Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Taiwanese Pop Gets Boing-Boinged

Boing Boing picked up a post about a 1960s Taiwanese pop band called the Telstar Combo today. The album cover looked great, so I was curious to find out ore about these guys. It ends up they were the backing band for a famous singer named Hsieh Lei 謝雷.

Hsieh Lei hit it big in 1967 with an old Taiwanese song from the 1930s called "Wine Cup of Sorrow 悲戀的酒杯 " which was given new Mandarin lyrics and re-titled "Full Cup of Bitter Wine 苦酒滿杯." The new version was banned under the KMT.

Hsieh had a record store near the Taipei Train Station in those days, and the record was selling so fast they had to restock during the day. Fans would surround the returning truck and buy the records up before they could even be put on the store's shelves.

The record was put out by Haishan Records, the dominant force on the pop scene back then. Their roster included around 80% of the big stars of the 60s and 70s, but they got hit badly by financial troubles in the early 80s. Many of the employees jumped ship and started their own record companies. Haishan is still around, but it only puts out re-issues of the oldies.

Here's a picture of an album by Hsieh Lei (Shai Lay) and the Telstars Combo called "Golden Dream."

1 comment:

Stuart Ellis said...


Thanks for the info. So many people followed the Boing Boing link that my server shut down my site for the month! Hope to have a new site up soon (with more bandwith).