The Year in Rock 2021: Måneskin keeps fans “Beggin’,” and other breakout artists

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No band had a bigger breakout year in 2021 than Måneskin.

The Italian rockers started out the year by winning Europe’s long-running Eurovision Song Contest, which  previously helped launch the careers of artists including ABBA and Céline Dion. Soon, Måneskin made their way to the States thanks to their viral cover of The Four Seasons‘ “Beggin’,” which was the longest-running number-one single of 2021 on Billboard‘s Alternative Airplay chart.

Måneskin kept the momentum going with the singles “I Wanna Be Your Slave,” which earned them a collaboration with Iggy Pop, and “MAMMAMIA.” They’ll close out 2021 with a performance on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2022.

Here are a few of 2021’s other breakout rock and alternative artists:

It may seem strange to call Glass Animals a “breakout” artist of 2021, since they’ve been alternative radio mainstays for the past seven years. Still, it’s hard to deny that the U.K. outfit really kicked things up a level in 2021, thanks to their hit single “Heat Waves,” which hit the top 10 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100. The leap was so big that Glass Animals received a Best New Artist nomination for the 2022 Grammys.

Wolfgang Van Halen released his debut single as Mammoth WVH in late 2020 with “Distance,” a song dedicated to his recently deceased father, the iconic Eddie Van Halen. “Distance” would hit number one on Billboard‘s Mainstream Rock Airplay in early 2021, a chart Wolf would again conquer later in the year with the single “Don’t Back Down,” proving he’s more than just a famous last name.

British duo Wet Leg came out of nowhere in 2021 with their debut single, the Mean Girls-referencing, double entendre-ing earworm “Chaise Longue.” They’ll release their first full-length self-titled album in April 2022.

Canada’s Spirtbox helped bring new blood into the metal scene in 2021, thanks in part to Courtney LaPlante‘s compelling vocals. The band released their debut album, Eternal Blue, in September, and charted their first radio rock single with “Secret Garden.” Spiritbox might’ve gotten even bigger in 2021 if their tour opening for Limp Bizkit hadn’t been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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