The Swedes may have produced the most internationally recognized talent ever to come out of Scandinavia, turning out at least one per decade since the 1970ies with ABBA. Then Roxette in the 80ies, Ace of Base in the 90ies, and Robyn in the 2000s. And, who can forget Danish/Swedish duo Aqua with the smash hit Barbie Girl. The Norwegians have also done quite well with A-ha making a name for themselves in the 80ies, and more recently people across the globe wonders with curiosity what the fox really does say when Norwegian comedy band Ylvis takes the stage. Amongst the heavy metal crowd, Danish Volbeat has made a big name for themselves in the US.
But, what about current mainstream US top charts? Are the Scandinavians making their mark there?
We’d say more so than ever. Here’s 6 current hit songs that you may not know were Scandinavian.
7 YEARS by LUKAS GRAHAM
We came across Lucas Graham when they performed on CONAN a few months ago. “7 Years” hit the charts in the US shortly after their performance, and made it to the top no. 2 spot on Billboards Hot 100. Following the popularity of “7 Years”, Lucas Graham also released the single “Mama Said”. The band just completed a US tour, and we had the pleasure to check them out when they came through the Nation’s capital. It was a blast of a show. Besides their performance of “7 Years” our favorites where “Happy Home” and “Funeral”. If you haven’t already, we highly recommend checking out their full album online.
HABITS (STAY HIGH) by TOVE LO
We sang along to Habits several times when it played on the radio before realizing this hit song had Scandinavian roots. The single was independently released on Swedish Lo’s YouTube account in early 2013, which gained her an increased internet following. In late 2013, “Habits” was re-released through Universal Music in Europe. It was sent to the US in June 2014 where it was soon picked up by contemporary US hit radio stations. By late 2014, it had climbed to no. 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It still plays frequently. Tove Lo will be on the road starting a North American tour with Maroon 5 next September. If we weren’t excited enough about Tove Lo, Maroon 5 is just an added bonus.
SAVE THE WORLD by SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA
OK! So, this one is a bit self-explanatory, and most people should know that Swedish House Mafia is Scandinavian. Swedish House Mafia has hit charts worldwide (including the US) with several hit songs. Their mainstream US breakthrough came with the song “Save the World” in 2011, which topped Billboards Hot Dance Club Songs for weeks. In 2012 they topped the charts with “Don’t you worry child”, which climbed to no. 6 on Billboards Hot 100. After making it big in the US several of their songs have become regulars on radio like “One”, “Greyhound”, and “Miami to Ibiza.” Unfortunately, the group announced in 2012 that they were splitting up. Their final tour was in 2013, but their music plays on.
NEVER FORGET YOU by ZARA LARSSON
Never Forget You is a more recent hit on the US charts out of Scandinavia. It was released in 2015 in Europe, but didn’t reach the US until 2016. It’s peaked at no. 14 at US Billboard Hot 100 this month. But, it’s still climbing, so we may see it go higher. Zara Larsson does not have any tours scheduled for the US, but you can still catch her in a few shows. She’s coming through St. paul, MN and Independence, MO in June, 2016.
HEY BROTHER by AVICII
Avicii may be one of the coolest music talents out of Sweden since ABBA. Avicii has had several hits in the US with two of the bigger ones besides “Hey Brother” being “True” and “Wake me Up”. If you live near Las Vegas, NV, or may be planning a trip out there in May/June of this year there are a few opportunities to catch Avicii Live at the Wynn Hotel’s beach club Encore. But, this will likely be your last chance to ever catch him live in the US as the artist announced in April 2016 that he would retire from touring. Luckily for us, he’ll continue making music for a little while longer.
LEAN ON by MØ
Danish Mø was the voice of Lean on. Lean On was a big hit last summer, but you can stil catch it on the radio. It climbed to number 4 on the Billboards Hot top 100, and made it to number 1 on Billboards Hot Dance/Electronic songs. After Lean On was a hit, Mø started working with American DJ Diplo. Together they released “Kamikaze” in late 2015, which hit the US charts immediately. If you live near Atlanta, GA, you may have caught Mø at the Shaky Beats Music Festival this past weekend.