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Very British
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Edited Dec 09, 2007, 13:15
Re: Very British
Dec 09, 2007, 12:40
Usually what happens with a movement that crosses either way across the Atlantic is that the three or four vanguard acts get their feet under the table and then there is a sharply inclined law of diminishing returns for the rest.

For mainstream rock acts from the US if Nicky Horne (Capital Radio) and Bob Harris (OGWT) got behind you then you could do very nicely - Little Feat, Nils Lofgren, Tom Petty, Skynyrd being very good examples of that dynamic.

A lot of the US country rock / soft rock that was a license to print money in the US failed to crossover to the UK in a meaningful way because we had our own (really great) pastoral thing going. Thank fuck.

The British bands who found America hardest to break were the college level bands who could headline say New Victoria Theatre or the Roundhouse - Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Streetwalkers, Faiports, Free, Man et al. Not that the likes of Genesis or the Floyd found it easy by any means.

British acts also seem to have a genius for under-estimating how much hard work is involved in getting across to mainstream America when compared with a major European country. Compare the diverging paths of say U2 and the Bunnymen around the time of their joint US tour with New Order, the release of "The Joshua Tree" and E&TB's eponymous album. Or compare the career paths of Led Zep and the Jeff Beck Group with Rod. Or look at the inexplicable (and equally fleeting) success of Jesus Jones and The Cult.

We shouldn't forget to take into account rock and roll's largely unspoken guilty secret that not being attractive or sexually charismatic is a major handicap. If the average Joe or Jolene don't want to be you or fuck you (or both) then you are in for a long long uphill slog in terms of reaching a broad audience. The core music fan will overlook all such considerations. The five-albums-a-year suburbanites who make stadium tours a possibility generally wont. Which certainly explains Peter Frampton.

To quote Michael Bracewell, being a success in the rock and roll business takes "punishing hard work and uncomplicated ambition". How many Brits get into rock and roll because they want to work hard? Not too many. How many are handicapped at the first hint of success by a disconnect between what they want to create and what they think will sell?

And then there's the drugs.
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