Hong Kong’s renowned composer Joseph Koo Kar-fai passed away at age 92 in Vancouver, Canada on Tuesday.
Joseph Koo was born in Guangzhou in 1931 and moved to Hong Kong with his family after the outbreak of the war in China against Japan.
He received the membership of Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1982 for his contribution to Hong Kong’s popular music in the 1970s and 1980s, during which he composed numerous classic TV drama theme songs, including “Below the Lion Rock”, “The Bund” and “The Brothers”.
In the 1990s, Koo moved to Canada.
He was awarded the Golden Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong government in 2015.
Koo was sponsored by Sir Run Run Shaw to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston in the early 60s. Upon graduation he returned to Hong Kong and worked for both the Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest movie studios, scoring, among others, the Bruce Lee films Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon in 1972.
Koo joined TVB as their director of music in 1973, where from the late 1970s until immigrating to Canada in the 1990s, he collaborated with the lyricist Wong Jim on many memorable TV theme songs. Koo has composed over 1,200 songs in his career, many of which are now considered as classic Cantopop. He only has 2 notable works as a lyricist, both very short in length and total number of words. One was a children’s song about the ten numbers, the other was the ending ‘Goodnight’ jingle for Enjoy Yourself Tonight.
Editor’s Note: The Standard article was published on 4 January 2023.
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My favorite Joseph Koo & Wong Jim classic Cantopop song is “The Bund” (上海灘), sung by Frances Yip. I had the pleasure to train the late Wong Jim (1941-2004) and 9 other Hong Kong Celebrities Firewalking during TVB Tung Wah Charity Show, the World’s First and Only Live Charity Firewalk in 1994. We helped raise $68 Million that night.
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Published: 4 January 2023.
Updated: 5 January 2023.
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