The 20 Most American-Sounding British Bands/Artists

There are certain bands, that don't resemble the typical sound of their nationality. Those listed below are some of them.

(In alphabetical order)

1) Airrace

I guess to almost everyone, this name is unknown. But this band, although they released only one album (well they released another one recently, but during their prime period, just one) they were one of the most massive underground acts of the AOR/Glam Metal music genre and the album Shaft Of Light is an absolute masterpiece. Their sound was really made for the (then) American market, but unfortunately they never made it in the charts, neither in the US nor in the UK.

2) Big Audio Dynamite

The fact they were using hip-hop elements, during a time when hip-hop music was only an American thing (and particularly a black American thing), makes this band destined for the then American Dance scene. Despite the fact they lacked success in America during their early years, since the late 80s they found success in the American Modern Rock stations.

3) Bonham

This is a band featuring John Bonham's son, Jason Bonham who was also a member of the band Airrace, I mentioned above. Like Airrace, they were featuring an Americanized sound, resembling the sound of the typical American Glam Metal of the late 80s. They had some success in the US this time, with their debut album The Disregard Of Timekeeping.

4) Bros

They were more or less Michael Jackson clones, and they were resembling other Teen Pop bands of that era, like New Kids Of The Block. Now why they never made it in the US, despite being very Americanized sound-wise, it's a mystery.

5) Charlie

A rather unknown and very much forgotten band as well (really hard to find a photo of this band). They started their career as a Progressive Rock band, but since their album Good Morning America, they started pursuing a more AORish direction (like many 70s Progressive Rock bands, did in the 80s). Despite being unknown in their homeland, they scored a Top 40 US hit, with their single It's Inevitable.

6) Cutting Crew

Their debut album Broadcast was a much bigger success in the US than it was in their homeland, and (I Just) Died In Your Arms (Tonight) was a massive hit. They've been describes as Pop-Rock/AOR/New Wave about their genre. Definitely they're not New Wave and AOR is questionable. Their sound was more closer to the sound of Bryan Adams and REO Speedwagon, or even Richard Marx, where they were playing guitar-based songs yet they had a Pop/Radio-friendly appeal. Not a sound that is popular among the British audience (at least by then).

7) Def Leppard (since Pyromania)

Originally, during their first two albums, Def Leppard were part of the NWOBHM scene, like Iron Maiden. But since their album Pyromania, they started to develop their Glam Metal sound, and forgetting they are a NWOBHM band, but an American Glam Metal band instead. At the time they released Hysteria, they were a phenomenon in the US (and all around the world), overshadowing their earlier Britishish works and making the world believe they are an American band.

8. Dire Straits

Whilst Pub Rock is a British based genre, the whole genre reminds me of American Rock of 50s and 60s. Same goes with Dire Straits. Later they developed a sound, closer to artists like Bruce Springsteen or Bob Seger. Despite their not so British sound, their album Money For Nothing, is among the Top 10 best selling albums in the UK.

9) Dr. Feelgood

Like Dire Straits, Dr. Feelgood was a big band among the mid and late 70s Pub Rock movement. Although they never had any American success, the Pub Rock sound, sounds pretty Americanized as I stated above.

10) The Fixx

Whilst New Wave wasn't mainly an American genre, but British New Wave bands (The Vapors, Squeeze, XTC) were sounding different than American New Wave bands (The Motels, The Cars, Wall Of Voodoo). The Fixx's sound resembles closer the latter. Also their later works (since Calm Animals) are even more Americanized, featuring a late 80s-early 90s American Alternative Rock sound, that it will make you forget they are a British band, in fact.

11) FM

It's known that the AOR genre appeals the American market mostly. and there aren't many AOR artists/bands coming from the UK. FM was one of those bands. Unfortunately they reached only moderate success in the UK, during the second half of the 80s but nothing more. The problem is, that they were never booked a US tour, and that's why they never became big stars. If they did, I believe these guys would make it big, since their sound is definitely more Americanized.

12) Billy Idol

His highly successful MTV music videos, during the early MTV era, obviously helped the artist to make himself a big name in America. Neither his songs nor his music videos resembles much the then UK standards in music business. Maybe his song Eyes Without A Face by some degree.

13) Johnny Hates Jazz

The band had this trademark glossy poppy radio-friendly sound of late 80s, that it was very appealing to the American market during those years, particularly in the Adult Contemporary radio stations. Unlike Cutting Crew (I mentioned above) the band lacked electric guitar work in their recordings, something that made their sound weaker. Whilst the song Shattered Dreams was a massive hit in the US reaching #2, the whole album Turn Back The Clock, didn't do well there reaching only #56. I believe if they used some electric guitar work, like Cutting Crew did, they would give it a kick, and make it bigger in the American market, since as it seems these guys were pretty destined for the American market.

14) The Outfield

Perhaps the most Americanized British band so far. Anything, from their style to the music they play. That explains their big success in America obviously. Almost everyone who's been listening to The Outfield, they will feel shocked if they discover they are actually British.

15) Robert Palmer

It's his Blue-eyed Soul vocal style that make him sound more American than British. And most of his biggest hits, like the AORish Addicted To Love or the Synth-Funkish Some Like It Hot with the supergroup The Power Station, are pretty much American-flavored.

16) John Parr

Someone who chooses to play AOR, and comes from the UK, he should definitely choose to focus on the American market. John Parr did well by focusing on America, and recording a song for a movie soundtrack, particularly Man In Motion. I should also mention, songs from movie soundtracks, tend to be way more popular in the US than other countries. He is even holding a guitar with the American flag as you can see, so it's hard to believe he is actually British.

17) Chris Rea

His gravelly blues voice and his style of Soft Rock music, reminds more an American crooner, made for Adult Contemporary radio stations. When he started he had a big hit in America with Fool (If You Think It's Over) but since then he lost his popularity in the US for some reason.

18. Strangeways

A really great band, but without any significant chart success. They were one of those many unfairly lost AOR bands from mid 80s. Still they are here because their sound is Americanized and their looks I might add.

19) T'Pau

Actually, in their case things were different. In the US they are one-hit wonders with their song Heart And Soul reaching #4, but in UK they had a series of Top 40 hits and the song China In Your Hand was a huge hit in many European countries, reaching the #1 spot in six countries as well. Still their sound resembled more a Pop-Rock American band of the late 80s, featuring a female vocalist.

20) John Waite

Also the bands he's been involved with (The Babys and Bad English) were featuring a more Americanized sound, especially Bad English. Despite having a series of Top 40 hits in US, including two #1s (Missing You and When I See You Smile), in his homeland he is an one-hit wonder artist, where his song Missing You reached #9.


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  • Def Leppard! Wow! I <3 them to bits! ;)


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