The Top 10 K-Pop Boy Groups of All Time Hundreds of idol groups have formed during the decades of K-existence. Pop’s Many of the nugu groups split shortly and never achieved much popularity. Some rose to popularity for a year or two before fading into oblivion. Others were at the top of their generation until being dethroned by a new wave of K-Pop.
Then there are some who are at the top of their game. With years of immense popularity, influence, and classic songs, these bands have solidified their legendary position. And those are the organizations we’ll be discussing today.
Obviously, any ranking of all-time greats will be highly subjective and prone to discussion. And that’s just OK! Everyone has the right to their own viewpoint. It doesn’t matter what kind of music you listen to as long as it makes you happy and connects with you.
Let’s get to the top ten greatest K-Pop boy groups of all time now that the preamble is out of the way!
2PM and 2AM were formed by JYP Entertainment and began as one huge idol group named One Day before breaking up into two independent groups. 2AM specialized on ballads, whilst 2PM’s catalog was mostly comprised of techno and dance music.
2PM made their debut with the track “10 out of 10,” which was known for their flamboyant and acrobatic dance routines (the choreography for their smash tune Again and Again was considered one of the toughest choreographies in K-Pop back in the day). With their top-of-the-charts song “Again and Again” in 2009, the trio immediately rose to prominence.
Later that year, the group was embroiled in controversy when frontman Jay Park was accused of disparaging Korea via statements he posted on his Myspace profile (comments which were taken out of context and misinterpreted). Jay Park ultimately quit the group, and 2PM took a break from public appearances.
Despite the uproar, the group would regroup as a six-man unit and win their first music event and the Triple Crown with their song Heartbeat. With singles like Without U, Hands Up, A.D.T.O.Y, I’ll Be Back, and Go Crazy, 2PM’s prominence grew even further. With Japanese renditions of several of their successful Korean songs as well as original Japanese hits, the group has had a lot of success in Japan.
2PM’s career would mature greatly over time, particularly with their most recent Korean album, Gentlemen’s Game, but the group has cemented their reputation as legends with consistently high-quality music.
2PM will always have tunes that will get a party going, no matter what year it is. Although the majority of the members are presently serving in the military, fans are anxiously anticipating their reunion and the release of new songs.
9. F.T. Island
F.T Island, the most popular idol band, is in eighth place!
F.T. Island was formed in 2007 by FNC Entertainment and is recognized as being K-first Pop’s idol band. They have garnered enormous success. F.T. Island is arguably one of the strongest idol groups of the second generation, led by singer/songwriter Lee Hong Ki, who is recognized for his throaty and passionate singing voice.
The group’s first album, Cheerful Sensibility, was one of the best-selling albums of the year, and their single Love Sick topped the charts. From then, the group’s popularity in Korea and Japan grew even further. Missing You, I Wish, Bad Woman, Severely, and Hello Hello are some of F.T. Island’s most well-known tracks.
Due to apparent participation in the Burning Sun Scandal, longtime member Choi Jong-hoon has left the group, potentially jeopardizing F.T Island’s future advancements.
F.T. Island’s reign as kings of K-Pop has come to an end, but their legacy lives on. Other idol bands, such as FNC label mates CNBLUE and N.Flying, were able to achieve mainstream popularity because to F.T. Island.
These men had to be on the list, right? The Bangtan Boys are in eighth place!
BTS is one of the best and most inspiring K-Pop success stories, having been formed by Big Hit Entertainment in 2013. Due to the GLAM incident, Tremendous Blow Entertainment suffered a big hit (pun intended), and they desperately needed a victory with BTS.
BTS began with a powerful hip hop tone, with strong lyrics that included social commentary on topics such as opposing Korea’s education system, chasing your aspirations in the face of difficulty, and school student difficulties.
BTS had a number of amazing early songs, such as No More Dream, We Are Bulletproof Pt2, N.O, Boy In Luv, Danger, and Just One Day, but they didn’t have a lot of popularity.
BTS did not gain superstardom until their album The Most Beautiful Moment In Life, Part 1 was published in 2015. BTS finally received the respect they deserved after diversifying their musical approach and releasing blockbuster singles like I Need U and Dope.
