When a K-Pop group has a song that hits number 1, it’s usually the start of a massive run of success for the group. But that isn’t always the case – sometimes a first hit song leads…. nowhere. The below songs were one-hit wonders that were huge at the time, but you’ve probably forgotten about them by now.
1. Crayon Pop‘s “Bar, Bar, Bar”
Crayon Pop debuted in 2012 and although their first album was not a commercial success, their second, which included the Billboard #1 hit “Bar, Bar, Bar” shot them to fame. They even toured with Lady Gaga in 2014 and performed in 12 cities in the US and Canada, as well as Japan and Australia. They continued to have success with subsequent albums in Japan, but in 2017 their contract with Chrome Entertainment expired.
Soyul, who unexpectedly married former H.O.T member Moon Hee Jun in early 2017 and then announced she was pregnant, decided not to renew. The remaining four members are still promoting in Japan under Crayon Pop.
2. NU’EST‘s “Face”
NU’EST is now considered one of the top boy groups, thanks to their participation in Produce 101 in 2017, and member Minhyun‘s ranking and entry into Wanna One, but before then, they didn’t have a major hit since 2012 when they released “Face”. The MV made history by becoming the #1 most viewed debut boy group MV on YouTube at the time.
They released multiple albums and found moderate success in Japan, together with roles in dramas and commercials, but their songs never went big again in South Korea. Until their participation in Produce 101… then things turned. NU’EST W, their subunit while waiting for Minhyun’s return, hit huge successes.
3. Busker Busker‘s “Cherry Blossom Ending”
Busker Busker was a three-member indie band that shot to fame after participating in Mnet‘s survival audition show Superstar K. Their first album, released in 2012, was a nationwide success, with ever single song reaching the Billboard Top 100.
In March 2013, “Cherry Blossom Ending” was called the “carol of spring” as it topped the music charts a year after its release. It charted for the fifth consecutive year in March 2016 and was revealed to be the most downloaded and streamed song in K-Pop over the past nine years, according to an Mnet survey.
Unfortunately, the group disbanded in 2013 after a second album, which while was not as successful as their first, still did well, to pursue solo careers, but their song is still a hit today.
4. Kiss&Cry‘s “Domino Game”
Kiss&Cry were a short lived K-Pop girl group who disbanded after only eight months. “Domino Game” was their debut track and was a massive hit in 2014; however, the members and their agency Winning Insight went quiet for a while afterwards.
It was announced by member Haena on national television—by herself—while she participated as a solo artist in audition show Superstar K9 that the group had disbanded. The agency denied the claim, but later agreed the members would focus on their solo careers.
The girls have remained on the scene as solo artists and Haena is now a member of girl group Matilda, which participated in 2017’s The Unit.
5. The Ark‘s “The Light”
The Ark, like Kiss & Cry, only had the chance to release a single album before disbanding in 2016. Their song “The Light” reached more than 4 million views on Youtube and they gained a large fan base thanks to their hip hop sound.
They also released dance covers of BTS songs, which earned them even more love!
In 2017, members Jane and Suji appeared together in the drama IDOLM@ASTER.KR, based on a popular Japanese game which stars an idol group known as Real Girl Project. Suji and Euna would later join KBS The Unit. Euna and Minju also formed a duet group, Khan.
6. Lipservice‘s “Yum Yum Yum”
This duo (and sometimes trio) had the goods, but they had an unstable promotional schedule and a lot of member changes, which ultimately led to their downfall. “Yum Yum Yum” was Lipservice’s biggest hit and featured two members, Bipa and Cora. Later a third member, Anna, joined, but Cora left soon after.
There was speculation that Cora was kicked out, which left fans sour despite a few more successes for the rap duo.
7. Brave Girls‘ “Deepened”
Brave Girls debuted as a five-member group in 2011 and had minor success, but took a two-year hiatus and returned with “Deepened” in 2016 with five new members. The hit song became part of their third album “High Heels”.
In 2017, after the departure of yet another original member, it was announced they would come back as a five-member group without any original members. Three of the members participated in The Unit but were all eliminated.
8. N.Flying‘s “Awesome”
N.Flying is a rock band formed in 2013 with four members. They debuted first in Japan, with their single “Awesome” making it big in 2015, but they haven’t been as successful for years. In 2017, however, they announced a fifth member would join the group, Yoo Hoeseung, who was a contestant on Produce 101 Season 2. They had a December comeback scheduled but it was postponed until January 2018.
Fans speculated they would disband soon as FNC Entertainment‘s priority was SF9, but they came back in February 2018 with “Hot Potato”, which drew interest as a catchy song (and the fact they used actual potatoes as lightsticks).
But the group’s big break came with the release of their song “Rooftop”. The song was dubbed as a “late-chart riser” and took #1 on many of Korea’s music charts, shooting the group to stardom.
9. HIGH4‘s “Not Spring, Love, Or Cherry Blossoms”
HIGH4 on promoted for 3 years together and released continuous content, but they will forever be known for their collaboration with IU!
The four-member boy band’s debut song featuring the K-Pop princess hit it big, so everything else they’ve released seems to fall flat in comparison.
10. Wa$$up‘s “Stupid Liar”
Wa$$up has been active since 2013 under Mafia Records. The group debuted with seven members with a self-titled debut track, but it wasn’t until “Stupid Liar” that they hit it big in 2015.
In 2017, after a two-year hiatus, Mafia Records announced the group would make a comeback with only four members, due to conflict between members Nada, Jinju, and Dain and the agency. The three members had filed for a nullification of their contracts.