Chapter  2

   It was in 1970, when  美齡 was 15 years old. Her activities as an amateur folk singer attracted a TV director's attention. She appeared on TV and sang a song, as a younger sister of Irene who enjoyed popularity as a movie star at the time.

    The viewers' response  were so great and the TV station was inundated with the requests for her re-appearance. There was another man who was attracted by her presence.

   At the time,
樂風唱片公司 the Life Record was producing an album   
 featured twelve amateur folk singers. Among them, eleven singers were already planned except one singer.

   A man who was played guitar on this record, was John Chen. He also gave lesson of playing guitar to the members of the folksong club where she joined.

   On his cousin's advice,  美齡 showed him her singing. He approved it. He introduced her to the record producer. She chose to record Joni Mitchell's "Circle Game" from among the others she had been given. Her parents, especially her father  陳燧棠 was strongly against her to enter into the show business.  He realized that the career of a singer was ups and downs, and was low and not worthy one which had not a real value in life. He thought that woman should also study hard to make fine grades. Irene had entered a show business but left school, and this enraged him.

美齡 promised her parents not to neglect her schoolwork and obtained
 their permission. Surprising, she had made a better grades after she became a singer than before.

   About a year later since then, in January, 1971, 
美齡's "Circle Game" was released as a single from an album. This is a birth of Agnes Chan, a singer.

   Her song made a hit.

   At the time, there were only two FM radio stations in Hong Kong,
香港電台 RTHK and 商業電台 CRHK, which had Cantonese and English channels each. Her "Circle Game" topped the charts of all the four channels. This was the first accomplishment in the music history of Hong Kong. Nobody ever breaks the record up until now. Agnes became the youngest singer who appeared on the hit chart. The records sold 18,000 copies.

   During the Spring of  the same year, Irene who had a debut in Japan, brought back a song called "Ikigai" by a Japanese singer, Saori Yuki.  She covered the song and recorded it as "Sweet Dreams" in  English. The song also made a hit. She instantly became a star and was named "Hong Kong Queen."

On TV program in Hong Kong

Agnes had appeared on TVB's programs "Star Show" and "歡樂今宵" but after that, she signed on with RTV and took charge of the regular program "美齡晚會 Agnes Chan Show." She had her own program only for four months after she debuted.

    This thirty minutes program was aired from eight o'clock every week, on which she introduced competent students, volunteer groups and various
persons who were much talked about, visiting the local schools, and sang
new song accompanying herself at the beginning and the end of the program.
The program continued for two years.


At Christmas in the year, Irene and Helen including Agnes together
appeared on the special program of "
美齡晚會"  This caused a sensation and "Chan sisters" became the talk of the town.

 Unfortunately, Helen did not enter the show business, but rather a medical school in Hong Kong University. At present time she is a doctor who specialized in children.

   At the end of the year, she won an award for the Best Asian Singer Prize
as well as chosen to be one of "Hong Kong's Ten Top Stars."

   An unknown high-school student,
美齡, now became Agnes Chan, a big
 star. Agnes was not only famous at home in Hong Kong but also around South East Asia.

    But her popularity also had a price to pay.  Her school friends left
her. Her friends said that " 
美齡 became influenced by fame," and broke up  with her. She faced bullying that she was spat on. She, herself, was shocked, upset and suffered. "I hadn't changed at all," she thought so
herself. On the other hand, her volunteer activities in which she had
involved such that, was declining.

   Completely aside from her own situations, the star "Agnes Chan" kept on walking alone. Releasing records one after another, she became to appear in movie too. she made a contract with Shaw Brothers Studio, a major movie company, and made her debut in the movie "
年輕人" in March, 1972. And in the same year, she also appeared in movies in a row, "" in June and "叛逆 the Generation Gap" in September.

All of these movies had the same theme as teen-age romance film. Shaw Brothers did not require her to process an acting ability, the studio convinced that her appearance alone would be enough to help films with the box office. Actually, their thinking was right. Later she said that she had trouble in learning the lines because those films were made in Mandarin.

    On the interesting note, she wrote lyrics and music of two theme songs of the movie "
叛逆," which were "Original (1)" and "You are 21, I am 16."

   In addition to this, an Agnes Chan page also ran in the Hong-Kong
Standard, on which she wrote column, lyrics and sometimes illustration. But professionals touched up those. And she admits she used to pad out with listings of the American, English and Japanese charts.

   Agnes says about how she thought her obsessive popularity like that, that "In retrospect, I can see that I was a teenage idol. But at the time I didn't understand what I was doing. I just knew that I had to keep to my schedules."

   Come to think of it now, it seems that that situation is not so much different from the situation when she debuted in Japan. To stretch a point, the difference between them would be that, in Hong Kong, she had no problem in communication and could comprehend the jobs to do whenever she was busy due to her own promotion of them, but in Japan, she didn't so much. However this difference will have serious impact on her as soon as she made a debut in Japan.

    There was no artist's agency in the show business of Hong Kong  at the time. As a result, Agnes had to do all the promotions and management by herself. She was just a minor yet, so her parents and sister had to also help her.

   In  1972, Agnes was awarded the Best Asian Singer Prize for the second time in a row as well as was chosen to be  one of "Hong Kong's Ten Top Stars" for the second time. Among the others of "Hong Kong's Ten Top Stars" this year, there were Bruce Lee who made the "Dragon" a worldwide hit, and
鄧麗君 Teresa Teng.

鄧麗君 was from Taiwan and in the same generation as 
美齡. And she enjoyed enormous popularity as a pop singer in South East Asia and a enka singer in Japan. Agnes was a pop singer in Japan too at the time, but of course she didn't know she would be an enka singer and sing a song originally made for 鄧麗君 30 years later.

    Before Agnes debuted in Japan, Teresa released three singles of two songs, three singles of four songs and two albums in Hong Kong.

    At the last of this chapter, I'd like to introduce an episode of her, which happened just before she reached eighteen. To be precise, this episode happened in the summer 1973, when she first returned to Hong Kong from Japan after she debuted in Japan.

   Agnes was invited to Thailand for the promotion of the Hong Kong movie "
叛逆." At the time in Thailand, Hong Kong movie enjoyed popularity. Agnes's popularity was also tremendous. The Princess of Thailand asked her to meet her in person. So, it was decided that she first met the Crown prince and heard various things to learn how to have an audience and so on, before she met with the princess.

    She thought the forth Crown prince she had met at that time was so nice and she had a longing for him.

   This episode was introduced to Japan and he was invited to Japan as a person of her first love by a TV program.

   After that, she received a letter from him. But she didn't write the reply. She says that it's because she seemed to fall in love with him really if she wrote the reply and was afraid of it.

   Also, it's said that she was given a ring by him. The Crown  prince also wrote a song for Agnes. But the song was not sent to her.