不論閣下係咪追星一族,近來都會感受到兩隊男子組合Mirror與Error嘅人氣係幾咁旺盛!相比起Mirror,Error四子雖然唔玩勁歌熱舞(雖然都唔差嘅),唔行靚仔型格路線,但勝在歌曲騎呢,盡顯四位成員嘅幽默形像。呢種獨特嘅音樂風格,喺現今嘅主流樂壇較為罕見,故此令唔少聽眾耳目一新。

大家又知唔知道,趣怪盞鬼,向來都係香港流行曲嘅一大特色? 唔好以為廣東歌淨係得情情塔塔,查實透過口語化嘅入詞、以「粗鄙俚俗」嘅方式去反映草根心聲、並且以搞笑嘅口吻去諷刺社會時弊,原來已經好有歷史!早於戰後50、60年代,已經出現一啲以日常粵語入曲嘅諧趣歌。雖然佢哋稱不上有文學價值,但聽落就份外親切。以當時嘅一張粵語流行曲唱片《歡場三怪》為例,當中收錄咗由鄧寄塵、鄭君綿等人演唱嘅通俗小曲,比較出名嘅有《飛哥跌落坑渠》(1958)同《詐肚痛》(1961)。

With the advent of two local boy bands, Mirror and Error, Hong Kong has quickly spiralled into a fanatic craze. While Mirror follows a more conventional composition formulae, Error, however, is a four-men boy band who wins over our hearts with its unique self-teasing humour. They portray themselves as ‘losers’ (however far from the truth) in contrast to the stereotypes of a successful boyband. This atypical yet down-to-earth attitude is what differentiated them from the herd.

Featuring self-mockery in songs, however, may not be as ground-breaking as one might think. Contrary to the view that Hong Kong Pop music scene has been inundated by sentimental love songs, Cantopop actually has a long tradition of being “charismatically vulgar”. The sub-genre of eccentrically playful music debuted in the post-war era and was particularly well-known in 1950-1960s. These songs usually incorporate Cantonese idioms (sometimes mixed with English) into the lyrics and are often easy on the ears. On top of that, they allude to social issues or local culture in a witty, creative way.

《歡場三怪》是當時的知名粵語流行曲唱片 The Three Weirdos is one of the famous album of eccentrically playful music

先同大家介紹下《飛哥跌落坑渠》: 

//飛哥跌落坑渠,飛女睇見流淚;

似醬鴨臭腥攻鼻,飛女夾硬扶住佢。

飛哥跌落坑渠,飛女心痛流淚 ;

臭夾壓個啲滋味,飛女索著唔順氣。//

原本浪漫動人嘅歐西流行曲,配上惹笑嘅歌詞同幸災樂禍嘅唱腔後,係咪充滿違和感呢?話時話,邊個係「飛哥」「飛女」?原來呢個係舊年代對不良少年嘅稱呼。佢哋成日蝦蝦霸霸,人見人憎,難怪作詞人會借呢首歌去嘲笑佢地,寄望班百厭嘅飛哥「終歸會跌跛」。

Let’s look into A Teddy Boy Fell Into the Gutters first:

“A teddy boy fell into the gutters, a teddy girl burst into tears. 

She tried to hold him up, who was as stinky as a braised duck. 

A teddy boy fell into the gutters, a teddy girl cried heartbreakingly. 

Yet his urine-smell choked the teddy girl.”

Originally a romantic American movie theme song sung by Frank Sinatra, the lyrics were rewritten into something completely different in Cantonese in 1958. You may wonder, who are these “teddy boys”? They referred to teenagers who engaged in gangs in post-war Hong Kong. The lyricist expressed his contempt towards the teddy boy by saying that ‘(he) will fall down and break his leg’.

舊時俗稱的「飛仔」和「飛女」teddy boy and teddy girl in the old time

另一首街知巷聞嘅諧趣曲,不得不提《詐肚痛》

//你詐肚痛,去廁所排長龍;

詐詐諦,做工夫詐肚痛。

你去買餸,又吼啱蛇王榕;

你兩個,拍起拖四處貢。//

首歌最有趣之處,在於兩個歌手一路對唱,一路互數對方不是:一個扮唔舒服偷懶唔翻工,另一個就趁買餸嗰陣拍拖周圍去 — 聽聽吓,係咪幻想到一對冤家當街嗌交嘅畫面呢?大家可能習慣左歌詞要有文化有深意,所以未必想像到當年嘅流行曲,居然會直接將對話內容唱出嚟,仲特登用上「詐諦」、「四處貢」等各種地道俚語,盞鬼之餘非常生動。

Another renowned weird-funny song is Faking a Stomachache  

“Girl: Faking a stomachache, you went AWOL to the toilet. 

What a cheat! Faking it in the middle of work. 

Boy: During your shopping, you spotted Yung the snake-chef.

You two got together and went fooling around.” 

The song is about a boy and a girl bickering back and forth. The girl condemns the boy for faking a stomachache to skip work, while the boy retorts that she went on a date and ignored her chores. The song was not going for the highbrow. It rejoiced in celebrating the mundane and trivial with ample use of slangs.

