The Best-Selling Albums in South Korean History - Part 2: 80-71

Continuing on from yesterday’s article, we step straight into part two of our series of the best-selling albums in South Korean history.

Our list of the ninety-seven albums which have sold more than one million copies in South Korea - making them the best-selling albums in South Korean history - continues with the next ten entries: numbers eighty through seventy-one.

The figures showcased in this series of articles were sourced from Wikipedia, and all album figures were correct at the time of writing.

80: Kim Hyun-sik - My Love by My Side (1,100,000 copies sold)

Kim Hyun-sik was one of the most popular Korean musicians of the 1980’s, known for a husky and emotional vocal style in his singing. Throughout his career, he released six albums.

In 1990, Kim Hyun-sik died from cirrhosis. At the time, he had been recording his sixth and final album, reportedly breaking out of hospital against the advice of doctors in order to finish the vocal recordings for the album.

My Love by My Side” was released posthumously in 1991, achieving sales of 1.1 million - although reportedly as high as 2,000,000 - and earning him the Album of the Year at the 1991 Golden Disc Awards.

79: H.O.T. - Resurrection (1,103,439 copies sold)

We’ve been waiting for more idol groups to start permeating the list, and it feels right that H.O.T. should be amongst them.

The group, which was formed in 1996, is often considered to be the first K-pop idol group, with a successful formula that became the model many other entertainment agencies began following.

The group’s 1998 album “Resurrection” enters the list in the top eighty, achieving sales of more than 1.1 million copies.

78: BTS - The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever (1,114,911 copies sold)

It feels kind of early in the list to start listing off BTS albums, but thats where this one lands.

The global superstar boy group’s first compilation album - “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever” - was released in two versions (day and night) and contained twenty-three tracks.

The 2016 album is the group’s lowest entry on this chart, but certainly not its last, with more than 1.1 million sales.

77: Clon - Are You Ready? (1,120,000 copies sold)

Dance music duo Clon (formed of members Kang Won-rae and Koo Jun-yup) debuted in 1996, achieving popularity in both South Korea and Taiwan in the later half of the 1990’s.

Their debut album, 1996’s “Are You Ready?”, was a great success, selling 1.12 million copies - more than all of their other albums combined.

76: Seo Taiji - Seo Tai Ji (1,133,736 copies sold)

Although our reviews of the four Seo Taiji & Boys albums was what pre-empted this article series, the first appearance of the lead singer in this list is not from his time in the group, but instead as a soloist.

In Seo Taiji’s first outing as a soloist since the disbandment of the hip-hop trio he formed, 1998’s “Seo Tai Ji” showed fans were still willing to follow his career, amassing more than 1.13 million sales over the years.

Seo Taiji created the self-titled album entirely by himself, playing every instrument you hear and producing the album as well. The album was released while he was still living in the United States, and still managed massive sales number despite never being promoted within South Korea.

75: Lim Young-woong - Im Hero (1,138,876 copies sold)

Shooting to superstardom within South Korea following his win on reality singing competition “Mr Trot” in 2020, trot and ballad singer Lim Young-woong has quickly become one of the best in the business.

His 2022 album “Im Hero” has now sold more than 1.13 million copies, and can still be expected to climb. Although the singer debuted in 2016, this is his very first album, which features twelve tracks.

*Please note: As a popular recent release, figures for this album may drastically change, and the above figures were correct at the time of writing.

74: NCT 127 - Favorite (1,165,336 copies sold)

Is NCT 127 your “Favorite” sub-unit?

What makes the incredible figures behind the sale of “Favorite” so astonishing is behind its history. “Favorite” is not an original album, but instead a repackage album. And it’s a repackage album released just five weeks after the original album had been released.

And that original album featured the much-maligned and opinion-dividing song “Sticker”.

The 2021 repackage album release of “Favorite” comes in at number seventy-four on this list, achieving sales of more than 1.16 million copies.

73: Seventeen - Semicolon (1,175,013 copies sold)

Although first on this list, “Semicolon” was much anticipated by Carat (Seventeen’s fandom) following the high sales of their previous album earlier in the same year which earned them the moniker of “million seller”.

Seventeen’s special EP in 2020’s “Semicolon” feature six tracks, including the title track of “Home;Run”, which features the sounds of 1920’s and 1930’s swing and dance music.

“Semicolon” has achieved almost 1.2 million sales since it was first released.

72: Whitney Houston - The Bodyguard (1,200,000 copies sold)

The second non-Korean album enters this chart at number seventy-two.

Following up from Mariah Carey’s previous 1993 entry on the list with “Music Box”, it’s time to bring on Whitney Houston (along with various other artists, of course), for “The Bodyguard Original Soundtrack Album”. Not sure what it is? Maybe this will be a hint:

“And I will always love you”

The 1992 album is the most successful non-Korean album when it comes to sales in the country, having achieved a sales record of 1,200,000 copies. It was a global juggernaut as well, selling more than a million copies a week for several weeks in a row at one point - and achieving sales figures of more than 45,000,000 copies worldwide.

71: Byun Jin-sub - Farewell (1,200,000 copies sold)

Byun Jin-sub’s third album release - 1990’s “Farewell” - is the first of three of his entries on the list. The album was rather successful, selling 1.2 million copies.

Have you listened to any of the albums listed above, or do you own any of them? Which of these ten albums are your favourite? Let us know by commenting on our socials @KpopWise. And make sure to tune in tomorrow as we showcase the albums from number seventy to sixty-one on our list of the best-selling albums in South Korean history.

Ford Carter

Ford Carter is an online blogger studying journalism who's hundreds of articles across half a dozen fansites from the music and television industries have now been read more than 300,000 times. From his home in regional Australia, you'll often find him binging kdramas or rewatching old editions of the Eurovision Song Contest.

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