Friday, January 11, 2013 at 12:54 p.m.
The British Isles offer a cornucopia of musical perfection. They've given us the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, and the Spice Girls. But there are so many other groups whose massive success in the UK didn't translate in the USA.
For every Pink Floyd, there is a the Jam; for every Clash, there is a Dexy's Midnight Runners. And so we present to you bands that have much in common with the afternoon tea, in that they did not successfully make the leap across the Atlantic.
5. Manic Street Preachers
16 million albums sold
This glam punk band have had 8 top ten albums in the UK along with 15 top ten singles, but not even their guitarist Richey Edwards' mysterious disappearance could get them notice in the States. Eighteen years later, Edwards' body still has not been found).
4. Robbie Williams
55 million albums sold
England's answer to Justin Timberlake (or perhaps his question, since Williams came first) rose to fame with the boy band Take That and then only got bigger after going solo. Williams has sold more albums in the UK than any other British solo artist in history, but would only be noticed for his funny accent if he went to Topeka, Kansas.
3. Pet Shop Boys
100 million albums sold
The electronic pop group did have one number one hit in the US with "West End Girls," but that pales in comparison with their success in the UK. There they had four number one songs, 22 top ten songs, and the distinction by the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest selling duo in UK music history.
2. Status Quo
120 million albums sold
You remember the song "Ice in the Sun?" How about "Down Down?" Of course not, because while they were huge hits in the UK for the boogie band Status Quo, the group's only song that made the charts in the US was 1968's "Pictures of Matchstick Men."
1. Cliff Richard
260 million records sold
Sir Cliff Richard, both in his solo career and with his backing band the Shadows, had over 120 singles, EPs, and albums over the course of six decades that make it to the UK top twenty, but we'll be damned if any American can name a single one of them.