Kim Hyun-shik Still Stirs Fans A Decade After His Death at 32

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Kim Hyun-shik Still Stirs Fans A Decade After His Death at 32

It is the season of falling leaves and a time to remember the singer Kim Hyun-shik and the passion he showed on stage. He has been dead for 10 years, yet many fans treasure his memory.

An influential musical figure of the 1980s, Kim Hyun-shik could sing with amazing power or in a whisper, evincing a deep sense of nihilism.

A decade after his death, Kim still evokes passionate feelings from his many fans who fill Web sites with words of praise and sadness. (See, for example,

"The music industry these days is filled with muddled lyrics and flippant songs. That makes me miss him even more."

"He was the one and only person who stood up for his own style and defied the giant system."

"I am going to Songnam tomorrow to visit his grave. I plan to take a bottle of soju, a cigar, chrysanthemums and his picture."

Kim's grave is always covered with flowers, poems and special pictures.

Kim Hyun-shik, born in 1958, began his music career in 1976. In 1980, he released his first album "Kim Hyun-shik - 1 Collection." It included songs like "Spring Summer Autumn Winter," widening the horizon for underground music. Later he formed his own group, "Spring Summer Autumn Winter" and performed with Shinchon Blues and many other groups. He died on Nov. 1, 1990, of cirrhosis of the liver. He was 32 and was making his sixth album.

"We trembled whenever Kim performed on stage," said one musician, Uhm In-ho, who wrote Kim's hit song "Gol-mok-gil." Kim "conveyed all his own passion and excitement," he said. "Even his bands were impressed - and that's what I call a real singer."

In February, 1991, Kim's last album was released posthumously and his written collection, "Nuckduri," (Complaints of Life with Heavy Sighs) was published.

Last week, more than 20 musicians had planned to release an album in his memory. But the album was delayed because some of them had other commitments.

"This year's album may be the last one dedicated to Kim," said one musician who played on it. "We are putting our heart and soul into it. Now it's all up to the fans to keep his memory. We hope the money will be used for some meaningful purpose."

by Lee Eun-ju

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