Any European bands that were big in the US/Canada, but not on their home turf?

“Well, they’re big in Europe!”

It seems like a cliche in popular music: an American performer or band recieves almost no attention in their homeland, but they’re wildly successful in the UK, Australia, or across Europe. When examples of “they’re popular in Germany” or “they topped the charts in New Zealand” performers are given, it’s occasionally implied that American audiences aren’t sophisticated or smart enough to recognize the talent of these performers, while more intelligent cultured and appreciative foreigners can. Well, except for David Hallselhof.

Has the reverse ever been the case? Has there ever been a foreign band or musicial artist that is achieves wild popularity and fame in the US, but remains almost unknown back home in Europe?

Not a band, but Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” made no dent in their native England. They were astonded to be asked to do a publicity tour in America. When they got to the USA record stores, they were amazed to see the number of people buying the double LP.

In the meantime, someone in England remarked to Andrew’s mother “It’s a shame your boy can’t make any money with his music.”

British Nirvana tribute band Bush is the example that springs most readily to mind. The did eventually have some modest success, but were for quite a while nobodies here despite being big in America.


This will be bigger in Cafe Society.



Good question, BTW.

Radiohead. They achieved very mild one-hit-wonder success in the early 90s in the UK, but went largely unnoticed. They only got massive thanks to the US market.

Alan Parsons Project- 17 top 100 US hits, 2 in the UK.

Stevie Winwood 5 top 10 US hits, zero in the UK.

And if you count Andy Gibb as English instead of Australian (he was born in Manchester), 8 top 15 US hits, one in the UK.

Renaissance, all line-ups.

They were big in New York, Philadelphia and Alaska. They had the biggest-selling live album of 1976 (Live at Carnegie Hall). In Britain they stiffed.