Is America Ripe for Another British Invasion?

So many UK bands and pop stars have found success in America recently that the BBC is declaring a third British Invasion. (Seriously, this has to be the 12th or 13th one by now.) For the first time since the early '80s, the States are ripe for the plunder, industry insiders say. The reasons cited in the BBC piece include a shift toward more pop and rock on US radio, better promotion for UK acts, the "democratization" of music via the Web, and maybe just the fact that U.S. music sucks right now. Todd Interland, manager for James Blunt says, "Right now, the American market is in a little bit of a black hole with regards to good music. There's some interesting things but most of it is a bit samey. Hip-hop has got into a bit of a glut."

I think the recent "upsurge" has been closer to a bit of trespassing than a full-on invasion: people forget that James Blunt and Snow Patrol would still qualify for a VH1 One-Hit Wonders special.

The Proclaimers' Comic Relief remake has held on to the top spot for another week. Note that five of the top ten are from North American artists. (Yes, I know, Avril Lavigne a.k.a. The Muthaf*ckin' Princess is Canadian…thanks, folks. I'm The Muthaf*ckin' Moron.) Yet, oddly, I don't see anyone suiting up to fight an American Invasion in the UK.

1. Proclaimers/Brian Potter/Andy Pipkin – (I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles
Watch the video

2. Avril Lavigne – Girlfriend
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3. Gwen Stefani Ft Akon – The Sweet Escape
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4. Alex Gaudino Ft Crystal Waters – Destination Calabria
Watch the video – Must be 18 or older

5. The Fray – How To Save A Life
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6. Fergie Ft Ludacris – Glamorous
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7. Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby
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8. Take That – Shine
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9. Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around…Comes Around
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10. Mika – Grace Kelly
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In other news:

  • In a very lengthy Times interview with Take That, Gary Barlow suggests Robbie Williams' stint in rehab was a publicity stunt. "One side of me wants to send him best wishes. I blame everyone around him. If it was me going into rehab, you'd never know. I'd be so embarrassed. But this bloody big press release giving all the reasons why? It's a big coincidence, isn't it? So who knows?"
  • Daniel Craig is the most stylish star; Russell Brand is the worst-dressed. (BBC)
  • SPOILER ALERT – The Guardian's Stephen Brook reviews the first Doctor Who episode with Freema Agyeman, and he says, Billie who? "David Tennant has toned down his shouty tendencies, new assistant Martha Jones, played by Freema Agyeman, made a strong debut, the new monsters (but not necessarily baddies) the Judoon, Martha's dysfunctional family, and a blood sucking senior citizen all did their bit to create what I thought was the most enjoyable episode for some time."
  • The Mirror has apologized to Kate Middleton, who had filed a complaint against the paper for harassment. (Reuters)
  • The makers of Wallace & Gromit, Aardman Features, have signed a three-year deal with Sony Pictures. The studio, who also created Creature Comforts, had severed ties with Dreamworks earlier this year. (Variety)
  • Has the X-Factor become the Sex-Factor?: according to Daily Mail, Simon Cowell has hired Dermot O'Leary, an Irish hottie-with-a-body, to host his UK talent search. Fired judge Louis Walsh says he got him the gig: "I put him forward to Simon because I think he is great at his job, he has everything – plus, he is Irish. He has the looks, the humor, and is a very warm and genuine person. In my view he is the best male presenter in the country."
  • Simon "is not the man for" Mika. (Mirror)
  • Newsflash: Heather Mills is a diva, say sources from Dancing with the Stars. "She's the only one with security. She has two all the time, sometimes more. She had tons of demands, including that blinds be down so no one knew where she practiced." (Mirror)
  • Wayne and Coleen, version 2.0: little brother Graham Rooney brings Coleen McLoughlin's lookalike cousin, Carly, to Col's 21st birthday party. (Daily Mail)
  • For Wayne, Coleen's just the icing on the cake. (The Sun)
  • Photos: Little Britain's David Walliams plays Papa on a stroll with Geri Haliwell and her baby, Bluebell. (Daily Mail)
  • Kate Moss must have pissed Victoria Newton off but good. "SUPERMODEL KATE MOSS faces the axe from the world's 100 sexiest women list – because men think she looks a MESS." (The Sun)
  • Maybe that's why Moss has hired Pete Doherty's ex, Irina Lazareanu, to model her Topshop line. (Mirror)
  • Friends and family don't even know Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster's wedding plans. Ah, but Vicky Newton does. "I can put them all out of their misery – it is going to be on an Italian island in mid-June and the smart money is on Capri." Can someone please put Ms. Newton out of her misery? Thanks in advance.
  • Russell Brand's garden gnome got nicked. (The Sun)
  • Sean Lennon on being recognized in public: "When I was 15, a cabdriver asked me if I was Paul McCartney's daughter." (CNN)
  • Jude Law was "the last man standing" at a raucous, drunken afterparty for The Good, The Bad, and The Queen's gig at Hammersmith Palais. (Mirror)
  • Beatles hits will soon be available online. (NME)
  • Lily Allen performed Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and Keane's "Everybody's Changing" at a Portland tour date. (NME)
  • It took a mere 90 minutes for the Glastonbury Festival to sell out. (The Times)
  • Because I like to share hotness with the world: UK rugby star Jason Robinson is retiring. How gorgeous is he? Right up my alley, I say.

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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