BTS has established themselves as the leaders of the new Hallyu Wave and one of the best-selling K-Pop groups of all time since then. BTS videos account for eight of the top twenty most watched K-Pop videos of all time. The band has been on American talk shows such as Ellen and at American Music Awards ceremonies. They’ve won Top Social Artist three times, defeating megastars like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande in the process. On Twitter, BTS even has an emoji.
BTS’s star is shining brightly, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s likely that these guys may be remembered as the best K-Pop group of all time. Only time will tell if this is true.
The idol group SS501 is our number seven selection!
DSP Media formed SS501 in 2005, and it was one of the first groups to achieve massive popularity in the second generation of K-Pop. Warning, their first EP, was an instant hit, as was the track Never Again. In 2007, the group made their debut in Japan and won Best New Artist at the Japan Gold Disc Awards, making them the first Korean music act to do so.
UR Man, Love Ya, Love Like This, We Can Fly, and Song Calling For You are among the best songs in the SS501 catalog.
Unfortunately, SS501 is one of several idol groups for whom DSP Media failed to deliver, and releases have been few since the group’s departure from the label. Heo Young-Saeng, Kim Kyu-jong, and Kim Hyung-jun, three members of SS501, have been marketing as Double S 301 under CI Entertainment since 2016.
Because all of the members of the band have said that they would never breakup, there is always the possibility that the whole band may reunite at some point in the future.
At number six, the guys from the east are standing tall!
BEAST made their K-Pop debut with the track Bad Girl, which is generally regarded as one of the finest debut songs in the genre. With tracks like Shock and Soom, Beautiful, and I Like You The Best, the trio went on to have minor success.
BEAST exploded into the scene in 2011 with the release of their album Fiction and Fact. The album, as well as the lead track Fiction, went on to win a slew of prizes in 2011. BEAST’s most successful song, Fiction, is also one of K-most pop’s famous tunes.
BEAST was one of the top names in K-Pop from 2011 to 2016, reaching all-kill, after all, kill, and collecting several accolades. Will You Be Alright, Midnight, Beautiful Night, 12:30, Good Luck, and Butterfly are some of their most popular songs from this period.
BEAST suffered a huge setback in 2016 when member Jang Hyun-Seung left due to artistic issues. It would be very hard for the band to play any of their earlier hits if he left.
BEAST left Cube Entertainment shortly after Hyunseung’s departure and created their own label, Around Us Entertainment. They couldn’t perform under the moniker BEAST any more, so they changed their name to HIGHLIGHT.
Despite the departure of Hyunseung, the five-man squad continued to have a lot of success. However, in 2019, the group suffered another setback when rapper and songwriter Yong Jun-Hyung resigned when it was revealed that he had seen unlawful pornographic videos related to the Burning Sun Scandal.
5. The Pioneers
Without first-generation groups like Seo Taiji and The Boys, Shinhwa, g.o.d, and Sech Kies guiding the way, K-Pop would not be where it is now. Back before the Digital Era of YouTube and digital downloads, idol groups were very popular.
The men are legends in Korean music for a reason, and they are deserving of our admiration. Seo Taiji & The Boys have been inactive (with member YG focusing on YG Entertainment), although Shinhwa, g.o.d, and Sech Kies have all recently made comebacks. These legends may have passed you by in their prime, but they still have it!
4. Super Junior
Super Junior is ranked number four!
The wheels for one of K-most Pop’s renowned idol groups were set in motion by SM Entertainment in 2000, during the first generation of K-Pop. Super Junior didn’t make their official debut until 2005, with the song Twins (Knock Out).
Super Junior’s first significant hit came in 2006, when they released the track U. Super Junior’s popular song Sorry Sorry made them a worldwide sensation in 2009. Sorry Sorry was 2009’s best-selling K-Pop album, and the single is still Super Junior’s best-selling single. The reign of Super Junior as King of K-Pop started here.
Around the same time, the firm opted to expand into the Chinese market via the sub-unit Super Junior-M, which is still highly uncommon for an agency to accomplish. Most K-Pop agencies will succeed in Japan, but only a handful will succeed in China.
Super Junior was the best-selling K-Pop group in Korea for many years. Their supremacy was clear, with hits like Bonamana, No Other, Mr. Simple, and It’s You.
