Tuesday, February 28, 2012

[Music] Roman Tam - Through Many Winds and Rains

1. Kenny Rogers famously sang in The Gambler (1978):
          You've got to know when to hold 'em,
          Know when to fold 'em,
          Know when to walk away,
          Know when to run.

What should an artist do when he pass the peak of his singing career?

Should he hold 'em or fold 'em and walk away?

That was the question Roman Tam was facing back in the mid-1980s.

"Through Many Winds and Rains" ("幾許風雨") (1986) is a reflection of Roman Tam's experience after he decided to hold 'em; it became his signature song.

2. Roman Tam was born in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, China; his ancestor was from Guangxi Province.

Roman Tam passed away in 2002 from liver cancer.

Two personal details of Roman Tam that might cause some confusion:

(a) Officially, he was listed as born in 1950.

But according to his obituary, Roman Tam was born in 1944.

Given the Chinese practices of his era, the obituary probably gave the correct birth year.

(b) Using "羅文" as his Chinese name, one would expect his English last name to be "Law" or "Loh" or some such.

But Roman's Chinese last name is actually "譚" ("Tam").

 "羅文” is just a Chinese transliteration of "Roman".

Roman Tam went to Hong Kong in the early 1960s.

He held some menial jobs before beginning his singing career in the late 1960s.

Roman Tam caught his break in 1976 by singing the theme song for the Cantonese dubbing of a Japanese TV drama; his career peak around the mid-1980s.

The climb down from the peak was not easy for Roman Tam - many people casted derisions and pigeon-eye at him.

And this experience resulted in a great inspirational song "Through Many Winds and Rains".

3. I like to thank my brother for pointing out to me that "Through Many Winds and Rains" is actually a Cantonese cover of a Korean original.

The original music and lyrics was by Choo Se Ho, the singer was Koo Chang Mo and the song came out in Korea in 1985:


And twenty years later in 2005:


Beautifully sung!

4. The 1986 Cantonese version by Roman Tam:


His signature song!

5. I believe the video is the original from 1986's TV broadcast:


But the music is remixed from CD.

6. A new interpretation of the song in 1996 by Roman Tam:


Really nice.

7. Karaoke version by Roman Tam:


8. A concert version by Roman Tam:


The video is of very good quality.

9. A cover by Sam Tsang:


And from his album "Hong Kong Legend":


An interesting arrangement with some Jazz feels.

10. A partial cover by Sammi Cheng in 2001:


Sammi Cheng is known for her off-key singing - so better than I expected.

11. A cover by Eason Chan in 2003:


As many have noticed in the Comments in YouTube, the Cantonese lyrics have an inspirational element that is lacking in Eason Chan's interpretation of the song.

12. Kenneth Chan is a famous TV host in Hong Kong:


This is the first time I hear him sing; not too bad.

13. A cover by Tony Lui:


Although the interpretation is quite off, but nice try.

The venue for the singing is the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong.

"The Avenue of Stars (Chinese: 星光大道), modelled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is located along the Victoria Harbour waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. It honours celebrities of the Hong Kong film industry." ("Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong", Wikipedia.)

14. Another performance at the Avenue of Stars:


I like this version much better.

15. A good cover:


16. The Lyrics in Traditional Chinese:

幾許風雨 - 羅文

無言輕倚窗邊   凝望雨勢急也亂
似個瘋漢   滿肚鬱結   怒罵著厭倦
徐徐呼出煙圈   回望以往的片段
幾許風雨   我也經過   屹立到目前

* 一生之中誰沒痛苦   得失少不免
看透世態每種風雨   披身打我面
身處高峰   嘗盡雨絲   輕風的加冕
偶爾碰上了急風   步伐末凌亂
心底之中知分寸   得失差一線
披荊斬棘的挑戰   光輝不眷戀

悠然想起當天   無盡冷眼加嘴臉
正似風雨   每每改變   現實盡體驗
無求一生光輝   唯望鬥志不會斷
見慣風雨   見慣改變   盡視作自然

Repeat *

悠然推窗觀天   雲漸散去星再現
雨線飄斷   似我的臉   熱淚聚滿面
然而不死春天   全賴暖意不間斷
似你的臉   叫我溫暖   伴著我步前
似你的臉   叫我溫暖   伴著我步前

17. The Lyrics in Simplified Chinese:

几许风雨 - 罗文

无言轻倚窗边   凝望雨势急也乱
似个疯汉   满肚郁结   怒骂着厌倦
徐徐呼出烟圈   回望以往的片段
几许风雨   我也经过   屹立到目前

* 一生之中谁没痛苦   得失少不免
看透世态每种风雨   披身打我面
身处高峰   尝尽雨丝   轻风的加冕
偶尔碰上了急风 步伐末凌乱
心底之中知分寸   得失差一线
披荆斩棘的挑战   光辉不眷恋

悠然想起当天   无尽冷眼加嘴脸
正似风雨   每每改变   现实尽体验
无求一生光辉   唯望斗志不会断
见惯风雨   见惯改变   尽视作自然

Repeat *

悠然推窗观天   云渐散去星再现
雨线飘断   似我的脸   热泪聚满面
然而不死春天   全赖暖意不间断
似你的脸   叫我温暖   伴着我步前
似你的脸   叫我温暖   伴着我步前

18. Names, Words and Phrases:

Roman Tam (Traditional Chinese: 羅文; Simplified Chinese: 罗文).

Eason Chan (Traditional: 陳奕迅; Simplified: 陈奕迅).

Guangdong (Traditional: 廣東; Simplified: 广东).

Guangxi (Traditional: 廣西; Simplified: 广西).

Guangzhou (Traditional: 廣州; Simplified: 广州).

Kenneth Chan (Traditional: 陳啟泰; Simplified: 陈启泰).

Off-key (Traditional: 走音; Simplified: 走音).

Pigeon-eye (Traditional: 白鴿眼; Simplified: 白鸽眼).

Sam Tsang (Traditional: 曾航生; Simplified: 曾航生).

Sammi Cheng (Traditional: 鄭秀文; Simplified: 郑秀文).

The Avenue of Stars (Traditional: 星光大道; Simplified: 星光大道).

Tony Lui (Traditional: 雷若天; Simplified: 雷若天).


"Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong", Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia,
(accessed 2012-02-28).

"Roman Tam", Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia,
(accessed 2012-02-28).

"羅文", Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia,
(accessed 2012-02-28).

"羅文", Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia,
(accessed 2012-02-28).