Musicians By Nation

Spun off from SSG Schwartz’s about the most influential Aussie band, what would you consider the band or artist that is most popular and influential from various nations?

Some off the top of my head:

Ireland – U2
Iceland – Björk
England – The Beatles
Australia – AC/DC
Canada – The Tragically Hip?
United States – Elvis Presley?

…and that pretty much exhausts my knowledge, which is pretty anglocentric and overly simplistic. What other acts would you suggest? I’m particularly interested in the music of nations where English isn’t a national language

Canada-Shania Twain
Germany-Scorpions(80 million albums sold!)

The Netherlands – Focus

Depends how you measure it. And you say “bands,” but seem to include solo acts.

IN Canada, the most popular BAND in terms of record sales is probably The Tragically Hip, who I believe passed Rush a long time ago (though one wonders if that’s a fair comparison.) Worldwide, it’s still Rush.

But if we include solo artists I could think Canada’s best-selling musician would be Celine Dion. If you include his work with bands, Neil Young would be a contender as well.

(Getting accurate record sales information off the Internet is amazingly difficult. You’d think there would be a central database of that sort of thing.)

For INFLUENCE, I’d guess Neil Young.

Pakistan - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Denmark: Aqua (for which I am truly sorry)

Norway–Secret Garden

I don’t equate popular to record sales… In Canada a good example is Leonard Cohen who doesn’t sell a lot of records (some people contend that he is NOT a singer, a la Dylan). However, he is revered and influential.

Other than Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young come to mind. Ann Murray too.

For bands, “The Band” (4/5 Canadian, right?), the “Guess Who”, Barenaked Ladies and the previously mentioned Tragically Hip and Rush.

And arguably, the only Canadian musician who has truly ascended to Himalayan heights is Oscar Peterson.

I’d put A-ha ahead of Secret Garden.

And I agree on Björk for Iceland, but Sigur Rós is getting there.

And after all this time there’s still diddley squat coming out of France.

“Most popular/influential” is hard to pin down, but I’ll take a stab at it:

Spain - Gipsy Kings
Brazil - Sepultura
Switzerland - Krokus
Germany - agree on Scorpions, but Kraftwerk deserves a mention

Outside of Canada, and in my cohort (late-30-something American), Rush seems to trounce all over the Tragically Hip as far as notoriety and profile go. I can claim familiarity with dozens of Rush songs, but not one of the Tragically Hip’s. An anecdote that mean’s nothing, but still.

Edith Piaf comes to mind.

Not much else does though (except MC Solaar - who I doubt has had that much influence)

Cool idea for a thread.

For India, it would have to be:

Female - Lata Mangeshkar
Male - Kishore Kumar

Band? I don’t know that we really have bands. 90% of our music (could be higher) is made for our movies, so I don’t hear much about indie music bands, or whatever they call them over there. Anybody know anything?

I think Golden Earring was more popular than Focus, though probably not by all that much.

Dunno if it would count, but Freddie Mercury grew up in India (he was born in Zanzibar), but he doesn’t really get associated with it.

In a somewhat similar vein: M.I.A. - Sri Lanka

Israel -

Male: Shlomo Artzi, with Shalom Hanoch a close second. Of course, if you count the Banai family…

Female: Rita, I guess.

Bands: Probably Mashina, although I’d also consider Kaveret. The way the Israeli music business works, we probably have had more “supergroups” (a bunch of solo artists coming together for a signle album) than actual bands; of those, the biggest is without a doubt Tammuz.

Holy crap! We’re totally claiming Freddie Mercury from now on. Mine!

ETA: I’m reading his Wiki entry now. He was Parsi? I never knew. Was he ashamed or what? How depressing.

I think it was kind of like his sexuality - it wasn’t something he’d deny if asked about it, but he’d seldom bring it up on his own.

Ummm… Edith Piaf? Jacques Brel?

More recently, France has been a forerunner in several electronic music movements, most notably the current revival of the 80s electro sound that blossomed out of the Ed Banger label. Given the fact that they seem to drop out of sight only to reappear on the crest of a new wave, I’d give Daft Punk honourable mention.

Yep. Nee Faroukh Parsibhal. He didn’t really make a special effort to hide his background; he made up an entirely new person and became that guy, so he sort of hid everything.

Anyway, while we get to claim him we can’t really have Queen since everyone else was English.

Plus, IMHO Brian May was the really influential one in Queen. I think Freddy was more influential as a showman than a musician.

For France, Les Negresses Vertes, maybe? No big sellers but big influence.

South Africa…Ooh, tough one. Hugh Masakela was at Monterey Pop, I think Miriam Makeba is fairly well known, and of course there’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Also, Johhny Clegg.
Then Trevor Rabin (writer of Owner of a Lonely Heart with Yes, and lots of film soundtracks) and Manfred Mann (Mighty Quinn,* Doo Wah Diddy*) too.