2005—2006: Formation

Before Big Bang’s major debut, each member had his own degree of success and popularity in the entertainment industry. Leader G-Dragon and lead vocalist Taeyang had already been with YG Entertainment since they were both twelve years old, known as GD and YB back then. Member T.O.P was well known as an underground hip-hop rapper while Seungri was first introduced to the entertainment industry through the show Let’s Cokeplay Battle Shinhwa.[4]

After the lineups for the group was finally made, the television network MTV Korea released a ten-episode documentary that showed the members in training before their debut as an official group (an eleventh episode was added after final members were decided). The first six episodes detailed each individual member’s background and motivation for becoming a singer. The documentary portrayed the arduous process of training by showing their dancing and singing practice sessions. Beyond being just a behind-the-scenes reality show, the series also eliminated various candidates unfit for Big Bang. Two members, SO-1 and Seungri (Lee Seung Hyun) were considered for elimination, but they were given second chances to showcase their abilities in singing, dancing, and performing. However, this eventually resulted in Yang Hyun Suk (the producer and founder of YG Entertainment) dropping SO-1 because he lacked stage presence and was “too shy”[4]. On the other hand, Seungri was able to successfully impress Yang with his dancing and singing skills, thus making the group. This documentary helped gain recognition for the group.

Before deciding on an official name for the group, the members had suggested several names, such as “Apex”, “Stump,” and “Diamond”. Finally it was decided on “Big Bang” as Yang Hyun Suk thought the other names were too childish.[4] Big Bang made their official debut at the YG Family concert, held on August 19, 2006 at the Gymnastics Arena in Seoul Olympic Park.

Prior to the release of their first album, the group had a unique release schedule, with three EPs released within a span of a few months. Their first EP was The First Single Album, which spawned the top-ten[citation needed] hit single “This Love”, a remake of the American boy band Maroon 5‘s own single.[1] The single debuted with over 17,000 copies sold in the month of August[5] and later went on to sell approximately nearly 40,000 copies[6]. The second EP Big Bang is V.I.P. was released a month later, selling 21,000 copies in that month.[7] It finally netted sales of 32,000 copies.[6] Their third and last EP, B I G B A N G 0 3, followed the success of their previous EPs with final sales nearing 30,000 copies.[6]

Later in the year, Big Bang’s own official fan club was created, calling themselves the “V.I.P.” (in reflection of their second single “Big Bang is V.I.P.”). Unlike other fan clubs, Big Bang’s fans do not have a balloon color for showing support at concerts; instead, fans wave black and white BB (obviously standing for Big Bang) handkerchiefs/bandannas. At the end of December 2006, Big Bang held their very first concert titled The Real. The following month, their first debut album Since 2007, which was essentially a compilation of songs from their previous singles, was released; it sold 48,009 copies by the end of February 2007.[6]

2007—2008: Breakthrough success

On February 8, 2007, Big Bang released their live concert album entitled The First / Real Live Concert, which sold almost 30,000 copies by the end of 2007.[8] From May to July 2007, the group also held their first national tour concert in Korea, with the headline Want You, touring a total of five cities: Incheon, Daegu, Changwon, Jeonju and Busan.

In August, the group released what would become one of their first mini albums Always, with the group holding a Showcase/Fanmeeting for promotional activities. Taking control over their music, group-leader G-Dragon began producing and writing some of the songs on the album. The mini-album was released to positive reviews from fans and critics alike, especially the song “거짓말” (“Lies“).[9] “Lies” became the group’s first song to be a breakout hit, reaching number-one on SBS Hit Songs, their first to do so, followed by MBC’s Music Core, KBS Music Bank and Mnet’s Countdown and numerous online and offline charts for many consecutive weeks.

The mini-album was successful enough for Big Bang to collect numerous awards by the end of 2007, including “Best Male Group” and “Song Of The Year” from the 2007 M.NET/KM Music Festival.[10] Later in 2008, Big Bang also collected the prestigious “Daesang” from the 17th Seoul Music Awards.[11]

