Rita Chao, best known to her Mandarin-speaking fans as …Ling Yun, Ling Ying or Seow Mei-Mei, depending on the source of information you’d prefer to rely on…), was born in Singapore, most probably during the mid '40s of the last century, probably in 1946.
According to some reports, her family originated from the city of Hangzhou (杭州), which is located in the Zhejiang Province in Eastern China, not so far from Shanghai (上海).
Her interest in music developed at school, and when she was 15 she started singing and performing on stage. Her grandmother, Zhao Yongchun a former amateur Peking Opera singer, encouraged her to leave school and at that time she embarked on short tours through Vietnam and North Borneo (Malaysia) along with small acting companies.
Since then, Zhao Yongchun, determined to make her beloved granddaughter famous, became her manager and successfully arranged for her to perform in some of the most famous nightclubs in Singapore. In those days, Rita also used to perform at the now defunct New World Amusement Park along with Sakura, and they both lived in Jalan Besar.
In 1966 Rita was signed by Columbia / EMI and released her very first 7" EP, the subject of this post. On this record, she was paired with the top guitar band from Singapore, The Quests, and it was instant stardom.
During her career Rita Chao recorded many great Mandarin covers of popular English songs and she was part of the pioneers who launched the Rock Movement in Singapore. Along with Sakura (with whom she joined forces on many recordings during the late '60s) they were both known as 'A Go-Go Queens of the Sixties".
Rita Chao, who was wildly popular in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong in the 1960s , has passed away in July last year. She was 64.
1. Rita Chao&The Surfers- Time Is Tight
2. Rita Chao&The Surfers - My Lost Dream
3. Rita Chao - I'm Into Something Good
4. Rita Chao - Sixteen Candles
5. Rita Chao - Wooly Bully
6. Rita Chao - Jilted
7. Rita Chao - Pretty Flamingo
8. Rita Chao - Hanky Panky
9. Rita Chao - Proud Mary
10. Rita Chao - Diamond
11. Rita Chao - Cu Cu Cu Choo
12. Rita Chao - Obladi - Oblada
13. Rita Chao - Gonna Be Alright
14. Rita Chao - Tears
15. Rita Chao - Shake, Shake, Shake
16. Rita Chao - Let True Love Begin
17. Rita Chao - Frankie
18. Rita Chao - Watasiwa
19. Rita Chao - Only Friends
20. Rita Chao - How To Catch A Girl
21. Rita Chao - Love Is Me Love Is You
22. Rita Chao - The Boy Next Door
23. Rita Chao - Happy Happy Birthday
24. Rita Chao - I Know
25. Rita Chao - As Tears Go By
26. Rita Chao - He's Untrue