Tang Dynasty rose to fame in 1992 with a self-titled debut album, which had officially sold about 2,000,000 authentic copies throughout Asia and abroad, not counting the multitudes more of pirated copies. Their sound is part progressive rock and artistic metal and part traditional Chinese vocal techniques with lyrical poetry and musical arrangements meant to hearken back to the glorious days of ancient Chinese civilization; in particular, the cultural epitome of Chinese history as popularly represented by the era of the Tang Dynasty.
Tang Dynasty soon became the icon of Chinese hard rock music, and their lightning-fast guitarist Liu Yijun (刘义军), a.k.a. "Lao Wu", became the first rock guitar hero in China. However, tragedy cast a dark shadow over the band in 1995 with the untimely death on May 11 of bassist Zhang Ju, who was riding his motorcycle from a fellow rock scene bassist friend Chen Jin's home, when an accident occurred involving a collision with a truck on the Zizhuqiao (Purple Bamboo Bridge) freeway overpass in western Beiing. This dealt a heavy blow to the band. Liu Yijun left the band in 1996 and was replaced by original founding member Kaiser Kuo, a Chinese-American who formed the band with Ding Wu and Zhang Ju in 1989.
The band's 1999 release "Epic" was their second album, 7 years after its debut record. Epic did maintain a level of artfully composed series of new prog-metal rock songs that helped bring success to their debut album, but may otherwise be described as a little bit more of a straight-ahead rock album with somewhat less ethnic orientation. The album received lukewarm reviews. Nevertheless, the album was still popular enough to elicit waves of unauthorized copies in the pirated market. In June of 1999, Kaiser Kuo again parted company with Tang Dynasty and later formed another well-recognized Chinese metal-rock band, Spring and Autumn (Chunqiu). Kuo was replaced for a period by former Iron Kite front man Yu Yang, and then by young guitar virtuoso Chen Lei, who joined the band in late 2000. In 2002, Lao Wu rejoined the group and Tang Dynasty is at its present five-man band form, featuring contrasting styles of Chen Lei and Lao Wu both exchanging and interplaying guitar work, and fattening-up their overall live sound with Ding Wu's occasional coloring in their sound palette with a third guitar.