Wong Ka Kui
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Wong Ka Kui
Wong in 1993
|Died||30 June 1993 (aged 31)|
|Cause of death|
|Burial place||Tseung Kwan O Chinese Permanent Cemetery|
|Nationality||British (Hong Kong)|
|Education||Secondary 5, Baldwin College (博允英文中學)|
|Also known as||Koma (translated in Japanese)|
Wong Ka Kui (Chinese: 黃家駒; 10 June 1962 – 30 June 1993) was a Hong Kong musician, singer and songwriter. He was a co-founder of the rock band Beyond,[Note 1] he gained fame as the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter. His brother Wong Ka Keung was the band's bass guitarist. Their music's distribution spread to a variety of Asian countries or cities, such as Taiwan, Malaysia and Japan. He was known for his distinctively husky voice and remarkable hollow voice.
Life and career
1962–1983: Early life
Wong was born on 10 June 1962 in British Hong Kong, his ancestry was Taishan, Guangdong. He lived with his family in So Uk Estate, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. He studied in HK Sze Yap C&IA San Wui Commercial Society School (四邑商工總會新會商會學校) and Baldwin College (博允英文中學). When studying in secondary school, Wong was fascinated by European and American music, especially David Bowie music.
At the age of 14 or 15, Wong acquired an acoustic guitar that was left over by his old neighbour. From that moment on, he spent most of his time on guitar practice while he was working as an office assistant, a multiple-skill mechanic or a scenery decorator for TV company.
1983–1988: The beginning of Beyond
In 1983, Wong met drummer Yip Sai Wing in a piano company where the boss introduced them to each other. They both planned to participate in a contest by "Guitar Magazine" and then formed the band Beyond with lead guitarist William Tang (鄧煒謙) and bass guitarist Lee Wing Chiu (李榮潮). In late 1983, Wong Ka Keung, Wong's younger brother joined the band to replace Lee. In Yamaha Guitar Contest by Tom Lee Music in 1984. Beyond were the champion in the two contests. In 1985, Paul Wong, originally the band's designer filled in for Chan Sze On (陳時安), another former guitarist. Thereafter Beyond opened their first and self-financing concert Waiting Forever in Caritas Institute of Community Education.
In 1986, Lau Chi Yuen (劉志遠), who played lead guitar and keyboard, completed Beyond's final lineup to record and release their first album Goodbye Ideals (再見理想) and first cassette Waiting Forever (永遠等待). After that, Beyond signed a contract with KINN's MUSIC LTD, formed by Leslie Chan (陳健添). In 1987 Beyond released the album Arabian Dancing Girls (亞拉伯跳舞女郎) and the following year released the album Modern Stage (現代舞台).
After Modern Stage (現代舞台)'s release, Lau Chi Yuen left Beyond and they signed a contract with Cinepoly and produced the album Secret Police (秘密警察), which started to grow in their popularity. Wong wrote the hits "The Grand Earth" (大地) and "Like You" (喜歡你). In 1989, they won several musical awards for the numbers "Truly Love You" (真的愛你), "Midnight Wall" (午夜迷牆) and "Forgive Me Today" (原諒我今天).
From 1990 to 1991, they paid more attention to social issues and the ongoing events around the world. Wong wrote the Best Lyrics Award lyrics besides music on "Glorious Years" (光輝歲月) during his visit to New Guinea in 1990, which was a tribute to Nelson 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.
1992–1993: Career in Japan
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.
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. Wong was rushed to the hospital, but due to the traumatic head injuries he suffered, the hospital was said to have operated cautiously, but in reality, they never operated for him and said that 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 progression. 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, 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.
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" in memory of him 10 years after his death.
Asteroid 41742 Wongkakui was named in his memory on 29 May 2018.
Songs for Beyond
|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|
|"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|
- Sworn Brothers (1987)
- No Regret (1987)
- The Black Wall (1989)
- The Fun, the Luck & the Tycoon (1989)
- Happy Ghost IV (1990)
- Beyond's Diary (1991)
- The Banquet (1991)
- Cageman (1992)
- 1989 – won "Song of the Year" award for the song "Truly Love You" at Hong Kong's Jade Solid Gold Awards
- Beyond aimed to transcend their ability of making music rather than their popularity among entertainers.