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10 Music Acts Who Cracked Every Country Except America

FUN FACTS March 7, 2018 By Hugo

The music business isn't for the faint-hearted, and the path to superstardom is filled with hurdles. But like any competitive industry, there are always a few that make it big. Just take these 10 acts as an example. They've sold millions of records the world over and get mobbed wherever they go.

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Well, unless they happen to be stateside. In fact, these global acts have cracked almost every market imaginable except America. Here are ten examples.

1. Oasis 

The British pop-rock band took the world by storm in the 1990s and were part of a wave of British bands that dominated the pop-rock scene. However, while similar bands (The Stone Roses, Blur, etc.) provided healthy competition, they were no commercial match for the Gallagher brothers four-piece band,  who once held the record for the fastest-selling British debut album of all time when their album, 'Definitely Maybe' was released. 

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But 70 million album sales later, Oasis is still a largely unknown quantity in America.  And though they shifted a million copies of their debut album across the pond, their failure to build on their American success-according to Noel Gallagher at least- was down to lead vocalist, Liam Gallagher, who cancelled their North American stadium tour so he could go house hunting with his then partner, Patsy Kensit.

2. Robbie Williams  

When signing a £80m record deal with EMI music in 2002, Robbie Williams famously exclaimed, "I'm rich beyond my wildest dreams." Today, and £80m richer, the British crooner has sold a staggering 55m albums worldwide, 18m of which have come in his homeland. But Britain's answer to Justin Timberlake wasn't as welcomed in America, and though he lived in Los Angeles for a few years and recorded a song with Hollywood starlet Nicole Kidman, nothing of significance materialized in Hollywood.

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Still, Williams won't be too fussed. After all, his 2006 world tour set a Guinness World Record when it sold out in just one day, leaving the 43-year-old in the unusual position of being a global superstar that few on the streets of Sunset Boulevard would recognize.

3. Kylie Minogue 

The Australian beauty's albums sell like hotcakes, and as of today, the former Neighbours actress has 70m record sales to her name.

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World tours from Indonesia to South Africa are a primary source of Minogue's income while trumping the charts in Europe have given Minogue A-list status without much success in America.

4. Laura Pausini

Taking you away from the English language, foreign music is also big business. After all, not everyone speaks English, and for the Italian hitmaker Laura Pausini, her soft crooning lyrics have garnered her over 45m record sales.

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This is more impressive when you realize she's never even cracked America's Billboard 200. 

5. Scorpions 

German rock band, Scorpions, are a major hit the world over, and tour as far away as Thailand and Beirut. But that's hardly surprising when you've notched up 75 album sales.

Shutterstock/Ruslan Lytvyn

As for their success in America, they did make some inroads in the 80s/ early 90s, but their popularity paled in comparison to the domestic grunge bands like Nirvana and Green Day that sprung up around the same time. 

6. Sarah Brightman

The English classical crossover soprano singer and original lead of the Phantom of the Opera has sold a staggering 40m albums worldwide.

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Brightman, who can sing in an array of different languages, is the only solo artist to perform at two Olympic Games- Barcelona and Beijing- which had estimated viewing figures of one and four billion respectively. Still, American success evades the singer.

7. Cliff Richard 

Cliff Richard has sold more singles than anyone else in history (21m) and his annoyingly catchy Christmas song, 'Mistletoe and wine' is a festive favorite the world over.

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But a famous Christmas song and 250m sold records won't guarantee you stateside success. Indeed, aside from a brief appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in the 60s, the land of entertainment knows little of a musician who is arguably the most commercially successful living artist of all time.

8. Take That

Until One Direction came along, it was safe to say that British boyband Take That were the biggest British boy band since The Beatles. Admittedly, Take That didn't quite have the international appeal of the legendary Liverpool band, but they scored many UK number ones while also seeing their albums go platinum in lucrative music markets like Australia and Germany.

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But America wasn't as impressed, with none of their albums charting on the Billboard 200.

9. Panjabi MC

Panjabi MC's delicious mix of Indian-infused hip-hop and Bhangra has taken the rapper and producer all over the world.

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But America continues to overlook the Asian sensation, who is yet to make a public appearance stateside.

10. Stereophonics

The Welsh rockers achieved five simultaneous number one albums in the UK between 1999 and 2007, yet their best Billboard 200 performance came in at a dreary 127.

Shutterstock/Fabio Denia

Having said that, with 10 million albums sold and a loyal European fanbase, the British band won't be having cash flow problems anytime soon.


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