Wong Ka Kui

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Wong Ka Kui
黃家駒
Wong Ka Kui.jpg
Wong in 1993
Born(1962-06-10)10 June 1962
Died30 June 1993(1993-06-30) (aged 31)
Cause of death
Burial placeTseung Kwan O Chinese Permanent Cemetery
NationalityBritish
EducationSecondary 5, Baldwin College (博允英文中學)
Occupation
  • Musician
  • singer-songwriter
Years active1983–1993
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese黃家駒
Simplified Chinese黄家驹
Musical career
Also known asKoma (translated in Japanese)
Genres
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Labels
Associated actsBeyond

Wong Ka Kui (Chinese: 黃家駒; Jyutping: Wong4 Gaa1-keoi1; 10 June 1962 – 30 June 1993) was a Hong Kong musician singer, songwriter and occasional actor. He was a co-founder of the rock band Beyond, where he was the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter. His brother Wong Ka Keung is the band's bass guitarist. He was known for his distinctively husky voice and remarkably hollow voice.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Wong grew up in So Uk Estate, Sham Shui Po. Wong was introduced to European and American music by a schoolmate in his junior years of secondary school. He later became a fan of David Bowie.

At the age of around 15, Wong taught himself to play the guitar after he acquired an acoustic guitar pre-owned by a neighbour. He bought a second-handed electric guitar, a red Fender Stratocaster. His main instruments were the Stratocaster series played in studios, award ceremonies and concerts.

Wong worked in various jobs, including being an office assistant, a mechanic, a scenery decorator for TV company after his graduation from secondary school.[1] He was also a salesman in the same insurance company of drummer Yip Sai Wing.

The formation of Beyond[edit]

In 1980, Wong knew drummer Yip Sai Wing as a friend through the boss from a piano company. With lead guitarist William Tang (鄧煒謙) and bassist Lee Wing Chiu (李榮潮), they became the band's temporary lineup. In 1983, the band signed up and participated in a contest by "Guitar Magazine" under the band name "Beyond". Tang created the name to make a purpose to transcend their music levels. After the joining of bassist Wong Ka Keung in 1984 and lead guitarist Paul Wong in 1985, the band held their first concert Waiting Forever (永遠等待演唱會), in which they funded their own money in Caritas Institute of Community Education.

In 1986, Lau Chi Yuen (劉志遠) joined the band as lead guitarist and keyboard to Beyond's first both album Goodbye Ideals (再見理想) and cassette Waiting Forever (永遠等待), which Beyond funded by themselves. Until under assistance of manager Leslie Chan (陳健添), Beyond's images and music became more public-accepted. The band then signed a contract with the manager's label, KINN's MUSIC LTD. In 1987, Beyond released the album Arabian Dancing Girls (亞拉伯跳舞女郎) and Modern Stage (現代舞台) in the following year.

1988–1991: First success, Cinepoly Records and social concerns[edit]

In 1988, Beyond were recommended by Leslie Chan to Cinepoly's proprietor Chan Siu Po (陳少寶). The band signed a contract to the label and made the album Secret Police (秘密警察). In 1988, Beyond won awards in Jade Solid Gold Best Ten Music Awards Presentation by one of the album's song "The Grand Earth (大地)". In 1989, the band won awards by the song "Truly Love You" (真的愛你) from the album Beyond IV in Jade Solid Gold Best Ten Music Awards Presentation and both RTHK Top 10 Gold Songs Awards. In 1990, Beyond won awards by the song "Glorious Years (光輝歲月)" from the album Destiny Party (命運派對) in Jade Solid Gold Best Ten Music Awards Presentation. Wong also won "the Best Lyrics Award" (最佳填詞獎) individually.

From 1990 to 1991, Beyond paid more attention to the social issues and ongoing events around the world. The music and lyrics in the song "Glorious Years" (光輝歲月) was created during Wong's visit to New Guinea in 1990 and it is a tribute to former South-African president Nelson Mandela. In 1991, the band visited Kenya and witnessed the grinding poverty and misery there. Wong was again enlightened to write music and lyrics in the song "Amani" from the album Hesitation (猶豫). 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,[clarification needed] 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 Continue the Revolution (繼續革命). In May 1993, Beyond returned to Hong Kong with a new album Rock and Roll (樂與怒). Wong's signature work "Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies" (海闊天空) 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]

Beyond migrated to Japan in 1992 to continue their music industry business. On 24 June 1993, Beyond participated in the popular Japanese gameshow, "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 the Fuji Television studio to promote their new record. An accident occurred 15 minutes after the show commenced. The stage floor was very narrow and slippery, and Wong fell off the platform with one of the hosts Teruyoshi Uchimura live on the air. Wong Ka Kui fell 2.7 metres to the ground, landing headfirst and falling into a coma immediately.[2] Wong was rushed to the hospital. Due to the traumatic head injuries he suffered, the hospital was said to have operated cautiously, but they in fact never operated on him, saying they would wait for him to wake up.

On 26 June, several music fans of Beyond gathered at the carpark lot of the Commercial Radio Hong Kong Station to pray for him. While Wong remained in the hospital, the band's Japanese management company hired a Qigong Master to cure his injury, but ended without any improvement. Six days later, at 16:15, in Tokyo Women's Medical University Hospital, on 30 June 1993, a Japanese representative announced Wong's death in a press conference. Wong's funeral procession caused traffic in various major streets in Hong Kong to grind to a standstill. Many famous Hong Kong Cantopop singers were in attendance to pay their respects. Wong was buried in Tseung Kwan O Chinese Permanent Cemetery. His tombstone is made of white marble and bears the image of a guitar.[3]

Legacy[edit]

The song "Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies" was written by Wong and has been an anthem of Cantonese rock music and one of Beyond's signature songs.

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 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 was one of the five singers who had their images printed on stamps.

In a vote conducted by Sina China in 2007, Wong was one of the Most Missed Celebrity along with Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui. There are many tribute songs dedicated to him, 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.

During a concert of Beyond in 2003, Wong was resurrected in the form of a life-size video projection, alongside the remaining band members while they sang the song "Combat for twenty years" (抗戰二十年) in memory of him 10 years after his death.[4]

Asteroid 41742 Wongkakui was named in his memory on 29 May 2018.

Songs for Beyond[edit]

Music[edit]

Year Album Single Other Role
1983 Hong Kong "Mansion" (大厦) Vocals
"Brain Attack" (腦部侵襲)
1986 "Goodbye Ideals" (再見理想) "Goodbye Ideals" (再見理想) Lyrics, Vocals
"Fly Beyond the Hard Sea" (飛越苦海) Lyrics, Vocals
"Acoustic Guitar" (木結他)
"Dead Romance (Part I)" Lyrics, Vocals
"Dead Romance (Part II)" Lyrics, Vocals
"Old Footprints" (舊日的足跡) Vocals
"Myth" Vocals
"Waiting Forever" (永遠等待) Lyrics, Vocals
"Long Way Without Friends" Lyrics, Vocals
"Last Man Who Knows You"
"Who Is Brave" (誰是勇敢) Vocals
"Giant" (巨人) Vocals

Filmography[edit]

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]