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Seven British Bands That Couldn't Crack America

Oasis Paul Weller Sugababes Manic Street Preachers Girls Aloud Take That Stereophonics

The histories of American and British pop music is inextricably linked. Often, the same bands that enjoy success in the States also hit the charts in Old Blighty, and vice versa. Think The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, or Nirvana headlining Reading ’92 – common language and similar culture make the transition easy for many.

However, there are notable exceptions on this front – artists who, however massive they make it in Britain, for whatever reason can’t crack America. Here, we look at seven of the biggest British bands who just couldn’t make it out there.


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Stereophonics - First Direct Arena, Leeds 10.03.2018 Live Review

With their tenth studio album narrowly missing out on being a chart-topper, Stereophonics are in the midst of another largely sold-out UK arena tour. Their itinerary will then see them head to Australia, before returning to these shores for the festival season and a couple of their own headline stadium shows. 

Stereophonics - First Direct Arena, Leeds 10.03.2018 Live Review

Opening with the brooding 'Chances Are' from their latest release, frontman Kelly Jones wastes no time utilising the ego ramp protruding into the crowd, which will later double up as a 'B stage'. Radio-friendly recent single 'Caught By The Wind' follows and receives crowd approval, while the energy is continued by another of their more recent catalogue, 'C'est La Vie'. A cut from their debut is ecstatically greeted and the nostalgia is upped by 'More Life In A Tramp's Vest' being accompanied with video from the band's pre-fame days. 'Have A Nice Day' and 'Indian Summer' get the audience dancing, while the stomping  'Geronimo' sees a further musician take to the stage to bring the saxophone solo to life. Indeed, with their live incarnation now numbering six, the near production-free set on the ramp is crowded to say the least. It does make for a more intimate feel for the likes of 'Been Caught Cheating' and 'Handbags And Gladrags', before Kelly Jones allows his band mates a rest while he airs 'Boy On A Bike'.

As they flit between cuts new and old - 'Graffiti On The Train', 'Step On My Old Size Nines', 'Just Looking' - it is evident you'd struggle to find a tighter live unit. Also worth remarking on is the power of Jones' voice - 20 years in the business would understandably take a toll, yet in his case, it very much appears as powerful as ever and is particularly demonstrated on 'Traffic'. As a minor gripe the set list is somewhat predictable, but there's bang for your buck with over 25 songs in over two hours on stage. The big hitters are packed to the end - 'Local Boy In The Photograph', 'The Bartender And The Thief', 'Dakota' - but breaking them up is the brilliant 'Mr & Mrs Smith'. Not only a demonstration of Jones still being able to pen a small town tale, it provides Adam Zindani a chance to show off his vocal range, while Jamie Morrison's drum solo should be the show-stopping finale. More moments like this where they let loose could add more spark to their show, but you'd struggle to find much dissatisfaction with what is undoubtedly an accomplished show.

Stereophonics - Scream Above The Sounds Album Review

Having spent the summer playing smaller festivals and venues, Stereophonics are now releasing their tenth studio album 'Scream Above The Sounds', 20 years on from their debut record. A handful of American dates lead into the new year when the band take to stages in Europe, followed by a substantial UK and Ireland arena tour.

Stereophonics - Scream Above The Sounds Album Review

Powered by an ear-piercing guitar line, 'Caught By The Wind' opens the record with the sort of accessible arena-rock the band has regularly produced for two decades. The quirky new-wave of 'Taken A Tumble' is fun, while 'What's All The Fuss About?' is an interesting turn characterised by horns and trumpets for a sound not usually associated with the band. More familiar is the foot-tapping 'Geronimo', packing in attitude and a dirty sax solo, while 'All In One Night' launched this album campaign with its hypnotic guitar line and Kelly Jones in narrative mood. 

One of the stand-out moments of Stereophonics' latest release sees the band abandon all but a piano and Jones' voice. 'Before Anyone Knew Our Name' sees the Welshman address the passing of Stuart Cable, the group's original drummer and childhood friend. Tender and sincere, Jones transmits emotion that can only come from such a loss.

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Kelly Jones Remembers Stuart Cable On New Stereophonics Track

Stereophonics Kelly Jones Tom Petty

Stereophonics singer Kelly Jones has paid tribute to Stuart Cable after reflecting on his late friend in a new song.

The Welsh group's drummer tragically died seven years ago at the age of 40, after he quit the group in 2003, and his former band mate has reflected on their friendship in 'Anyone Knew Our Name', taken from their latest album 'Scream Above The Sounds', which was released on Friday (27.10.17).

Speaking to The Sun newspaper, Kelly reflected on his best friend - who he described as his brother - and revealed they had made their peace years before he passed away.

