Sweden, a country of lush forests and picturesque lakes, is best known for its breathtaking scenery and harsh winters seemingly untouched by human intervention.
But did you know that Sweden is also known for its influence on contemporary music too?
Sweden has a rich music history that includes contributions to pop and metal music, with several Swedish bands having sold millions of records, earning international acclaim.
They are among the most well-known and talented artists the world has ever produced.
Many people might not realize that they have heard of these best-selling Swedish music artists before.
This list includes classic examples like ABBA and more contemporary artists like the Swedish House Mafia.
ABBA has sold more albums than any other Swedish musical act.
Since their inception in the 1970s, ABBA has been a global sensation, particularly after winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with their hit “Waterloo”.
ABBA is one of the best-selling pop bands of all time, with worldwide sales estimated to be around 300 million records, though this is difficult to verify because there is no global organization that compiles global charts.
ABBA can be classed in the same league as The Beatles and Rolling Stone.
“Dancing Queen,” “Thank You For The Music,” and “Mamma Mia” are some of ABBA’s famous songs.
Per Gessle and the late Marie Fredriksson made up the famous duo Roxette, which is another act that should come as no surprise, as being included in this list, given their success outside of Europe.
Roxette had achieved success in their home country with the 1986 release of Pearls of Passion, but they truly established themselves with the 1988 and 1991 releases of Look Sharp! and Joyride.
“The Look,” “Listen To Your Heart,” and “It Must Have Been Love”, all of which peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, were some of their biggest international hits.
3. Swedish House Mafia
In 2008, Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso began mixing songs for the group, which quickly became popular in Sweden.
“Don’t You Worry Child,” the band’s biggest hit in 2012, peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100.
Unfortunately, the band split up soon after their greatest hit, but their split wasn’t permanent.
Swedish House Mafia reformed in 2018 and will release its first studio album, Paradise Again, in 2022.
Their other famous songs include “Moth to a Flame,” “Mafia,” “One,” and “Greyhound.”
Avicii was one of many artists who found success on the internet before breaking through on the radio.
Avicii was just a teenager when he started his career, and he found instant success after being signed to a record label thanks to his hit song “Levels.”
Throughout his career, Avicii put out three studio albums, all of which peaked at number one in Sweden.
“Wake Me Up” was Avicii’s biggest breakthrough in 2013, and he followed it up with songs like “Hey Brother” and “Without You.”
Unfortunately, Avicii had struggled with his mental health for years before dying by suicide in 2018 at the age of 28.
5. Ace of Base
Ace of Base is Sweden’s third most popular band, having sold over 50 million CDs worldwide.
Ace of Base, who formed in the late 1980s, achieved international success with the release of their 1992 album Happy Nation. The following year, a North American version of the album, The Sign, was released to give them global appeal.
“The Sign,” “All That She Wants,” and “Don’t Turn Around” are among their most commonly cited successes.
Ace of Base would go on to have further success with albums like The Bridge, Flowers, and Cruel Summer before calling it quits in the early 2000s.
6. The Spotnicks
The Spotnicks were active from 1958 to 2019 and had a long list of members who came and went over the years.
They released more than 50 albums during their long career as a group.
The Spotnicks were bound to sell a lot of albums, largely due to the high volume of releases.
“Blue Blue Day,” “Amapola,” and “The Rocket Man” are among their biggest hits.
The Spotnicks’ first single was a cover of “Johnny Guitar” from Fallout: New Vegas, which video game fans may recognize.
Returning to The Spotnicks’ era, Vikingarna was known for their ‘dansband’ music, which was a mash-up of several popular dances such as the jitterbug and foxtrot.
Vikingarna was founded in 1958 and remained as a group until 2004, with over a dozen members coming and going.
Vikingarna’s success, however, did not come until the 1970s, almost 20 years after their debut as a group.
They released over a dozen albums with Mariann Records, and despite not having any big radio hits around the world, they became Swedish legends, selling millions of records along the way.
8. The Cardigans
Despite their heavy metal roots, The Cardigans rose to prominence thanks to their upbeat songs.
The group released their first album, Emmerdale, in 1994, but it wasn’t until 1996’s First Band on the Moon that they started making headlines.
The album included the song “Lovefool,” which was a big hit in Sweden and Ireland but did not find the same acclaim anywhere else.
It wasn’t until the song was included on Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet soundtrack that it became a global hit.
The Cardigans’ hit songs included “My Favorite Game,” “Burning Down The House,” and “For What It’s Worth.”
Despite being formed in the late 1990s, it wasn’t until 2000 that the band Alcazar gained popularity.
The pop/disco group released their debut album Casino in 2000 and followed it up with two albums in the mid-late 2000s, Alcazarized and Disco Defenders, both of which charted in the top five in Sweden.
Alcazar also became a mainstay on the singles charts, reaching number one twice with their songs “Not a Sinner Nor a Saint” and “Alcastar.”
“This Is the World We Live In,” “We Keep on Rockin’,” and “Stay the Night” were among their other songs that reached international popularity.
Most people around the world only know about Rednex being behind the highly energetic song “Cotton Eye Joe,” which was released in 1995.
It was also one of the band’s first tracks.
Rednex was formed the previous year, but the band has never stayed consistent, having several new members come and go over the decades.
Sex & Violins, their debut album, peaked at number three in Sweden and reached the top 70 in the United States.
