Monday, November 25, 2013

HK Song Spotlight: “誰可改變” (“Who Can Change?”) by 譚詠麟 Alan Tam


Oddly enough, I don’t listen to the songs of legendary entertainer 譚詠麟 Alan Tam enough. Dominating the music scene in the 1980s with his pop songs, it would be impossible for a HK pop fan to not hear one of Alan’s songs. It is probably because I don’t own any Alan Tam albums that I did not listen to him that often.

Even though I don’t own any of his albums, there was no way I could escape his drama soundtracks. A drama theme song that I am particularly fond of is “誰可改變” (“Who Can Change?”) from the 1984 TVB drama, 天師執位 (The Fearless Duo). The theme song greatly accentuated the love between a pair of star-crossed lovers, 林楚燕 Lam Chor-Yin (翁美玲 Barbara Yung) and 司徒文武 Szeto Man-Mo (苗僑偉 Michael Miu). 


Honestly, I think Barbara Yung is one of the most beautiful Hong Kong actresses and Michael Miu is so handsome. They make a great pair, but too bad they didn’t fall in love in real life. They did so many dramas together. I always wondered what would have happened if they did fall in love in real life. Would Barbara Yung still be alive today? Barbara Yung tragically died young at the age of 26 in an apparent suicide. Many speculated that it was due to a failed relationship with supposed actor, 湯鎮業 Kent Tong. Anyway, Barbara and Michael’s love story in dramas will forever be memorable in my mind. If you enjoy this coupling, they also make an awesome couple in the 1984 TVB drama, 楚留香之蝙蝠傳奇 (The New Adventures of Chor Lau-Heung).

The theme song, “Who Can Change?” has a special meaning to me. Listening to Alan’s song reminds me of how romantic a song can be. The song isn’t especially about romance, but talks about the tragedy of a romance where one wishes that one can turn back time. Even so, I always get into a romantic mood when I hear this song. I think Alan Tam is the only person who can deliver this type of tragically romantic feeling to me.

I guess the 誰可改變("Who Can Change") title or song is really popular because Alan Tam released a 《誰可改變15週年紀念集》 “Who Can Change 15th Anniversary Collection”, which happens to be Alan Tam’s 39th published album. Each hit song is sung by a guest artist instead of Alan. The person who sings 誰可改變in this album is one of my favorite singers, 許志安 Andy Hui. 誰可改變 is originally included in Alan Tam's 1984 album, "愛的根源" (The Origin of Love).

When I searched around Youtube, I found that several singers have covered the song. I shall review those in the order of my favorites. Even though famous stars have covered the song, I still love the original version the best.

#1 – 李克勤 Hacken Lee
Bravo! Great job! I think he captures the feeling of the song beautifully. I have to feature a Hacken song some time on Wehaiyo!

#2 – 陳慧嫻 Priscilla Chan           
Priscilla’s version is sung sweetly in the all-familiar Priscilla style of yearning. I do love Priscilla’s voice, but I rather hear it sung poignantly.

#3 – 許志安 Andy Hui
Andy covered the Blues version of this song. While the Blues style is refreshing, the guiro instrument, at least that’s what I think it is, which makes a scrape-like sound, is highly annoying when used at every measure.

#4 –  張栢芝 Cecilia Cheng duets with 譚詠麟 Alan Tam
Coming from a film shoot, Cecilia made time to be a guest at an Alan Tam concert. Everything seemed nice except she mixed up the lyrics "但有份沒有緣"  with "有份有緣."  Cecilia was probably tired so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.

#5 – 黎明 Leon Lai
Leon is a great singer, but his deep voice with a serious tone does not fit this song at all. 

Favorite Lines:

I really love the beginning part because typically, in dramas, that’s how the main characters meet. They somehow have a misunderstanding and will fight and bicker in the beginning just like Lam Chor-Yin (Barbara Yung) and  Szeto Man-Mo (Michael Miu) in The Fearless Duo. They meet, argue, and initially think that they are not meant to be together even though their respective families set up an arranged marriage between them.

