Rock music in Switzerland

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Rock and roll first entered Switzerland in the 1950s, as a series of American musicians popularized the style internationally.


The band Krokodil was an influential group, the first to bring progressive rock to Switzerland. Composed of Zürich-scene veterans Hardy Hepp, Walty Anselmo and Düde Dürst with Mojo Weideli and English bassist Terry Stevens, Krokodil used exotic elements like the sitar.

The Swiss psychedelia scene produced bands like The Shiver, Brainticket, Ertlif and Flame Dream. Bern's Sinus Studio was long the most influential studio in Switzerland.

The Swiss sound of hard rock included bands like legends Toad, a bluesy band known for their debut single "Stay!". Mark Storace's Krokus, however, quickly become the most popular Swiss hard rock band, eventually incorporated heavy metal with 1980's Metal Rendez-Vous. Their 1983 Headhunter sold two million copies, making it the best-selling Swiss record in history and breaking the band into the United States and other countries.

At about the same period, there were a number of punk and pub rock influenced bands, including the Looney Tunes, The Swiss Horns, Red Devil Band, Circus from Basel and Irrwisch.

In the early 1980s, the band Celtic Frost emerged from Zürich, the band eventually released pivotal albums like To Mega Therion, which revolutionized heavy metal.

In the beginning of the 1990s, in Southern Switzerland (canton of Ticino) a very active neo-progressive rock scene produced two bands with worldwide footprints: Clepsydra (InsideOut Music) and Shakary (SHK Records).