Their second mini album, Hot Issue, was released a few months after Always and yielded another strong single for the group, “Last Farewell” (“마지막 인사“). It mirrored the success of “Lies,” topping various music charts, and winning “Song of the Month Digital Music Award” from Cyworld , beating strong competitors such as the Wonder Girls and F.T. Island. It also topped Juke-On’s chart for eight consecutive weeks.[12] The group then held their second round of concerts from December 28 to 30, 2008, with the headline Big Bang Is Great, where tickets were reportedly sold out in 10 minutes.[13] Despite this, various members were hospitalized due to sickness and injuries from over performing and exhaustion,[14] thus halting and limiting their promotional activities. A representative for YG Entertainment then addressed the issue by stating that though the group would perform at the MBC Music Festival on the 31st, they would cancel everything else on their schedule for the first week of next year. It was later reported in the year that Big Bang’s albums and singles had been in high demand, causing the record company to reprint and repackage it for re-releases.[15]

After the success in South Korea, Big Bang ventured out overseas towards Japan. Kicking off 2008, their first Japanese album For the World was released, with previous Korean singles appearing on the album, in addition to a Japan-only song, “How Gee” (a new remix version from “How Gee” by the Japanese group Black Machine). For The World debuted at #14 on the Oricon chart and eventually crawled its way to #10, despite lack of promotions.[16] On the 28th and 29th of March, Big Bang held a concert in JCB Hall in Tokyo Dome City. Additionally, the group also released a Japanese mini-album in late May titled With U, with a corresponding single of the same name.

The group returned to Korea mid-2008 after their activities in Japan ended. Despite their activities being delayed several time due to solo activities, Big Bang eventually released their third mini-album Stand Up — which featured collaborations with the group Daishi Dance, and the Korean rock-band No Brain with their latest punk rock single Oh My Friend. The band’s first release was “Day By Day” (“하루하루“). Like previous albums, leader G-Dragon was heavily involved with the production of the album, having composed and written a majority of the songs with the exception of “A Good Man”, which was composed by fellow group member T.O.P. The mini-album went on to exceed the 100,000 mark in sales and also yielded some of the group’s strongest singles, with the lead single “Day By Day” topping several online charts and staying at the number-one spot for 6 consecutive weeks.[17] In addition, several of their songs also made it to the Top 20 of the charts, with “Heaven” at the number-two spot, “Oh My Friend” being ninth, “A Good Man” at twelfth and “Lady” being sixteenth — a total of five songs in the Top 20 for the group.[citation needed]

At the same time, Big Bang released the Japanese song “Number 1” from their album of the same name and introduced the song through Japanese radio programs and TV shows; the album peaked at #3 on the Japan’s Oricon daily album chart.[citation needed] Towards the end of 2008, Big Bang released their Korean follow-up album, Remember, yielding the single “붉은노을 (“Sunset Glow“), which peaked at number-one on various charts in Korea. At the end of 2008, Big Bang collected their second “Artist of the Year” from the 2008 M.NET KM Music Festival award ceremony.[citation needed]

2009: Branching out

The group went on a break in early 2009, with all of them pursuing solo activities. During this time, they collaborated with 2NE1, a new girl group from their entertainment company and also being called The Female Big Bang, for the song “Lollipop“; they filmed a music video for it as well. Although it was a song used to promote a cell phone, it has since hit #1 on various online charts.[18]

After their recent success with “Lollipop”, the group released a new Japanese single named “My Heaven” in May 2009, their Japanese version of the song is the first official to be released with a music video while sung in Japanese. The song is a Japanese translation of their song “Heaven” from the EP Stand Up.[citation needed]

They are currently working on their Japanese debut under label company Universal Music Japan for their Japanese debut single “My Heaven” which released on June 24 2009 as a digital single.[citation needed]

They also released a new Japanese single titled “Gara Gara Go!” on July 8, 2009 which reached number 3 on online charts. “Gara Gara Go!” is the heading single while “Top of the World” “So Beautiful” and “Stylish” also are included in the two-disc single.

The group is also working on a Korean Volume 3 album entitled “Memories”. It has also been announced the all the memebers of Big Bang will release their own full solo album before the release of their 3rd album. G-Dragon was the first to release his solo album titled “Heart Breaker”.

They are also endorsing famous Korean Online FPS “Sudden Attack”. All 5 members will have their own characters with special dialogue and sound effects. They also are endorsing for FILA as Stylish (The FILA) was released on their single Gara Gara Go!

They are scheduled to perform at the annual korean music festival Dream Concert, in October 2009. At the 2009 I Love Korea Dream Concert, they will performing side by side with 2PM, Super Junior, TVXQ, 2NE1, and Wonder Girls. More artists will be confirmed later in the year.


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