H.O.T. (Hangul: 에이치오티) was a popular five-member South Korean boy band in the mid to late 1990s. They were formed by SM Entertainment in 1996 and disbanded in 2001. In addition to South Korea, the band was popular in Taiwan, People's Republic of China and Korean and Asian communities in Americas.
Often credited as one of the first k-pop boy bands and the forerunners of the "idol group" trend in the Korean music industry, H.O.T. successfully turned mainstream Korean music into music for the younger generation. Made up of five teenagers at the time of their debut, they were formed to specifically target teenagers, hence their name "High-five Of Teenagers".
H.O.T. was formed by producer Lee Soo-man of SM Entertainment. Their comprise a mixture of rap, ballads, dance, and later Rock, with singer Kangta providing most of the ballad vocals.
The first member that Lee Soo-man picked was Kangta. The manager saw him dancing and singing in public, and was impressed. Second was Moon Hee-joon, who after auditioning was accepted into the band. Hee-joon then invited his friend Lee Jae-won to audition, who was subsequently also admitted. The fourth to join the band was Woo-hyuk, after winning first place in a dancing contest. He was asked to try out and became the fourth member to join.
SM Entertainment traveled to LA to hold auditions, and Tony An and his close friend Andy Lee joined the band, however Lee's parents later withdrew support, causing him to leave the band and join Shinhwa in 1998.
H.O.T. was a group that enjoyed massive success in their career, allowing them to become major influences on the future of boy bands and the rest of the music scene in Korea, their popularity also led to the creation of female groups in Korea. The group was formed by Lee Soo-man, the head of SM Entertainment, in 1996. Kangta was the first to join the group when he and a friend were discovered singing and dancing at an amusement park. Moon Hee-joon auditioned and made it into the group, and he recommended that Jae-won be considered; he auditioned and made it as well. Jang Woo-hyuk joined after winning a dancing contest, and Tony An, originally discovered by Brothers Entertainment in the United States, moved to SM with his friend Andy Lee, who later pulled out and joined the group Shinhwa. The new group was called H.O.T. - High Five of Teenagers.
H.O.T. made their debut with their first album, We Hate All Kinds of Violence in September 1996. This album and its first single, Junsa Ae Hoo Yeh, sparked controversy because some of their songs apparently plagiarized others, and lawsuits were placed against the group.
Despite their controversial debut, they released a second single from the album, Candy, which became the first of their hit songs.
They released their second album in June 1997, entitled Wolf & Sheep. This became another controversial release, since the title track featured strong language that caused it to be banned from all the major radio stations. However, a second single from this album, "We Are the Future" brought them back into the spotlight with another #1 hit. In 1998, "We Are The Future"'s earned an American MTV Award for Best International Video.
The next year the group had their first live tour, starting with the Seoul Olympic Stadium. H.O.T. was the first Kpop group to hold a concert here, thanks to their large fanbase. Owing to their popularity, they were seen frequently in advertisements. At one point, they had their own soda brand with the catch phrase "I only drink H.O.T." They released their third album, Resurrection, in September 1998. This album featured a more "serious" style, with music gravitating towards rock.
On 25 June 1999, H.O.T, together with its label-mate S.E.S., performed at Michael Jackson's concert "Michael Jackson and Friends - The Adventure of Humanity".
They released their fourth album, Iyah!, and a "Best of" album in the following year, 1999. They also starred in a "Space Jam"-like movie called "Age of Peace", for which they also released a soundtrack consisting songs that the members themselves composed. Everything in the film except for the five members were computerized, and the film was released in Japan during promotional activities for their fourth album. They won numerous awards from KMTV, and various popular music shows in Korea for their fourth album and the soundtrack.
They released their fifth and final album, Outside Castle, in September 2000. All of the members took part in composing the lyrics. H.O.T. enjoyed great success with all of their albums, and were known for their talent of writing and composing many of their own songs. In addition, Moon Hee-joon and Jang Woo-hyuk were also known for their dancing abilities, and often choreographed the groups routines.
They maintained a friendly rivalry with other K-pop bands such as Sechs Kies, and were close friends with Kim Hwan-sung of N.R.G., who died from pneumonia a week or two prior to his 20th birthday. Kangta was heartbroken by his friend's death, and when N.R.G. released their album after Kim Hwan-sung's death, he wrote the main track of their album.
Disbandment and post-H.O.T.:
H.O.T. disbanded in May 2001. As the members of H.O.T. neared the end of their contracts with SM Entertainment, it was rumored that financial issues caused the group to split. However, because the real reasons for the breakup were never officially released to the public, financial contract issues still remain an unverified rumor to this day.
After the split, Kangta and Moon Hee-joon were offered lucrative contracts to SM Entertainment as solo artists and released moderately successful albums. While Kangta's music was usually mainstream soul or R&B, Moon Hee-joon in the beginning, like Kangta, started with the mainstream R&B, but later attempted to establish a rock music career. However, Hee-joon was overshadowed by his teen idol image and was met with harsh criticism.
The remaining members, Jang Woo-hyuk, Tony An, and Lee Jae-won, formed a three-member group called JTL under another label, and sold moderately successful albums. Later, Jang Woo-hyuk and a partner created their own dance company with Woo-hyuk leading his own team and school named Newest.
A few years after forming JTL, Tony An released a solo album, created his own entertainment company, Tn Entertainment, a successful school uniforms company, Skoolooks and an undergarment company, Shinenihs. In September 2010, Tony completed his 2-year army duty and released a new song, "Going To Meet You Now".
In 2005, Moon Hee-joon left SM Entertainment, creating his own company, PS Entertainment, and releasing one album. Later that year, Hee-joon headed off to military service, a duty required for every male Korean citizen. In 2008, he completed his 2-year army duty and signed with a company called SidusHQ.
Lee Jae-won also left SM Entertainment, and on April 4, 2005, he released his first post-H.O.T. album, "No Pain, No Gain". Lee has since then completed his military duty in 2011.
On September 12, 2005, Jang Woo-hyuk released his first solo album No More Drama, performing with the renowned American hip-hop group Elite Force, who was also a former dance team for Will Smith. Woo-hyuk was the last member to release a solo album, and he earned a reputation as "The Prince of Dance Music". In year 2010, he signed with a Chinese Entertainment Company and is currently active in China. His recent collaborations are with Singaporean Mandarin pop singer JJ Lin and Hong Kong singer/actor Karen Mok.
On September 2010, Kangta remains as a shareholder in SM Entertainment and released his new Chinese electro-pop title song, "Love, Frequency" or better known as "Breaka Shaka". Few days later he also released his first digital mini album, Love, Frequency.
Tony An released a solo mini album "Topstar" with top pop song under same name of album on April 4, 2011.
Jang Woo-hyuk new album released May 25 entitled " I am The Future ", with singles including Time is Lover, I am the Future, and Minimalism.
Kangta expressed an interest in having the band reunite in the first half of 2011. However in March 2012 members Moon and An stated that it would be difficult for the group to come together again.