Are there good rock bands outside of the US and the UK? Of course there are! There are probably a couple of bands that you didn’t even know were non-native English speakers. Lyrically it might be obvious that some of these bands aren’t accustomed to English, but all the songs on this list really rock, and that’s what’s most important anyway. So here’s my top ten list of the best rock songs by non-English rockers.
1. Golden Earring - “Radar Love”
It took me years before I realized that Golden Earring, the band behind the song “Radar Love” weren’t American. It has such an American feel to it - it’s a real road trip song that fits in with classics from the same era like “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” “La Grange,” and “Magic Carpet Ride.” The band was formed in The Netherlands in 1961, and although they’ve had many hits in their native country, “Radar Love” is what they’re mainly remembered for in the United States. Here’s a rare clip of “Radar Love” performed live in 1973. Guitarist George Kooymans is playing a Gibson Les Paul Custom. We like this.
2. Scorpions - “Rock You Like A Hurricane”
There are a number of songs from German heavy metal band Scorpions that are worthy of being on this list, but it’s hard to top the awesomeness of “Rock You Like A Hurricane.” When the song came out in 1984 it fit right in with all the melodic metal at the time. The band is still going strong, and we recently reported on Scorpions guitarist Rudolf Schenker’s participation in the “Knowledge Stream” event in Moscow. The video for “Rock You Like A Hurricane” has Schenker on aGibson Flying V, Matthias Jabs on anExplorer, while bassist Francis Buchholz is rocking out on a Gibson Thunderbird:
3. Europe - “The Final Countdown”
Swedish rockers Europe became superstars with their third album The Final Countdown, and the title track was an international hit that’s still played on rock radio. The band had been building a steady following with their first couple of albums. The Final Countdown also produced the hits “Carrie” and “Cherokee.” Sadly it was the last Europe album to feature original guitarist John Norum for almost two decades. But he left quite an impression with his lightning fast solo in “The Final Countdown.”
4. Rammstein - “Du Hast”
The only band on this list who do not sing in English is German industrial metal band Rammstein. But there was no way we could omit them. The band has managed to create a career throughout Europe and the US without singing in English, and still scoring hit records. Much of the band’s success is probably rooted in their over-the-top live shows, which include the band members using flame throwers on stage. “Du Hast” was a major hit for Rammstein Stateside, and it made them known to a whole generation of fans. It’s been 16 years since “Du Hast” came out, and Rammstein were able to build a thriving career on that initial success.
5. Volbeat - "Still Counting"
Now here’s a band that is currently enjoying a very successful career around the world, particularly in the United States. Danish rock band Volbeat released their latest album Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies in April this year, and made headlines when they announced that former Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano, who produced the album, is now a full time member of the band. "Still Counting" from the band's third album Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood, reached number one on Billboard’s Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart back in 2012.
6. The Hives - “Hate to Say I Told You So”
Along with bands like The Strokes, and The Vines, Swedish rockers The Hives were all the rage some ten years ago. All dressed in matching suits, the band looked like they had just been air-lifted from the late sixties British pop scene and dropped on to the stage three decades later. Their style is reminiscent of Rolling Stones in their early years, and singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist has definitely borrowed a stage move or two from Mick Jagger. The Hives’ sophomore effort Veni, Vidi, Vicious was a huge hit, containing the ever popular “Hate To Say I Told You So,” with its raw guitars and piercing vocals.
7. Hanoi Rocks - "Don't You Ever Leave Me"
The glam rock band Hanoi Rocks from Finland had a short career that ended just as they were getting lots of attention in the US, selling out clubs in Los Angeles. They released their fourth album Two Steps From The Move in 1984, from which "Don't You Ever Leave Me" was released as their second single. In December 1984 the band's drummer Razzle died when the car he was in, which was driven by Motley Crue singer Vince Neil, collided with another car. Hanoi Rocks officially called it quits half a year later.
8. HIM - “Wings of a Butterfly”
Finnish rockers HIM partly have skateboarder and general daredevil Bam Margera to thank for their success in the US. Bam promoted the band heavily in his TV show Viva La Bam, helping the band expand their fan base. The song “Wings of a Butterfly” reached number 19 on Billboard’s Hot Modern Rock Tracks list in 2005. Dark Light, the album that the song is taken from did even better, reaching number 18 on the Billboard 200 chart.
9. Nightwish - “Nemo”
Finland has a tendency to crank out great rock music. Symphonic rockers Nightwish is one of the most successful bands to come out of Finland in the new millenium. “Nemo” was the first single from the album Once back in 2004. It reached the top ten in many countries in Europe and South America. What makes “Nemo” such a great song is the soprano voice of singer Tarja Turunen. Unfortunately the singer was let go from the band in 2005, taking with her a big chunk of their sound.
10. Lacuna Coil - “Our Truth”
Hailing from Milan in northern Italy, the metal band Lacuna Coil have made quite an imprint on the international rock scene, with over 2 million albums sold worldwide. The band reached number 36 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in 2006 with the song “Our Truth,” taken from the album Karmacode.