Wong Ka Kui

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Wong Ka Kui
Chinese name 黃家駒 (traditional)
Origin China (Hong Kong)
Born (1962-06-10)10 June 1962
Hong Kong
Died 30 June 1993(1993-06-30) (aged 31)
Tokyo, Japan
Occupation Singer, songwriter, actor
Genre(s) Alternative rock, art rock, Chinese rock, Cantopop, hard rock, pop rock
Instrument(s) Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, piano, harmonica, flute
Voice type(s) Baritone
Label(s) Cinepoly Records (1987–92)
Warner Music Group (1992–93)
Years active 1983–93
Associated acts Beyond

Wong Ka Kui (10 June 1962 – 30 June 1993) was a Hong Kong singer and songwriter, best known as the leader and co-founder of the rock band Beyond, for which he was vocalist, rhythm guitarist and principal songwriter. He wrote a few award-winning lyrics.

While filming a gameshow for Fuji Television in Tokyo, Japan on 24 June 1993, Wong Ka Kui fell off a three-meter platform head first, and died three days later from head injuries.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

When Wong Ka Kui was a teenager, he was greatly interested in European and American music. At the age of fifteen, his neighbour gave him an shabby acoustic guitar and taught himself to play it. From that moment on, he spent most of his time learning music on his own while still working other jobs.[1]

The formation of Beyond[edit]

In 1983, Wong Ka Kui met Yip Sai Wing and formed the band Beyond. Yip played drums and Wong sang and played rhythm guitar. In the same year they won an award for "Best Band" in a competition sponsored by Guitar Magazine. Paul Wong, who initially designed posters and record covers for Beyond, joined the band later on as a guitarist. In 1984, Wong Ka Kui's brother, Wong Ka Keung joined the band on bass. Thereafter, Beyond remained an independent band, playing shows at nightclubs and schools. In 1986, Beyond self-published Goodbye Ideals (再見理想) on cassette tape. Their early styles were mostly hard rock, new wave, post-punk, experimental, and avant-garde.[2] Leslie Chan, who later became their manager, attended one of their live performances and was impressed by their style. As a result, Chan invited Beyond to sign with Kinn's music. However, their musical style was not widely accepted by listeners in Hong Kong. Disappointing album sales presented Beyond with a dilemma.[1] In 1987, Beyond recorded and release released their first album Arabian Dancing Girl (阿拉伯跳舞女郎). Their sound was softened with keyboards, but their album sales still did not meet expectations. At the same time, they were constantly criticised by other rock bands about commercializing their original hard rock. In 1988, Beyond released the pop album Modern Stage (現代舞台). For the first time, they included some slow-paced, love songs as well as songs with satirical lyrics about society. Again, their album sales were poor; their management company threatened that no more opportunities would be provided to them if they failed again.

First success[edit]

Realizing the situation they were in, Beyond recorded and released their next album Secret Police (秘密警察) with songs that were more within the popular genre. Songs such as "The Land" (大地) and "Loving You" (喜歡你) from the recording "Secret Police" (秘密警察) gained tremendous popularity, followed by Beyond's increased recognition and public appearances. After that, several of their compositions also proved to be incredibly successful. They received awards for "Truly Love You" (真的愛你) and "Social Party" (俾面派對). Truly Love You is a tribute song to mothers, which is one of the best-known songs from Beyond. "Social Party" (俾面派對) is a satirical song about the Hong Kong entertainment industry, in which musicians are often asked to appear in unrelated TV game shows.

Social concerns[edit]

Gradually Beyond became the most popular band in Hong Kong. This at the same time marked the turning point for their musical career. They paid more attention to social issues and the ongoing events around the world. Wong Ka Kui won the Best Lyrics award for his touching, inspiring lyrics in "The Glorious Days" (光輝歲月), which is a tribute to former president of South Africa Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. In 1991, Beyond visited Kenya and witnessed the grinding poverty and misery there. Upon their return, a number of songs were written addressing the serious problems of Africa. The Beyond Third World Foundation was created in the same year with profits from the redistribution of an early album.

Career in Japan[edit]

Realizing the restriction on original music in Hong Kong, Beyond decided to redirect their career to Japan. In January 1992, Beyond signed a worldwide management contract with Japanese record label Amuse. During the year, they released an album called The Revolution Continues. In May 1993, Beyond returned to Hong Kong with a new album Rock and Roll (樂與怒). Wong Ka Kui's signature work "Under a Vast Sky" won the Best Original Song award in Hong Kong. Before they went back to Japan, Beyond held unplugged live concerts in Hong Kong and Malaysia, which were Beyond's last concert with Wong Ka Kui.