Continue reading: Kelly Jones Remembers Stuart Cable On New Stereophonics Track

Stereophonics - Bridlington Spa 23.08.17 Live Review

The Stereophonics machine has been gradually building up over recent months with festival performances and the announcement of 'Scream Above The Sounds', their tenth album due for release in November. Tonight's event is at a venue smaller than the arena habitat in which the band are usually found in the UK, a rare opportunity to get close and personal.

Stereophonics - Bridlington Spa 23.08.17 Live Review

There's a reliability to Stereophonics which is comforting for their followers and ammunition for their detractors and it applies to their music and shows. So when Kelly Jones takes to the stage by announcing first album 'Word Gets Around' is 20 years old and they open with 'Looks Like Chaplin', it's greeted with glee and near disbelief. Any suspicion of an anniversary show will be dispelled as the night progresses, with staple set numbers 'A Thousand Trees' and 'Local Boy In The Photograph' the other tracks celebrating their twentieth, but that's not to say there aren't a few surprises. New tracks 'Caught By The Wind' and 'All In One Night' get road-tested, the former being the type of radio hit the band have spent two decades regularly turning out and the latter featuring a dynamic outro that should have made the studio version. Also performed are the rarely-heard 'Step On My Old Size Nines' and 'Vegas Two Times' and whilst admittedly neither may be the first choice of many a fan to pull from the archives, it's certainly refreshing to have the unpredictability in the show. 

There is of course an obligation to smash out the hits and over the course of nine albums there's plenty to choose from - 'Have A Nice Day', 'Maybe Tomorrow', 'Just Looking' and 'Graffiti On The Train' to name but a few. 'Mr And Mrs Smith' from their last album proved Jones can still pen a classic 'phonics number and on stage it gets the added bonus of a superb solo from drummer Jamie Morrison. It's almost taken for granted that the performance is clinical - there's no bum notes or missed beats here - but it's also appreciated that an arena production has been crammed into a theatre hall. Sure, they're unlikely to start flying drones around the room or have cascading waterfalls, but it would have been easy to scale things down in this setting. That isn't the Stereophonics way though - it tells they take pride in their work and their work tonight is to entertain on stage. They do it for a firm two hours, concluding as ever with 'Dakota', a reliable way to send the masses home happy.

Justin Bieber Is Back On Top Of UK Singles Chart With 'What Do You Mean'

Justin Bieber Stereophonics The Libertines

A fortnight ago Justin Bieber scored his first ever UK number one with ‘What Do You Mean’ and now he’s back in the top spot again this week. The single has risen one place to reclaim the number one spot, after being knocked off by Sigala’s ‘Easy Love’ last week, which has now fallen to number two.

Justin BieberJustin Bieber’s What Do You Mean has topped the UK single’s chart.

In the number three spot was Calvin Harris and Disciples with ‘How Deep Is Your Love’, which scored over 2.1 million plays this week to rise one place in the chart. Jess Glynne’s ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’ fell one place in its sixth week on the chart, while The Weeknd’s 'Can’t Feel My Face' is a non-mover at number five.

Continue reading: Justin Bieber Is Back On Top Of UK Singles Chart With 'What Do You Mean'

Stereophonics - Keep The Village Alive Album Review

After spending the summer on the festival circuit, Stereophonics release their ninth studio album 'Keep The Village Alive'; the follow-up to 2013's platinum-selling 'Graffiti On The Train'.  A series of shows across Europe will be followed by a ten-date UK arena tour in December, culminating at the O2 Arena in London.

Stereophonics - Keep The Village Alive Album Review

Recent single 'C'est La Vie' opens the record in urgent fashion, with vocalist Kelly Jones sounding as if he could trip over the lyrics at any point.  It's a good-time tune with an energy that isn't seen regularly enough from the quartet.  'White Lies' is a shimmering attempt at arena balladry that may not be ground-breaking, but is hard to dismiss, while the influence of The Black Crowes is very much evident on the swaggering blues-rock of 'Sing Little Sister'.  Those who criticise the band for being too safe will have further fuel with the radio-friendly 'I Wanna Get Lost With You', something of a generic drive-anthem, while 'Song For The Summer' is a sweeping number which utilises orchestral arrangements.

