Australian pop-rock "boy band" 5 Seconds of Summer became an out-of-nowhere success in the United States after opening for One Direction on two of their tours. How rare is it for a foreign boy band to make it big in the States? Only one group has ever done it before; the same one that catapulted 5SOS to superstardom!
American doo-wop revival/a capella group 14 Karat Soul are almost completely unknown in their homeland outside of the New York City area. They are far more popular in Japan, where the group was known through numerous Japanese TV adverts.
Boy band 98 Degrees, made up of four white guys from Ohio, were huge in the African-American community in the late-90s. It helps that they were influenced heavily by R&B vocal groups such as Boyz II Men and were signed to Motown.
A Touch of Class (ATC) was a Eurodance group comprised of a New Zealander, an Australian, an Italian and a Brit that had German producers, yet their song "Around the World (La La La La La)" (a Translated Cover Version of the Russian pop song "Pesenka" by the group Ruki Vverh!) was a Top 40 hit worldwide, even charting in the Top 40 in the United Kingdom and United States.
Air Supply are a fond memory from The '80s in their native Australia and North America, and still perform to this day, but they've increasingly toured to a very dedicated audience in southeast Asia.
The British progressive rock band The Alan Parsons Project was a big hit in North America and in mainland Europe, but largely forgotten in the UK.
Alcatrazz never really amounted to anything in the United States and became more noteworthy for being the band that managed to somehow falter after only four years with guitar legends Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai as members at different points. In Japan, they're still quite popular and their songs are a common mainstay in both covers and karaoke.
The band America, formed in the UK by American musicians,note The three members were all sons of US Air Force personnel, with one having been born in the UK, and met at a London-area high school for US military brats. only charted once in the UK Top 75, with their debut single "A Horse With No Name". They are much more popular in the United States. Maybe the name had something to do with it?
Pop star Anastacia, who was born in Chicago, has sold about 20 million albums and is successful in almost every country on Earth... except her native United States, where she is only known for being a textbook example of this trope.
As chronicled in the film Anvil: The Story of Anvil, the band Anvil maintained a following in Europe and Japan long after being forgotten in the U.S. and their native Canada.
A major example of this is the German girl group Arabesque. Despite never achieving much fame at home in a market that already had Silver Connection, Boney M., and other disco titans who arrived first, they were absolute legends in Japan and the USSR throughout the late '70s and early '80s. Notably, their popularity in Japan during the '80s resulted in the birth of Eurobeat, which may be the ultimate case of this trope as far as entire genres of music are concerned (see below). Ironically, after the band split in 1984, former member Sandra Lauer embarked on a solo career that finally launched her to fame in Europe and immediately established her as the biggest pop diva from Germany, yet her debut solo single "Japan its west" (a German-language version of Alphaville's "Big in Japan" that seemed to Lampshade her Japanese popularity) was an enormous flop, although her subsequent releases were successful.
Archive is an English trip hop/electronica/progressive rock band that is almost unknown in England, but rather known in continental Europe and particularly successful in France, to the point that they were scripted for the soundtrack of Michel Vaillant.
The Philippines absolutely adore David Archuleta. Given his startling similarities to several of the country's biggest pop stars, it's not surprising. He even made an album there consisting of covers of some OPM (Original Pinoy Music) songs (which later got available internationally on iTunes), and even sang the theme song to a Pinoy Soap Opera there (also an OPM song he covered).
Australian singer Tina Arena, while popular in her native country and the UK, is very popular in France. It helps the fact she has recorded three albums in French as well as living in Paris for nearly two decades.
Guatemalan singer Ricardo Arjona is more popular in Mexico (and possibly anywhere in the Latin American world) than in his native country. Justified, as Mexico has a bigger musical industry than Guatemala.
Arkona, Russian pagan metal band, is more popular in other European countries and North America than in their native Russia. It may have to do with foreigners finding the Russian language interesting.
Remember the Atlanta hip-hop group Arrested Development (not to be confused with the much better known TV show of the same name)? Their most recent single in Europe was released in 2004. Their most recent American single? 1994.
Asking Alexandria is a British metalcore band that's much more popular in the United States than at home. Their albums have charted in the Top 10, but barely made a dent on the UK charts. They've had multiple rock hits in the US, but never charted on their own turf.
Atomic Kitten were popular enough in their native UK. However they also managed to achieve four number 1 singles in New Zealand where their stuff was never promoted. It was also a given that if their single didn't chart well in the UK, it would fare better in other countries. Their low selling final single reached number 1 in Taiwan.
Emilie Autumn did a lot of touring in Europe and is quite popular there, owing to her old record label being German. However, in America, most people know her as Courtney Love's ex-violinist, if at all, and she didn't tour the US until late 2009. She's well aware of her displaced popularity and gave a shout out to the Hoff in an interview.
Iggy Azalea is hugely successful in the United States, where "Fancy" topped the US charts for a whopping seven weeks in 2014 and became a defining song in American pop culture that year. Back in Australia? She's received terrible reception and is rather disliked for skipping her home country and its hip-hop scene, and for faking an American accent; "Fancy" only got to #5 there. In fact her (now cancelled) Great Escape Tour was only going to have her tour North America. Attitudes against Azalea only took off in early 2015 when she got into a controversy over homophobia.
In the mid-1990s, American R&B group Az Yet enjoyed some success on the Billboard Hot 100 with two top 10 hits: "Last Night" and their cover of Chicago's "Hard To Say I'm Sorry", featuring Peter Cetera himself. Outside of English-speaking countries, these songs were not hits at worst and moderate hits at best. In the Netherlands, however, they were smash hits.
"Eat You Up" by Angie Gold managed to do this at least three times, three different ways. It started as an 80s pop song and was a modest hit in her local UK. However, it was wildly popular in Japan and not only reached number 1, but was covered in Japanese by Yoko Oginome as "Dancing Hero (Eat You Up)". That version was a huge hit in Japan, but also in China, so it was covered by Priscilla Chan as "Dancing Street". Then, in 2017, the Japanese version reached popularity thanks to a remix being used in a performance by the Tomioka High School dance club—prompting anotherTranslated Coverinto Korean by a group of women comedians.
"Legal Tender" by The B-52s, despite being the lead single of their third album Whammy!, only got as far as #81 on the Billboard Hot 100. But it was huge in Brazil, played extensively in nightclubs during the 80s. During their 2009 concerts in the country, the crowd chanted for the song, which wasn't originally included on the setlist. To top it off, the Brazilian version of their 1998 compilation Time Capsule: Songs for a Future Generation has "Legal Tender" in place of "52 Girls".
Despite having modest success in the US, the British adore the music of Burt Bacharach, so much so that when Burt's first album, Burt Bacharach Plays His Hits, was released in the UK, it rose to #3 on the UK album charts.
Bad Boys Blue - a German-based pop group consisting of an Englishman, a Jamaican, and an American - was one of the first pop acts to achieve popularity in the Glasnost-era Soviet Union.
Josephine Baker was an African-American entertainer who enjoyed mild success in the vaudeville circuit during the 1920s. However, in France she became a cultural icon, renowned for her banana dance and many ballades. Of course, being a part of the French Resistance and winning the Croix de Guerre helped. Even today, in the nation of her birth, she's only ever appreciated within the black community, due in most part to becoming the first international black celebrity and sex symbol.
American dance-pop singer Brandon Beal is far more successful in Denmark than he is in his native U.S., where he's virtually unheard of.
A rare subversion occurred to legendary twee pioneers Beat Happening. They attempted to become big in Japan with a tour, but the most they were considered was "avant-garde" (i.e., interesting to see, not popular). They were only slightly let down at the revelation, though.
The Beatles: Universally popular, but during the 1960s they really struck a chord in the United States. Several Americans who were young during the 1960s credit The Beatles for changing their whole way of thinking in a way unprecedented by other bands or artists of that time.
Ringo Starr was the most popular Beatle in America, receiving the most fan mail out of all the Beatles, according to John Lennon.
Bec Hollcraft, also known as Becca, is a pop-rock singer from Oregon. Although she's not so well-known in the States (outside of the Portland area, anyway), she was discovered by an agent for Sony Music's Japanese branch and became quite the celebrity in Japan. Most Americans who do know of her probably discovered her via Black Butler.
California-born Becky G (also known as Rebecca Gomez) is a One-Hit Wonder in her native U.S. with her 2014 hit "Shower", but has had more success in Spanish-speaking countries.
The Bee Gees' 1968 ballad "The Singer Sang His Song" went largely unnoticed due to being released as the B-side to a single that was relatively unsuccessful (its A-side is "Jumbo", and neither song was re-released until 1990). In Switzerland, "The Singer Sang His Song" had become a #8 hit by the end of the year.
American Country Music duo The Bellamy Brothers has been quite successful in patches of Europe for many years. Their debut single "Let Your Love Flow" was popular enough in West Germany that it was covered in German by Jürgen Drews as well, and it had a surge in popularity in the UK in 2008 when it was used in a Barclaycard advert. Their Breakthrough Hit "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me" was popular in Northern Ireland before it hit in the US, and they have had popular European albums with Swiss musician Gölä and Austrian musician DJ Ötzi long after the Bellamys' success had faded in the States.
Singer-songwriter Stephen Bishop was fairly popular at home in the U.S., thanks to his hits "On and On" and "It Might Be You". But in the Philippines, he's still one of the most popular foreign artists of all time, with the latter song being especially beloved by his Filipino fans, and even lending its name to a popular TV series starring John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo.
Black Kids was an American indie rock band that saw no success in the US, but were briefly popular in the UK.
Blondie were huge in the UK, where the backlash to disco was less pronounced than it was in America and new wave was more heavily established by the time of their commercial breakthrough. Even after the failure of The Hunter and the band's subsequent breakup, frontwoman Debbie Harry continued to have solid hits there through the rest of the 1980s, while their comeback single "Maria" went to #1 in 1999 (by contrast, it only reached #82 in the US).
Bloodhound Gang were quite popular in Germany. Their album Hefty Fine was critically panned but still managed to sell well there (and in other places such as the Netherlands and Austria), and the greatest hits compilation Show Us Your Hits had one bonus track added to its German version: Disco Pogo, that featured the German duo Die Atzen. The videoclip for Altogether Ooky was also filmed in Berlin.
Korean artist BoA is hugely popular in Japan, to the point of having sung a ton of theme songs and producing numerous albums for Japan and South Korea at the same time. The Korea love hasn't stopped with her. Many native-Korean acts (especially DBSK, Girls' Generation, KARA, and TWICE) have followed to gain notoriety. Most notably, in their first-year debut in Japan (both in the same year), Girls' Generation and KARA won awards and broke records on the charts, and TWICE even broke those records.
British grunge band Bush were more popular in the US based on album sales; their singles charted higher in their native country only due to the differing natures between the American and British singles charts at the time.
Bobby Caldwell is an American R&B musician who has had a legendary 30+ year career... in Japan. His best-known song in the United States, "What You Won't Do for Love", was from his first album way back in 1978, and is probably more well-known now for having been heavily sampled by Tupac Shakur.
One source for the "big in Japan" variant of this trope is said to be supermodel Naomi Campbell. When asked how her album Babywoman was doing, she said, "Well, it's very big in Japan." She politely declined to say how it was doing in America.
Laura Cantrell is bigger in the UK than the US and tours there regularly. This no doubt has a lot to do with the endorsement of John Peel, who said of her debut "it is my favourite record of the last ten years, possibly my life".
Alessia Cara isn't obscure in her native Canada, but right now she seems to be a bit more popular below the border. Her Breakthrough Hit and Signature Song "Here" only reached #20 in Canada, while it went Top 10 in the United States. Her debut album Know-It-All debuted at #12 in Canada, but #9 in the US. Also, when she announced her North American tour in 2015, she would be making fifteen stops in the United States, versus four in Canada. Only time will tell if this continues.
Maryland-born DJ Ian Carey is much more popular in Canada.
Zig-zagged with Belinda Carlisle. As frontwoman of The Go-Go's, she struggled to find much of an audience in the UK, despite touring with Madness and The Specials early on. Upon the release of her second solo album Heaven on Earth, however, she became quite a bit more popular in Britain than in her native US, where she scored a few top 40 hits before disappearing at the start of the 1990s. In the UK, by contrast, not only did all her albums except her 1986 debut sell better than in the US, she continued to thrive on the pop charts until the late '90s, when she rejoined The Go-Go's.
Cascada is more popular in the US, UK, and maybe Asia, than in their native Germany.
Britpop band Catch were a One-Hit Wonder in the UK with "Bingo" (which is more known there for a broadcast of it's music video being interrupted for news of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales), but were far more successful in Southeast Asia (especially Thailand and Indonesia).
In the 80s, Nick Cave, disgruntled with the Australian music industry (and, despite a cult following, failing to gain commercial success), ended up in Germany, and appeared on postcards for Berlin.
Celtic Woman was a record-breaking smash hit in America. In Ireland... not so much. Seriously, every city in the country has a specialist pub or ten where you'd find that stuff every second Tuesday.
Cheap Trick actually managed to parlay this trope into greater success in their native country. Their first three albums all failed to reach the top 40 in the United States, but all three went gold in Japan, where they were met with a frenzy comparable to Beatlemania. This led to the release of Cheap Trick at Budokan, initially intended to be released only in Japan. Demand for the album back in the United States proved large enough that it was eventually released there, too, and the band scored their first Top 10 hit with a live version of a song that had completely failed to chart two years earlier.
The Chi-Lites were moderately popular in their native US, with two big hits in the early '70s and several songs that did well on the Hot Soul Singles chart, but like the Stylstics, they were even bigger in the UK, where several of their tracks became hugely successful in the mid-'70s.
