Americans welcomed – with open arms – the British Invasion in the 1960s and we have not stopped enjoying and appreciating European musicians since. Bands such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones played music that was not so unlike popular American music in style but had a distinct European flavor to it that thrilled audiences. It was familiar, yet unique.
Artists from across the Atlantic have always managed to find massive success in the U.S. Since the 1960s, David Bowie, The Police, U2, and Elton John are just a few of the music giants Americans loved over the years. And this continues today. Although not quite as big as American acts like Taylor Swift or Beyoncé, European artists like Adele and Coldplay have no problem selling out concerts stateside.
The popularity of European musicians will be highlighted this Sunday, November 12, at the MTV Europe Music Awards. 24/7 Wall St. has identified the 25 most famous European musicians using a number of metrics such as album sales and internet popularity.
Of today’s 25 most famous European musicians, 14 are English. When it comes to popular music, England has a strong history that shows no signs of slowing down. Most of these artists are primarily singers, with a few exceptions such as DJ and producer Mark Ronson.
While there are singers from other countries on the list, electronic and dance music artists appear to be more popular outside of England. The two French acts on the list – Daft Punk and David Guetta – are both primarily electronic musicians. The most popular non-English musician on the list is Scottish DJ Calvin Harris. Each of these artists works extensively with American musicians – generally vocalists – in addition to his or her solo efforts.
This supports the idea that while Americans are open to music from overseas, they appear to prefer the lyrics, if there are any, to be in English. The top charting song in the last five years from almost every artist on this list is performed in English, regardless of the artist’s nationality. The one exception is Enrique Iglesias’ “Bailando,” which is in Spanish, yet also has an English version.