Death[edit]

To promote their new record, Beyond participated in the filming of a very popular Japanese game show "Ucchan-nanchan no yarunara yaraneba" (ウッチャンナンチャンのやるならやらねば!) in Fuji Television studio on 24 June 1993. The stage floor was wet and slippery. While playing a game, Wong Ka Kui fell off the platform with one of the hosts Teruyoshi Uchimura. Wong Ka Kui fell 2.7m to the ground, where his head landing first and fell into coma immediately.[3] News about this accident was scarcely covered in the Japanese press. However, people in Hong Kong were shocked as soon as they learned about this accident. Realizing the tremendous popularity Wong Ka Kui had in Hong Kong, people in Japan paid more attention to him, inviting plenty of medical experts to help. At the same time, Beyond's fans in both Hong Kong and Japan kept praying for Wong Ka Kui. On 30 June 1993, the Japanese representative announced Wong Ka Kui's death in a press conference. Wong Ka Kui's funeral procession caused traffic in various major streets in Hong Kong to grind to a standstill, and almost every famous Hong Kong Cantopop singer was in attendance to pay their respects. He was buried in Tseung Kwan O Cemetery in section 15/ row 6/ No. 25. His tombstone is made of white marble & there's a guitar.

Legacy[edit]

Beginning in December 2007, Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) released a documentary series called "A Legend Never Dies", featuring Roman Tam, Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, Teresa Teng, Wong Ka Kui and Danny Chan. The episode of Wong Ka Kui was aired on TVB on 26 January 2008. The episode labelled Wong Ka Kui "The Spring Water of Hong Kong Music Industry."

On 8 November 2005, Hong Kong post office released a stamp collection called "Hong Kong Pop Singers". Wong Ka Kui was one of the five singers who had their images printed on stamps.

In a vote conducted by Sina China in 2007, Wong Ka Kui was one of the Most Missed Celebrity along with Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui There are many tribute songs dedicated to Wong Ka Kui, including "The Champion of Love" by the rock band Bakufu-Slump, "Him" by the rock band Soler, "Wish You Well" by his brother Wong Ka Keung, "Paradise" by Beyond, "Combat for twenty years" by Beyond and "The Story" by Paul Wong.

In the last concert of Beyond in 2003, Wong Ka Kui has been resurrected in the form of a life-size video projection, alongside the remaining band members while they sang the song "Combat for twenty years" in memory of him.[4]

Discography[edit]

  • Goodbye Ideals (再見理想) (cassette) 1986
  • Waiting Forever (永遠等待) (E.P.) 1987
  • A New World (新世界) (E.P) 1987
  • Arabian Dancing Girl (阿拉伯跳舞女郎) (L.P) 1987
  • A Lonely Kiss (E.P.) (孤單一吻) 1987
  • Modern Stage (L.P.) (現代舞台) 1988
  • Secret Police (L.P.) (秘密警察) 1988
  • The Best of Beyond Yesterday's Footprints (L.P.) (舊日的足跡) 1988
  • The Real Testimony (L.P.) (真的見證) 1989
  • A Moment of Romance Movie Soundtrack (E.P.) (<天若有情>電影原聲) 1990
  • Win Against Your Own Demon (E.P.) (戰勝心魔) 1990
  • The Fate Party (L.P.) (命運派對) 1990
  • Hesitate (L.P.) (猶豫) 1991
  • BEYOND LIVE (Concert) (L.P.) (91生命接觸演唱會) 1991
  • The Revolution Continues (L.P.) (繼續革命) 1992
  • The Ultimate Emptiness ( E.P.) (無盡空虛) 1992
  • Beyond Belief (Mandarin) (信念) 1992
  • Rock and Roll (TC: 樂與怒) 1993
  • Wong Ka Kui's Everlasting Spirit-Special Collection ( L.P.) 1993

Filmography[edit]

  • Cageman (籠民) (1992)
  • The Banquet (豪門夜宴) (1991)
  • Beyond's Diary (Beyond日記之莫欺少年窮) (1991)
  • Happy Ghost 4 (開心鬼救開心鬼) (1990)
  • The Fun, the Luck, and the Tycoon (吉星拱照) (1989)
  • The Black Wall (黑色迷牆) (1989)
  • Sworn Brothers (肝膽相照) (1987)

Selected awards[edit]

  • 1989 – won "Song of the Year" award for the song "Truly Love You" at Hong Kong's Jade Solid Gold Awards

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]