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"Euro-pop" denotes popular music produced by European (except the United Kingdom and Iceland) artists who have opted to employ that continent as their home base. "Euro-rock," in turn, simply refers to European material that possesses a harder edge. Although European artists have enjoyed occasional American hits throughout much of the rock era, these collective terms did not appear in music industry publications until the Swedish group, Abba, began its successful American chart run in the mid-1970s.

Although another Swedish act, Roxette, went on to achieve even greater American success beginning in the late 1980s, Abba has remained the commercial and aesthetic model for European musicians trying to gain a foothold in the largest music consumer market in the world. The group's sound was built around catchy melodies put across by soaring vocal harmonies, and backed by intricate, full-bodied production work. The straightforward lyrics were always in English so as to appeal to the American market. The overall effect was one of light, engaging pop as opposed to the more ponderous hard rock--and later, punk/new wave--styles then dominating the music industry. Furthermore, group's photogenic image, very effectively packaged in Europe by means of elaborate, lip-synched video productions, perfectly complemented the musical product. When Abba's hitmaking string ended--a combined result of internal difficulties (the dissolution of the two marriages between the four group members: Bjorn Ulvaeus to Agnetha Faltskog, and Benny Andersson to Annifrid Lyngstad) and increasingly pretentious recordings--the formula to be emulated by Europeans hopeful of stateside success was firmly in place.


Top Artists and Their Recordings

Abba--"Waterloo" (1974); "Honey Honey" (1974); "SOS" (1975); "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" (1976); "Mamma Mia" (1976); "Fernando" (1976); "Dancing Queen" (1976/7); "Knowing Me, Knowing You" (1977); "Money, Money, Money" (1977); "The Name of the Game" (1977/8); "Take a Chance on Me" (1978); "Does Your Mother Know" (1979); "Voulez-Vous"/"Angel Eyes" (1979); "Chiquitita" (1979/80); "The Winner Takes It All" (1980/1); "Super Trouper" (1981); "On and On and On" (1981); "When All is Said and Done" (1982); "The Visitors" (1982)

A-ha--"Take on Me" (1983)

Autograph--"Turn Up the Radio" (1984/5)

Basia--"Time and Tide" (1988); "New Day For You" (1988); "Promises" (1989); "Cruising For Bruising" (1990)

Belle Epoque--"Miss Broadway" (1978)

Boney M--"Daddy Cool" (1977); "Ma Baker" (1977); "Rivers of Babylon" (1978)

Diesel--"Sausalito Summernight" (1981)

Falco--"Der Kommissar" (1983); "Rock Me Amadeus" (1986); "Vienna Calling" (1986)

Focus--In and Out of Focus (1970); Moving Waves (1973); "Hocus Pocus" (1973); Focus 3 (1973); "Sylvia" (1973); Live at the Rainbow (1973/4); Hamburger Concerto (1974); Mother Focus (1975); Ship of Memories (1977)

Gipsy Kings--Gipsy Kings (1988/9); Mosaique (1989/90); Este Mundo (1991)

Boris Grebenshikov--Radio Silence (1989)

Lolita (Ditta)--"Sailor (Your Home Is the Sea)" (1960); "Cowboy Jimmy Joe" (1961)

Los Bravos--"Black Is Black" (1966); "Going Nowhere" (1966); "Bring a Little Lovin'" (1968)

Nena--"99 Luftballons" (1983)

Opus--"Live Is Life" (1986)

Plastic Bertrand--"Ca Plane Pour Moi" (197)

Roxanne--"Play That Funky Music" (1988); "The Look" (1989); "Dressed For Success" (1989); "Listen To Your Heart" (1989); "Dangerous" (1989); "It Must Have Been Love" (1990); "Joyride" (1991); "Fading Like a Flower" (1991); "Spending My Time" (1991); "Church of Your Heart" (1992); "How Do You Do!" (1992); "Almost Unreal" (1993)

Peter Schilling--"Major Tom (Coming Home)" (1983); "The Different Story (World of Lust and Crime)" (1989)

Shocking Blue--"Venus" (1969/70); "Mighty Joe" (1970; "Long and Lonesome Road" (1970)

The Singing Nun (Soeur Sourire)--"Dominique" (1963/4)

T'Pau--"Heart and Soul" (1987); "Only a Heartbeat" (1991)