Groundbreaking, multi-talented, ever-evolving: trying to write a brief summary of Super Junior‘s history to date is one heck of a challenge.
Instead, let’s start with the band today. There are ten active members, Leeteuk (leader), Heechul, Kangin, Shingong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Siwon, Donghae, Ryeowook and Kyuhyun. These ten will be releasing their 7th album Mamacita on Sept 1, and taking it on a world tour with Super Show 6. There are also two inactive members, Yesung and Kibum. Yesung is completing his military service, and Kibum is pursuing his acting career.
Even if you’re not familiar with the group’s complete lineup or discography, you’ll definitely know at least one song or member, and not necessarily for his K-pop talent. First formed in 2005, Super Junior are the reason many K-pop idols delve into acting and presenting as well as their day job. They were recruited not solely for their musical ability, but as all-round entertainers, who could expand beyond the music industry into all forms of Hallyu entertainment. S.M. Ent at the time were inspired by a successful J-pop girl group Morning Musume, a many-membered group who constantly changed lineup. Think of the subgroup and constant promotion possibilities even while members are off doing military service, and you can see why this concept was a perfect match for K-pop.
There have been five subgroups so far formed, allowing members to explore different musical genres and markets: Super Junior K-R-Y, Super Junior T, Super Junior M, Super Junior H, and Donghae & Eunhyuk. But Super Junior’s fanbase, E.L.F (Ever Lasting Friends), are not to be tried. S.M. Ent planned to add new members to promote more in China in 2007, but faced major opposition, which led to a mass protest and E.L.F actually buying stock in the company to have their say in the group’s future.
It’s been a year since the last world tour, Super Show 5, which of course came to London! Will SS6, kicking off in Seoul in September, follow suit? We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s sure to be massive as it heralds the official return of leader Leeteuk. He’s had a tough 2014; in January he had to deal with a huge personal tragedy, and in July he finally completed his two-year military service. E.L.F will be sure to give him and the rest of the band a warm welcome back.
Recommended playlist – some of their biggest and latest hits
Preview of Mamacita (released 1 Sept)
Sexy Free and Single
Super Junior M- Swing (Korean version)