曾經說出  ([I] Once, spoke out)
今生不愛你 ([In] This life, [I would] not love you)
我共你是 (I, together [with] you, are)
但有份, 沒有緣 (But, having destiny, not having fate)

I feel pain when I hear these lyrics. When somebody I love ignores me or doesn’t pay attention to me, I feel hurt. Once a lover realizes that he or she loves someone that he or she has sworn not to love, the person he or she loves no longer returns the feeling and has moved on. Thus, the love story takes a sad, unexpected turn.

輪到你 (Turn arrive you [When it’s your turn])
不瞅不睬 ([you] not see, not notice [you don’t see, don’t notice])

I feel like these two lines are the most romantic lines of the whole song due to Alan’s emotional, delicate singing technique. Who can take time and reverse it? Alan sings it so poignantly. I can feel that not only is he singing the words, but he is also crying inside as well out of desperation, pleading for somebody to turn back time.

誰可以將 (Who, by means of, [can] take)
將光陰倒轉 (Take light dark turn upside down turn [Take the time available and reverse it])

Now, it’s time to listen to the song. As usual, I translate more on the literal side so that you can understand the true meaning of the lyrics. Of course, I will put in editor comments in brackets.

As a bonus, I found a Youtube video with footage from The Fearless Duo so our Wehaiyo! readers can get a feel of the love story between Lam Chor-Yin and  Szeto Man-Mo.

誰可改變” (“Who Can Change?”) sung by  譚詠麟 Alan Tam

作曲/Composer: 顧嘉輝
編曲/Arranger: 顧嘉輝
填詞/Lyracist: 鄭國江

曾經說出  ([I] Once, spoke out)
今生不愛你 ([In] This life, [I would] not love you)
我共你是 (I, together [with] you, are)
但有份, 沒有緣 (But, having destiny, not having fate)

情切是你 (Feelings absolutely is  you [My feelings for you is absolute]) 
痴痴相戀 (Foolishly, foolishly loving each other)
將心中愛念 (To take [your] inner thoughts [of] love [and] yearning) 
為我捐 (For me, [you] contribute)

如今我竟 (Nowadays, I actually/daringly/surprisingly/unexpectedly)
竟將心意轉 (actually/daringly/surprisingly/unexpectedly take [your] intentions, shifting [it])
那份愛念 (That love and yearning)
沒有盡, 沒有完 (Has no limit, has no finish [end])


輪到你 (Turn arrive you [When it’s your turn])
不瞅不睬 ([you] not see, not notice [you don’t see, don’t notice])
心中的愛念 ([your] inner thoughts of love [and] yearning)
盡化煙 (Completely changes [into] smoke)

能否改變 (Can not [to] change? [Is it possible to change?])


還想再等 (Still thinking again [to] wait)
沒法息愛念 (Not law [I cannot do anything to] stop loving [and] yearning [for you] [I can’t do anything to stop loving and yearning for you])
但偏偏你 (But, slanting, slanting [contrary to expectations], you)
回頭也倦 (Turn around [your] head, also weary [Turn your head, also weary])

煩惱是我 (Bothered, irritated is I [Distressed is I])
流淚更無言 (Flow tears, even more no words [Shedding tears, even more silent])
情逝去不再留半點 (Feelings pass away, not again [to] remain half a speck [Feelings elapse, no longer retaining the least bit])

誰可以將 (Who, by means of, [can] take)
將光陰倒轉 (Take light dark turn upside down turn [Take the time available and reverse it])
再讓往日 (Again, let former day[s] [To again, let former days]
復現眼前 (Return, appear, eyes front [Reappear before my eyes])

能再共你 (To be able to, again, together with you)
漫步田園 (Vast step [Strolling through] field[s] [and] garden[s])
心中的愛念 ([my] inner thoughts of love [and] yearning)
為你牽 (For you [to] control)

求可改變 (Request [to]  permit [this] change [I request this change])

Repeat from *** until the end~


Alan Tam & Hacken Lee Live Concert 2003 Karaoke (4DVD) (DTS-ES Version) - $33.99

from: YesAsia


  1. I love this song since I was little without understanding the meaning. You can hear the yearning through the tune. Such talents back in the golden 80's. Thanks for the translation, the song definitely went with the drama.