The British Invasion that failed: why Slade, Status Quo, the Sweet and Dr. Feelgood never conquered the USA

Sweet, Status Quo, Slade and Dr. Feelgood
(Image credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images; Ian Dickson/Redferns; Michael Putland/Getty Images; Fin Costello/Redferns; David Corio/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)

The influence of American music on British acts – and vice versa – is well documented and has been going on since the birth of rock ’n’ roll in the ’50s. The tables were turned in the ’60s with the British invasion, led by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Who. But since the ’70s, it’s fair to say that the influence going back and forth across the Atlantic has been evenly balanced. 

In spite of the global cross-pollination of musical influences, there remain acts who are massively successful in their native territories yet fail to achieve very much of note any further afield. Many British acts have achieved almost global dominance yet have failed to score more than a handful of hits, at best, in the United States. 

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Mark McStea

Mark is a freelance writer with particular expertise in the fields of ‘70s glam, punk, rockabilly and classic ‘50s rock and roll. He sings and plays guitar in his own musical project, Star Studded Sham, which has been described as sounding like the hits of T. Rex and Slade as played by Johnny Thunders. He had several indie hits with his band, Private Sector and has worked with a host of UK punk luminaries. Mark also presents themed radio shows for Generating Steam Heat. He has just completed his first novel, The Bulletproof Truth, and is currently working on the sequel.