Super Junior has lost a few members over the years, but the group is still going strong and consistently releasing amazing songs. For years to come, these K-Pop icons will continue to shine as some of Korea’s brightest singers.
SM Entertainment’s star group SHINee took home the bronze.
The idol group made their debut in 2008 with the track Replay (Noona Neomu Yeppeo), which is considered one of the best debut songs in K-Pop history. SHINee gained notoriety and popularity with follow-up singles Juliette and Love Like Oxygen, but it was with the release of their hit Ring Ding Dong, which won a Popularity Award, that they really broke out in 2009.
With the release of their singles Lucifer and Hello in 2010, SHINee’s success continued in 2010. Lucifer, in particular, solidified its place as a signature song for both SHINee and K-Pop in general.
In the years that followed, other hits were released, including Dream Girl, Sherlock, and Everybody. SHINee members have all dabbled in different fields including as acting and fashion, with varying degrees of success. In terms of solo music, Jonghyun and Taemin, in particular, have had the most success.
Unfortunately, the SHINee legacy suffered a setback in 2017, when primary vocalist Jonghyun succumbed to his sadness. His death stunned the globe and highlighted the importance of mental health concerns in South Korea.
Jonghyun made a name for himself in K-Pop as one of the greatest vocalists and the first SM Entertainment performer to have any meaningful say in how his idol group’s music was made. SHINee are icons in several fields, including music, fashion, and dance. Many people still believe SHINee has the most challenging dance routines.
2. Big Bang
Big Bang is our choice for the second best Korean male idol group of all time!
Big Bang doesn’t require much explanation, but because we adore them, we’ll do so anyway.
In 2006, YG Entertainment’s biggest and most popular idol group made their debut. Great songs like A Fool’s Only Tear, We Belong Together, and Forever With You were released in their early years, but they didn’t get much popularity.
It wasn’t until the release of their song Lies that the rest of the K-Pop world took notice of Big Bang. Big Bang’s first single, Lies, was a hit, and the trio followed it up with Last Farewell. Last Farewell was a huge hit, topping the Melon charts for eight weeks in a row. The release of Big Bang’s following lead song, however, cemented their status as King of K-Pop. Haru Haru, here we go.
Simply simply, if you haven’t heard of Haru Haru, you’re still a K-Pop padawan. Haru Haru is Big Bang’s greatest success and a timeless classic, and it is easily one of the most famous songs in K-Pop. Big Bang became a cult classic after its premiere.
Since Haru Haru, there have been much more hits than we can count. Big Bang has done very well as a group and as individual artists, owing to their majority creative control over the songs they create. G-Dragon, the company’s leader, is widely regarded as one of the industry’s most gifted idols.
Unfortunately, the Burning Sun Scandal has tarnished Big Bang’s reputation, with member Seungri being a prime suspect. Since the controversy occurred, Seungri has quit Big Bang, had his contract with YG Entertainment revoked, and has completely withdrawn from the entertainment world. Given the seriousness of the crimes that Seungri is accused of committing, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever be reunited. As a result, it’s unlikely that a whole Big Bang concert will ever be seen again.
Some fans may find it difficult to separate the art from the performer, but if they can, they will understand why Big Bang is regarded as one of the finest Korean music groups of all time.
TVXQ/JYJ is the winner of the award for best K-Pop idol group of all time!
The group’s music was hit or miss when it was formed in 2003, with some tracks being well-received and others being mostly forgotten.
With the album “O”-Jung.Ban.Hap., which was the best-selling album in South Korea in 2006, TVXQ’s fortunes shifted. With the release of Mirotic in 2008, the monarchs of K-Pop were born. The album’s title single was a huge smash, and it went on to become one of Asia’s best-selling songs of all time, as well as TVXQ’s greatest hit.
It’s also considered one of the best K-pop songs of all time. The song also solidified TVXQ’s image as one of the greatest dance groups in K-Pop, with choreography that is famously tough.
TVXQ became gods thanks to Mirotic, but their reign as five gods was short-lived. When members Junsu, Yoochun, and Jaejoong petitioned to cancel their contracts with SM Entertainment in 2009, a lengthy and acrimonious legal struggle ensued. The three were able to break free from their contracts and establish JYJ, a new trio. Yunho and Changmin, the surviving two members of TVXQ, will continue as a pair.