When Natalie Maines, the frontwoman of The Chicks (then known as the Dixie Chicks), made her statement at a London concert during the runup to the Iraq War saying that she was ashamed to come from the same state as then-President George W. Bush, their popularity collapsed in the United States to a staggering degree as the American Country Music fandom, which leaned very pro-war at the time, branded them traitors. However, said statements won them a lot of new fans overseas, where public opinion was staunchly against the war. Their subsequent album Taking the Long Way topped the charts in Canada and Sweden, hit #2 in Australia, and cracked the Top 10 in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Ireland, and the UK, and their Accidents & Accusations Tour to promote the album added many Canadian shows to replace canceled American shows. Even within the US, Taking the Long Way topped the charts, went double platinum, and won five Grammys due to higher sales among liberal-leaning audiences making up for a near-total rejection by country fandom; while its singles went nowhere on the country charts, they gained more traction on adult contemporary. However, by the end of the Bush era, the Dixie Chicks quietly went back into obscurity, eventually releasing a new album, Gaslighter, after changing their name to The Chicks in 2020 (it managed to crack the top 10 in Canada, Australia, and the UK; three of the countries Taking the Long Way was successful in, but only made it at #20 in Ireland and #14 in Germany, two other countries Taking the Long Way was successful in).
In classical music, the Japanese positively adore Frédéric Chopin. The International Chopin Piano Competition in Poland, where pianists from all around the world come to play Chopin's music and are judged on their performance, always have multiple Japanese competitors. Why else do you think they made a video game about him?
CHVRCHES have achieved great success with alternative audiences in both Scotland and everywhere else in the world. However, they managed to get a mainstream Top 10 hit in, of all places, Japan with "The Mother We Share". For comparison, it only reached #38 back home and 12 on the US alternative charts.
Gabriella Cilmi is very succesful and well liked in the UK compared to her lukewarm loving from her home country Australia.
French pianist Richard Clayderman is extremely popular in China; one of his concerts in China was watched by 800 million Chinese, which is about 80% of the whole population.
American power pop band The Click Five (considered a One-Hit Wonder in the states for their 2005 song "Just the Girl") and Canadian pop-punk band Simple Plan's unlikely huge fanbases in Asia was finally sealed when they were chosen to provide the official soundtrack to Animax Asia's first original series, LaMB.
In Asia, most of Click Five's later singles are played in high rotation on radio and TV stations, as well as topping the music charts there. In America? They haven't had a hit since "Just The Girl".
South African worldbeat musician and anti-Apartheid activist Johnny Clegg enjoyed much popularity in France, where he is nicknamed Le Zoulou Blanc (The White Zulu).
CN Blue, like their older labelmate FT Island, are also more popular in Japan due to their band image being more accepted there than in Korea. It helps they made their indie debut there before making their official debut in Korea.
Collective Soul were absolutely huge in Canada throughout the 1990s. Their 1995 Self-Titled Album was certified 8x Platinum and seven of their singles reached the top 10, with many more making it into the top 40. In their native USA, they were one of the more successful early Post-Grunge bands but weren't big enough that most people still remember them today.
Phil Collins may be internationally successful, but in several places (including his native UK), he's seen as one of the poster boys for base-breaking musicians. However, he gets a lot of love from the American hip-hop and R&B communities, and many of the genres' most famous acts consider him an icon. Notably, Ice-T defended him when a journalist made fun of the Phil Collins albums in Ice's collection, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony flew out to Switzerland to ask him to appear in their music video for "Home" (and made him an honorary member when the song, which sampled Collins' "Take Me Home", was successful), and in the early 2000s (when Collins' hatedom from other listeners was in full swing, mind you), several of the most popular hip-hop artists of the time put out a tribute album to him, Urban Renewal, which got negative reviews... for being a Phil Collins tribute albumby black artists.
The popularity of The Corrs has lasted far longer in Australia than it ever did anywhere outside of Ireland and the UK.
Billy "Crash" Craddock was one of the biggest country stars in the U.S. throughout the '70s, but few people over there realize that he was briefly huge in Australia about a decade earlier.
The Crüxshadows are a Florida goth/darkwave band that's little known in the US but has gotten Top 40 radio airplay in Germany.
Barry Cryer is best known in Britain as a radio comedian and comedy writer. He is known only as a respected elder statesman of stand-up comedy. But in 1957, his brief foray into singing earned him one big number one single hit. In Finland.
Cumbia is a music genre created in Colombia and Panama, but is also very well-loved in central Mexico, Argentina and especially in Chile, where they have even developed several cumbia styles of their own. Its popularity nowadays spans the entire American continent from north to south — including the United States, with one of the great exponents of this genre being AB Quintanilla's Kumbia Kings — and has gone as far as being successful in Spain and influencing completely unrelated genres like Romania's manele and Greece's skiladiko.
Miley Cyrus' fame only slightly decreased since changing to a more "adult" image, but she still felt that foreign audiences would be more welcoming of her than in America. As a result, she performed exclusively overseas for her 2011 "Gypsy Heart Tour", earning over in countries like South and Central America, Australia, the Philippines, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama.
Afrikaans musician Kurt Darren has a fair amount of his songs covered (translated), mainly in Belgium and the Netherlands, with as much of a fanbase in those countries.
Norwegian electro-synth band Datarock tours so often in Australia one can only assume they're more popular there than elsewhere.
The British New Wave band Dead or Alive's fourth studio album, Nude, was their first not to so much appear on the UK Albums Chart, and peaked at 106th place on the Billboard 200. It was, however, a massive hit on the Japan charts and their next two albums, Fan the Flame (Part 1) and Nukleopatra, were only released in Japan. Nukleopatra was eventually released in America and Britain some years later, but Fan the Flame is, to this day, only available as a Japanese import.
Irish pop singer Chris DeBurgh, who was actually born in Argentina, is more popular in Brazil than in Ireland and the UK. He's also more popular in Norway and Iran.
Deep Purple, during their "Mk1" era, toured primarily in North America, and had their records released there earlier than in the UK. This had the result that British audiences sometimes mistakenly thought that the group was American. They began to tour elsewhere more often after their American record company went out of business.
Although they'd enjoyed moderate successes on the album charts in their native Britain with their first two albums, Def Leppard's success in America quickly overtook their popularity at home with the release of Pyromania; Phil Collen recalls the tour for that album beginning in a club in London and ending in a stadium in San Diego. The band didn't have a hit single in Britain until 1987, ten years after they formed, and even then many British listeners assumed they were Bon Jovi rip-offs (even though they predated Bon Jovi) and were surprised to learn that Def Leppard were the most popular band in America.
The Delta Rhythm Boys were an American R&B vocal group that had mainstream success in the US in the 1930s and '40s, but began to fade in the '50s as popular taste in music changed. All of a sudden, though, they became huge in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe and drew large crowds. They recorded an album in Swedish and in 1956 relocated to Europe permanently. Their rendition of the Swedish song "Flickorna i Småland" was featured in Bent Hamer's 2003 film Kitchen Stories. A more detailed account of the Rhythm Boys' European success can be found here.
Devo (of "Whip It" fame) are hugely popular in Australia and New Zealand, touring at multiple venues in those two countries in the early 1980s and performing in arenas in Australia during their Something for Everybody tour. New Traditionalists reached as high as #3 on the Australian album charts, and there's quite a few Spudboys and Beautiful Mutants hailing from the land down under.
The members of Diablo Swing Orchestra are next to completely unknown in their native Sweden. In Mexico, fans rush their plane.
In Jamaica, Dion was still breaking ticket sales records as late as 2012. In general, Jamaica and other countries in the Caribbean have an unusual fondness for easy listening artists that are considered corny or dated. Additionally, songs that barely charted elsewhere often become huge hits in the Caribbean.
Dire Straits had massive success in the Netherlands before they went on to conquer the world.
There was a time where the Netherlands were the benchmark for international success, due to their weird broadcast system (for music at least). If it succeeded there, there was a good chance the rest of Europe would follow.
While he's still moderately popular in Europe, German singer and former rock band Accept frontman Udo Dirkschneider seems to be quite a big thing in Russia. His fascination for Russian culture, that led to the polka-rock anthem Trainride in Russia and a ballad sung entirely in Russian (Platchet Soldat) might have something to do with it.
French Trap Music producer DJ Snake is hugely successful in the United States, but has only had moderate success back in France and the rest of Europe. For comparison, his signature "Turn Down for What" reached #4 in the US (though the fact that Lil Jon was on it probably helped too), but only #19 back home, while "You Know You Like It" was a #13 hit stateside, but only #22 in France.
Prior to the spring of 1992, Jason Donovan was huge in the United Kingdom. Many teenage girls went crazy for him as "Jasonmania" swept through and a decent amount of his songs went into the top ten there. The rise and popularity of Neighbours in the UK did help him.
He had much more popularity in Ireland, as most of his songs there has went into the top ten, including the ones that didn't make it to the top ten in the UK!
He was also huge in Japan, as bubblegum pop and Eurobeat were well-liked in the land of the rising sun.
According to some YouTube comments, he was/is HUGE in the Philippines, Russia, Brazil, and Argentina!
Italian eurodance group Double You has a moderate following in Europe, but are quite fondly remembered by Brazilian party-goers in the 90s, during which they had a string of hits, and where they still regularly tour (their lead singer, William Naraine, has even lived in São Paulo for some time).
DragonForce are barely known outside the metal community in their native UK. They're much more popular in the United States, the Nordic countries and Japan.
Namibian Kwaito rapper EES is far more popular in South Africa and Germany than in his native country. Justified, as South Africa has a bigger musical industry than Namibia.
Alt-country musician David Eugene Edwards hails from Colorado, yet his bands—16 Horsepower and Woven Hand—are far more popular in the Netherlands. For a while, 16HP was the most popular band in the Netherlands.
Despite hailing from New Jersey, most of Todd Edwards' fans are British. This is probably due to the genre of music he makes being much more popular in the UK that in the States.
Though they've grown more popular in their home-country since then (thanks to their joke song "Gay Bar"), Detroit rock band Electric Six was originally poorly-known in America but a huge hit in Britain.
The Escape Club is the only British band with a US Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit ("Wild Wild West"), but zero chart entries in their homeland.
Evanescence was massive everywhere in the early 2000s, but continues to be popular in Japan long after their peak. This is largely due to Amy Lee's use of Elegant Gothic Lolita clothing. When the band announced that their three-year-long hiatus was over, Ozzfest Japan would be their first performance since 2012.
Everclear was more popular in Australia than the US in the Sparkle and Fade and So Much for the Afterglow era. The song "Local God" was practically ignored in the US, but received a lot of airplay in Australia because it was released on the William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet soundtrack when the band's Australian fandom was at its peak. It was included as a bonus track on Australian copies of So Much for the Afterglow in 1997. The band has continued to tour Australia heavily, including in 2017 for the 20th anniversary of So Much for the Afterglow, and in early 2020 for a tour covering the entire country. However, for some reason the two Songs from an American Movie albums weren't as successful in Australia as they were in America upon release in 2000.
Korean boyband EXO have garnered a huge international following to the point where they are one of the most popular tags on tumblr, despite their debut song only peaking at 41 on the South Korea Gaon Single Chart. This and the aforementioned runaway success of "Gangnam Style" had the effect of opening up the worldwide market for K-pop as a whole leading, among others, to groups like BTS and Girls' Generation becoming international stars.
In their native USA, Faith No More are regarded as a One-Hit Wonder (1990's "Epic" was a #9 hit) at worst and Cult Classic at best. However, they had much more success in Europe (particularly the UK) and Australia (where they had two #1 singles).
The California-based band Fanny only had two Top 40 hits in America, but were fairly well-known as an all-female hard rock band some five years before The Runaways emerged. The band featured Filipino-American sisters June and Jean Millington, who were born, and spent their formative years in the Philippines. On top of her status as the singer/guitarist of an early all-female hard rock band, June is also one of the first openly lesbian women in music, yet she and her sister are barely-known in their birth country, even among music fans from their generation.
After experiencing a massive Career Resurrection in 2017, Russian pop-rap/hip-house singer Feduk gained a considerable amount of popularity in Poland. Looking up his name on YouTube will lead you to a lot of Polish transcriptions and translations.
They might not be as wildly popular as Fifth Harmony in their homeland, but sister group Cimorelli is largely loved outside the US, despite most of their output being occasional covers on Youtube or 4-track digital EPs of their original songs. They have already played live in select parts of Europe, select cities in South America and The Philippines, but South America, Europe and some parts of Asia in particular love these girls a lot more or equal to 5H, especially if local magazines, music video channels and radio stations are to be concerned. In America, however, they only get 1 page in any teen magazine every once in a while, and their songs "Made in America" and "That Girl Should Be Me" are their only songs to get airplay on Radio Disney. Recent things brought out by the sisters might change their US status though.
British band The Fixx were huge in the United States in the 80's, but virtually unknown in their home country.
80's hardcore punk band Flag of Democracy were one of the lesser known bands during the explosion of American hardcore during that era. However, they are very popular and influential in Japan. So much so that they even did a cover of Puffy AmiYumi's "Umi Heto" for a Japanese compilation.
Fleetwood Mac, during their Bob Welch era, were much more popular in the US than in the UK. Whilst their prior Peter Green era had been popular in the UK, they had gradually slipped from popularity. Although Welch was American, the band was UK-based until their last album with him (Heroes Are Hard to Find). The album Bare Trees and single "Hypnotized" are regarded as classics in the US, whilst almost unknown in the UK. "Hypnotized" even stayed in the band's set lists after Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined. Fleetwood Mac's popularity was worldwide from their 1975 self-titled album onward, and by Rumours, were one of the biggest bands in the world. To this day, however, you will hear Americans speak enthusiastically about Welch-era material to UK people who have never heard it.
It's rumoured that Flight of the Conchords failed to get their projects funded in their home country of New Zealand because their humor was deemed "too local". However, when their fictionalized lives became first a BBC radio series in UK and then an HBO TV series in the United States, they became a Cult Classic, finally earning recognition in New Zealand.
