Down K-pop's memory lane
There were a slew of K-pop acts who kick-started the hallyu wave by intriguing music lovers with their nifty dance moves and colourful attire. -TNP
In the 90s and early noughties, before Super Junior, Girls' Generation and Big Bang conquered the world, there were a slew of K-pop acts who kick-started the hallyu wave by intriguing music lovers with their nifty dance moves and colourful attire.
The dance duo of Kang Won-rae and Koo Jun-yup, both 42, hit the big time in 1996 with catchy anthems such as Funky Tonight, Round and Round and First Love.
Their blend of hip hop and techno beats won them many fans in Asia.
Unfortunately, at the peak of Clon's career in November 2000, Kang injured his spinal cord in a motorbike accident that left him paralysed from the waist down.
After a five-year hiatus, Clon finally reunited to release an album titled Victory in 2005.
It was a departure from their usual sound, with several songs addressing the problems disabled people face.
Often referred to as the Queen of K-pop, BoA made her debut in 2000 and swiftly became one of the biggest names in Korean music, as well as the first Korean star to break successfully into the Japanese market.
A bona fide superstar in an era where J-pop reigned, BoA's Japanese albums Listen to My Heart (2002), Valenti (2003) and Love & Honesty (2004) sold millions.
In March 2009, she released her first self-titled English album in the US. Last December, the 25-year-old served as a resident judge on South Korean reality talent competition Survival Audition K-pop Star.
Formed by talent management company SM Entertainment in 1996, H.O.T. - famed for their energetic, synchronised dance performances and fronted by lead singer Kangta - is often mentioned as the pioneering boy band of South Korea.
Their massive hits include Candy, Happiness and We Are The Future, which won the quintet Best International Video at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1998.
After they disbanded in 2001, the members went on to carve out solo careers with varying degrees of success.
Leader Kangta, now 32, is especially popular in Mandarin-speaking territories, as he has starred in a few Taiwan- and China-produced dramas.
In 2006, he formed the short-lived pop-dance duo Kangta & Vanness with former F4 member Vanness Wu.
In 2010, he released a solo Mandarin mini-album Rest In The Seven Luck.
This article was first published in The New Paper.
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