First Generation K-Pop Idols That Every K-Pop Fan Should Know

This where It all began.

1. S.E.S.

S.E.S., formed by S.M. Entertainment in 1997, was one of the first girl groups created in the K-Pop scene. They were known as the female counterpart to H.O.T which was then the most popular K-Pop group. Although the group never officially disbanded, Bada, Eugene, and Shoo have been following their own careers as actresses and solo artists. Their hits include “I’m Your Girl”, “Running”, “Just A Feeling”, “Dream Come True”, and more.

2. Fin.K.L

Fin.K.L debuted in 1998 and was one of the most famous girl groups along with S.E.S. Fin.K.L stands for Fin Killing Liberty and they sold more than 2.2 million albums! Their hits include “Blue Rain”, “Everlasting Love”, “To My Boyfriend”, “Now”, and more. Like S.E.S., Fin.K.L never officially disbanded, but the group has been on an indefinite hiatus since 2006 when Lee HyoriOck Joo Hyun, Lee Jin, and Sung Yuri decided to follow their own paths as solo artists and actresses.

3. Baby V.O.X

Baby V.O.X debuted with the ambition to become known as the Spice Girls of Korea in 1997. They were the first girl group to include a rapper in their lineup and they were also one of the first girl groups to be very successful in China. Their hit songs include “Doll”, “Accident”, “Get Up!”, “What Do I Do”.

4. H.O.T

H.O.T was the most popular K-Pop group in the ’90s and was one of the first K-Pop groups formed by S.M Entertainment. They debuted in 1996 and disbanded in 2001. Its members, Kangta, Moon Hee Joon, Jang Woo Hyuk, Tony and Lee Jae Won still actively appear in Korean media as singers, dancers, and entertainers. Their hits include “Candy”, “We Are The Future”, “Full of Happiness”, “Hope”.


SHINHWA was another boy group formed by S.M. Entertainment, and they debuted in 1998. They are still releasing albums and holding concerts to this day and are the longest running K-Pop group in history! Although they are still together, members also actively engage in their own individual careers as actors and singers.

6. god

God is one of the first K-Pop groups formed by JYP Entertainment. They debuted in 1999 and were one of the most famous K-Pop groups in the 2000s. One of the members (Yoon Kye Sang) left the group to pursue his career as an actor, but other members continued to release albums as a four-member group. The members have also been pursuing their own careers as actors and singers, but they reunited in 2014 and made their comeback with Yoon Kye Sang.

7. Sechskies

Sechskies made their debut in 1997 and instantly gained a lot of popularity as one of the first generation K-Pop idol groups. They are also one of the groups who created the K-Pop fandom culture. They disbanded in the year 2000, breaking fans’ hearts all over the fandom. After 16 years apart, however, they regrouped in 2016 and signed with YG Entertainment. Their hits include “Couple”, “Three Words”, “Sad Song”, and “Road Fighter”.

8. Chakra

Chakra was a sensational first generation K-Pop girl group with Indian inspired dance music. They debuted in 1999 and disbanded in 2006.

Their hits include “To You”, “End”, “Bitter Sorrow”, “Come Back”, “Hey U” and more! Members Hwangbo and Jung Ryeo Won are still actively appearing on TV as actors and singers.

9. Jewelry

Jewelry was formed in 2001 by Star Empire Entertainment and was the longest running girl group until they disbanded in 2015. Their hits include “Superstar”, “I Really Like You”, “One More Time”, and “Again”. They went through several phases of changing their members, and Seo In Young, Park Jung Ah, Lee Ji Hyun, and Kim Ye Won still appear on Korean media as singers and entertainers.

10. Seo Taiji and Boys

Seo Taiji and Boys was a sensational boy group formed in 1992, which was famous for its experimental use of music genres including rap and heavy metal which were very unfamiliar to the Korean music scene at the time. Yang Hyun Suk of YG Entertainment was one of the boys in Seo Taiji and Boys. Their hits include “I Know”, “Come Back Home”, “Hayeoga”, “Fighting” and more!

11. Click-B

Click-B is a Korean boy group formed in 1999 under DSP Entertainment. They were famous for their music and performance that combined rock and dance together. Click-B’s hits include “Undefeatable”, “Dear Sky”, “To Be Continued”, “Exit”, “Reborn”, and more!

12. Y2K

Y2K is one of the classic K-Pop rock groups formed in 1999. Two of the three members are brothers from Japan. Y2K was famous for their stable vocals and stunning visuals. Their hits include “Sadness” and “After Breakup”. They disbanded after 2002.

13. Diva

Diva was a group formed by Lee Sang Min, the leader of Roo’Ra. They are the K-Pop girl group who released the most regular albums with a total of 8 albums. They debuted in 1997 and disbanded in 2005. They are also known to be the girl group with the most charisma. Their hits include “Why Are You Calling”, “Yeah”, “That’s It”, “In This Winter”, and more.


S#arp was a famous K-Pop group in the late ’90s and early 2000s. They are one of the very few mixed-gender groups to have been in the K-Pop scene. S#arp’s hits include “My Lips Like Warm Coffee”, “100 Days of Prayer”, “Tell Me, Tell Me”, “I Will Love You” and more! It is known that the group disbanded because the two female members Lee Ji Hye and Seo Ji Young could not get along and had a big fight. The two members later appeared on TV and apologized to each other.

15. Han’s Band

Han’s Band was a rock band formed by three sisters who debuted in 1998. They were famous for their songs “I Love You Teacher”, “An Amusement Hall”, “Mom’s Diary”, “Loving My Teacher” and more! They are now a CCM band.

16. Sugar

Sugar was a famous K-Pop girl group active from 2001 to 2006. They are also one of the groups formed by the famous S.M Entertainment. They were quite successful in Japan as well as Korea. Their hits include “Shine”, “Secret”, “Farewell”, “Tell Me Why” and more! Members Ayumi, Hwang Jung Eum, and Park Soo Jin still actively appear on the little and big screens as actors.

17. M.I.L.K

M.I.L.K was a girl group formed by S.M. Entertainment and H.O.T’s Moon Hee Joon. They debuted in 2001 and disbanded in 2003. Members Park Hee Von and Seo Hyun Jin are actively appearing on Korean media as actors.

18. Roo’ra

Roo’ra was one of the most famous K-Pop groups formed in 1994. Roo’ra, which stands for “Roots of Reggae”, was famous for Chae Ri Na and Kim Ji Hyun‘s strong vocals and Lee Sang Min‘s reggae-style rap. Entertainer Shin Jung Hwan was also a past member of Roo’ra. One of Roo’ra’s members, Ko Young Wook, was prisoned for sexually assaulting minors. Their hits include “Angels Without Wings”, “Good”, “3!4!”, “Let’s Play Together”, and more!