † 8. Mai 1995 in Chiang Mai, Thailand) war eine taiwanische Sängerin. Biografie… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Teresa Teng — Surnom Teresa Tang, Teresa Deng Nom Teng Li Chun (鄧麗君) Naissance 29 janvier 1953 Yunlin,   …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Teresa Teng — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar al autor p …   Wikipedia Español

  • Teng — steht für: den alten Staat Teng (chinesisch 滕 Téng bzw. 滕國 Ténggúo) der Zeit der Frühlings und Herbstannalen und der Zeit der Streitenden Reiche, siehe Teng (Staat) Teng (Wuzhou) (藤县), ein Kreis der chinesischen Stadt Wuzhou Teng… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Teng, Teresa — ▪ 1996       (TENG LI CHÜN), Chinese singer (b. Jan. 29, 1953, Yün lin county, Taiwan d. May 8, 1995, Chiang Mai, Thailand), was a superstar throughout East Asia and was especially admired in her homeland, where she earned the affection of fans… …   Universalium

  • Teresa — Infobox Given name 2 gender = feminineTeresa, Theresa, and Therese ( fr. Thérèse) are feminine given names. The name is thought to be derived from the Greek verb therizein , meaning to harvest. Some common diminutives or nicknames for Teresa… …   Wikipedia

  • Vienna Teng — Teng bei einem Auftritt in San Francisco Vienna Teng (* 3. Oktober 1978 in Saratoga, Kalifornien als Cynthia Yih Shih [史逸欣]) ist eine US amerikanische Pianistin, Sängerin und Singer Songwriterin taiwanischer Abstammung. Ihr Künstlername „Vienna“… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Vienna Teng — Teng performing at Joe s Pub in 2007. Background information Birth name Cynthia Y …   Wikipedia

  • Deng Lijun — Teresa Teng (chin. 鄧麗君 / 邓丽君, Dèng Lìjūn, W. G. Teng Li chün; * 29. Januar 1953 in Yunlin, Taiwan; † 8. Mai 1995 in Chiang Mai, Thailand) war eine chinesische Sängerin und ein Idol. Biografie Teresa Teng wurde im taiwanischen Landkreis Yunlin… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • T'eng — Teng steht für: den alten Staat Teng (chin. 滕, Téng bzw. 滕國, Ténggúo) der Zeit der Frühlings und Herbstannalen und der Zeit der Streitenden Reiche, siehe Teng (Staat) Teng (Wuzhou), ein Kreis der chinesischen Stadt Wuzhou Teng ist der Name… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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