Top Ten Most Popular Rock Bands in German Speaking Countries in the 2010sI came up with the idea for this list because I recently read that "Mania" was Fall Out Boy's fourth number one album in the US - but the first time the band ever entered the the German top ten (at number 5). Actually, I am a bit surprised at this high chart position in Germany, as the release received little media coverage, and the singles got no airplay whatsoever. I remember that ten years ago every once in a while their "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" music video popped up on German music TV channels, but that's about it when it comes to their pop cultural meaning.
Nevertheless, while they would without a doubt rank highly on an American list about the most popular artists of the decade, it occurred to me that maybe the idea of a popular and relevant rock band is entirely different in the US and Central Europe. So, this list is to show you which bands are pretty damn popular over here right now. These bands pop up on the radio a lot, are commercially successful and have big fanbases - they are unavoidable and a crucial part of modern pop culture.
The Top Ten
Die Toten Hosen is a punk band that started in the 80s and since then grew to become one of the ten most successful artists in Germany in the decades to come. They are also easily among the most acclaimed ones. In the 2010s, they released two studio albums and two live albums (three of them peaked at number one, the other one at number two), as well as the hit singles "Tage wie diese" and "Unter den Wolken". The group is taken very seriously on an artistic scale, but they are also hugely popular with the masses, and their songs are known to everybody. - Martin_Canine
Rock trends of the US barely hit German speaking Europe, only individual artists of such waves make it big here. Linkin Park, although in their beginnings much harder than what our radio stations usually play, have always received a lot of attention over here, although nu metal wasn't as much of a hype (Limp Bizkit's mainstream breakthrough was in 2003 with a cover of "Behind Blue Eyes", and Evanescence were rather compared to the very successful HIM and Nightwish). All of their albums hit number one or two, and even before Chester Bennington's death, their songs were blasting everywhere - even more so now. - Martin_Canine
Unheilig, this is singer-songwriter-composer Der Graf and his backing band, at least until he decided to quit in 2016.
They released four studio albums in the 2010s: the first of which went nine times platinum, the other ones nine times gold, five times gold and one time platinum. Their biggest hit songs include "Geboren um zu leben", "So wie du warst", "Winter" and "Zeit zu gehen".
Although many sources call them Neue Deutsche Härte, only their older albums as well as non-single songs are that genre. In the 2010s, they got famous mostly with powerful rock ballads that maturely revolve around such topics as coping with a dear one's death, or having to face your own, but still have a very positive, optimistic vibe that tells you to enjoy your life, as it is evanescent. - Martin_Canine
The Finnish pop rock / alternative rock band has had several hits since their debut album in 2006, and has always been much more popular than their internationally famous counterparts, such as Fall Out Boy or Panic! at the Disco. They probably also have a wider fanbase that unite all ages and genders. Why they have made such a big career, I can also trace back to the fact that they are catchy, rock-ish but not very hard, and only use clean vocals. But that also goes for the other bands. The fact that the group is so popular over here has lead to the band's singer-songwriter and only constant member Samu Haber to often appear on German media, e.g. as a judge on The Voice of Germany, which caused him to become a household name and his music to increase its popularity even more. Despite numerous hits that rotate on the radio, their 2017 album "Heartbreak Century" was their first chart topping success. - Martin_Canine
They regularly hit the nerve of society with their cheeky songs and much more they are entertaining, catchy, but also give something to think with. It's fun to hear them and to cover their music and their songs are always played on the radio.
Although Die Ärzte only released one album in the 2010s ("auch" in 2012, which of course hit number one), they are still among the most essential and legendary bands of all time, and have a huge cult following of all ages and genders.
Their most popular track in the 2010s is already from 1993: the anti-nazi anthem "Schrei nach Liebe" hit number one on the German charts in 2015, after an online campain was started to buy the song out of solidarity against racism in times of the migrant crisis. The song once again became very anthemic, and was everywhere. While it was already one of the most acclaimed German songs before, this incident will likely earn it the title "Greatest German Song of All Time" in the years to come. - Martin_Canine
Sportfreunde Stiller is a German indie rock band who has released quite a bunch of well known easygoing earworm rock songs in the 21st century and every once in a while manage to top the charts. They are a typically German rock band in their sound, you could say, and songs like "Applaus, Applaus" (which is their biggest hit of the decade) are a prime example of the German taste in popular music. - Martin_Canine
Nightwish are probably the biggest non-mainstream band in Germany, if you get what I mean. Their band name is well known to everyone, their albums enter the top ten to gold certifications, their CDs are sold in evey respective store, and whenever they release new material, a bunch of female fronted symphonic metal bands emerge. But they are not one of the bands you'll hear much on radio, and their singles aren't hits. They are an album band, but one of the most popular.
Like Sportfreunde Stiller, Silbermond, who started off with a cheeky pop punk sound and are now indie pop, Silbermond are one of the prime examples of a typically German rock band with a big fanbase and much airplay. Their newest songs are immediately all over the radio, their albums flood the stores. To me, they have a lot more to offer than their most popular songs indicate: while their singles are often off-beat, bumpy tracks about relationship, they also have some deeper tracks that e.g. attack arms races, commercialism, superficiality of pop culture, the mind set to put "hard work" over one's passion, and more. But those usually aren't the singles. - Martin_Canine
In 2012, "Radioactive" was one of the most played and loved songs of the year, something that was everywhere, but everybody seemed to be absolutely fine with that, because it was so unlike everything heard before. Would this be the new Linkin Park? It seemed quite possible back then.
But then... nothing else came. They appeared to remain a one hit wonder.
But suddenly, in 2017, "Thunder" was released, and it absolutely brought them back on the map. The song, although it stylistically doesn't fit into the other songs on the radio, pops up everywhere, and everybody, young or old, appears to love it. So that's what I call a comeback. Now they need some more hits to remain this popular. - Martin_Canine
I didn't add Rammstein myself because their last studio album was in 2009, but their best of compilation "Made in Germany" (2011) and live album "Paris" (2017) topped the charts. Rumor has it they'll release a comeback studio album later in 2018, and then I would have added them myself, because it's almost set in stone this album will be a huge success. - Martin_Canine
Many german speaking people listen to their music
So, much of their recent status is owned to the fact their "American Idiot" and "21st Century Breakdown" albums were released to such god-like reviews and excessive airplay that they and Linkin Park, were sometimes already seen as The Beatles and Rolling Stones of their generation. I am not exeggararing.
I am actually surprised their songs often didn't hit the top ten (their albums however were chart topping or at least received several certifications), because at least now, their 2000s songs can be heard on a daily basis over here. Also, whenever they release new music, they will immediately play it.