Trot icon Park dies at 80Park Chun-seok, a giant of Korean “trot,” the Korean pop music genre that developed during the Japanese occupation, died on Sunday at his home in Seoul 16 years after suffering a severe stroke. He was 80.
The songwriter paved a postwar path for trot music, composing his first hit, “Elegy of a Sunset,” for singer Baek Sul-hee in 1954. He went on to write about 2,700 songs in his lifetime, including hits such as “Rain Down on the Honam Ferry,” “Spring at the 38th Parallel” and “Arirang Mokdong.”
As a high school student, Park was encouraged by veterans Gil Ok-yoon and Benny Kim. After he graduated from high school, Park became a pianist for the Gold Club in Myeong-dong in the 1950s.
He majored in piano at Seoul National University in 1949, but dropped out after one year.
In the ’60s and ’70s, Park collaborated with legends like Patty Kim, Nam Jin, Na Hoon-ah, and Lee Mi-ja. In 1978, Columbia Records Japan asked Park to pen songs for the singer Hibari Misora, making him the first Korean songwriter to work with an overseas artist.
Park was born on May 8, 1930 in Seoul. A lifelong bachelor, he famously said he was “married to music.”