Late Kim Hyun-sik’s unknown songs released in album

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Oct 22, 2013 - 19:04
  • Updated : Oct 22, 2013 - 19:04

Singer Kim Hyun-sik’s posthumous album was released Monday, 23 years after his death. (Donga PR)
Twenty-three years after his death, fans of the late Kim Hyun-sik, one of the most popular Korean singers of the 1980s, now have a chance to hear previously unreleased singles by the artist recorded from his hospital bed before his passing.

On Monday, the late singer’s former agency Donga PR released a 21-track album titled “Kim Hyun-sik 2013 October” that features never-before-released songs, nine of which the artist had written and composed himself including “Lonely Night,” “Luck” and “In the Wind.” The latest album also includes tracks from Kim’s seventh studio album, which was released in 1996, six years after his passing from liver disease on Nov. 1, 1990, at age 32.

“When he was in the hospital on his death bed, he had his acoustic guitar and he would just sing what he felt. It was so genuine compared to the songs that were scheduled and recorded in the studio,” Kim Young, executive of Donga PR, said in news reports. “Although the sound is not of the best quality, the sound and spirit of the message is far more powerful.”

Young also said that 23 years after the artist’s death, he decided to publish the tracks from a tape that he had been holding on to all this time as a precious gift to Kim’s fans, and also claimed that releasing an album was actually a request from the artist himself.

“People may not understand this, but Hyun-sik and I talk even to this day,” Young explained. “Although people may not believe in speaking to someone who has passed away, in a previous conversation, Hyun-sik had asked me, ‘Can we release an album next year?’”

As one of the best-known figures in the ’80s and one who is considered an influential icon in the Korean music scene, Hyun-sik’s deep, husky and at times almost screechy voice helped launch his music career, covering a wide range of genres such as folk, rock, jazz and soul.

He made his debut in 1980 with his first studio album “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter” and his raw voice had a way of emotionally capturing his listeners. During his decade in the music industry, Hyun-sik released six full studio albums. Kim’s posthumous hit single “My Love By My Side,” released a year after his death, can be recited by almost every Korean.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)