1970s: Beginning of the Golden Age (Rise of television and the modern industry)
Local bands mimicked British and American bands. Two types of local Cantonese music appeared in the market nearly concurrently in 1973: one type cashed in on the popularity of TVB's drama series based on the more traditional lyrical styles. The other was more western style music largely from Polydor Hong Kong (寶麗多唱片). Notable singers from the era include Liza Wang and Paula Tsui. At the same time, television was fast becoming a household must-have that offered free entertainment to the public. For example, The Fatal Irony (啼笑因緣) and Games Gamblers Play (鬼馬雙星) took the local music scene by storm as soon as they were broadcast on the radio and television.
Soap operas were needed to fill TV air time, and popular Cantonese songs became TV theme songs. Around 1971, Sandra Lang, a minor singer who had never sung Cantopop before, was invited to sing the first Cantonese TV theme song "A marriage of Laughter and Tears" (啼笑因緣). This song was a collaboration between songwriters Yip Siu-dak (葉紹德) and the legendary Joseph Koo. It was ground-breaking and topped local charts. Other groups that profited from TV promotion included the Four Golden Flowers.
Sam Hui is regarded by some to be the earliest Cantopop star. He was the lead singer of the band Lotus formed in the late 1960s, signed to Polydor in 1972. The song that made him famous was the theme song to Games Gamblers Play (鬼馬雙星), also starring Hui.
The star of TV theme tunes was Roman Tam. Three of the most famous TV soap opera singers were Jenny Tseng, Liza Wang and Adam Cheng. The Wynners and George Lam also amassed a big fan base with their new style. Samuel Hui continued to dominate the charts and won the Centennial Best Sales Award in the first and second IFPI Gold Disc Presentations twice in a row in 1977 and 1978. Polydor became PolyGram (寶麗金) in 1978.
It was at this time that the term Cantopop was first coined. The Billboard correspondent Hans Ebert, who had earlier coined the term Cantorock in 1974, noted a change in its style to something similar to British-American soft rock, therefore started to use the term Cantopop instead in 1978.
In 1974, as the theme song of The Fatal Irony (啼笑因緣) was very successful, TVB sold to the mainland and other countries and Cantopop reached overseas audiences through drama series.
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