Shin Jung-hyeon

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Shin Jung Hyeon(신중현, 申重鉉)
Born (1938-01-04) January 4, 1938 (age 78),
Seoul, South Korea
Genres Rock, pop, blues
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, singer, guitarist
Instruments Vocals, Guitar
Years active 1954–present
Labels Jigu Record
Associated acts Add 4, Pearl Sisters, Shin Jung-hyeon and The Men, Shin Junh-hyeon and YeopJeons, Shin Jung-hyeon and Music Power, Shin Jung-hyeon and SeNaGeuNe
Shin Jung-hyeon
Hangul 신중현
Hanja 申重鉉
Revised Romanization Sin Jung-hyeon
McCune–Reischauer Sin Chunghyŏn
This is a Korean name; the family name is Shin.

Shin Jung-hyeon (born January 4, 1938 in Seoul) is a South Korean rock guitarist and singer-songwriter. Known as Korea's "Godfather of Rock",[1] he led Korean psychedelic pop/rock culture during the 1960s and 1970s. His sons Shin Dae-cheol (Sinawe) and Shin Yun-cheol are also respected guitarists in Korean rock. He became the first Asian musician and the sixth in the world to be the recipient of the Fender Custom Shop Tribute Series guitar joining five of other such rock legends as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.[2] Such was his influence and versatility that he has been described as South Korea's answer to Brian Wilson and Jimi Hendrix.[3]


Shin Jung-hyeon was born in 1938, and his mother died when he was still a child.[4] His father remarried to a Japanese woman, and Shin spent his youth with them in Manchuria and Japan.[4] They were living in Chungcheong Province, Korea when Shin's father died in 1952 and his stepmother the next year.[4] Shin moved to Seoul on his own, working in a pharmacy and going to night school.[5] He taught himself to play the guitar, and began giving lessons at a music institute in Jongno.[4] In 1957 he began playing for the U.S. army in Korea,[1] using the stage name "Jackie Shin".[5] He continued performing for the U.S. troops for the next decade.[5] Shin claims that the U.S. Army bases are where Korean rock was born. "At that time, Korean clubs only played 'trot,' tango, music like that," he remembers.[5]

His psychedelic style of music fascinated the U.S. soldiers, and some record companies asked him to make LPs. His cover of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly is a legend today.[citation needed] His first recording in 1959 was covers of traditional Korean music. He managed his own band, Add 4, in 1961.[6] Add 4 was the first rock band in Korea,[6] and their music style was similar to the Ventures.

Shin did not gain mainstream success in Korea until 1968.[6] In 1968 he produced the hit album Nima for the high school group The Pearl Sisters.[6] For the next seven years he wrote many songs and produced several more hit records for singing groups.[6] Many of these recordings featured Shin's "fuzzy" guitar and psychedelic musical style.[6] His melodies were simple and fascinating, like "Keopi Hanjan" (A Cup of Coffee) (커피 한잔) or "Geojitmariya" (It's a Lie) (거짓말이야).

In 1972 South Korean president Park Chung Hee asked Shin to write a song in praise of the president.[6] Shin refused and instead wrote a song about the beauty of Korea, called "Ahreumdaeun Gangsan" (Beautiful Rivers and Mountains) (아름다운강산).[6] After this his music career began to suffer from police harassment and governmental interference.[6] Some of his songs were banned as "vulgar" or "noisy", and in August 1975, he was arrested for "involvement" with marijuana.[6]

After his release, he was banned from public performance for years.[7] With the death of Park Chung Hee, he was free to perform, but public tastes in music had changed by then.[7] "It was all, 'Let's work hard,' and 'Let's be happy' kind of stuff. It was completely physical, with no spirit, no mentality, no humanity. That trend has carried over all the way to today..." according to Shin.[7]

During the 1980s, Shin ran a music club in Itaewon, a Seoul neighborhood popular with foreign visitors and U.S. Army personnel.[7] He opened "Woodstock", another music club, in southeast Seoul in 1986, and ran it for the next two decades.[7] Among Shin's 1990–2000 works, MuWiJaYeon (無爲自然, 1994) is his finest album.[citation needed] His electric guitar sanjo proved he still does musical experiments. His legendary albums were reissued as LP miniature CDs in 2002–03.