British R&B group Floetry is an example of this. They had moderate success in the U.S. but barely scraped the bottom of the charts in their native country.
Foghat had a few hit singles in the US, but never charted in their homeland of the UK.
Korean rock band FT Island, while being one of the most popular bands (as opposed to dance group) in Korea, fares a lot better in Japan as the band culture is much stronger there (while majority of acts in K-Pop are dance-pop orientated). They spend a lot more time promoting there than in Korea as a result. It helps both bands are near-fluent in Japanese and promote original songs instead of the usual cliched Translated Cover Version most Korean acts opt for when promoting in Japan.
Fun Lovin' Criminals are popular in the UK but hardly known in their native New York. The band members fell in love with the UK and relocated there. Frontman Huey is now even more famous there than during the band's 90s chart success, because he has a popular radio show on BBC Radio 6. Back in America, "Scooby Snacks" was their only song that most people will remember.
Andy Gibb, The Bee Gees' younger brother, born in the UK but raised from infancy in Australia, barely dented the charts in his birthplace, with "An Everlasting Love" being his only Top 10 there. In Australia, he did somewhat better; while his first Aussie release only made the lower reaches of that country's Top 100, his next one went to Number 1, and the two that followed were solidly Top 20. In the US, it was another story entirely. The three songs that made the Australian Top 20 all topped the chart in the US (including one that became the best-selling song of 1978), and he had another three Top 10 singles and two additional Top 20 songs in the States.
Debbie Gibson's career has been more enduring in Japan than her native US. Her third album Anything Is Possible was notorious for being too long and experimental and killed her career at home, but it was her best-charting release on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Her following album, Body Mind Soul, had virtually no success in the US but peaked at #13 on the Oricon charts. More recently, she released the Japan-only covers album Ms. Vocalist, a female companion piece to fellow Big in Japan act Mr. Big frontman Eric Martin's Mr. Vocalist series.
Canadian pianist Glenn Gould is popular in Russia. This was reported by CBC Music, during his 80th birthday celebration.
Opera composer Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) was famous enough in his native Germany, but in Paris people went nuts over him and the entire music scene there divided into two parties over his new kind of opera. It is said that when a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart went on tour to Paris, his lack of success was attributable to him not taking a position on Gluck, so he was largely ignored by both the Gluckites and the anti-Gluckites.
David Gray was popular in Ireland long before he broke through at home in Britain. And by popular, we mean White Ladder is the biggest selling album of all time in Ireland! (Its been rumored that one out of every four households in the country had a copy of the album at one point!) He's even joked that the Irish have more or less adopted him.
White Ladder was a fairly massive success in North America as well, hitting platinum a full year before the UK, and Babylon remains a staple on US adult contemporary radio stations to this day. Its telling that over half of the dates for his White Ladder 20th anniversary tour are in the States.
Guns N' Roses are still popular in their native U.S. But their influence greatly waned in the years when there was no follow up to the Use Your Illusion albums, Slash left the group, and Axl became a recluse. Today they are seen more as a nostalgia act. But in Latin America, they are more popular than ever and fans are hungry for every bit of news about the band, particularly about a new album. While the U.S. was lukewarm to Axl and the Turn of the Millennium GNR that didn't include Slash, Duff, or Izzy, they still played to fanatical and sold out crowds in South America. The comment section on any GNR music video is usally dominated by Spanish speaking fans from Latin America.
Californian Indie Pop trio HAIM has received much more fame and success in Britain and Australia then their native US. They topped the BBC sound of 2013 and since the release of their debut album have reached the number 1 and number 2 spots on the album charts in the UK (beating out Justin Timberlake) and Australia respectively, compared to #6 in in the US.
Speak to just about any Australian, and they'll have reactions ranging from mild surprise, to outright incredulousness, that Rolf Harris, prior to his fall from grace, was so hugely popular in the UK. (He has lived and worked in the UK for years though, so it's not like his success there was only coincidental.)
Wouldn't you know it, The Hoff himself applies here with his large following in Germany, as while his singing career comes second to his acting career, his singing talent is beloved by many, German or no.
While Helloween is certainly one of the big names in the European Power metal scene, if you look at actuall album sales they are way more popular in Japan.
Jimi Hendrix was largely unappreciated in America early in his career, and indeed didn't get his big break until, at the urging of some acquaintances, he moved to England and hit the London electric blues scene. When he finally managed to get a US tour (with two Brits as his backing band), it was as an opening act for The Monkees, whose fans didn't care for his style, and booed him offstage on at least one occasion.
Contrary to popular belief, Utada Hikaru was born in the United States to Japanese immigrant parents, and got their start in the United States recording songs in English under the stage name "Cubic U". But their early English albums met with disappointing sales, and they didn't become a successful artist until they moved to Japan and started recording music in Japanese under their real name. Case in point: in their native country, she's arguably best known for the songs that she recorded for the Kingdom Hearts games; in Japan, they are best known for First Love, which is the highest selling Japanese album in history.
Holland says he gets more attention internationally than in his native Korea.
British band The Hollies had a fair few hits at home, but went on to have a surprising number of number-one hits in utterly random countries such as Switzerland, Malaysia and Italy.
British Italo Disco singer Eddy Huntington is fondly remembered in Italy and the former Soviet states for his 1986 hit "U.S.S.R." (about, well, Glorious Mother Russia), which also cracked the Top 10 in Switzerland and entered the Top 20 in Germany. Ask any Brit if they know who he is and expect to be met with blank stares.
Janis Ian hasn't had a hit single in the U.S. since "At Seventeen" in 1975, but in Japan, she's one of the biggest-selling international artists of all time, with several major hit songs and albums there in the late '70s. Also in 1979, her collaboration with Giorgio Moroder, "Fly Too High", topped charts in Australasia but flew totally under the radar Stateside.
American synthpop trio Information Society arguably has a far more loyal fan base in Brazil than in their home country.
The Minneapolis-based band first got attention in Florida among Cuban music listeners via their song, "Running" being a club favorite there.
Inna, while modestly popular in her homeland of Romania, has a major following in the rest of Europe, the UK and even the US to some extent, thanks to YouTube.
While Iron Maiden is popular everywhere, Chileans absolutely adore them. This may or may not come from how they were banned from performing in Chile in the early nineties... for supposedly being "satanic". But ever since the ban was lifted, every time they dropped by they've been total hits. One of their most recent live albums, 2013's En Vivo!, was even recorded in Santiago.
Following accusations of child molestation in 1993, Michael Jackson's reputation took a hit in the US. In the rest of the world, however, Jackson had a much easier time finding success in spite of the controversy thanks to other countries not necessarily caring about the allegations, allowing Jackson to maintain high levels of popularity in Europe and especially in Japan. His Japanese fame is particularly noteworthy due to it mainly stemming from Values Dissonance: not only were his child molestation charges brushed off by the Japanese public thanks to their distrust of their own judicial system (which is notoriously corrupt, with wrongful imprisonments being surprisingly common), but Jackson's quirks and eccentricities are also seen as endearing in Japanese culture rather than being frowned upon. Yuri Kageyama's essay on Jackson's popularity in the land of the rising sun outright states that Japanese culture considers the King of Pop to be "kawaii".
If YouTube comments are anything to go by, the two music videos from France-based electro house group Jakarta (the ones with a dancing baby with a mohawk) are popular among Russians. That has to do with Bridge TV, a Russian music video cable/satellite network, showing them as part of their Baby Time block.
Manchester band James have enjoyed modest success in their native UK, but they are huge in Greece. They have had a large number of hit songs, so much so that they call the country their "second home" and visit almost every year for concerts.
The same has also happened to them in Portugal. An album will be recorded there.
The British band Japan and their singer David Sylvian were popular in Japan right from their outset due to their name. With their fashion sense, they directly inspired Visual Kei and Japanese New Wave. Their single "The Unconventional" was particularly popular and stayed in print in Japan for years. The band had popular concerts in Japan but were reduced to support slots in the UK, where they were frequently booed. It wasn't until their 1979 single "Life In Tokyo" that they gained any kind of popularity in the UK, and they only reached serious popularity there with their late 1981 studio album Tin Drum and the single "Ghosts". David Sylvian's friendship with Ryuichi Sakamoto, a member of the hugely popular Japanese band Yellow Magic Orchestra meant that they have collaborated on projects for over 25 years. Partly due to this fact and Sylvian's continued solo work and collaboration with other Japanese musicians, Sylvian continues to be revered in Japan, despite being thought of as an '80s musician in the UK.
Jean-Michel Jarre has a lot of British fans. In fact, on his 1997 tour, England was the only place where the audience would shout along with "Revolution, Revolutions". He is also quite popular in Poland.
Remember Jentina? No? Well, apparently now Italy is the only country that does, since her debut album was released only there after the success of her singles.
Carly Rae Jepsen. Born and raised in Canada, popular worldwide after the runaway success of "Call Me Maybe", but she's widely remembered as a One-Hit Wonder nowadays. But Japan adores her, to the point where she hit the top five in the Billboard Japan Hot 100 several times and had two songs in the top 3 at one point (and one of those, "Good Time" with Owl City, was only kept out of the top spot by the Girls' Generation song "Oh!"), won two Billboard Japan awards, had a very popular viral lip dub of "Maybe" with TV personality Rola, and collaborated with Rola again on a lip dub of "I Really Like You." Not to mention, her 2015 album EMOTION was released in Japan two full months before her home continent of North America, and hit the top ten on the Oricon albums chart before then as well.
JoBoxers, a British rock band that had an American lead singer, were very popular in the Philippines, with their big hit "Just Got Lucky" having been used in Filipino TV shows including Eat Bulaga! and Goin' Bulilit.
Journey's popularity in Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines, skyrocketed after Pinoy rock singer Arnel Pineda replaced an ill Steve Perry.
Joy Division had developed a fanbase among alternative hip-hop artists like Danny Brown and Tyler the Creator in the 2010s. One of the reasons is that many of their songs (about depression and failure) resonate with these artists, which is why Vince Staples said that "B.B. King and Ian Curtis sing about the same things".
Kaoma was a worldbeat group consisting of Brazilian and Caribbean performers that had French producers, but their song "Lambada" was a international summer dance hit in 1989.
American singer Ke, aka Kevin Grivois, while his song "Strange World" was a #1 hit on the US Billboard Dance Charts, was huge in the UK, Germany, and Italy. In fact, none of his music was actually released in the States.
American R&B singer Kelis, mostly known for her Signature Song "Milkshake" stateside, is huge in the UK. This is to the point where her current label, Ninja Tune, is British.
In the United Kingdom, Kesha was extremely popular around Wigan, and the bordering area of Salford (basically, anywhere with a Welcome - you are now in Salford, Wigan MBC or "Welcome to Bolton" sign along the road) during her peak in global popularity. In the relatively obscure town of Southport, known only for its funfairnote And the fact one of the later Emperor Napoleons lived there when in exile from France - he apparently loved the place, her records would sell out in the local HMV.
Algerian singer Khaled managed to get big outside of Africa once the country's instability forced him to relocate to France. He also scored a big hit in Brazil (notice the description is in P Ortuguese).
While The Killers are a popular act in the US, their popularity in their home country is nowhere close to how beloved the band is in the United Kingdom; "Mr Brightside" is infamous for spending 250 weeks and counting on the Official Singles Chart, missing it on just two out of eighteen years since its initial entry in 2004 (those being 2006 and 2011). This is probably thanks to their image and style of music being much closer to British acts of the day than their American counterparts. Lady Gaga actually mistook them for a British band and listed them as one of her favorite artists from across the pond.
Kings of Leon were already very popular in the UK before they got noticed in the US, scoring nine Top 40 singles and having all of their albums peak in the Top 5 of the album chart. While they've since broken out in the US as well, "Use Somebody" remains their only real pop hit there, and the only other song of theirs most Americans recognize is its direct predecessor "Sex on Fire".
For reasons unknown, Russian rock group КИТАЙ (KIT-I) (Russian for China, oddly) is gaining a large Latin American fanbase, and the comments sections of their YouTube videos are chock-filled with Spanish-speaking comments.
In their early years after the release of their first two albums, Kraftwerk only played the occasional gig in Germany, mostly in their hometown Düsseldorf. But once Autobahn was out, their first fully-electronic album, they were booked for a huge tour through the USA.
Also, they inspired most British synthpop from the late 70s and early 80s. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark wouldn't even exist without them: Andy McCluskey saw them when he was 16, and he was amazed enough to decide he'd start his own electronic band.
Kraftwerk are also quite popular in Italy. They even performed secret shows in Italy in 1990 prior to their The Mix tour.
Inverted by Lady Gaga, who was significantly more popular in Canada than her native US at the start of her career. "Just Dance," despite being released in the spring of 2008, was a major summer hit in Canada and didn't catch on in the US until the fall of that year. "Poker Face" and other further singles from The Fame also hit Canadian pop radio long before they ever scraped the US charts, and "Just Dance" closed out 2008 as #6 on the Canadian year-end chart, and it didn't hit the American year end chart until 2009, where its only rivals were The Black Eyed Peas. Her charting singles became synchronous in both countries around the time "Bad Romance" was released, and she has been equally popular on both sides of the border since.
Dutch singer Natalie La Rose had a major hit in the U.S. with her debut single "Somebody", which went Top 10 on the pop charts and fared even better on urban radio, where it topped the rhythmic chart. In her native Netherlands, it only barely entered the Top 40, and was mostly ignored overall. It did even worse in other European countries, either not making the charts or barely doing so. The fact that she now lives in the U.S., is signed to an American label, and her song sounds very American overall might be the cause of this, and only time will tell if this remains.
