The Five: Swedish bands that made it big in America

Music & Arts

The Five: Swedish bands that made it big in America

Everybody’s heard of ABBA, the energetic Swedish quartet that took Eurovision and the world by storm in the 1970s. ABBA set the standard for what Americans expect from Swedish pop music, and that is saying something. After The Beatles, they are the greatest selling musical act of all time.

Sweden continues to kick out musical talent to this day. And, perhaps because of the country’s collective love of American jazz, Swedish bands are particularly good at producing music that seamlessly flows into American culture. Here’s a list of some of the most popular Swedish acts that have made it big in the United States:


No 80s/90s playlist is complete without some Roxette. This Swedish duo epitomizes that decade’s style with outrageous hair, punky panache and catchy pop-songs you love like “The Look,” “Joy Ride” and “It Must Have Been Love.”

Ace of Base

We’re willing to bet some serious cash that you recently heard one of this band’s many hits and did not even hesitate to sing along. Its 1993 album The Sign (released as Happy Nation in Scandinavia) officially is one of the best-selling debut albums of all time and unofficially the most loathed by karaoke DJs around the world.

The Cardigans

With their innocent-looking, yet mysteriously sultry front woman, Nina Persson, The Cardigans took the U.S. by storm with their hit “Love Fool” in the mid-1990s. Upon the release of their darker, more electronic influenced moody fourth album, Gran Turismo, the band evolved into a Top 40 band that even the kids-too-cool-for-Top-40-bands were allowed to like.

The Hives

In the early 2000s, The Hives were at the front of the garage rock revival. Known for their spirited live shows led by energetic front man Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, they rose to mainstream success with their album Veni Vidi Vicious and garage anthem “Hate to Say I Told You So.” They often would tour with their female counterparts, the Sahara Hotnights, an equally magnetic yet lesser known Swedish Garage rock staple.

Swedish House Mafia

OK, you probably knew that this electronic music trio responsible for house hits like “Don’t You Worry Child” is proud to call Sweden home. But did you know that since disbanding in 2013, two of the former members have continued working under the name Axwell and Ingrosso? They not only continue to put out progressive house music versatile enough for mainstream audiences, but also keep the tradition of Swedish pop superstars alive and well.

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