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The first Danish popmusic dates from 1956 and sees influences from Elvis, local folkmusic and skiffle. The banjo playing teenduo Jan & Kjeld even make it into the US charts with ‘Tiger Rag, Banjo Boy’. Their success leads to the start of the ban Lollipops. In the sixties the local scene gets influenced by the British beat invasion. Groups like The Beefeaters, Sir Henry & his Butlers withTommy Seebach on vocals (with the hit ‘Camp’) and Peter Belli & the Defenders all follow in their footsteps. At the end of the sixties popmusic becomes more experimental with spacey guitars and jazz influences. The first band that creates this music in the Danish language is Steppeulvenne (translated: Steppenwolf) with Eik Skaløe on vocals. It stayed with just one album due that Skaløe disappears during a hippie-trail in Afghanistan. Bandmember Stig Møller continues a solo carreer with Dylanesque music. In 1968 the theater-rockcompany Røde Mor (with the brothers Lars and Troels Trier) becomes popular with political teinted folkmusic. In the seventies the borthers would also work solo.The band Savage Rose with singer Annisette and Thomas Koppel are perhaps the best known bluesband that come from this period. In the 1970s, following trends found in North America and the United Kingdom, Danish popular music styles began to diverge and audiences fragment.

Essential for Danish pop is the harbour place of Aarhus where a lot of popgroups originate. In the Seventies many rock musicians in Denmark began to compose music and texts that reflected more realistic Danish social settings and ideals, including Savage Rose. Danish musicologist Charlotte Rørdam Larsen states that in the 1970s, Danish groups such as Kim Larsen's Gasolin' gave Danish music a special Danish rhythm and significance, linguistically, if not wholly distinct musically from international styles. Sometimes it was more comical and linguistically funny such as the band Shu-bi-dua  (with Michael Bundensen). Others hit more typical folk themes like singer Anne Linnet. Halfway the seventies she teams up with Lis Sørensen in the all-female band Shit & Chanel (also known as Shit & Shanou). The same move is done by singer/songwriter Sebastian who turns from folk at the start of the seventies to electric rock/new wave in the eighties. Also in his entourage Sørensen is active as female vocalist. Punk hit Denmark in 1978 with political outspoken bands like Malurt (with singer Michael Falch going solo a decade later).   

The definite breakthrough of Anne Linnet comes when she turns to new wave in the eighties. Forming the Anne Linnet Band and Marquis de Sade she becomes one of the mayor pop artists of Denmark. The Anne Linnet Band spurs also the career of former background singer Sanne Salomonsen. Who has solo succes as well as combined projects with Anne. Meanwhile Lis Sørensen get her solowork going in this decade while other female pop-singers such as Lotte Rømer and Elisabeth completes the circle. In the quality soft-pop / jazzy genre it’s also female power that dominates the local scene with singers Nanna and Anne-Grete (Rendtorff). But where the girls stay local celebrities Laidback and Laban (with Tommy Seebach) score international hits. Local new wave comes from TV-2 (with Steffen Brandt as main figure) and Kliché. This last band turns out to be a good a starting point for many of its members. Brandt was briefly in it before he started TV-2, Hilmer Hassig is part of the band and would start the succefull Love Shop in the Nineties and singer Lars H.U.G. starts his own solo carreer mid-Eighties with quality pop. The remaining members Johnny Voss, Nils Torp and Anders Brill have their subesquent output under their own name with, amongst others, a project with Brandt and Nanna. The more traditional pop music with a local flavour is taken care of by artists like Thomas Helmig, Michael Falch (as solo artist) and Paul Krebs.

As in other Scandinavian countries metal and hard rock form a substantial part of the popular music scene. Denmark’s most interesting heavy metal phenomenon is King Diamond and his band Mercyful Fate. But the Danish pop dance scene gets it’s golden moment with housemusic in which the Danish create their own teenybop scene. Artists like Whigfield, Aqua, Cartoons and Toy Box score huge European hits. Behind most of these hits is producer Per Holm aka the Golden Child. More serious and succesfull localized dance music comes from Souvenirs, A duo around Nils Torp and Sofie Bonde (on vocals).

Singing in danish are groups like Hvid Sjokolade, Den gale pose, Ostkyst Hustlers and Kongehuset. At the start of the new millennium it’s the Danish guitar groups (singing in english) that shine and get European attention. Groups like Saybia, Swanlake, Mew and the Raveonettes perform throughout the continent. The musical combo Efterklang builds an epic variety of Danish folk mixed with alternative pop. More experimental is the ensemble Under Byen who mix percussion and strings with airy sung lyrics. The electronic scene also grew up with the intelligent electronics from Trentemøller as a good example. His good friend Mikael Simpson makes a name for himself with good electronic pop with vocals. Singer Rasmus Seebach (son of Tommy) makes a Danish R & B variety turning him very popular at the end of the first decade in the new millenium just as pop/eurohouse singer Medina. Fresh minimalistic pop comes from the band Panamah. More intimate pop is made by Marie Key, first jazzy and recently more electronic.




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