In 2004, Shin provided the musical score for director Im Kwon-taek's film Low Life. After announcing his retirement in 2006,[8] Shin returned on May 17, 2008 for a public performance with three of his sons at the sixth annual Korean Music Festival held at the Hollywood Bowl.[9]

His first US press record "Beautiful Rivers And Mountains: The Psychedelic Rock Sound Of South Korea's Shin Joong Hyun 1958-74" released in 2011, from Light in the Attic Records.[10]


In-A-Kadda-Da-Vida (1970)
# is recently reissued

The Add 4 Era

  • (1959) Guitar Meolody Compilation [Shin Jung-hyeon]
  • (1964) The Woman in Rain-The Add 4 First Album [Add 4]
  • (1966) The Ventures of Korea, Add 4 : Shin Jung-hyeon Insturumental Arrange Compilation Vol.1 [Add 4]
  • (1967) The Woman in Rain [Blooz Tet]
  • (1968) Enjoy the Guitar Intrrumental Twist [Add 4]

The Superstar Era : producer, singer-songwriter and guitarist

  • (1969) Green Apple [Shin Jung-hyeon]
  • (1969) No/Spring Rain [Lee Jeong-hwa / Donkeys] #
  • (1969) Before too late / Sgt.Kim from Vietnam [Kim Chu-ja] #
  • (1969) Bell-bottom Trousers/Dear [Pearl Sisters] #
  • (1970) Hello/You're a Fool [Questions]
  • (1970) Hit Instrumental Compilation vol.1 [Shin Jung-hyeon]
  • (1970) In-A-Kadda-Da-Vida [Shin Jung-hyeon / Questions] #
  • (1971) Sound [Shin Jung-hyeon and his combo band]
  • (1972) Setting Sun/Woman in the Mist/Beautiful Korea [Jang Hyeon / Shin Jung-hyeon and The Men] #
    • Partly reissued as CD 'GeoJitMalIYa', three 20 mins psyche jam pieces
  • (1972) No/Don't Say to Go [Kim Jeong-mi] #
  • (1972) Angel/I ... You [Seo Yu-seok] #
  • (1972) Your Dream/Little Ship [Yang Hee-eun] #
    • Shin Jung-hyeon's compositions of Seo Yu-seok and Yang Hee-eun albums reissued as 1CD
  • (1973) Wind [Kim Jeong-mi] #
  • (1973) Now [Kim Jeong-mi] #

Shin Jung-hyeon Bands Era

  • (1974) The Beauty/Think of You [Shin Junh-hyeon and YeopJeons] #
  • (1975) Beautiful Korea/Mountain and River [Shin Jung-hyeon and YeopJeons] #
  • (1975) Instrumental Best [Shin Jung-hyeon and YeopJeons] #
  • (1980) Nobody Here But/Whenever See You [Shin Jung-hyeon and Music Power] #
  • (1980) Please Wait/Even Your Leaving [Shin Jung-hyeon]
  • (1982) The Satellite I Shot/As Waiting Somebody [Shin Jung-hyeon and Music Power] #
  • (1983) Let's Go/Happy [Shin Jung-hyeon and SeNaGeuNe]


  • (1988) During the Days/Winter Park [Shin Jung-hyeon]
  • (1994/2CD) Do Nothing, Let it be [Shin Jung-hyeon]
  • (1997/2CD) A Tribute to Shin Jung-hyeon [Various Artists]
  • (1998/2CD) Kim SatGat [Shin Jung-hyeon]
  • (2002/5CD Box) Not for Rock [Shin Jung-hyeon]
  • (2002/2CD Box) Body and Feel [Shin Jung-hyeon]
  • (2006) The Crane of a City [Shin Jung-hyeon]
  • (2006) Comfortably Safe [Shin Jung-hyeon]
  • (2007) Anthology [Shin Jung-hyeon]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hollywood Bowl 2008: The 6th Korean Music Festival (Program Guide). Los Angeles: Hankook Ilbo. 2008. p. 10. 
  2. ^ "Rocker Shin honored by celebrated guitar maker". Korea Herald. Retrieved 2010-03-30. 
  3. ^ Sunday Times Culture, 2 October 2011
  4. ^ a b c d Russell, Mark James (2008). "The Golden Age of Korean Rock". Pop Goes Korea; Behind the Revolution in Movies, Music, and Internet Culture. Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press. p. 140. ISBN 978-1-933330-68-6. 
  5. ^ a b c d Russell, p. 141.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Russell, p. 142.
  7. ^ a b c d e Russell, p. 143.
  8. ^ Kim, Hee-kyoung (2006-12-07). 록의 대부 신중현, 마지막 발길… (in Korean). Hankook Ilbo. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  9. ^ "2008 - The 6th Hollywood Bowl Korean Music Festival". Retrieved 2008-05-19.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  10. ^


  • Russell, Mark James (2008). "The Golden Age of Korean Rock". Pop Goes Korea; Behind the Revolution in Movies, Music, and Internet Culture. Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press. pp. 140–143. ISBN 978-1-933330-68-6. 

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