Dennis Lambert was the songwriter behind 60s-80s hits such as "One Tin Soldier", "Rhinestone Cowboy", and "Ain't No Woman Like the One I Got". His one and only solo album, Bags and Things, flopped in the US in 1972. After business dried up for him in the music industry, Lambert moved to Florida to sell real estate, only then realizing that he was still huge in the Philippines, where he then went on tour. He basically took time off from his real estate career to sing in the Philippines. They even made a documentary about it!
While in America and Canada, the peak of her fame came in the mid-00s and went by the time the 10s came, Avril Lavigne has still maintained a large following in Asia (particularly Japan).
Like a lot of electronic acts, LCD Soundsystem experienced more commercial success in Europe than in the US. This was actually part of the inspiration behind their song, "North American Scum," as it was to the point where some European fans thought they were from the UK.
Led Zeppelin is considered one of the biggest, most influential bands of all time in the US. Back in the UK, they're well respected, but are seen as just one of many classic rock bands. This is largely due to their presence on classic rock radio in the US, giving them heavy exposure to each new generation. In the UK, most people would name The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Queen or Oasis when asked to name a British band, before even thinking of Led Zeppelin.
Lennon & Maisy, a teenage country singing duo from Canada, are more known south of the border thanks to their roles on Nashville than in their native country, especially since country music isn't so popular in Canada. They also became unexpectedly popular in Switzerland after one of their songs appeared in a commercial over there.
50's pop singer Tommy Leonetti was almost completely unknown in his native United States. However, he became very popular in Australia, to the point that he made a song called "My City of Sydney."
Les Nubians is a nu-soul duet that enjoys some fame in the US, the UK and many other English-speaking countries, despite singing often in their mother tongue. In its homeland of France, it remains an obscure, seldom ever seen music group.
Limp Bizkit was once one of the biggest rock bands in the United States, but their popularity rapidly plummeted in the mid-00s due to Nu Metal falling out of style and the release of their critically panned 2003 album Results May Vary, and they've rarely played in the U.S. since. That being said, they're still fairly popular in Europe (especially Germany and Austria) and South America. In fact, since reforming in 2009, almost all touring has been done overseas. Many non-American nu metal bands proudly cite them as their influence.
Pennsylvania's Live were one of the most popular rock bands in Australia.
In 1963, 15-year old Little Peggy March recorded "I Will Follow Him", which reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. She never had another Top 25 hit in the US again, but in Germany she was very popular in the 1960s and 1970s.
Lorde is a hometown hero in her native New Zealand, but the United States is by far her biggest market (largely due to the population of the US dwarfing New Zealand's). Her debut album Pure Heroine went platinum twice over there for sales of two million units (a rarity in the post-digital age). Her Breakthrough Hit "Royals" topped the Billboard Hot 100 for a whopping nine weeks, compared to the three weeks it spent atop the RIANZ charts. In general, Lorde is focusing her effort primarily on the American market as a result of her massive popularity there.
On a more local level, "Royals" became quite popular with baseball fans in Kansas City in 2014, when their baseball team, the Kansas City Royals, finally went to the World Series again for the first time since 1985. It probably helps that the title of the song was inspired by a photo Lorde saw of one of their players signing baseballs. On the other hand, around that time, at least two stations in the San Francisco Bay Area temporarily boycotted the song for the exact same reason — namely, the San Francisco Giants were playing the Royals in the World Series.
Austin Mahone became this in Japan after a female comedian named Blouson Chiemi used his song Dirty Work as the BGM of her comedy routine. This resulted in said song becoming widely recognized in Japan and hitting #1 on the Billboard Japan Hot Overseas and #4 on the overall Billboard Japan charts, despite never even being a Top 100 song in his home.
Manowar in particular is pretty close to reaching David Hasselhoff level of popularity in Germany, as their live DVD The Absolute Power can attest. The band is so popular all over Europe that they released a ballad, Father, which was dubbed in 14 different European languages, plus Japanese (all sung by Eric Adams himself, of course). The title of their third album, Hail to England, serves as an involuntary lampshade at thisnote Because the title is meant to refer to how Joey DeMaio and Ross the Boss met there and decided to form the band from there, rather than outright referring to their popularity there.
This actually has started a meme on YouTube, where Manowar comments are filled up with "Hail from (location)." Europe is immensely common.
Florida-based Iced Earth have a particularly large fanbase in Greece, so they've recorded two of their three (to date) live albums there, Alive in Athens and Live in Ancient Kourion.
Helstar and Vicious Rumors are both quite big in Europe and serve as prolific touring acts and festival darlings. In the US, Helstar basically only plays shows in their hometown of Houston plus the occasional fest or one-off; Vicious Rumors, meanwhile, actually does tour the US on occasion, but it's relegated to once every couple of years. The difference in popularity is so major that two of the latter's current full-time members are European.
Spanish band Mägo de Oz is extremely popular in Costa Rica. During the tour for the realease of their album Gaia 2 La Voz Dormida they had to open a second concert in the country a day earlier.
Mägo de Oz was also extremely popular in Mexico back in the early 2000s, their songs even getting plenty of airplay in mainstream radio stations. However, after a tour that was marred allegedly with nasty controversy, their popularity waned. They remain popular enough that they still tour the country at least once a year, though.
The Mark & Clark Band, an American band fronted by identical twin singing pianists Mark and Clark Seymour, are unknown in their native land. However, their epic eight-minute 1977 single Worn Down Piano became a major hit and enduring pop classic in the Netherlands.
Norwegian acoustic pop singer Lene Marlin at the beginning of her career had notable success in France and especially Italy, the only place outside Norway where some of her singles were sold. Later on, she made a trip to China to promote the Taiwanese version of her album "Lost In A Moment" which included a cover of a song by popular Chinese singer Faye Wong. This move paid well and she enjoyed very good sales and several TV appearances there.
Keith Martin, while a comparatively obscure R&B balladeer back home in America, became HUGE in the Philippines for his hit "Because of You". He even lived in the Philippines for several years, collaborating with several local artists.
Ricky Martin has said Brazil is the only place they ask him about his ex-band Menudo, a Boy Band that was huge in the mid '80s in that country.
Israeli singer Boaz Mauda, winner of season 5 of Kokhav Nolad (כּוֹכָב נוֹלָד, lit. A Star Is Born, the Israeli version of American Idol), is very popular in Eastern Europe.
This could at least partially be attributed to his appearance representing Israel at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, where he did indeed score with every country in Eastern Europe (but no top-3 scores: those surprisingly enough came from Finland, who gave Israel eight points, and San Marino, who gave them ten).
Mashmakhan was a Canadian rock band who had minimal success in their homeland and were a one-hit wonder in the U.S. with "As The Years Go By." However, they were much more successful in Japan, where their single sold more than 1 million copies, and their 1971 album "Family" was a hit there despite bombing everywhere else.
Italian band Matia Bazar is so popular in Russia that their website comes in Italian, English and Russian.
Alt-country band The Mavericks had only modest success in the US: while their albums sold well and they won a Grammy, none of their singles ever made Top 10 on the country charts or crossed over to pop. In Canada, "What a Crying Shame" and "Here Comes the Rain" both made Top 10, and a cover of the standard "Blue Moon" made #15 on the Canadian AC charts in 1995, while 1998's "Dance the Night Away" was a Top 5 hit in the UK and a minor hit in the Netherlands. Their albums also charted higher overall in the UK.
So far, Ava Max has been more successful in Europe than in her native US. "Sweet But Psycho" topped numerous singles charts abroad but only made it to #10 at home, and her only subsequent release to have even made the Billboard top 40 is "Kings & Queens".
Meat Loaf is fairly popular in the United States, but he's even bigger in Europe (a fact he joked about in his appearance on VH1: Storytellers). In the late 1980s he was working on rebuilding his popularity with low-key gigs in America, while he was playing in stadiums in Britain at the same time.
Chris Medina, a former American Idol contestant, had a minor hit in America with his audition song "What Are Words". He became much more popular in Scandanavia where the song became a runaway smash.
In Argentina, Megadeth has a strikingly huge popularity, more than they have in the rest of the world, the US included. To the point where they were the first to record a live album/DVD there: That One Night: Live In Buenos Aires. The quote here comes from this interview after the gig which ended as the source of the live album.
Swedish singer Meja had a couple of minor hits in her home country in the mid-90's, but became a big success in Japan. In the late 90's she managed to get hits in Europe and the United States as well, with Its All About the Money and the Ricky Martin-duet Private Emotion, before more or less disappearing again. Except for Japan, where she still tours and releases exclusive albums.
While Men at Work were already hits in their native Australia, their success was legendary in the United States. Their debut album Business as Usual spawned two #1's, went 6x Platinum, and even kept Michael Jackson's Thriller off the top of the Billboard 200 for three months. Their sophomore record, Cargo, while not as gigantic, was also a huge success. In fact, Men at Work were a primary factor that sparked the country's obsession with Australia during The '80s.
Zig-zagged with George Michael. He was always huge in his homeland, but surprisingly enough, the album Faith, which sold over a million there, and topped the charts, would be eclipsed in sales by his two following albums and subsequent greatest hits album, and for the most part higher charting singles from said follow-ups. Meanwhile in the US, Faith topped the Billboard 200 for 12 weeks, very nearly spent a whole year in the top 10, would be certified Diamond for sales of over 10 million, and yielded 4 consecutive #1 hits (a feat shared with Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston in the same period). On the flip side, Older, his best-selling album in the UK (and also a major success in most other countries), only went Single-Platinum in America, with only its first two singles becoming hits and neither being anywhere near his most famous songs in that country. His lackluster stateside success in the '90s was due to the disastrous PR surrounding Listen Without Prejudice, Volume 1, which crippled his momentum, as well as the pop genre being extremely unpopular in America during the mid-'90s, when Older came out.
Nicki Minaj is to Trinidad and Tobago what Rihanna is to Barbados, although Minaj is a U.S. citizen and moved there much earlier in her life than Rihanna did.
While popular in her native Australia, Kylie Minogue is very popular in the United Kingdom, thanks to her role as Charlene in Neighbours as well as her early hits produced by Stock Aitken Waterman. In fact, she has scored 34 Top 10 hits in the UK in comparison to 23 Top 10 hits in her native country.
Pop/hip-hop duo MKTO have barely made a ripple in their native US, but in Australia and New Zealand, they're a pretty big deal. All their singles have reached the top twenty and achieved platinum certifications.
German duet pop band Modern Talking was popular amongst foreign-music-deprived Iranians in the 90's, and the band is particularly very popular in mainland Europe & Russia.
Comedic punk band The Monks were a moderate success in their native England, but HUGE in Canada.
A totally unrelated American garage rock band called The Monks had their biggest following in Germany, where they formed in the 1960s as soldiers stationed in the country.
When Alanis Morissette released Jagged Little Pill in 1995, she had a tough time getting airplay in her home country of Canada, because she already had a past there as a Debbie Gibson-style teen-pop diva in the early '90s. In fact, Ottawa media outlets were flooded with complaints from disgusted citizens when she was given a key to the city. In the U.S., however, Jagged Little Pill is one of the greatest-selling albums of all time, as the grunge-friendly nation was more open to her, and Morissette dominated the airwaves in the mid-'90s. (Her more alternative persona was eventually embraced by Canadians as well; it just took a while.)
Even though The Smiths were never very popular in the United States outside of their cult following, Morrissey as a solo artist gained a large following among American Latinos in the nineties. Moz even lived in Los Angeles for a time, and stated once during a tour, "I wish I was born Mexican." His Latino popularity has been attributed to his crooning vocals and penchant for melodrama that is also found in traditional ranchera music. Other British alternative artists from that era, including Depeche Mode, New Order, and The Cure are popular among this audience as well for these reasons despite being mainly marketed to anglo rock fans, which is likely why they've had strongholds of fandom in California, where there's a large Mexican-American population.
L.A.'s retro rockers Mother Tongue have been totally forgotten in the U.S., but have a solid and devoted fanbase in Germany. It's the only place outside L.A. where they still do shows.
Norwegian band Motorpsycho has quite of a cult following in Italy, for some reason.
Mozart's operas were appreciated and fêted much more in Prague than in Vienna (where he lived), which is why he always felt much more happy when he went to Prague.
Jason Mraz is popular in South Korea, so much that he's one of the few non-Korean artists to have been a musical guest on their version of Saturday Night Live, and has also performed on various other South Korean variety shows.
Mr. Big has always been (ahem) big in Japan, almost comically so. All but one of their eight live albums were recorded in Japan, their song "Shine" was used in the anime Hellsing, and their 2009 reunion was announced via press conference in Japan. Whereas other bands would usually play a few shows in Tokyo or Osaka, they've been known to play 20 dates across the country. In the US, meanwhile, they're a Two-Hit Wonder, with their #1 hit, "To Be With You" (from all the way back in 1992), being seen as the last hurrah of Hair Metal, and are otherwise known for being the band with bass virtuoso Billy Sheehan. That being said, their guitarist, Paul Gilbert, at least is highly regarded in the guitar world for his technical skill.
Similar to the above, Hair Metal band "Cats in Boots"(whom Todd briefly mentioned in the Mr Big episode) were pretty big successes in Japan(helped by two of their band members being Japanese), though unlike Mr Big, they weren't even a One-Hit Wonder in the U.S.(according to vocalist Joel Ellis, their second album went gold in the U.S.) and as such quite a few fans of the genre aren't even aware of them. Their debut album "East Meets West" was a chart-topping seller(quite an accomplishment since that album was indepedently released) in Japan and their sophomore album "Kicked and Klawed" debuted at #3 in Japan and stayed there for quite some time, their success led to the band touring for two years straight. Also like Mr Big, the band toured Japan when they reunited several years later in 2003.
British alternative rock band Muse were far more popular in France than in their homeland in the earlier days of their career, leading them to jokingly remark on the jarring effect of playing a Parisian arena one day and the back room of a London pub the next.
