Wong Ka Kui

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Wong Ka Kui
Chinese name 黃家駒 (traditional)
Jyutping Wong4 Ga1 Keoi1 (Cantonese)
Origin Hong Kong
Resting place Tseung Kwan O, Hong Kong
Occupation Singer-songwriter
Genre(s) Alternative rock, Art rock, Chinese rock, Cantopop, Hard rock, Pop rock
Instrument(s) Vocals, guitar, piano,synthesizer, bass guitar, harmonica, Western concert flute
Label(s)
Years active 1983-93

Wong Ka Kui (10 June 1962 – 30 June 1993) was a Hong Kong singer-songwriter. He was the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and the founder member of the Hong Kong rock band Beyond. He composed more than ninety percent of the songs for Beyond and wrote a few award-winning lyrics.

While filming a gameshow for Fuji Television in Tokyo, Japan on June 24, 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]

While a teenager, Wong Ka Kui was greatly interested in European and American music. At age 15, he bought an acoustic guitar and learned how to play by himself. 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 a rock band called Beyond. Yip Sai Wing was the drummer of the band and Wong Ka Kui was the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist. 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 younger brother, Wong Ka Keung joined the band as a bass player. Thereafter, Beyond remained an independent band, playing music at nightclubs and schools. In 1986, Beyond self-published "Goodbye Ideals" 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 hard rock style was not widely accepted by listeners in Hong Kong. Disappointing album sales presented Beyond with a dilemma.[1] In 1987, Beyond released their first album, "Arabian Dancing Girl". Their music began softened with synthesizer, but their album sale still did not meet expectations. At the same time, they were constantly criticized by other rock bands about commercializing their original hard rock music. In 1988, Beyond released the album Modern Stage with some pop songs. For the first time, they included some slow-paced, love theme songs as well as songs with satirical lyrics about their Society. Again, their album sale was not successful, and their management company threatened that no more opportunities would be provided to them if they fail again.

First success[edit]

Realizing the situation they were in, Beyond released their next album "Secret Police" with songs that were more within the popular genre. Songs such as "The Land" and "Loving You" from the recording "Secret Police" 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" and "Social Party". Truly Love You is a tribute song to mothers, which is one of the best-known songs from Beyond. "Social Party" 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", which is a tribute to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, former president of South Africa. 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. His stage name was "Koma"; many fans still blaming this "cursed" name. 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. Wong Ka Kui's signature work "Under a Vast Sky", sometimes translated as "Vast Sky and Boundless Sea" 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]

In order 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 June 24, 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 June 30, 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/ #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 January 26, 2008. The episode labeled 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 Japanese rock group Bakufu-Slump, "Him" by Soler, "Wish You Well" by his brother Wong Ka Keung, "Paradise" by Beyond, "Combat for 20 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 his former bandmates while they sang the song "Combat for 20 years" in memory of him.[4]

Discography[edit]

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

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]