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Oh Yeah! Milestones in Swiss pop

Swiss pop has been on a voyage of self-discovery ever since the Hula Hawaiians put out the country's first rock instrumental, "Chimpanzee Rock", in 1957. A museum exhibition tells the story.

The Bern Museum of Communication's "Oh Yeah!" exhibition traces the development of Swiss pop music over 60 years, from Hawaiian bands of the 1950s to the Beat generation, when every town had its own John Lennon or Keith Richards and the emergence of vibrant micro-scenes like punk, rock and metal.

Switzerland's first important underground group were Krokodil, who were recognised for their blend of prog rock blues. Meanwhile, the more mainstream prog rockers Krokus broke out of Switzerland, with the band filling stadiums while touring in the United States in the 1980s. To this day they are the most successful Swiss band on an international scene. 

Others making waves abroad included post-industrial group The Young Gods and dance duo Yello, whose international hit song "Oh Yeah!" was featured in the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off. 

English was the only pop heard on radio until Polo Hofer's band Rumpelstliz formed in the 1970s, paving the way for bands like Züri West and Patent Ochsner. Black Tiger was the first rap group finally sing in their own language in 1991.

Pop music passed through a milestone in 1983 when the government finally allowed commercial pop radio stations to air. 

(Images: Bern Museum for Communication, text: Jessica Dacey) 

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