They're also really huge in South Korea, and they are one of the most famous foreign rock bands there. Chances are six out of ten Koreans you talk to will know at least one of their songs. Here is video of Muse performing in Seoul. Just listen to the audience singing along with the chorus.
Kacey Musgraves is incredibly popular in Japan despite there not being a niche country audience there. She spent a week there in May of 2018 to promote her album Golden Hour, went back and played a festival there that summer, then came back about eight months later and played a few concerts. Golden Hour even has its own Japanese special edition. Its unheard of for an American country artist to go there at all on tour, let alone three times in the span of a year.
My Chemical Romance was, early on, more popular in the UK and other parts of Europe. Why? Well, British people love dark humor, and because their first album had better distribution across the Atlantic than in their own home country.
"They were singin' the words in English, they didn't even SPEAK English! They were clappin' all the way to "Honey". 'Hey, Hey, Hey!'"
"They thought we were a soccer team!"
Contemporary R&B artist Mýa had a decent stint of popularity in her home country during the late '90s and early 2000s, but gained a surprise following in Japan, where she released at least two exclusive albums.
The new wave group Naked Eyes never charted any higher than #59 in the UK, but they scored a few big hits in North America and Oceania.
Justified in the case of ultra-dark Japanese idol groupNecronomidol. They aren't very popular in Japan but started having a sizable fanbase in other countries, because their producer is American: he's interested in expanding the fanbase abroad, and knows how to do it, while usually idol units aren't marketed to other countries.
Ocean Colour Scene, while one of the lesser-known acts of Britpop back home, have quite a following in Korea. Videos of local bands covering their songs are not hard to find in YouTube.
Of Monsters and Men is an Icelandic band whose first album, already available in Europe, was not scheduled for an American release until early 2012. However, due to their single "Little Talks" being played on an alt-rock radio station in Philadelphia, their overseas interest has gotten to the point where for a while, everyone posting on their Facebook wall is either from Iceland or Philadelphia. The song eventually peaked at #1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart and #20 on the Hot 100. The band performed at many major American music festivals in 2012, all while having very minor popularity in their native Europe. The fact that all of their songs are exclusively in English might have something to do with it.
California-based rap label Official Bizness isn't really well known in the US, even in their hometown. However, they have a large following in Japan, and most of their mixtapes released there usually sell several thousand more copies than they do here.
The Offspring, though by no means small in their home territory of the US during their heyday, are disproportionately huge in Australia, still headlining festivals a decade and a half after their peak.
After the crowd's positive response to "Spare Me the Details" at a Sydney show in 2013, Dexter Holland remarked "we can't play that one back home".
The American singer Oliver! was hugely successful in Spain, becoming even more popular there than some of their own native stars. He even recorded versions of his two most popular hits, "Good Morning Starshine" and "Jean", in the Spanish language. A contest was held to choose a Miss Jean, and the winner was flown from Spain to the United States to have a date with Oliver.
For a while, British and Irish boy bands have made little to no impact outside those two countries. Five, Take That, Boyzone, and Westlife did enjoy international success, but their popularity in other countries never eclipsed the success they experienced in their homelands (in fact, outside of Europe, Boyzone is solely known for two things about Stephen Gately - his influence on gay rights and his cover of "Bright Eyes" for the 1999 Watership Down animated series). Then came One Direction, who, thanks to social media, were able to catch on much farther and more rapidly than their predecessors. A social media campaign intended for continental Europe spread to Australia and New Zealand, then to Canada, and finally to the United States - a country that had never seen a British boy band go past one-hit wonder status. Not only were One Direction the first British boy band to make it big in America, but it eventually became obvious their American popularity eclipsed their native popularity. Most impressively, this all happened at the height of Bieber Fever, which was not showing any sign of decline at the time, so the British boy band swooping in and bringing Justin Bieber to his knees when most people expected him to hurl them back to Europe was a jaw-dropping feat.
San Diego-based novelty act Optiganally Yours, consisting of indie singer/songwriter Rob Crow and... um... Optigan-player Pea Hix, never broke out of obscurity Stateside (although they did manage to get tapped to do a song for the official Powerpuff Girls album), but became popular enough in Japan that they started touring there, had one of their songs remixed by Plus-Tech Squeeze Box (whose work you might remember from this thing), and included a bonus track on the Japanese release of their second album called "Song for Japan" (the US release got one called "Song for America").
Roy Orbison, while... kinda forgotten in the USA, was always recalled fondly in Australia and Britain. And adored in Bulgaria. He dropped by there in 1980 and got mobbed by Bulgarian fans like in The '60s!
American rock band Orson are virtually unknown in their home country but were very popular in the UK for a short time, until they split at the height of their success.
The Osmond family, while popular in the US in The '70s, had a brief bout of superstardom in the UK from 1972-74. The Osmond Brothers had five Top 5 hits in the UK in that period, compared to zero in America. Donny and Little Jimmy also scored #1 solo hits. They were so big in the UK that many British outlets coined the name "Osmondmania" to describe the phenomenon, much like Beatlemania the decade prior. The Osmond Brothers continue to play big sold out events in the UK, and in 2022 there will be a theatrical musical about them touring in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The Netherlands were one of the first countries to embrace Gilbert O'Sullivan's music, and he even lived there for a short while. He topped the national charts twice in 1971, a year before he became known in the US (which is an example in itself).
The Outfield, a British band from the 80's, were steered towards the American market because of their sound, and were more successful there than back home.
US hip-hop duo The Outhere Brothers were far more successful in Europe. "Boom Boom Boom" was a top 10 hit in several countries and went to number one in the UK, Ireland and Germany. It peaked at #65 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was their only charting single in the US.
Brazilian band Paralamas do Sucesso was shocked to see that during the period that they were down in popularity, their songs were really huge in Argentina, resulting in an album with their songs in Spanish, many sold out concerts there, and a album that flopped in Brazil but was sold well with the hermanos (but the tour for that album, and resulting live record, lead to a resurgence in their homeland).
Patto, a Progressive Soul/Rock band was nothing more than a much loved cult in their native UK - but like the Van der Graaf Generator, they were huge in Italy.
Pendulum is an Australian act that is most popular in the UK, where their third album when #1 on the album charts and enjoyed the best sales.
While she's had substantial success in her home country America, P!nk has the distinction of having seventeen sold-out shows in Melbourne, Australia, a city of four million people. It made her the most successful concert act in Australian history. It's not for nothing that she recorded her live album in Sydney, complete with the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House on the cover. The website Things Bogans Like even considers her an honorary Aussie bogan, though that's not really a compliment.note Bogans are, roughly speaking, a combination of American redneck/"white trash" and British chav stereotypes; the site's implication is that P!nk's Australian fanbase is composed chiefly of trashy young men and women.
This has escalated further in 2013, where she performed four concerts each in Perth and Adelaide, eight in Brisbane, twelve in Sydney, and eighteen in Melbourne. (For comparison, New York, a city with twenty times the population of Adelaide, got three concerts.)
Before they reached international success with The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd were fairly popular in France, and frequently appeared on French TV shows, toured and recorded in France.
The popularity of The Pixies in the UK, South Africa and Europe eclipsed their recognition in their native USA. Didn't hurt that they were signed to the influential UK label 4AD Records.
British alternative rock band Placebo, while fairly popular in the UK, are huge in France, in part because singer Brian Molko, who is of partial French ancestry and was brought up in Luxembourg, is a fluent Francophone who actively courted the French fan-base. They're also huge in Russia; fun because while the existential despair of their earlier albums is very relatable to an average Russian, and has been so since the late 90s.
French rock/pop artist Michel Polnareff is already rather popular in his home country, but for the most part, he's not particularly well known around the world, with one exception. He's absolutely big in Japan, where his single "Tout, Tout Pour Ma Chérie" ended up being a best-seller and introduced Japan to the rest of his work. In particular, thanks to his fame and success in Japan, Hirohiko Araki of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure fame made an homage to him in Stardust Crusaders with major side character Jean-Pierre Polnareff, to which Michel Polnareff was absolutely flattered and posts memes about the character on his Twitter to this day.
Malaysian rap-rock group Pop Shuvit is bigger in Japan than in Malaysia.
Although Porcupine Tree is well-known to prog fans and have at least a cult following, in the UK and the US, they're a massive, groundbreaking band in Mexico and Netherlands. Just for the record: their last year appearance in Mexico was supposed to be a one night stand in April; half the tickets sold out through the first 2 days and they ended opening three more dates. And Netherlands was the country where their live album Anesthetize, and also their last two dates of the "Fear of a Blank Planet" world tour (sold out in case you mind), were filmed. Go figure it out. As a matter of fact, this is the reaction to each and every Steven Wilson project in Mexico, and he is well aware of it.
This could be considered a special case of "David Hasselhoff Loves Germany". Steven is a huge fan of Mexico, and he filmed his documentary "Insurgentes" (Spanish for "rebels", also the name of one of Mexico City's main avenues, but also a word of special meaning in Mexico, since this word carries a connotation of rebel heroism: they were the ones who fought the Independence War in 1810 and the Mexican Revolution in 1910) in that country, most specifically in the capital city. the man himself said a car trip through the streets of downtown Mexico City is what inspired him to make this documentary, and record his first solo album (also called "Insurgentes") the way it was recorded.
They also seem to be significantly bigger in Poland than in the more traditional markets.
While Elvis Presley is hailed as the King of Rock the world over, his American popularity has been more controversial in recent years due to certain people accusing him of "cultural appropriation" (even if he did acknowledge the African-American rock 'n roll musicians he was inspired by) and making fun of his flamboyant showman behavior (not that the many legions of Elvis impersonators have helped). However, in Japan, he's still universally adored to this day, and flamboyant showmen like him tend to be quite successful in the Japanese music industry. It's really funny seeing Japanese Elvis Impersonators. Japanese Professional WrestlerShinya Hashimoto became a huge Elvis fan while he was wrestling in Memphis, even going so far as to style his hair the same way.
There are also a lot of middle-aged European men (especially British) who like Elvis so much that it is clear they want to be American. It's made especially odd by the way he never toured himself outside the US (with the exception of a few shows in Canada) and that most of his international exposure happened through the radio, his records, televised concerts, and Hollywood movies.
North Korea's Kim Jong-il was a huge Elvis fan. Supposedly, his bouffant hairstyle, sunglasses, and jumpsuits were modeled on Vegas-era Elvis.
Isao Sasaki, well-known and adored for singing many classic anime OP's/ED's from The '70s and The '80s, started his career as an Elvis impersonator. In fact, Sasaki's page on this very wiki calls him "Japan's Elvis".
Former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi is well known for being a devoted Elvis fan. Particularly in the United States, after he made a high-profile visit to Graceland with President George W. Bush in 2006.
The Secret World references this with the character of Ricky Pagan (real name Ryuichi Sagawa), a Japanese man who dresses like a '50s greaser, leads a motorcycle club, and counts Elvis as part of his "Holy Trinity" with Gaia and Amaterasu, believing that he helped lead Japan's youth out of the postwar darkness. The Dragon claim that his real father is none other than Elvis' thought-stillborn brother Aaron.
Peter, Paul and Mary: While popular in their native USA, they were always over shadowed by bigger names in folk. However they were much bigger in Japan, and were Japan's introduction to American Folk.
Power Metal in general is very popular in Japan, which perhaps isn't too surprising since it sounds pretty similar to a lot of the heavier end of J-Pop. Amaranthe in particular has a huge following (primary vocalist Elize Ryd sounds very similar to many J-Pop vocalists, albeit she sings in English), and Sabaton vocalist Joakim Broden did a guest appearance on a Babymetal album along with Alissa White-Gluz.
Detroit native Suzi Quatro was virtually unknown in America until her role in Happy Days, which landed her moderate success there during the late '70s and early '80s. In Europe, however, she was one of the biggest stars of the Glam Rock movement and one of the most successful women in rock history, with numerous top 10 singles and an enduring fanbase. In the UK in particular, she's a regular host on the BBC's Radio Two, a honor of immense prestige in that country. Most Americans are much more familiar with Joan Jett, whose work was heavily influenced by Quatro.
The Italo disco group Radiorama achieved little success in their home country of Italy, but were extremely popular in Switzerland in the mid-to-late 1980s, having scored seven top 20 singles, three of which entered the top 10.
Kansas City roots rock band The Rainmakers had one minor hit in the US, but they were (and continue to be) extremely popular in Norway.
Americans love Rammstein more than the Germans do, where they're just another metal band. Fittingly, as noted on the main page, the German version of this page is actually entitled "Americans Love Rammstein".
Lampshaded in their song "Pussy", which contains the line "I can't get laid in Germany." The NSFW video is all about how they love sex and can basically get it anywhere in the world with beautiful women... just not in their native country.
In 1987, The Ramones decided to do their first tour around South America, with low expectations. Little they knew they would achieve such a mainstream popularity (and especially in Argentina) capable of being compared with that of The Beatles' British Invasion of the U.S. in the 1960s, further leaving a footprint in Latin America's rock music (see below) and being a unique paradox of a punk rock band with full stadiums and major companies (like Coca-Cola) sponsoring them. In 1995 in Argentina for example, they played at the Obras Sanitarias stadium... 6 NIGHTS IN A ROW. After this, they toured the country every year (starting in 1991) until the band broke up in 1996. In 1994, in the middle of a tour celebrating the band's 20th anniversary, they decided to do a gig in Argentina on May 19 (Joey Ramone's birthday). Even more, Dee Dee Ramone married an Argentine fan and lived with her in Banfield, in the southern suburbs of Buenos Aires. One of the band's final non-festival performances (before they accepted appearing in Lollapalooza) was at the River Plate football stadium, which has a capacity for 70,000... You can see in this video filmed from inside the band's car the extent of Argentina's passion for the Ramones, and here you can search how well did in sales the Ramones albums in Argentina. Also, ex-band members Marky Ramone and CJ Ramone tour Argentina (and other South American countries) every year with their current bands.