同期仲有鄭君綿同鄭碧影合唱嘅《才子佳人》(1960),講述一個充闊佬嘅男人去追女仔嘅經過:

//擰柳腰好似蘇菲亞羅蘭(Sophia Loren),

又似惹火寶烈吉妲(Gina Lollobrigida);

佛見到都會起大痰,

花靚仔想到心爛。//

Gentleman and Lady is another influential song. It is about a man who pretends to be rich to date a woman. This is how he describes her beauty:    

“Your swaying waist reminds me of Sophia Loren. 

You are as hot as Gina Lollobrigida. 

Even the Buddha will be tempted by your beauty, 

And the teddy boys will think of you enchantedly.” 

蘇菲亞羅蘭(Sophia Loren)和寶烈吉妲(Gina Lollobrigida)

呢兩位係當時紅極一時嘅外國女明星,更係唔少男士嘅夢中女神。能夠將生活上嘅潮流熱話融入歌詞,並且形像化咁用「佛都起痰」同「心都爛」去形容對偶象嘅愛,填詞人嘅功力可見一斑。同《詐肚痛》類似,呢首歌嘅主人翁都係被取笑嘅「下靶」角色。今時今日,礙於「偶像包袱」嘅當紅歌星好少肯放低身段比人笑,但原來喺舊時代,流行歌手不知幾鍾意扮鬼扮馬!

In two ways the lyricist demonstrated his literary mastery. Firstly, he skillfully incorporated trendy topics by bringing Loren and Lollobrigida, the movie goddesses of their times, into the song. Secondly, he humorously depicted a man’s romantic fantasy by using vivid metaphors, such as the “tempted Buddha”. Similar to the previous song, here the male vocalist plays a laughable caricature. Artists from the previous generation entertained being roasted so as to inspire laughter from the audiences, which is hard to imagine in today’s pop stars who have to constantly maintain a perfect image.

粗鄙俚俗嘅傳統,去到七十年代又係點樣架呢?當時講起粵語流行曲,不能不提廣東歌之父許冠傑。「歌神」嘅金曲雅俗共賞,唱盡市井心聲,奠定廣東歌喺流行文化中嘅地位。阿Sam唱過嘅搞笑歌多不勝數,但若論歌詞啜核,《打雀英雄傳》(1976)絕對無出其右。

本曲惡搞自劇集《射鵰英雄傳》嘅主題曲,將氣勢磅礡嘅樂曲套落打蔴雀嘅尋常場景之中,呈現出四方城嘅激烈戰況,唔講仲以為真係打緊仗:

//上下家,搏曬懵,依牙鬆槓斬眉斬眼打籠通;

係咁鬆,正衰公,難為氹仔會浸呀浸蛟龍。//

How did the sub-genre fare in the 1970s? It arguable reached its peak with the contributions by Sam Hui, the “god of songs”. Among his countless songs, The Legend of the Mahjong Heroes was highly regarded as his magnum opus. The song is a parody of The Legend of the Condor Heroes, a wuxia drama series theme song, and depicts an epic mahjong battle among a few rivals.

“Players on the left and right, ready to take advantage, send each other secret signals by the blink of eye and twist of mouth.

Such blatant cheating…what a crook! No wonder even a dragon can drown in a cesspool.”

《打雀英雄傳》來自專輯《半斤八兩》 The Legend of the Mahjong Heroes comes the album The Private Eyes

話明打蔴雀,填詞嘅阿Sam同黎彼得將各種竹戰術語嵌入歌詞中:大四喜、混一色⋯⋯「一簡白板發財做眼槓紅中」呢一句,你又識得幾多竹戰名詞?首歌另一個特色,係每段結尾都係重疊押韻句,好似「面呀面都紅」、「露呀露歡容」咁,活潑咁呈現蔴省檯上嘅百態。

講到底,正因為粵語嘅語彙夠晒地道豐富,以口語入詞先能夠「我手寫我心」,打入人心– 呢個就係呢種歌多年歷久不衰嘅原因。由諧趣曲到流行曲,通俗之餘,佢哋處處流露對大眾庶民嘅關懷— 邊個話低俗一定係衰野?幾代過後嘅今日,粗鄙俚俗嘅音樂風格,喺Error等新世代流行歌手身上再次出現,又豈是偶然?

想知道更多香港流行音樂嘅奇趣知識,就千祈唔好錯過我哋嚟緊為香港文化博物館製作嘅「瞧潮香港60+」:流行音樂與電台廣播篇

Sam and Bei-Dak Lai the lyricists put all kinds of mahjong jargons into the lyrics, such as “four grand happiness”, “mixed one suit”… In the line “combining white dragon and green dragon to “kong” the red dragon”, how many terms can you recognize? In addition, the rhythmic repetitions after each paragraph reinforce the overall playful tone of the song.

The success of eccentrically playful music has everything to do with the colloquial nature of Cantonese. The dynamic collection of puns, double entendre and innuendos make them fun and relatable. Vulgar and unrefined maybe, but they connect with the audience in a personal way. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that the sub-genre is seeing a revival in the new generation of musicians like Error.

Interested in learning more about the colorful world of Cantopop? Don’t miss out our upcoming virtual tour for Hong Kong Heritage Museum – Hong Kong Pop 60+: Popular Music and Radio Broadcasting (Cantonese only)!