Wong Ka Kui

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Wong Ka Kui
Wong Ka Kui.jpg
Background information
Chinese name 黃家駒 (traditional)
Chinese name 黄家驹 (simplified)
Pinyin Huáng Jiājū (Mandarin)
Jyutping Wong4 Gaa1-keoi1 (Cantonese)
Born (1962-06-10)10 June 1962
British Hong Kong
Died 30 June 1993(1993-06-30) (aged 31)
Tokyo, Japan
Resting place Tseung Kwan O Chinese Permanent Cemetery
Other names Koma (transliterated by Japanese)
Origin British Hong Kong (from January 1987)
Education Graduated as a Fifth Form student
Alma mater Pok Wan Secondary School (博允中學)
Occupation
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actor
Years active 1983–1993
Genre(s)
Instrument(s)
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Label(s)
Associated acts Beyond
Ancestry Taishan, Guangdong

Wong Ka Kui (10 June 1962 – 30 June 1993), was a Hong Kong musician, singer, songwriter and record producer. He rose to prominence as lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, main songwriter and co-founder of the rock band Beyond in a large majority of Asian countries.

He wrote a lot of hit songs, including "Like You" (喜歡你) (1988), "Truly Love You" (真的愛你) (1989), "Glorious Years" (光輝歲月) (1990), "Amani" (1991), and "Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies" (海闊天空) (1993).[1]

During the rehearsal of a game show for Fuji Television in Tokyo, Japan on 24 June 1993, Wong fell, head first, from a three-metre platform, and died six days later from traumatic head injuries.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

As a teenager, Wong was fascinated by European and American music. At the age of fifteen, he acquired an acoustic guitar from his neighbour, which he repaired himself and on which he taught himself to play the guitar. From that moment on, he spent most of his time learning music while working at different jobs.[2]

The formation of Beyond[edit]

In 1983, Wong met Yip Sai Wing in a piano company. After becoming friends, they formed the band Beyond and the lineup then comprised Wong (vocals, rhythm guitar), Yip (drums), William Tang (鄧煒謙) (lead guitar) and Lee Wing Chiu (李榮潮) (bass). In the same year, they won the Best Band in a competition sponsored by Guitar Magazine. In 1984, Wong Ka Keung, Wong's younger brother, replaced Lee on bass. In 1985, Paul Wong, who initially designed posters and record covers for Beyond, became the band's lead guitarist after former lead guitarist Chan Sze On (陳時安)'s departure due to the reason that he went abroad. 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. Their early styles mostly traversed hard rock, new wave, post-punk, experimental, and avant-garde.[3] 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.[2]

In 1987, Beyond recorded and released their first album Arabian Dancing Girl (亞拉伯跳舞女郎). Their sound was softened with keyboards, but their album sales still did not meet expectations. They were also criticised by other rock bands for commercializing their original hard rock sound. 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, socially-critical lyrics. Their album sales again did not live up to expectations leading their management company to threaten that no more opportunities would be provided to them if they failed again.

First success[edit]

Comprehending their situation, Beyond recorded and released their next album, Secret Police (秘密警察), with more songs in the popular genre. Songs such as "The Grand Earth" (大地) and "Like You" (喜歡你) from the recording Secret Police gained tremendous popularity, followed by Beyond's increased recognition and more frequent public appearances. After that, several of their compositions proved incredibly successful, with their receiving 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, and is one of the best-known songs from Beyond. "Social Party", a satirical song about the Hong Kong entertainment industry, is one alongside 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 won the Best Lyrics award for his touching, inspiring lyrics in "Glorious Years" (光輝歲月), which is a tribute to 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[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, to promote their new record, Beyond participated in the filming of a 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 the Fuji Television studio. 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, while the show was on air. Wong Ka Kui fell 2.7 metres to the ground, where he landed head first and fell into a coma immediately.[4] Wong was rushed to the hospital, but due to the traumatic head injuries he suffered, the hospital operated cautiously.

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 progression. Six days later, at 16:15, in Tokyo Women's Medical University, 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, and almost every famous Hong Kong Cantopop singer was in attendance to pay their respects. He was buried in Tseung Kwan O Chinese Permanent Cemetery in section 15/ row 6/ No. 25. His tombstone is made of white marble and bears the image of a guitar.[citation needed]

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.

In 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" in memory of him.[5]

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

Discography[edit]

Title Type Release year Additional description
Goodbye Ideals (再見理想) Cassette 1986
Wait Forever (永遠等待) E.P. 1987
A New World (新天地) E.P. 1987
Arabian Dancing Girls (亞拉伯跳舞女郎) L.P. 1987
A Lonely Kiss (孤單一吻) E.P. 1987
Modern Stage (現代舞台) L.P. 1988
Secret Police (秘密警察) L.P. 1988
The Best of Beyond Yesterday's Footprints (舊日足跡) L.P. 1988
Beyond IV L.P. 1989
The Real Testimony (真的見證) L.P. 1989
A Moment of Romance (天若有情 電影原聲帶) E.P. 1990 Film soundtrack
Win Against Your Own Demon (戰勝心魔) E.P. 1990
The Fate Party (命運派對) L.P. 1990
The Grand Earth (大地) L.P. 1990 Mandarin album
Glorious Years (光輝歲月) L.P. 1991 Mandarin album
Hesitate (猶豫) L.P. 1991
BEYOND LIVE (生命接觸演唱會) L.P. 1991 Concert
Continue the Revolution (繼續革命) L.P. 1992
Endless Emptiness (無盡空虛) E.P. 1992
Beyond Belief (信念) L.P. 1992 Mandarin album
Rock and Roll (樂與怒) L.P. 1993
Wong Ka Kui's Everlasting Spirit-Special Collection (遙望黃家駒不死音樂精神 92-93特別紀念集) L.P. 1993

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]

External links[edit]