After their show in 1987, the Ramones inadvertently gave birth to a new rise of Argentine punk rock bands like Attaque 77, Flema, 2 Minutos, El Otro Yo and Expulsados along with others, which within a few years would become mainstream in other Latin American countries (especially Mexico) and further would give birth to Latin America's punk rock.
There used to be a time when if you wanted to break the ice with a teenage girl from Mexico, all you had to do was talking about The Rasmus, a Finnish band. Yes, they have success in Europe, but it doesn't even compare to the number of albums and concert tickets sold in Mexico. This Finnish band was so big over there, they actually have a TV special in Mexico and consistently performed in Mexico to sold-out crowds in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla and Tijuana during most of the 2004-2010 years.
Johnnie Ray is one of the earliest notable examples of this. In the United States, he was a teen heartthrob in the Frank Sinatra tradition who briefly dominated the pop charts in 1952, but he mostly achieved only marginal chart success after that (except for one big hit in 1956, "Walkin' in the Rain"), his legacy getting almost completely overshadowed by Elvis Presley. In Britain and Australia, by contrast, his hit-making career was more extensive; he contined to top the charts even as the rock and roll era truly kicked off. Even after his commercial relevance waned, he remained a pretty iconic figure overseas and continued to perform at major venues through the rest of his life. Today, he's much more credited in the UK and Australia than he is in America for his influence on the direction of popular music and bridging the gap between black and white audiences. You may recognize his name in the opening lyric of Dexys Midnight Runners' "Come On Eileen" (and also in the first verse of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire", but that was an American-based reference).
Susan Raye, a protégé of Buck Owens, had some Country Music success in The '70s. While it wasn't her biggest hit on the Country chart, her 1971 single "L.A. International Airport" got enough crossover attention to reach #54 on the Billboard Hot 100. But the song was a #1 hit in New Zealand, and also huge in Australia (peaking at #2).
Emo band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus seem to have a massive following in The Philippines, often on Facebook you can see Filipino fans begging RJA to tour there again.
One of the more dramatic examples is Dean Reed. A would-be late 50s teen idol, his records bombed in the US but became hits in South America. He relocated there and got involved in socialist politics, which led him to start releasing material in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He became massively popular in the Eastern Bloc, as a singer and movie star, leading to the nickname "The Red Elvis". His popularity eventually waned, but his mysterious 1986 death (probably suicide, but that hasn't stopped fans from speculating that he was murdered by the CIA, KGB or the East German Stasi) sealed his status as a cult figure.
During a time in which his fellow bluesmen peers even artists such as Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Little Walter still had a predominantly black audience, Jimmy Reed has already managed to achieve a significant white audience.
Jim Reeves had some popularity in the US during the The '50s and The '60s but became extremely popular in South Africa, Britain, Ireland, Norway, India and Sri Lanka. In South Africa he was popular enough to star in a locally-made movie called Kimberly Jim and went on to record Afrikaans folk songs. Long after his death in a 1964 plane crash he's still remarkably popular in many of the aforementioned countries. In India and Sri Lanka his Christmas Carol albums are perennial favorites while a 'Best of' album reached No. 7 on the UK album charts as recently as 2009, while any modern American who doesn't happen to be a fan of classic Country Music would have no clue who you were talking about if you said "Jim Reeves".
While merely a cult classic in his hometown of Manchester, Vini Reilly of The Durutti Column is big in Portugal.
In the sixties, a rock band called The Renegades was formed in Birmingham. They remained obscure in Britain (probably because there was a million other Beatles clones around at the time), but gained notable success in Finland and later in Italy.
Kirsten Dodgen, Kyra Aoke, Bianca and Maddison Barnett from the ReQuest Dance Crew in New Zealand (better known for being in the video for Justin Bieber "Sorry", a Shallow Parody of Los Del Rio's 1995 hit "Macarena") are well-known over there, but in the United Kingdom they have a bigger following than they do in New Zealand, so much so that Kirsten Dodgen is a de facto celebrity there (especially in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan and the towns of Ormskirk, Southport and Formby in bordering Merseyside and West Lancashire; for some reason). In fact, Kirsten's social media pages have more British followers than New Zealanders!
British rock 'n' roller Cliff Richard was a big star in his home country up until the rise of Merseybeat, but he remained popular in several Asian markets, including Japan and the Philippines, despite Beatlemania taking over the world from 1964 to 1970. And while he enjoyed a late-career comeback (and finally became a recognizable name in the U.S.) in the mid-late '70s with songs like "Devil Woman", "We Don't Talk Anymore", and (with Olivia Newton-John) "Suddenly", Filipinos remember him mainly for the melancholic, saccharine 1980s ballad "Ocean Deep".
Josh Ritter had a huge following in Ireland too several albums ahead of his brekthrough with "The Historical Conquest of".
American Hard Rock/Blues Rock band Rival Sons are almost completely unheard of back home (with just one top 20 Mainstream Rock hit), but have four Top 5 hits on Canada's rock charts, including two #1s. Also, their albums have charted fairly high in Europe, while barely charting on the Billboard 200.
RNG was a Euro-rap group consisting of two Dutchmen who had German producers and were most successful in Poland; their second and final album was released exclusively in that country after the Euro-rap fad had ended elsewhere. Jay Delano's solo career seems to continue the trend.
The French space rock band Rockets have been more popular in Italy and later Russia. According to Discogs, most albums after 1980 didn't get released by a French label.
American musician (Sixto Diaz) Rodriguez's story might be the strongest occurrence of this trope. He has released two unsuccessful albums in the early 70's before he quit musicnote Though he toured Australia at the end of The '70s when he became subject to this trope Down Under. Only in 1998, while working on a building site, he came to know that he was a big star in South Africa all along. Rodriguez's fame was amongst the older crowd who remembered him from the 70s. His popularity was revived in the late 1990s when his song "Sugar Man" was covered by a well known South African folk-rock band called Just Ginger (later changed to Just Jinger when the band moved to the USA). A documentary film was made about him, Searching for Sugar Man.
In Argentina, The Rolling Stones. Yes, they are legends of rock everywhere, but in Argentina, there is basically a subculture: "rolingas", heavily based in working and lower classes, with its own fashion and musical genre, which they themselves never wore. When they were playing a few arenas by city in the mid nineties, they'd play to about 70,000 people each night.
One of the bigger cases of this trope has to be with the French singer Gauthier Roubichou. In his home country France he is only known because he participated in (la) Star Académie (the French version of American Idol), but he failed to make any lasting impression there whatsoever. He later diffused on the Chinese radio and exported a disk in China and his song became a massive hit there. He ended up being chosen by French consultants in Shanghaï to organize all the musical programming in the French pavillion during the Universal Expo in China. An event which for the Chinese is about as important as the Olympic Games.
Roxette were universally popular, but the countries that loved them the most aside from their native Sweden were the United States and Latin America. "The Look" was a surprise smash hit in the U.S. after being introduced to American radio by a Minneapolis DJ, and a live recording of "It Must Have Been Love" credits the backing vocals to "40,000 Chilean fans".
The Runaways enjoyed runaway success in Japan, to the point where they recorded their live album there. In America, they're known mainly for being Joan Jett's (or Lita Ford's) old band. Only recently has the biopic restored American pop-cultural awareness of them.
The band carved a huge following in Poland due to their song "40:1", after a fan-made music video got a few gazillion hits on YouTube before being Screwed by the Lawyers. Thanks to it, they've found their way into mainstream news and done concerts in museums, even being asked to play it in the city of Gdańsk for the Polish Independence Day in 2008. It's not for nothing that they recorded their first concert DVD there.
They tend to repeat the success of "40:1" whenever they pick relatively obscure but locally well-known war stories to base songs on: "Talvisota", "White Death", and "Soldier of 3 Armies" for Finland (all about the Winter War), "Smoking Snakes" for Brazil (Brazilian Army bands have covered it), "Last Dying Breath" in Serbia, "Shiroyama" in Japan...
The band is also very popular in the Czech Republic ("Aces in Exile" and "Far from the Fame" both feature Czechoslovak exiles fighting in World War II). They're so popular that the national singing contest Český slavík (of similar profile in-country to the Grammys in the United States) had to do an Obvious Rule Patch to exclude foreign artists after vocalist Joakim Brodén came in fifth place in 2016 (he's half-Czech on his mother's side and has dual citizenship).
There's a Canadian Progressive Rock band named Saga, which almost nobody has heard of save the single "On the Loose" from their 1983 album Worlds Apart. This isn't the case in Puerto Rico, where the band is so popular they even were given the keys to the city by the mayor of San Juan. They're also still very big in Germany. Granted, they have also enjoyed modest success in their home country, but they were overshadowed in the local and worldwide prog rock scene by their contemporaries, a simple rock trio who were later known as Rush.
Pop rock/funk rock band Saint Motel enjoy moderate success in their native United States, but have become an overnight success in Europe, especially Italy, so much so they performed at the 2015 Sanremo Music Festival. Their Signature Song, "My Type", was even certified platinum there.
Australian punk band The Saints had to go to Britain to get any recognition. NME loved them. The same is sadly true for many great Aussie bands.
According to YouTube comments, Italian comedian Francesco Salvi's novelty songs gained huge airplay in Puerto Rico between the 80s and the 90s. Very strange since he never made any attempt to pander to audiences abroad.
Guitarist Joey Santiago of The Pixies. Born in the Philippines to Filipino parents, he moved to New York as a boy when then-president Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. Despite that, they have yet to perform in the country, and mostly have a cult following among Filipinos.
Savage Garden were met with more success in the United States than their native Australia (take note that Savage Garden were fairly popular at home too). Their songs often charted within the top 20 or top 10 (e.g. "Truly Madly Deeply", "I Knew I Loved You" and "I Want You"), and the Affirmation World Tour included a number of dates in North America.
American musician Scatman John wasn't particularly popular in his home country (at least prior to his death), but enjoyed huge success in several European countries and especially in Japan (which was unusual for a foreign musician). Just how popular was he in Japan? Not only did they sell dolls of him and have him on phone cards, they also made a parody of him Ultraman with him wearing Scatman John's hat and mustache.
Fictional bunny character Schnuffel (Snuggle Bunny), a creation of Germany-based Jamster/Jamba, is still popular in Germany, but is also popular in the United States, Canada, Russia and France.
His popularity extends also to Lithuania, Greece, Hungary (due to heavily Woolseyised lyrics) and Norway ("Kuschel Song" went #6 there and it's about the only country to get the English version of "Winderwunderland").
NY-based band Scissor Sisters has a small cult following in the United States, but frequently tops the charts in the UK, to the point that only three of their eleven singles have even been released as such stateside. note front woman Anna Matronic has now forged a second career as a BBC radio presenter on the back of the band's sucess
They even had a pair of Irish murderess sisters named after them. The women in question killed their mother's Kenyan boyfriend, sliced up his body (but not with scissors) and hid the pieces. His head was never recovered. The band were horrified by the association (which is a reference to tribadism).
While not as famous as they used to be, Scorpions still retain a huge fan base in Greece possibly greater than the one in their home country Germany. This is why they do at least one concert every year in Greece, including their MTV Unplugged album.
They've made a name for themselves also in the United States ("Rock You Like a Hurricane" remains a staple of active rock and classic rock radio stations in the States nearly 30 years after it's release), Brazil (where their power ballads were major hits in the 80s-to-early-90s), France (where the "Still Loving You" single was popular enough to cause a rise in births), Russia (because they were one of the first bands to play there while it still was part of the USSR, thus helping in a way with their political opening - "Wind of Change" is a memoir of the experience) and Japan (because well, the Japanese love hard rock and metal - their first live recording, Tokyo Tapes, is rather self-demonstrating).
Also quite big in the Philippines. But unlike in other parts of the world, where hard rockers like "Rock You Like a Hurricane" are among their most recognizable, it's exclusively the Scorps' power ballads Filipino fans go for — "Still Loving You," "Always Somewhere," and "Winds of Change," to name a few.
Seether, while fairly popular at home in South Africa, are one of the biggest modern Hard Rock bands over in the United States where they've scored over fifteen Top 10 hits on the US rock charts.
Brazilian thrash metal band Sepultura tours ten American cities for each Brazilian one (note that Sepultura is fairly popular in its homeland and the rest of Latin America).
Shiv-r have been much more successful in Europe (especially Germany)) than in their home country, Australia.
Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack are still widely popular in Japan despite their fandom in English-speaking countries fading down to people who remember them as classic. Bookstores in Japan seem to contain more Rat Pack biographies than actual Japanese books and you can't walk by a karaoke bar without hearing "My Way".
Skrape's debut album New Killer America got lost in the American Nu Metal shuffle when it was released in 2001. Yet in Japan, it somehow managed to become the twelfth highest selling album of that year. This was perhaps due to its bizarre artwork, which simply features a close up photo of a toe, something that could have caught the attention of the notoriously eccentric Japanese.
Shania Twain is popular in Brazil, with one of her songs being used in a Brazilian TV show.
Smile.dk's Eurodance music already saw a modicum of success in their home country of Sweden, but it saw even greater success in Japan. They were so beloved there, that their music was frequently licensed for DanceDanceRevolution, where their song "Butterfly" ended up being seen as the franchise's Signature Song.
This knowledge of them through DDR resulted in another surge of popularity for Smile.dk; this time in America. From the usage of their song "Mr. Wonderful", it was paired alongside a scene from the Invader Zim episode "Attack of the Saucer Morons" where GIR is seen dancing at a rave with a bunch of goth girls. This not only led to Smile.dk becoming more popular in the U.S. thanks to Memetic Mutation, but also particularly in the Goth subculture as GIR's signature song, because goths loveGIR.
