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What do the following boy bands have in common: Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and New Kids on the Block? All of them have at least five members. These three will forever be remembered, even if boy bands rarely exist in American music. However, on the other side of the world, boy bands are high in demand in countries like South Korea. They are so popular that one boy band was nominated to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the boy band with the highest number of members: lucky 13! This group is no other than Super Junior!
In 2005, under SM Entertainment, Super Junior debuted with twelve members: Leader Leeteuk, Heechul, Han Geng, Yesung, Kangin, Shindong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon, Ryeowook, and Kibum. SM’s original plan was to create a rotating project called Super Junior 05 where the members would “graduate” and new members would be added. However, in May 2006 before the release of their second album, a thirteenth member, Kyuhyun, was added and the project was abandoned. The thirteen members became Super Junior.
On May 25, 2006, Super Junior released their single “U” online for free download. With over 400,000 downloads within five hours of release, the single had crashed the server. The single became one of Korea’s most popular songs of the year, yielding #1 spots for five consecutive weeks on two of Korea’s top music programs. By the end of the year, Super Junior had collected over seven awards, including “Best New Group of 2006.”
Under the main group, there are four sub groups: Super Junior K.R.Y., Super Junior-T, Super Junior-Happy, and Super Junior-M. The first sub group, debuting in late 2006, consists of three members: Kyuhyun, Ryeowook, and Yesung, and they mostly sing ballads. The members of Super Junior-T sing trot songs, while Super Junior-Happy’s music style involves the common style of contemporary dance music and bubblegum pop. Finally Super Junior-M (M stands for Mandarin) targets the Chinese music market, but not limited to only China. Only K.R.Y. and Super Junior-M are still active, as well as the parent group Super Junior. In fact, on February 28, 2011, Super Junior-M released their latest EP “Perfection.”
After their second album, “Don’t Don,” Super Junior released their third album “Sorry, Sorry” in 2009, with their title track of the same name. About 150,000 copies of “Sorry, Sorry” were pre-ordered, and 30,000 copies sold after release, making it the biggest opening day for the group. The album debuted #1 on Hot Tracks Gayo Best 5 by the third week.
This album was also the first Korean-language album to sell over 215,000 copies in 2009. The following year, the group released their fourth album, “Bonamana” on May 13, 2010 with 200,000 pre-ordered copies and over 36,000 copies sold on the first day of release. According to the South Korean album chart Gaon, a cumulative total of almost 300,000 copies of all versions were sold, awarding the album “Best Selling Album of 2010.” The group has also headlined three tours and has been affiliated with three tours with their company’s other artists. The group, along with a few other SM artists, just completed a two-day concert event in Paris on June 10 and 11 as part of the SMTown Live ’10 World Tour.
Presently, the group is down to ten members in the parent group and twelve members, including the two members from Super Junior M. This is due to one member, Kangin, serving his mandatory two years service in the military, Kibum who is pursuing his acting career, and Han Geng who left the company, under a lawsuit.
However, this has not stopped the members from continuing to produce new songs, especially with a fifth album soon to be released. The members are also radio show hosts, MCs on different shows and continue to be guest stars on variety shows. They are still an amusement to watch, each not afraid to show their comedic and silly sides.
The group recently finished their Super Show 3 tour across Asia. During the middle of each concert, one member would turn into “Lady Hee,” as a parody of Lady Gaga and would sing “Poker Face.” Right after Lady Hee would exit, three more members, dressed in one piece black leotards and girl wigs, would start singing and dancing to “Single Ladies” by Beyonce. At the end of this comedic feat, the trio would meet up with Lady Hee to sing and dance to “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce. This just proves that the boys are not afraid of dressing up as girls and creating laughter and amusement for their fans.
Most of all, they still have one of the largest fan-bases across the globe, and that is a feat! While it may be easy to read about this group, it is much more enjoyable to look them up and listen to their music. Just because a listener doesn’t understand Korean, doesn’t mean he or she can’t enjoy the different styles that this group conveys. So check them out, you won’t be disappointed.
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