Has the US or UK been more dominant in pop and rock since the 50s?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mercuryvenus, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. mercuryvenus

    mercuryvenus Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Maryland, USA
    I'd love a debate on this question.

    By dominance I mean:

    - Record sales/chart performance in the US, UK, and worldwide

    - Influence (squishier, I know) over contemporary artists and those who come after

    My opinion on this is the US dominated in the 50s and the UK has at least punched above its weight (being the smaller country) if not outperformed the US since then.


    - Clearly when it comes to rock n roll, rockabilly, and blues in the 50s, the US dominates.

    - However, when you look at the towering giants of rock and punk since the 50s, you keep getting back to UK artists: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Radiohead, Eric Clapton

    - Exceptions to the above would be southern rock (Allman Brothers) and some forms of folk

    Convince me otherwise. :)
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  2. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident

    No real interest in the debate. Just wanted to point out that Joni Mitchell is Canadian. If any country has "punched above weight" it's Canada. Their ratio of 'greatest songwriters of the 2oth century' is extremely high given their population compared to the U.S. Joni, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Robbie Robertson, etc.
    Aftermath, hellion and vinylontubes like this.
  3. mercuryvenus

    mercuryvenus Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Maryland, USA
    You're right! Sorry about that. I edited my post.
  4. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    I have no idea what is being asked. I will point out that your latest band listing is radiohead. radiohead is a band that was founding the '90s. While it is more than impressive that they have remained relevant for over 25 years, what else has the UK added to their side of the scale in recent years?

    I will state that the UK to me has very few artists but their contribution is toward the heavy end. I would add Black Sabbath to the original list of artists. To me the metaphor looks more like turntables tonearm with a heavy counterweight offsetting a long tonearm rather than a balancing scale.

    I do think the US has a lot of heavy hitters. Paul Simon had a very long career with a lot of success. Stevie Wonder was more than competitive through into the '80s. Micheal Jackson and Bob Dylan are probably the US acts that have the mass of British artists previously listed. I don't think the UK has an answer to popular music from Soul acts like Motown, Stax/Volt or the even someone like Aretha Franklin. But if we take a look more recent years, we have Alternative music where I could argue Nirvana short but explosive career balances radiohead's longer career. If we add the success of Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, R.E.M., Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Green Day, and the Pixies, what does the UK have to offer outside of maybe The Smiths and The Cure? Now let's look at the Hip-Hip era where the UK has nothing to offer. The US has acts NWA, Public Enemy, Lamar Kendrick, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Jay-Z, and Kanye West. Let's look at Divas where the UK can offer Adele, but does that offset Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Beyonce Knowles, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, P!nk, Lady Gaga and Madonna.

    My point is that if we are just looking at the Classic Rock era, the UK dominates. But outside of that, there isn't much the UK has to make a case. For genras like Heavy Metal, I'd say it's a push with Black Sabbath creating the genre with a continuation from Judas Priest into the NWOBHM, balanced by Thrash Metal acts like Slayer and Metallica.
  5. bobc

    bobc Bluesman

    I'm a Brit, but what we're talking about is American music isn't it? The "British Invasion" bands were all doing American style music and they needed the American market to make big money. For Canadian musicians it was the same. There have been niches of British music (Kinks, folk, Britpop, Bristol), but they all needed to be big in the US to make it.
    McLover likes this.
  6. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    Per capita, and it’s Canada all the way!
    hellion likes this.

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