Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. viii-ix

If my life had a theme song, it would defi nitely be a Cantopop. I grew up listening to Cantopop, without which I cannot imagine how my life would have been like. Having witnessed and experienced the rise and decline of Cantopop in the past four decades or so, I feel obliged to do something for...

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A Note on Romanization

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p. x

Chinese names are generally romanized according to the style commonly used in Hong Kong, with English first names followed by Chinese surname (e.g., James Wong). For the sake of consistency, those without English first names are also romanized in the same way (e.g., Chi-Wah Wong), except those commonly...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-20

“Every generation has its own voice,” claimed James Wong 黃霑, the late godfather of Cantopop, in his doctoral thesis on the development of Cantopop.1 The English term “Cantopop”—Cantonese popular songs—did not come into existence until the 1970s, when Billboard correspondent Hans Ebert used it...

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2. Days of Being Marginalized: The 1950s to the Early 1970s

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pp. 21-39

The English term “Cantopop” did not come into existence until the 1970s, when Billboard correspondent Hans Ebert used it “to describe the locally produced popular music in Hong Kong” in 1978.1 It was perhaps not a coincidence that 1974 was widely considered to have marked the rise of Cantopop. As noted in...

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3. The Rise of Cantopop: The Mid- to Late 1970s

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pp. 40-68

As a British colony before sovereignty over the territory was handed to China in 1997, Hong Kong had been seen as a transient shelter rather than a permanent home. Local identity was arguably absent owing to its colonial history: “The Chinese community of Hong Kong did not have an identity of its own...

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4. An Age of Glory: The 1980s

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pp. 69-104

The 1980s marked a paramount stage of transformation in local Hong Kong culture. Having experienced some ten years of rapid economic growth, Hong Kong people began to enjoy a considerably higher standard of living. Although the Hong Kong economic myth had fabricated a kind of complacent...

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5. The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: The 1990s

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pp. 105-144

The eye-catching title of an essay published in Billboard in 1999, “The Cantopop Drop,” advertised the sad but all-too-true fact that the golden days of Cantopop had passed.1 It was no coincidence that James Wong, the godfather of Cantopop, used 1997 as the end boundary for the timeline of Cantopop...

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6. After the Fall: The New Millennium

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pp. 145-183

As noted in the previous chapter, there was a rapid and widespread change in the mediascape in the 1990s, leading to the rise of Mandapop. While the repercussions of the Heavenly Kings and Queens could still be strongly felt, the aging Cantopop industry was struggling to keep its leading role. The swift...

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7. Epilogue: Cantopop in the Age of China

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pp. 184-196

In the new millennium, Cantopop has been overtaken by Mandapop as the trendsetter of pan-Chinese popular culture. During its heyday from the 1980s until the early 1990s, Cantopop was hybridized, although it was highly commercial and had begun to cross borders. “As a small, wealthy, then-British...

Appendix: Chronology of Major Events

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pp. 197-217

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 218-225

Index

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pp. 226-246