Before becoming a Pinoy Rock legend with the Juan Dela Cruz Band, Joey "Pepe" Smith was, for a couple years, big in Japan with two Japanese bandmates. His then-love for amphetamines gave him the nickname "Speed" as the singer/drummer of hard rock power trio Speed, Glue, and Shinki.
Sam Smith, although big in the U.K., tends to get stuck in Ed Sheeran's shadow. In the U.S. though, while Sheeran is still the bigger name, it's a much closer contest. However, Sheeran has widened the gap in recent years.
Vermont-based indie-pop band The Smittens are popular enough in Europe in general and the UK in particular that their albums are published by a London-based label and they recently (at this writing) returned from a two-month tour. Within the U.S. they're barely known outside the local Burlington scene.
Alvaro Soler is a Spaniard musician whose genre is Latin pop. However, the vast majority of comments on his YouTube videos are in Polish and Italian (not to say that Spanish comments don't exist).
Soul Coughing, a mid 1990s alternative rock band based in New York City, oddly enough has a large fan following in Minnesota. KREV/WREV/KFCE triplicast known as "Rev 105" (Now WGVX/WGVY/WGVZ), a now long defunct radio station based in Minneapolis/Saint Paul, played Soul Coughing frequently.
They also had an unlikely pocket of fans in Utah after Salt Lake City alternative rock station X96 put "Bus To Beelzebub" from their debut album into regular rotation.
They became more recognized throughout the US beyond their initial New York formation when their song "Circles" was sampled for Cartoon Network Groovies, though this resulted in some believing they were a One-Hit Wonder that really only got their big break with Cartoon Network.
Sopor Aeternus, German gothic/darkwave band, has a huge following in Latin America, to the point where many Youtube videos of the band's songs have comments only in Spanish. They have a sizable following in Russia and Poland as well.
American composer John Philip Sousa has a following in Great Britain, unsurprisingly because of "The Liberty Bell" march being used as the theme song for Monty Python's Flying Circus. The same march is also used by the Canadian Forces Public Affairs Branch.
The French space disco group Space has massive popularity in Russia since the Soviet years. Most comments in a cat version of their hit "Magic Fly" are in Russian. Also, that song was a huge hit in the U.K. in The '70s.
Sparklehorse wasn't big anywhere, but bigger in the UK than the US.
While having a small cult following in their native U.S., Sparks was greeted with success mirroring Beatlemania in England when their third album, Kimono My House, was released in 1974.
American acoustic/pop rock band, Stephen Speaks, is virtually unknown in their home country but their two songs, "Passenger Seat" and "Out of My League", were radio hits in the Philippines back in the early 2000's. Their debut album, "No More Doubt", became certified platinum by Warner Music Philippines in one week.
Country singer Billie Jo Spears was modestly successful on the country charts in the US, but had a bout of major pop stardom in the UK.
Rick Springfield was extremely popular in the US in the 80s as opposed to lower reception in his native Australia.
80s Australian ska/punk band Spy vs Spy were big in Brazil, where they were marketed as surf rock.
Frank Stallone (rock musician and brother of Sylvester Stallone) developed a sizeable following in Australia after Hamish and Andy discovered his song "Far From Over", became obsessed with his work, and talked about him for weeks on their radio show. They eventually made contat, flew him and his band out, and he performed in front of a packed crowd after tickets sold out in a matter of minutes.
The 1960s/'70s blues-rock band Steamhammer, from England, was much more popular in Germany than anywhere else, to the point that the only CD reissues of their albums were from German record companies for many years, and they got a Wikipedia article in German before one in any other language.
Steel Panther are considered a novelty act in their native US, where they usually have to tour with more known bands to fill up an arena (though they have a very strong cult following there). However overseas in Europe they can sell out five and ten-thousand seat arenas as the headliner and draw 20,000 at a festival stage. They're even bigger in Australia where All You Can Eat peaked at #2 on the charts, and would have gone to number one had native sons INXS not released a greatest hits album that week.
Lindsey Stirling's self-titled album peaked at number 79 in the US but hit the top ten in several European countries.
American R&B band The Stylistics managed to be more popular in the UK. It inspired Manchester band Simply Red to do a cover of the Stylistics' biggest hit, "You Make Me Feel Brand New".
While not unknowns in their native UK, Supertramp was much more successful in North America, particularly in Canada, to the point that many people think they were Canadian.
Alternative rock musician Matthew Sweet is not well-remembered in the United States, and most people can only name the song of his ("Girlfriend") that appeared in Guitar Hero II. He's positively huge in Japan (possibly because he licensed two anime, Urusei Yatsura and Space Adventure Cobra, to make a Fan Vid for two of his own songsnote respectively, "I've Been Waiting" and the aforementioned "Girlfriend"), and has even had a couple of his own one-shot Manga.
British sophistipop outfit Swing Out Sister are much more popular in Japan. UK radio still plays their old (late 80s / early 90s) hits, but most Brits would be astonished to learn that they're still going.
Connie Talbot of Britain's Got Talent fame has a huge following in Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia. Her 2012 album Beautiful World went to #1 in Taiwan.
Billy Talent is one of the largest Punk and Rock bands in Europe, but it's not that well-known in their home-country of Canada, and even less so in the USA, much to the dismay of any USA fan.
They Might Be Giants have a generally decent following in their homeland of America, but they were (at least early on) much more warmly received at shows in the United Kingdom and Japan during overseas tours. They also achieved a Top 10 hit in the UK ("Birdhouse in Your Soul") while never coming anywhere close to a mainstream hit single in the US.
Throwing Muses have been bigger in the UK than the US for most of their career. The band had difficulty getting popular in America - even on the college rock scene - because they came out of Rhode Island, which wasn't exactly a hot-bed of new music in the 1980s. In Britian however, they became the first American band to ever be signed to the vaunted indie label 4AD Records. All of their albums since Hunkpapa (1989) have charted in the UK, with the exception of Purgatory/Paradise (2013). While that one may have been a case of it being too long between albums and changing tastes in rock music, it may also have been disqualified because it was released as a book/CD combo.
While not as famous as they used to be, TLC still retain a huge fan base in Japan, possibly greater than the one in their native United States. 3D was a smash hit there (being certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for 200,000 copies sold) and TLC's first recording as a duo (following Left Eye's death) was in a Japan-only Charity Motivation Song entitled "VOICE OF LOVE POSSE".
Canadian Hi-NRG act Trans-X were very popular in Mexico and Latin America, to the point founder Pascal Languirand relocated to Mexico and reformed the group in The New '10s with Mexican musicians. Nearly every upload of their songs on YouTube have many Spanish-language comments.
1960s teen idol Johnny Tillotson has maintained a big following in Australia despite being long-forgotten in his native U.S.
Devin Townsend isn't that well known in his native Canada outside of his time fronting Strapping Young Lad, but he's well loved in Europe, regularly performing at big name festivals. The UK in particular absolutely loves him, seeing as how all but one of his live albums have been recorded there (one of which at the world famous Royal Albert Hall). His 2016 album Transcendence even hit the Top 30 there which, for a heavy metal artist in this day and age, is pretty impressive.
A Japanese emo-punk band, Uplift Spice, isn't too terribly popular (if Oricon charts are to go by) in their home country. In France though, they are big, really big. They had a lot of airtime in Nolife channel, which broadcast J-music and anime. Thanks to that, they did a lot of concerts in France and nearly every video on Youtube is filled by French-language comments. One song in particular, "Kanojo", is usually ripped straight out of Nolife channel PV.
One of the more bizarre examples is the story of the album Pawn Hearts, recorded in 1971 by the UK progressive rock group Van der Graaf Generator. While its often dark and avant-garde nature kept it obscure in the UK and US, it proved to be an unlikely hit in Italy, of all places, where it occupied the number one spot on the album charts for 12 weeks. Bandleader Peter Hammill has since remarked that its "operatic and dramatic" music "chimed with the scene in Italy at the time".
Thanks to Nirvana covering them, Scottish band The Vaselines were posthumously a cult success in the USA while being mostly forgotten in their homeland. A compilation was released on Sub Pop in the USA but for a long time none of their music was available in the UK.
The American instrumental surf-rock group The Ventures, while quite popular in the early 1960s, had their US popularity decline with the British Invasion and the rise of psychedelic rock. In Japan, however, they remained a massive success, releasing dozens of Japan-exclusive albums and becoming one of the top-selling acts of all time.
Russian singer Vitas, (in)famous for his incredibly high vocal range, has sold millions of records in China and is largely forgotten in Russia itself.
Philadelphia-born Dark Wave artist Void Vision (Shari "Vari" Wallin) is much better known in Europe, particularly Germany, where her record label is based.
Japanese Folk Rock group Wagakki Band is well-renowned and very popular in their home country already, but they are quickly gaining immense popularity worldwide too. If the comments on the Avex youtube channel are anything to go by, many of their fans are from English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese-speaking countries just to name a few. This is in no doubt due to their exotic musical style, which combines traditional Japanese instruments (specifically the Wadaiko, Shamisen, Koto, and Shakuhachi) with western-style rock elements (guitars and drums). The fusion of music styles topped with lead singer Yuuko Suzuhana's powerful vocals, and a very vibrant kabuki-inspired image makes their quick rise to success not the least bit surprising. Indeed, the bands first release after signing to Universal, the EP React, made appearances on several different countries iTunes charts the week it was released, and one of the songs on the EP, Ignite, is their first to contain English lyrics.
1980s new wave group Wang Chung were only moderately successful in their native UK, and are considered a One-Hit Wonder there for the fondly remembered #21 hit "Dance Hall Days" from 1984. Their career in America was a much different story, as "Dance Hall Days" was one of their six top 40 hits there, including the massive #2 smash "Everybody Have Fun Tonight", which they are most known for in that country. At the height of their American popularity, they were personally chosen by film director William Friedkin to compose the score for his film To Live and Die in L.A.. Back in the UK, "Everybody" only made it #76, and that was their highest charting single after "Dance Hall Days" there.
Only one of the American rock band We Are Scientists' songs has ever reached chart status in the USA (and it was on the Modern Rock chart). The band do almost all their touring in the UK, and their material is released in the UK many months before the USA.
Boy BandWestlife are regarded as hometown heroes in their native Ireland, but the United Kingdom is by far their biggest market, where they are certified as having 24 million combined sales of their material alone.
Former Prince's Associates Wendy and Lisa released three albums and a few singles from them between 1987-1990. All of them practically tanked on the US charts but got moderate success on the UK charts.
In the early '90s, grunge had ensured that nobody cared much about Hair Metal band White Lion in the U.S. But they remained relevant in the Philippines, as their third album, Mane Attraction, came with two power ballads ("You're All I Need" and "Till Death Do Us Part") that appealed to the Filipino fan's love for the sentimental. The songs continued enjoying a lot of airplay despite the fact White Lion disbanded soon after Mane Attraction's release!
Anglo-Kenyan singer-songwriter Roger Whittaker is quite popular in Germany, and remained popular there long after he was forgotten in the Anglosphere.
Children's group The Wiggles are a perennial favorite in their native Australia, but they were huge in the United States in the early-to-mid-2000s, thanks in part to their shows airing on Playhouse Disney and their direct-to-video productions being distributed in the States by Lyrick Studios of Barney & Friends fame.
While Kim Wilde is certainly not a lightweight hitmaker in her native UK, she's even huger in Germany and Switzerland, where she is arguably the most successful female pop singer of the 1980s next to Madonna. Not only have her albums regularly sold better in those countries than in the UK, but several of her singles that flopped domestically became massive hits in the German and Swiss markets. For example, "The Second Time", the leadoff single from her fourth studio LP Teases & Dares, barely scraped the top 30 of the UK Singles Chart but was a top 10 hit in Germany and Switzerland. Songs like "Cambodia", "Dancing in the Dark", "Hey Mister Heartache", and "It's Here" also did much better in those territories than at home. Even throughout the 21st century, Wilde's albums have continued to chart pretty well abroad and she even scored a couple of minor hits with "You Came 2006" and "Lights Down Low", not to mention a guest appearance on Nena's 2003 smash "Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime".
British singer-guitarist Steve Winwood maintained a loyal following at home from his days in Traffic and Blind Faith, but was a much bigger star in the US, where both "Higher Love" and "Roll With It" reached #1 and four other songs hit the top 10.
Yohio, a rock star from Sweden, is very popular in Japan, largely because of his Bishōnen appearance.
The Youngblood Brass Band, which is a fusion of a brass band and Rap, is much more popular over in Europe, constantly touring there. They only return to the US every now and then to do a show in their hometown of Madison, Wisconsin.
Frank Zappa: Hardly famous or popular in the United States during his lifetime, but almost a cultural icon in Europe, especially in Eastern Europe, where his music was seen as rebellious and subversive during the years of the Iron Curtain. When Zappa traveled to Czechoslovakia in 1989 at the invitation of President Václav Havel he was met with a huge welcome from the crowd, almost hailed as a hero. Zappa himself felt so perplexed that he compared it to feeling like he was in the The Twilight Zone.
German DJ Zedd's biggest following by far is in the United States, where he's one of the biggest DJs in that country. In his native Germany, he's seen as just another DJ. For comparison, his debut album Clarity made the Top 40 in the United States and the title track, his Signature Song, was a Top 10 smash. Back in Germany, neither charted. His second album True Colors went all the way to #4 stateside, but in Germany it barely made the Top 50.
Believe it or not, a lot of people from Caribbean countries like old 50s American pop songs that are mostly popular among old baby boomers in the U.S., mainly because of the popularity of waltz dancing. Also popular there is country music from the 60's and 70's, which often shocks people since most Caribbean countries are majority black. This is explained as being because the only American music imported into those countries during that time period was country music, and West Indians were unaware of the cultural associations that country music has in the States. This NPR article discusses how, at a reggae/dancehall event in Jamaica, a Kenny Rogers song starts playing and everyone goes crazy.
