5 European Artists Who Changed the Face of World Music
OnRecord Staff · June 21, 2018 · 4 Minute Read
We’re celebrating World Music Day by highlighting the music and stories of some of the most successful artists from around the world. Check out our World Music Map featuring the artists who transformed their musical landscape, and listen to all of their music!
France: Daft Punk
This French duo may just have started the EDM explosion… 20 years before anyone could have predicted it. They remain one of the most forward-thinking, spectacularly imaginative acts of all time, creating a template that many superstar DJs and electronic performers have followed. The script behind the success of many of today’s EDM kings remains the same as it was when Daft Punk created it all those years ago: infectiously catch melodies, beats that you can’t help but dance to, larger-than-life, visual-driven live performances, and masked outfits when on stage. Today, we know Marshmello, a decade ago, we met deadmau5, but well before that, there was Daft Punk.
It all started when the erstwhile French band Darlin’ disbanded in 1993. Two of the band’s members, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, took the name for their new electronic project, ‘Daft Punk,’ from a review by a British music magazine. The third, Laurent Brancowitz, joined the then-nascent indie band Phoenix, whom he helped lead to global renown. Imagine if they’d stayed together!
Daft Punk have been sampled by Kanye, supported by Pharrell and Nile Rodgers, and have inspired a whole wave of French electro house producers, including Justice and Busy P, who continue to delight the world. Incredibly, the duo created electronic music that still sounds fresh today, all the way back in 1997. When will they be back? Who knows. But hopefully, it’s some day soon.
Dublin, Ireland. 1976. Four teenagers with somewhat dubious musical skills meet in high school, and decide to form a rock band. The rest, as they say, is history.
Incredibly, the members of U2 have performed together in five separate decades, and consistently managing to deliver soaring, anthemic music and transcendent live performances. They are the stadium rockers of both the 20th, and the 21st centuries, and have won more Grammy awards than any other band. They’ve also used their platform to help fight some of the world’s biggest problems, including poverty, human rights, social equality, and child soldiers.
Fourteen studio albums and several globe-spanning tours into their journey, U2 continue to change the game. We hope they continue forever!
Spain: Enrique Iglesias
Born to a very famous, very talented father, Enrique Iglesias initially shunned his historic surname, choosing to record his first album as ‘Enrique Martinez.’ His talent was undeniable, and by the time he released Enrique Iglesias in 1995, the world was beginning to notice a singer whose voice was spellbinding to all — whether they were Spanish-speakers or not! By 1999, most of the world found itself singing “Bailamos,” without necessarily knowing what it meant — testament to Enrique’s sizzling personality and powerful vocals.
2001’s Escape catapulted Enrique to further stardom, buoyed by the strong performance of singles “Escape,” “Don’t Turn Off the Lights,” “Love to See You Cry,” and the unforgettable “Hero.” Since then, he’s recorded another six studio albums, bringing his total to 10.
A crossover star who has become synonymous with passion and love, Enrique is one of the most successful international artists of all time, with album sales numbering well into the hundreds of millions. He’s also soundtracked more Billboard dance #1s than any other man. How many romances have been started — and replenished — by Enrique’s songs? Plenty, we’d imagine.
The mega-talented Swedish EDM producer’s passing earlier this year came as a shock to the global musical community. Renowned for his infectious, uplifting melodies, Tim Bergling took the world of electronic music by storm with his BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix in 2010.
The producer began making music in his bedroom at the age of 8, and already an EDM superstar by the time he was 21. His hits “Wake Me Up,” “Levels“, “Silhouettes,” “Hey Brother,” and his remix of Armin van Buuren’s “Drowning” helped break down the barriers between electronic and mainstream pop music, while simultaneously giving an entire generation its first taste of dance music and club culture.
Despite his tragic passing, Avicii’s music remains symbolic of positivity, optimism, and hope. It will live on, forever.
United Kingdom: The Beatles
The Fab 4 remain Liverpool’s (and perhaps the UK’s!) greatest cultural export. At their height, they ruled the world, and though John Lennon’s 1966 claim that they were more popular than Jesus Christ missed the mark, it may not been far off!
Lennon, alongside Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, created the blueprint for the contemporary pop and rock band, going from Liverpudlian heroes to a global phenomenon in just a few years. But the Beatles never played it safe, evolving from a group of guitar playing boys-next-door to countercultural icons and sonic visionaries over the course of their time recording together.
They’re the best-selling band, ever, with several hundred million albums sold as the Beatles (not including the millions more they’ve each sold as solo musicians), and have topped the Billboard charts a record 20 times. But more than the mind-boggling numbers, the Beatles have contributed the soundtracks to millions — and perhaps billions — of individual human beings’ lives and love stories. “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Eight Days a Week,” “Ticket to Ride,” “Yellow Submarine,” “Penny Lane,” “All You Need is Love,” “Hello Goodbye,” “Hey Jude,” “Get Back”… we simply can’t list all of their chart-toppers. Why not just listen to our entire playlist instead?
If it were up to us, every day would be World Music Day! We hope you enjoy listening to these playlists on Saavn as much as we enjoyed curating them.