Thursday, March 20, 2003

Duk Koo Kim


I recently purchased the one and only vinyl album that I own. I had to do so, even though I do not own a turntable, because it is a 1000 copy limited release single. It contains two versions of the same beautiful song, called Duk Koo Kim, by Mark Kozelek of the Red House Painters. This is one of my favorite RHP songs. Reading the history about Duk Koo Kim makes the song that much more poignant and sad.

Duk Koo Kim - Wikipedia

A tragic turn of events that reads more like Shakespeare than real life. One death leads to several others and radical changes to the world of boxing.


  1. won't you pliz let me know the lyric of the beatufiful song? I'm from South Korea, the country Duk Koo Kim lived. I wanna feel this beautiful sad song more deeply....

  2. i've been looking for this song...
    or maybe the lyrics.. can you post it up..
    or something...

  3. By popular demand...
    I have been meaning to transcribe the lyrics myself because nobody out on the Internet has posted them yet and I too wanted to look at the whole song to understand the link to Duk Koo Kim.
    Well, once I did this, it became clear that the song is less about Duk Koo Kim and more about someone feeling the same kind of extremely tragic loss--a loss so great that they feel they cannot go on without the person. Mark's words indicate that he felt the same impact as what happened to Duk Koo Kim and those close to him.
    Note: Since originally posting these, I have made a couple of edits based on other's suggestions and a new listen on my Neuros with new Equalizer settings and some much better headphones than the first time. There were three lines that were difficult to transcribe even with three different versions. Here are the lines with the estimated likelihood that they are correct:
    The boy from Seoul was hanging on good [very certain;This had been my first choice but I changed my mind against my better judgement]
    Somewhere lost in war [very certain; I had ruled this out originally]
    Words from your younger years [almost entirely certain; Mark's falsetto makes this difficult]
    The transcription is probably now 99.99% accurate. I listened to the three different versions of the song to triangulate what the words were.
    Mark Kozelek
    Duk Koo Kim
    Vinyl Films acoustic version
    I was looking out on my roof last night
    Woken up from a dream
    Saw a typhoon coming in close
    Bringing the clouds down to the sea
    Making the world look gray and alone
    Taking all light from my view
    Keeping everyone in
    Keeping me here with you
    Around you now
    I can't sleep no more, baby
    Around you now
    Don't wanna leave ya
    Woken up from a dream last night
    Somewhere lost in war
    Couldn't feel my feet or hands
    Didn't feel right anymore
    Knew there I'd die alone
    With no one to reach to
    Then an angel came down
    And brought me back to you
    I'd rather leave this world forever, baby
    Then let life go the way it's going
    Watching an old fight film last night
    Ray Mancini and Duk Koo Kim
    The boy from Seoul was hanging on good
    But the pounding it took to him
    There in the square he laid alone
    Without face; without crown
    And the angels who looked upon
    They never came down
    You never know what day is gonna pick you, baby
    Out of the air; out of nowhere
    Oh, come to me once more my love
    Show me love I've never known
    Oh, come to me once more my love
    Show me love I've never known
    Come to me once more my love
    Show me love I've never known
    Come to me once more my love
    Show me love I've never known
    Sing to me once more my love
    Words from your younger years
    Sing to me once more my love
    Words from your younger years
    Come to me once more my love

  4. thank you, friend.

  5. thank you, friend.

  6. As a young kid, I remember watching the news about Kim's fight with Mancini. Mancini was my favorite boxer but I remember feeling so horribly sad that night because Kim had died. It was one of those strange moments when you are just a kid and for a moment you feel like an adult because of such a sobering tragedy. Mancini was never the same fighter after that tragic night.
    Now, twenty some years later my favorite musician honors Duk Koo Kim with such a beautiful song. Gonna have a libation in Kim's honor.
    Sleep well Duk Koo Kim ... you shall be remembered.

  7. this song is also on sun kil moon's cd (mark kozelek new band) album: ghosts of the great highways.

  8. Hey Man,
    Thanks a ton for compiling these lyrics. I was sitting down with one of my basses in hand trying to figure out the song/chord structure and in doing so I knew I'd need to first start by writing all of the lyrics down in two open-faced pages (so I didn't need to flip pages as I read them while singing and playing bass). I got through the first couple lines and began to pray that there was another fan who'd already done this work for me (and every other fan) so I could get right down to buisness and write the song out inone of my song books I use for performing stuff I don't have committed to memory.
    Special thanks too for not only putting the lyrics together with all of your hard work, but also special thanks for adding the extra story line and info regarding the Ray Mancini and Duk Koo Kim fight. I was very young when I watched that fight and it really affected me to see the whole darn thing from beggining to end. I was seven years old at the time I watched that fight, I always was into viewing a good boxing match. Not only did I feel bad for Duk Koo Kim for being announced dead, but I could see the grief on Mancini's face, he seemed terribly destraught from what I can remember (this has alway been a strong memory for me, I'm 30 yrs old now, so that was 23 years ago!) That memory is burned into my brain like some other strong memories are like any other major life changing event that happens in your younger childhood years and yet it stays with you all the rest of your years in life, unchanged and clear as day from the first time you recalled it from memory as a seven year old, I can still see it with equal clarity in my mind as if I were seven again, feeling the same emotions and sympathy for both Duk Koo Kim and Ray Mancini. Just amazing. I hadn't thought of these memories for a long time now until reading all that you had to offer about it. Thanks again my man, it's been a pleasure having a cool old memory restored to me as if it were new again, and now I can put some of that feeling into this song when it comes time to perform it any day soon.
    Thank you,

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