Based on a hypnotically looping piano line, 'Fight Or Flight' is an interesting number that may not be to everyone's liking.  It has foundations in the cinematic sound of the previous album and builds to a climatic end, as does a highlight of this release titled 'Sunny'.  The lyrics are at times lazy, a surprise given Jones is a heralded wordsmith, but it is some of the band's best playing of the last decade.  'Into The World' could test the patience of even dedicated fans, but 'Mr And Mrs Smith' will certainly have them back on board - it's another fun romp to get fans dancing and, should the band be brave enough to do so, could replace 'Dakota' as a show closer.  Like much of 'Keep The Village Alive' it is more commercially-minded than the material of the last couple of Stereophonics albums - and this isn't a bad thing for an outfit with a not inconsiderable catalogue of hits.  Detractors who may hope the band fade into heritage act status will have to continue waiting, while fans will no doubt enjoy this collection of mainly fine rock-pop moments.

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Stereophonics - O2 Academy, Sheffield - 8th July 2015 Live Review

Ahead of the release of their ninth studio album in September, Stereophonics announced tonight's show as a warm up date before they embark numerous dates in the festival season.  Prior to a jaunt around mainland Europe they'll play toward the top of the bill at T In The Park, Belsonic and the dual V Festival sites.

Stereophonics - July 2015 Live Review

If tonight's audience are expecting a crowd-pleasing set or show to promote the new record, opening with 'Catacomb' is a curveball to all in attendance.  An album track from their last release, it is a surprising choice which shows, if nothing else, that Kelly Jones' voice is as powerful as ever.  Latest single 'C'est La Vie' is well received, whilst a surprisingly early appearance of 'Handbags And Gladrags' provides a huge sing-a-long.  Tracks from their debut album remain firm favourites, with 'A Thousand Trees' greeted by a massive roar and 'Too Many Sandwiches' receiving an outing, while guitarist Adam Zindani takes lead vocals as the quartet cover The Beatles' 'Happy Birthday' in honour of a crew member.

Two other new tracks - 'I Wanna Get Lost With You' and 'Song For The Summer' - also get an airing, though crowd reaction is more kind than crazy, but 'The Bartender And The Thief' remains the dynamite in their catalogue that will always awaken a crowd.  With their discography covering over 100 songs, the band have a task to represent each chapter of their story, but the selections of 'It Means Nothing', 'Could You Be The One For Me?' and 'Rooftop' are further surprises in the performance.  For an act who usually play it safe in their song selection, it really mixes things up, but few fans could argue these are jewels in the crown.  More predictably, proceedings are ended on the sure-fire duo of 'Local Boy In The Photograph' and 'Dakota', which get the huge applause you would expect for songs which are the calling cards of the band.  They round off a performance which shows the quartet to be in fine form and as slick as ever, with evidence that they may be prepared to mix things up when they take to the stage.

Continue reading: Stereophonics - O2 Academy, Sheffield - 8th July 2015 Live Review

Calvin Harris And Kasabian To Headline V Festival 2015

Calvin Harris Kasabian V Festival Sam Smith Olly Murs Ella Henderson Kodaline James Bay Ellie Goulding The Script George Ezra Stereophonics

Calvin Harris and Kasabian have been announced as headliners for this year's V Festival. The Scottish DJ and Leicester rockers were head up the bill at Hylands Park and Weston Park and will be joined by Sam Smith, James Bay, Ellie Goulding, The Script, George Ezra, Stereophonics, Olly Murs, Ella Henderson, Kodaline and Cvhrches.

KasabianKasabian will headline this year's V Festival 

Simon Moran, V Festival director, said: "We wanted to champion British talent at this year's festival and with the likes of Calvin and Kasabian leading the way we don't think it'll disappoint. The eclectic mix of established artists and rising stars, with a few more in the pipeline, means that once again there is something for everyone at V Festival."

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T In The Park 2015 Announces Killer Line-Up For Its New Venue

T In The Park Kasabian Avicii Fatboy Slim Noel Gallagher Prodigy David Guetta Stereophonics Sam Smith The Script Rudimental Alt-J Hozier George Ezra Annie Mac

Amazing acts have been announced to perform at this year's T In The Park including Kasabian, Avicii and Fatboy Slim. Despite notorious festivals to match up to, it is looking very likely that this year that T in the Park will blow people away.

T In The Park 2015 logo

T in the Park has moved to it new home in the grounds of Strathallan Castle. Organisers DF Concerts and Tennent's Lager are ecstatic about the festival's first year here, playing host to 85,000 fans this summer. Festival Director Geoff Ellis said: 'This year is going to be a very special one for T in the Park as we make the beautiful grounds of Strathallan Castle our new home, and we're thrilled that some of the biggest artists in the world will be joining us in this historic first year.'

Continue reading: T In The Park 2015 Announces Killer Line-Up For Its New Venue

Stereophonics - The Stereophonics London, England - MTV TWO'sGonzo 5th Birthday Party at Shepherds Bush Pavillion - Arrivals Thursday 6th December 2007


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