Sunday, February 01, 1998

50 Most Influential K-Pop Artists Series Index

This is the index for 50 Most Influential K-Pop Artists Series.

See more of the Korean's reviews on the Library Mixer.

Criteria of Influence

Introduction & Brief History of K-Pop

Just Missed the Cut -- Part 1
Just Missed the Cut -- Part 2

Tier 4 - Notables
50.  Pipi Band/Pipi Longstocking [삐삐밴드/삐삐롱스타킹]
49.  Clazziquai Project [클래지콰이 프로젝트] 
48.  Dongmulwon [동물원, "Zoo"]
47.  Solid [솔리드]
46.  Deli Spice [델리 스파이스]
45.  Girls' Generation [소녀시대]
44.  Yoon Do-Hyeon [윤도현]
43.  Leessang [리쌍]
42.  Jang Yoon-Jeong [장윤정]
41.  Yoo Seung-Joon [유승준]
40.  Lee Seung-Cheol [이승철]
39.  Lee Mun-Se [이문세]
38.  Yoo Jae-Ha [유재하]
37.  Lee Sora [이소라]
35.  Tae Jin-A [태진아]
35.  Song Dae-Gwan [송대관]

Tier 3 - Strong Impact
34.  Dongbangshinki [동방신기]
33.  Kim Jong-Seo [김종서]
32.  Patti Kim [패티김]
31.  Kim Min-Gi [김민기]
30.  Sinawi [시나위]
29.  015B [공일오비]
28.  Deux [듀스]
27.  BoA [보아]
26.  Jaurim [자우림]
25.  Panic [패닉]
24.  Lee Seung-Hwan [이승환]
23.  Shin Seung-Hoon [신승훈]
22.  Kim Chu-Ja [김추자]
21.  Lee Seon-Hee [이선희]
20.  Crying Nut [크라잉넛]
19.  Kim Wan-Seon [김완선]
Tier 2 - Best of an Era
18.  Kim Hyeon-Sik [김현식]
17.  Kim Gwang-Seok [김광석]
16.  Jo Seong-Mo [조성모]
15.  Kim Geon-Mo [김건모]
14.  Park Jin-yeong [박진영] 
13.  Nah Hun-Ah [나훈아]
12.  Rain [비]
11.  Lee Hyo-ri [이효리]
10.  Drunken Tiger [드렁큰 타이거]
9.  Shin Hae-cheol [신해철]
8.  Deulgukhwa [들국화]
7.  Han Dae-su [한대수]

Tier 1 - Legends


  1. i hope Rain is on that list. all of america knows him as "the asian dude who is probably japanese cause he played two japanese guys in two american films that everybody has seen" but hes really awsome for even being known in america. and not just by screaming fangirls but also adults. though the movies were pretty crap....
    but still, hes the rep and the first, right?

    (ps: my screaming fangirl self is mad at putting DBSK so low. did you know they have the biggest fanclub in the world? THE WORLD. THE. WORLD. not just asia or just sk. they r in the guinness book of records (2009 i think) they r also the most photographed celebrity of having over 500,000 million pics taken etc (this includes tv appearances etc) in just 7 years. and also, this being the main reason: Jaejoong is freaking hot. jk jk. ok. im done. now i can breathe,

  2. I hope you'll add Jung Ji-hoon (Rain) on that list too~! ^^

    1. rain is no. it in the list.....

  3. will you continue this project?:D

  4. Rain and DBSK are really not that influential. They didn't influence certain types and styles of music, and they weren't the first with their style of music either. On the other hand, someone like Seo Taeji will be high on this list (if it ever gets completed) because he essentially single handedly brought rap/hip-hop to Korea. Otherwise there probably wouldn't be any of your precious idols. Now THAT is what you would call influence.

    1. Although my fav kpop band of all time is TVXQ I don't think they changed the face of korea, but I definitely think Rain should be on the list. Being voted most influential person 'in the world' by Time magazine is enough for his credentials I think :P

  5. Just discovered this list while looking up Jaurim. I'm definitely going to have to listen to some of the other artists I'm not familiar with.

    Lee Jung Hyun, The Queen of Transformation, is definitely an extremely influential artist. She was always reinventing herself for every album and wasn't afraid to push the norms of Korea. I'll be interested to see if she makes it on this list. H.O.T. as well would rank higher on my list than DBSK. H.O.T. practically brought on the influx of idol groups that we see today.

    Seo Taiji, without a doubt, legendary.

  6. I'm wondering whether you'll put both Drunken Tiger and Yoon Mirae on this list.. Probably just Drunken Tiger.

  7. i wonder if the legend hyun chul not with the legends you dont know anything about korean music

  8. I love k-indie. What are your views on Loveholics? They might be that huge compared to other indie bands in korea but their music just breaks u apart!

  9. Drunken Tiger?? Yoon Mirae??

  10. I was expecting to see like Jiyong(G-Dragon) and BigBang or Super Junior or like 2ne1

  11. speaking of the next tier : Legends I think 신화 could make to the cut

    1. Shinhwa was a product of HOT's massive influence. HOT will likely be in the top ten.

    2. but shinhwa should be included on most influence now since they can prove that a boygroup can still be together for so many years.
      without even changed the member or disband.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. who will be in the legend tier? tiger JK? seo taiji? deulgukhwa? shin joong hyeon? lee sang eun?

  14. Hope 이적 makes the cut. Guy pretty much lives off his royalties considering his song gets played so much e.g. his 2집 album.

