Is Robbie Williams the biggest music star not to break into the USA market?

I have heard sales of over 70 million albums. No cite.
Not to mention concert tours around the world

Kate Bush and David Hasselhoff spring to mind, equally citeless.

Obligatory Wiki Link:

Here’s a whole slew of singers who have sold more records than Robbie Williams, some of whom have also never really broke into the U.S. market:

I have heard of Robbie Williams (from SDMB) but have never heard his music that I know of.

A friend of mine is a huge hit in Germany but she is unknown in the USA (except for Annie Xmas here on the boards.)

Angelika Milster

Oh, in case you don’t speak German and want to hear some clips from her most recent album, click here and then click on the black word, “anhoeren”.

I heard one Robbie Williams song (in Japan) and liked it, so went to buy the CD. Put the CD in and found out that every other song on there was unlistenable dreck. Most likely, the one song was written for him by professional music writers, while as the rest were things he had “created.”

I suspect that his popularity hasn’t transferred over the pond because the US has it’s own manufactured talent without transporting them in.

Supreme is a good song though. He can sing well, when given a good song.

OK, matter of taste. I am sure many hearing my link to Angelika might say the same, but I watched and listened to this video clip and, well, it sounds like really, really bad Eurovison. James Blunt has done very well over here simply because he doesn’t sound like that.

But Robbie is also one of the most popular concert acts of the last decade. His world tours have been huge.
I am not just going by album sales.

Looking for figures on concert ticket sales.

He’s very popular, to say the least.

I hold no particular brief for Mr Williams, but you’re wrong about this. Just about everything he records is a collaboration with very experienced songwriters, lyricists and producers, and Robbie himself usually gets a ‘co-writer’ credit in there somewhere as well. I doubt there’s anything he has ever recorded that is his own solo creation (and he doesn’t claim otherwise, let it be said).

Sorry you didn’t like any of the other tracks, and I probably wouldn’t have liked them either (I’ve never bought anything with his name on it). But it’s very likely this ‘dreck’ was the work of some of the best and most commercially successful song-writing talent available. After all, Robbie can be choosy: here in the UK, just about every writer and producer of note would give anything to work with RW.

I find it hard to believe that Julitísimo is the only Spanish artist to have had that kind of sales…

DMark, you must never listen to Viva or MTV, I’ve seen him in both.

The other songs were worse. nods

Might be. He might just have really bad choice in music.

He had a hit here several years ago. “Millenium” did quite well, I think, but I’ve never heard anything by him since (not that I keep up very well–could be wrong).

The video where he ripped off his flesh and flung it at models might have made an impression on some Americans. But it isn’t the type of thing people go for, unless they’re already your fans.

Besides “Millenium” and “Rock DJ” (the ripping-off-his-flesh one), he also did a remake of “Beyond the Sea” for the Finding Nemo soundtrack and a remake duet of “Something Stupid” with (of all people) Nicole Kidman, both of which I’ve heard several times here in the US.

Note Cliff Richard of the UK up in the over 250,000,000 sales category.

He was probably the leading pop music superstar while the Beatles were still trying to get gigs in Liverpool, even though he’s the same age as John and Ringo. He had 34 singles hit the UK charts in the Beatles years, 1962-1969, including five number ones and 19 other top tens. He continued enormous chart success through the 70s and 80s, having another number one hit in 1990, which is where my old book ends. The Shadows, his sometimes backing band before they split off, had instrumental hits of their own for 20 years, including three number ones and 5 other top tens during the Beatles years. Keith Richards supposedly changed his name to Keith Richard for a time (or had Andrew Loog Oldham do it for him) to make a connection with the more famous singer.

Cliff Richard is arguably the single most famous musician in the UK. He was the first rock singer knighted, two years before McCartney. He supposedly has sold more records in the U.K. than anyone else, with The Beatles in second place. (Of course he had a much longer career.) Why he is essentially unknown in the U.S. is the biggest mystery in music. But there can’t be anybody bigger than him.

blinkingblinking writes:

> But Robbie is also one of the most popular concert acts of the last decade. His
> world tours have been huge.
> I am not just going by album sales.

It’s quite likely that nearly all of the singers listed in that link also are very popular concert acts. I don’t think that Robbie Williams is anywhere near being the most popular music star never to break into the American market. As Exapno Mapcase points out, the singer most likely to have that title is Cliff Richard. In a career over forty years long, he sold enormous amounts of albums and singles, did huge numbers of concerts, and was the most popular singer for a long period in the U.K. Despite this, he’s only had a few hits in the U.S. So not only are there other wildly popular acts that never broke into the American market, there’s even one who sings in English and who really tried to make it in the U.S. but failed.