Beyond was a famous rock band in Hong Kong that was founded in 1983. They have always identified with the people of Hong Kong, as reflected in their songs about social issues, pursuit of dreams, politics, and peace. Wong Ka Kui's " 海闊天空 (Boundless Oceans Vast Skies) & 光輝歲月(Glorious Years) are two of their best known works.
Beyond stands out in the Chinese music industry due to the fact that they are one of the very few groups who compose and write their own music. With the exception of a single song, a tribute to their hero Sam Hui, Beyond has never recorded a cover in the studio.
Formed in 1983, the original members were Wong Ka Kui (vocals, guitar), Yip Sai Wing (vocals, drums), Lee Wing Chiu (Bass) and William Tang (Guitar). Ka Kui's younger brother Wong Ka Keung (vocals, bass) joined in 1984 followed by Paul Wong Koon Chung (vocals, lead guitar) in 1985. Other members for brief periods have included Owen Kwan,Chan See On and Lau Chi Yuen. Lau Chi Yuen left the band in 1988 to pursue studies in the US (though he made a return later playing instruments and helping to produce 1998's Surprise).
Beyond were initially part of the "band boom" which occurred in Hong Kong in the 1980s, alongside other groups such as Tai Chi, Tat Ming Pair, Blue Jeans, Fundamental, and Raidas.
After couple of flops, Beyond started to gain popular following following the release of the song Dai Dei. Fellow underground musicians started to accuse Beyond of abandoning the rock and roll genre of music, gravitating towards pop. Beyond was unfazed and the few next albums saw several of the most important songs in the history of Hong Kong music.
One of the songs, Gong Fai Sooi Yuet 光輝歲月, is about racism and the struggle of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The song, at the time, was a fresh breath of air in the midst of saccharin sweet love songs that were dominating the Hong Kong music scene. Wong Ka Kui won the best lyrics award in the Hong Kong Grammy-equivalent award ceremony. The guitar solo opening for the song paints the loneliness of Mandela's struggle. The guitar solo went on to be one of the most recognizable electric guitar rift in Hong Kong rock music.
In 1991, Beyond released the song Amani in the album Delibrate. The song Amani was written by Wong Ka Kui during Beyond's trip to Tanzania. The lyrics of the song are in Chinese interspersed with words from the Swahili language. The title of the song, Amani means peace in Swahili. As suggested by the title, the song sings about world peace in the plight of the war-ravaged countries in Africa. The song outro of morphing Kakui's to a kid's voice reflects the plea for peace, especially from the next generations. Unlike most of other Beyond's songs, this song is most written with open chords in the key of C Major. The simplicity of the structure and the common key instill the feeling of innocence into the song.
In June 1993, Wong Ka Kui sustained massive head injuries after falling from a broken stage on a game show in Japan. Wong Ka Kui fell into a coma and died one week later. He was 31 years old. His funeral procession caused traffic in various major city streets of Hong Kong to grind to a standstill, and almost every famous Hong Kong Cantopop singer was in attendance.
The Japanese will never understand, for us and for Hong Kong, that the incident was not merely about the loss of an artist. It was about losing a music revolutionary, and an age of time. - Paul Wong on the death of Ka Kui
At the time of his death, they were signed to Japanese record label Amuse, having already released several Japanese language singles and an album. The following album, This Is Love I, initially intended to be the first of two parts, was released the day after Wong Ka Kui's death.
There was debate as to whether the remaining three members would continue the band without him, but speculation ended when they reappeared on the 30th of November 1993 in Hong Kong at the Composer's Tribute Night concert. After Ka Kui's death, Beyond's first album produced was 2nd Floor Back Suite (二樓後座). Within this album was a stirring solo tribute to Ka Kui that was written, composed and sung by his younger brother, Ka Keung.
The post-Ka Kui albums have a more 'alternative' feel to the progressive rock sound that preceded them. 1997's Please Let Go of Your Hands (Hong Kong post-97 sentiment abounding) and 1995's grunge-inspired Sound are examples of this.
They played their last concert in Hong Kong under the Beyond name on 1st February 2005, before embarking on a world tour, including stops in Toronto, Canada and various cities in mainland China, after which the band officially disbanded in their last stop in Singapore.
At present, the band has parted ways, with each member pursuing his own solo career.