  15. I've been listening to K-Pop for 2 years, and I barely came across this list last year. And if it wasn't for this list, I still be listening to idols and all that. I know I've barely been listening to Korean music, but I think I can guess who's gonna be next: Cho Yong Pil, Sanullim, Deulgukhwa, Shin Jung Hyeon, Seo Taiji/Seo Taiji and Boys, and to certain extent H.O.T. Sorry if I guessed wrong. :P
    PS I also want to thank you. If it wast for your Top 50 list, I would've never known the greatness that is Yoo Jae Ha. :)
    Keep up the good work!

  16. I think 조덕배 should be here.

  17. I was searching for Kim Bum Soo but could not find his name on your list. Kim is the first Korean artist to make a mark on the North American music charts, with his song 'Hello Goodbye Hello' ranked as the 51st spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 2001. Particularly, he is noted for the song "보고싶다" (bogo shipda), the title of which means "I miss you" in English. This song became the theme song of Korean drama Stairway to Heaven. Everybody in Korea knows how to sing this song and it has become a type of national song. Every Korean man wants to sing this song at Karaoke and this song still remains on the Gaon Karaoke Chart 12 years after its release. His other song "Last Love" from his 7th Album Solista Part 2 is still on the Gaon Karaoke Chart 3 years after its release. The master of all genres sings 20+ music genres from soul to classical songs. He is also the triple crowned vocalist as he had successfully performed on 3 iconic stages namely Sejong Art Centre, Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House with sold out concerts. All these iconic stages do not open their doors easily to pop singers but Kim Bum Soo is one of the exceptions. Kim Bum Soo is the best vocalist and the best live vocalist of South Korea as referred to by other fellow musicians from all music genres in the music industry. Kim Bum Soo is legendary!

    A survey done by South Korea's DC inside internet community indicating that Kim Bum Soo is the best vocalist as voted by their members. This is the original link:

  18. I don't know if you're still working on this, but here are my suggestions:
    --Boohwal. Debut was the same year as Sinawe, also metal rock groundbreakers, but the difference is in their continuous output and continuing relevance. They were nominated for a major music award as recently as 2010. I like 'The more I love you'.
    --S.E.S. "I'm Your Girl." I'm going too assume H.O.T and/or Shinhwa are going to be on the legends list for their groundbreaking influence on creating the formula for the kpop boybands of today that fangirls around the world spend all their time on the internet posting fanfiction about. Well, I think S.E.S. was that archetypal equivalent for the girl bands of today. Given how gender mediates opportunities and success in any endeavor of Korean life, I will bet that S.E.S. had to work twice as hard and twice as smart for their success. How they walked their path and achieved their popularity shaped the path for the girl groups that came after them.
    --Super Junior. "Sorry Sorry". Also a paradigmatic group but for different reasons. I might be laughed at by musicians for mentioning them and stalked by fangirls for saying this but they demonstrate where determination, mass cultural production systems, diversification of entertainment vehicles, and lesser musical talent on average (by admission of their management group, SM, who said the best talent was put into TVXQ and the leftovers into Super Junior) will take a kpop group. They exemplify a viable model in an environment where many kpop groups are drawing from the smallish population of Korea in hopes of becoming the next big thing in Korea, Asia, and around the world. They have a deep bench of diverse entertainment talent that enables them to sell a lot of music because of the image and persona they develop in other entertainment vehicles. Since their debut in 2005, they have been ubiquitous in Korean entertainment and mass media: radio shows, all genre of tv shows, fashion magazines, film, kdrama OST, musical theatre, MC-ing, advertisements. They do have some serious musical talent, but they are used as specialists, as some members specialize as dancers, 'visuals' and/or out-sized personalities. They are also groundbreaking in the way they have spread their dominance of the music scene in Korea to East and South East Asia and to a lesser degree Europe and South America. Empirical evidence is seen in their extensive list of awards, music show wins, music charts, YouTube hits on their cover songs, the internationalization of their fan base (one of the largest in the world), concert ticket and album sales. For example, in Taiwanese Kpop charts, they created the unique situation where their #4 and #5 albums sat at the #1 and #2 position simultaneously with each album having a run at #1 for more than 30 weeks each and their #6 album sitting at the #1 spot for 110 weeks. Yes, other Kpop bands were releasing albums between 2010 and 2013. They continue to sell out large concert venues in East and Southeast Asia and made serious inroads in South America and Europe as their global popularity continues to flourish. For better or worse, younger groups try to emulate their success by trying to diversify into other areas of entertainment, making some kpop tilt even further away from music. I don't know if I would put them on the legends list but maybe somewhere on the 'Strong Impact' list.

  19. Is it just me or the top 7 artists did not mention in the post?

  20. i think rain not gonna be in the list super junior or tvxq gonna bet it the list about the music only music

  21. Did a little Jeon In-Kwon fan art~

  22. I'm guessing the last artists will be something like: HOT, Boowhal, Cho Yong Pil, Shin Jung Hyun, Seo Taiji, and two more! This is so exciting. Thanks for putting this together. I'm learning so much about Korean music history and I've done my own exploring with this list as a starter kit.

  23. I hope 나미 makes it.

  24. I am really Interested in seeing the following or upnext artist in the rank. Especially tier 1- Legend
    To me, I didnt expect Lee Sun Hee to not be placed in Tier 1.
    Maybe you can considered a Honorary mention for those who didnt make it in top 50. Probably genre like Trot or Pansoori.


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