They have put out two other albums since then; however, neither has reached near the same level of success as their debut album.
Europe, who formed in 1979, released their debut self-titled album in 1983.
Three years later, they achieved international success with the release of their head-banger “The Final Countdown,” which reached the top ten in the United States charts.
Their 1988 follow-up, “Out of This World,” did almost just as well, but the band only released one more album during their apex.
Europe remains popular in Sweden, even though their breakup in 1992 destroyed some of its growing momentum.
“The Final Countdown,” “Rock the Night,” and “Carrie” were all huge hits in the West.
12. Dr. Alban
His musical style is reminiscent of hip-hop, Eurodance, reggae, and dancehall.
The fact that he has sold millions and millions of records should demonstrate the magnitude of his success.
Dr. Alban is also a successful producer with his own record label, Dr. Records.
“It’s My Life,” from the collection One Love (1992), is the song that catapulted him to fame and can be attributed to his international recognition.
13. Army of Lovers
Army of Lovers, a dance-pop band, has formed, disbanded, and reformed several times since their conception in 1987.
Army of Lovers, originally composed of Alexander Bard, Jean-Pierre Barda, and Camilla Henemark, released their first album, Disco Extravaganza, in 1990.
The band released four studio albums between 1990 and 1994.
Although they have released several compilations, their main focus has been on producing singles.
They hit the top ten in Sweden three times, with Crucified, Israelism, and Obsession, the latter of which reached number two on the Swedish charts.
Jonas Altberg, a well-known Swedish DJ, has gone by the stage name Basshunter since 2001.
Altberg’s first album, LOL, was released without much fanfare in 2004 but went platinum in Denmark and Finland.
He has released five studio albums as well as two compilation albums.
“Boten Anna,” “Fest I Hela Huset,” and “Every Morning” are some of the biggest Basshunter hits in Sweden.
Some of his work was also well-received in other parts of Europe, with “Now You’re Gone” reaching number one and “All I Ever Wanted” reaching number two on the UK charts.
The A-Teens initially formed as an ABBA tribute band but soon realized they could gain recognition for their original music.
They achieved chart success with ABBA covers such as “Mamma Mia,” “Super Trouper,” and “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” from the album The ABBA Generation.
The band sold at least 2 million copies of their second album, Teen Spirit, on which “Upside Down” was one of their most upbeat and recognizable songs on the album.
The band, which had been together for six years, announced in April 2004 that they would take a break following the May 2004 release of their Greatest Hits album.
16. Veronica Maggio
Maggio released her debut single, “Dumpa mig,” in 2006 after studying music and being the lead singer of the band, Solitude.
Her debut album, Vatten och bröd (2006), was a commercial success.
It earned Maggio a Grammy, the Swedish equivalent of the Grammy Awards, for “Årets nykomling” (Newcomer of the Year).
With “Måndagsbarn” (2008) in Norway, “Jag kommer” (2011), and “Hornstullsstrand” (2019) in Sweden, she has three number-one hits in Europe.
She has written songs for other artists in addition to her solo releases, most notably her contribution to “Hey Brother” for Avicii.
Robyn made her music debut in 1995 with the release of Robyn Is Here, which yielded two top-10 singles “Do You Know (What It Takes)” and “Show Me Love” on the Billboard Hot 100.
Her fourth album, Robyn (2005), earned her a Grammy Award nomination.
The album produced the songs “Be Mine!” and “With Every Heartbeat,” which reached number one in the United Kingdom.
Her most famous song is “Dancing On My Own,” which many artists have covered.
18. Tove Lo
Rolling Stone has called Tove Lo “Sweden’s darkest pop export.”
She is well-known for her raw, grunge-influenced pop music.
Her honest, multifaceted, and narrative lyrical content has led to her being dubbed “the saddest girl in Sweden.”
Queen of the Clouds, Lo’s debut album, debuted at number 14 on the Billboard 200 chart in October 2014.
Both “Talking Body” and the sleeper hit single “Habits (Stay High)” came from it.
Her other song “Glad He’s Gone” received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Music Video.
Following a brief acting career, Laleh debuted in the music industry in 2005 with her self-titled debut album, which reached number one in Sweden and became the best-selling album of the year.
Since then, she has released eight more studio albums.
She has performed in English, Swedish, and her parent’s native language, Persian.
Her 2012 album Sjung produced the international hit “Some Die Young,” which became closely associated with the aftermath of the 2011 Norwegian domestic terrorist attacks as a song of remembrance.
Tobias Danielsson and Samuel Brandt make up the Swedish musical production duo NOTD (pronounced “noted”).
They are best known for their songs “I Wanna Know,” which features Bea Miller, and “So Close,” featuring Felix Jaehn, Captain Cuts, and Georgia Ku.
Their remix of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” was nominated for an Electronic Music Award for Remix of the Year.
They also released a remix of “Wild Thoughts” by DJ Khaled and Rihanna in 2017, which made Billboard’s list of the best remixes of the song.
Best-Selling Swedish Music Artists – Final Thoughts
There you have it, a list of the top twenty best-selling Swedish music artists for your enjoyment and knowledge.
We hope you learned something new today about these Swedish artists, who have been entertaining us with their glorious tracks for the past few decades.
Sweden isn’t just famous for its scenery, after all; its music is a joy to listen to as well.
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