Curtis Mayfield's old band The Impressions were hugely popular and influential in Jamaica from the get-go, whilst it took until Mayfield's solo career for him to receive the same amount of popularity elsewhere. Part of the reason is that they continued a tradition of harmony groups that Jamaicans had loved since the doo-wop era of the late 50s, and they had religious influences, appealing to the strongly Christian country. The popularity of The Impressions there is most obviously shown by Bob Marley's "One Love (People Get Ready)", a song so widely associated with him and Jamaica generally that most outside the country don't realise it's an Impressions cover.
Ska developed out of Jamaicans imitating a very specific type of American Rhythm And Blues that was popular after Rock & Roll but faded from popularity with beat groups, characterised by an insistent rhythm.
This trope applies for many American indie rock bands, since most European singles charts are much more tolerant of the genre than the US' Billboard Hot 100. The Gossip and Orson are virtually unknown in their home country outside of fans of the alternative rock genre, but they're both famous throughout Europe.
Southeast Asian countries (more specifically, the Philippines and Indonesia) are a hotbed for balladeers (and sometimes dance/R&B singers) experiencing massive success away from home.
The countries have become notorious for becoming the final refuge of many otherwise-forgotten international English-language pop stars whose heyday was in the '70's to '90's, specifically those whose forte are really sappy love songs, or what Filipinos (a majority of whom are diehard romantics) call Senti (as in, "Sentimental" music); most notably Danish band Michael Learns to Rock, Aussie-Brit duo Air Supply, American singers David Pomeranz and Boyz II Men, and many others...
By the 1960s, blues music had faded almost into obscurity in the USA. In the UK and parts of continental Europe, however, it began to gain a cult following. Old American blues musicians actually started to tour overseas.
The British Invasion as a whole is an example of this trope going full-circle. It started with British fans of Rock & Roll, blues, and R&B — at the time, all seen as fundamentally American music genres with deep roots in the South — who decided to start their own bands playing in that style... and went on to enjoy a level of transatlantic success that profoundly altered rock music's relationship with American culture, transforming it into a truly global genre of music as opposed to a specifically American one while bringing their own innovations that would inspire their American compatriots. Today, every corner of the world has its own rock scenes, all playing a form of music that originated in the late 1940s as dance music for working-class Southerners.
Japan seems equally fascinated with Power Metal, to the point where some bands' releases and touring are heavily concentrated there despite being European (Heavenly being one of the most striking examples — their music is released first there, has in some cases been translated into Japanese to suit their fanbase, and are on an East Asian record label despite being from France).
The now infamous Korean Pop Music scene never really took off until about the 90s or so. Before that, the biggest influence on South Korean pop culture was Cantopop, from Hong Kong. In particular, Leslie Cheung, popular enough to this day to get a tribute to him at the start of the second MNet Asia Music Awards.
Deathcore has found a home in Japan, China, and Indonesia with young metal fans. Bands such as Signs Of The Swarm, Emmure, Slaughter to Prevail, and After the Burial (among others) pull very large numbers and tour there just about every album cycle. Slaughter to Prevail noted they were getting 500 people every night in China when they toured there.
Deep house was invented in the United States as a combination of Chicago house along with jazz-funk and soul. It's not without a following in the US, but it is much more popular in Europe, with the vast majority of deep house artists being European.
During the late 70s and early 80s, disco music in the United States started to suffer cultural attacks, mostly from white rock fans who viewed it as pretentious, too black, gay and European, and taking away Top 10 space from their beloved hard rock groups. Increasing amounts of musicians began mocking it, and in just a few years disco music became a musical pariah in the USA... for about a decade. However, disco never died in Europe, and the genre stayed popular across the Atlantic, inspiring people like Giorgio Moroder to make their pioneering works in Electronic Music and some of the region's most prominent countries created Italo disco, which soon partly inspired musicians in the US to create what'd become House Music (which itself later got its own European sub-genres, such as Italo house). Germany and other European countries also enjoyed Italo disco, in that the leading label releasing compilations happens to be German.
Italo disco and Euro disco are popular in Russia and other former Eastern Bloc countries, and they still have many fans from some Spanish-speaking countries. The latter group sometimes call this kind of music "Hi-NRG".
In the Philippines, some of the popular Italo disco acts are Mike Francis, Colors, Magic Fire, Europe (not that Europe), and Lou Sern. The late Francis is the most admired one and he had concerts in that country.
The Eurobeat genre is much more popular in Japan than in its native country of Italy, where its audience is close to nonexistent, to the point that even the most prominent musicians of the genre tend to omit any reference to it on their "main" music accounts on social media. In fact, the "Super Eurobeat" series is only sold in Japan, or via importation.
There's a Spanish-speaking (probably Mexican) following for early Eurobeat music from the late 80s/early 90s, overlapping from their interest of the preceding Italo-disco and Hi-NRG genres, sometimes calling such music "Hi-NRG". This could also be attributed to DJ Patrick Miller.
There's a lot of the mid/late 90s Eurodance bands, specially from Denmark and Sweden, which had massive markets in Asia and more or less moved there for their major income after the hype died in Europe.
The genre's popularity extends to Russia, Canada, Brazil (although Italo disco is usually bigger there, being regularly played in flashback parties) and Australia in the early-to-mid 90's.
Although "D-Beat" style of Hardcore Punk was pioneered by the UK band Discharge, many prominent D-Beat bands hail from Sweden.
Hi-NRG music, including those by the American artists Patrick Cowley and Paul Parker, is popular in Mexico.
The same thing as the British Invasion happened with Hip-Hop in The '80s. New York rap music caught fire in the black neighborhoods of London, eventually evolving into its own regional style distinct from anything coming out of the US, and from there, it conquered Europe and the world just as rock did before it. Unlike rock music, the cross-pollination went mostly one way; while American hip-hop is popular worldwide, non-American scenes usually only get national or regional recognition, with the US still seen more or less as the global leader of the genre and only a small handful of international rappers having managed to break through stateside.
Industrial music, started in Britain but is much larger in Germany, to the point that it's believed Germany is the birthplace of the genre.
Perhaps even funnier, because of bands like Hocico, there was a movement of Latin American Industrial bands. This leads to some confusing mixture of cultures - a band from Chile is called "Die Braut" while singing in English. Because of the strange psuedo-nationalistic themes of Industrial, you get videos like this. Germany needs movement - in Mexico City!
Japanese alternative rock bands like Boris, Boredoms and Shonen Knife are far more popular in the United States and Europe than they are in Japan. This most likely has to do with the fact that the Japanese music scene is ruled largely by theatrical Visual Kei metal bands, pop idol singers and lightweight pop-rock artists and bands like Gackt and Glay, whose music is much more easily palatable for the Oricon charts. In fact, the only Japanese alternative rock bands to do good business in their home country are The Pillows (because they play "American style" alt rock), Radwimps (because of their hugelysuccessful collaborations with anime director Makoto Shinkai), [Alexandros], Fujifabric, Fishmans, and the Mad Capsule Markets, nearly all of which are still far more popular overseas than they are in Japan (save for Radwimps, although the runaway success of those two Shinkai films worldwide might make them join this trope soon).
Belgians love jazz. Not only did the country spawn a lot of jazz musicians (such as Thoots Thielemans) but it was able to remain popular there even as people in other countries moved on. It is taught alongside classical music in high school music academies and even today the country has an active community of jazz musicians (such as Fred van den Hove), jazz music magazines (such as Jazz'halo) and yearly awards for performances (the Golden Django). Possibly the most notable case of this was when the Nazis occupied Belgium and forbade jazz music. In theory, jazz would stop being popular. In practice, the amount of jazz orchestras increased during this era. It definitely helps that the inventor of the saxophone (Adolphe Sax) was Belgian.
Metal in general is huge in Japan. It seems that while it's somewhat marginalized in North America and Europe (with some exceptions, like Finland, who had a metal singer win their national Idol contest), it's regarded as no more dangerous than any other style of music in Japan. It's no surprise that before they got even remotely popular in the west, In Flames and Children of Bodom had recorded live concerts in Tokyo with wildly enthusiastic crowds.
It's worth noting that this really only seems to be the case with more melodic styles of metal. While Melodic Death Metal and Power Metal are huge there, Black Metal and the more brutal non-melodic styles of Death Metal remain even more underground in Japan than they are in the West aside from a select few bands, namely Aborted, who have a sizable Japanese following and tour there on a frequent basis.
Northern Soul was built on this trope. Unsold records in American warehouses made their way to the U.K. and were bought by proto-DJs to play at shows. In this way completely forgotten tracks became huge hits.
The Post-Punk/Garage Rock revival scene of the 2000s started with American bands like The Strokes, The White Stripes, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but while many of these bands won critical acclaim, sold records, and got radio airplay in their home country, they were never able to break the stranglehold that Post-Grunge, Pop Punk and Emo Music had on mainstream rock music. As such, their popularity was often at the level of "those bands your hipster friend won't shut up about", and by the late '00s their place in rock would be quietly displaced by Indie Pop bands. In the UK, on the other hand, they were huge. The post-punk revival became the sound of British rock in the 2000s, inspiring a wave of local bands like the Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, and Kaiser Chiefs. It helped that the original Post-Punk movement was led mostly by British bands.
Power Metal and Progressive Metal (especially Progressive Power Metal) is practically mainstream in Brazil. Bands from Europe and Japan fly all the way to South America to give concerts in sold out theatre venues. This is why when bonus tracks aren't meant for Japan, they're almost always meant for the Brazilian or at least South American market. Angra is one of the most striking examples: absolutely massive in Japan and South America (to the point where they are the second-highest-selling rock act of all time in their homeland Brazil) and a frequent high-billing act on the European festival circuit, but a niche act in the US that plays there once in a blue moon and only in areas with a high concentration of South American nationals; the status of guitarist Kiko Loureiro (who was recently drafted to replace Chris Broderick in the new formation of Megadeth) and ex-drummer Aquiles Priester (who recently played with German power metal band Primal Fear, toured with WASP, had filled in for an injured Scott Travis in a series of Judas Priest concerts in Brazil and auditioned for Dream Theater after Mike Portnoy left the band before they settled with Mike Mangini) are the only things keeping them from being even more obscure there.
Rural Scandinavia is dominated by a subculture known as raggare, embracing the greaser culture, with Rockabilly music and American memorabilia from The '50s. In fact, in spite of Sweden's draconic automobile safety laws there are more roadworthy American cars from the The '50s in Sweden than in any other country in the world. Including the U.S.
Reggae in general and Bob Marley in particular is spectacularly popular in the Pacific island of New Caledonia. How popular? When one walks the streets of Nouméa, about one in four people is usually wearing Rastafarian colours and/or a Bob Marley T-shirt, and young people carry around transistor radios playing Bob Marley all the time. One person is reported to have caught a bus from one end of the island to the other and most of the way there were three separate radios playing different reggae tracks at all times! This appears to be identification with a fellow island culture, helped along by the fact that, as Melanesians, the native Kanaks are darker in skin tone than most other peoples of the Pacific.
Bob Marley in particular is huge in many Third World countries. It has been said that when you travel to Latin America, Africa, Asia, The Pacific Ocean you're bound to hear his music and see his image more than any other internationally famous pop star, even overshadowing stars like Elvis Presley. For a while, only in the USA was he still considered nothing but a cult star. This only changed around the late 1990s.
Several Swedish Eurodance artists were also big in Japan, eg Solid Base, Basic Element, and of course, Smile.dk. Also, the German group E-Rotic and its short-lived successor, Missing Heart (whose sole album was a Japan exclusive).
Developed in Argentina, Tango is the social dance in Finland. Note that while Tango music is fairly known worldwide thanks to its rise in the '20s, and that in its homeland is also culturally important, in Finland it has its own local subgenre. Seinäjoki is even referred as "the second world capital of tango". Colombia also is very kind towards tango, one of the reasons being the place where Carlos Gardel died in a plane accident. And also, tango is very popular in... Japan. For the record, in the 2009 Tango World Championship held in its homeland Argentina, the winner was a Japanese couple (no kidding).
Trance music originated in Germany and does have a strong fandom there, but the genre is especially hugely popular in the Netherlands (which houses the biggest trance acts on the planet, including Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, and Ferry Corsten), the UK, Japan, Egypt, Australia, and Argentina. Meanwhile, the Darker and Edgier psychedelic and full-on varieties are very popular in Israel with many big name acts like Astral Projection, Astrix and Infected Mushroom coming from there, and psytrance scenes have also popped up in South Africa, northern Europe and India (thanks to its history with the Goa rave scene). It's a mixed bag in the USA - trance is arguably one of the most well-loved genres of electronic dance music and has experienced a steady growth in new fans through The New '10s, but it falls behind harder sounding genres in terms of commercial success and still perceived by non-electronic listeners as being cheesy and overtly sentimental.
Because of the Japanese fondness for cuteness, pop music, and teenage girls, Western girl bands such as Shampoo can have success there while being regarded as a total joke by their less tolerant British compatriots. Daphne and Celeste tried this, recording a song called "I Love Your Sushi", but it didn't seem to work.
After its demise with the arrival of Grunge in the 90s, Hair Metal managed to hang on for a little while longer in the Nordic countries (mainly Sweden; which was already home to hair metal legends Europe of "The Final Countdown" fame), where it somehow managed to co-exist with local metal scenes including Norway's infamous Black Metal scene and Sweden's melodic death metal scene. In fact, many modern hair metal bands (such as Crazy Lixx, H.E.A.T., and Crashdïet) hail from the region.
Believe it or not, Country Music does have a international following. Australasia has its fair share of homegrown country talent, most famously Slim Dusty, Keith Urban, Kasey Chambers, Lee Kernaghan and Morgan Evans. A New Zealand TV show dedicated to the genre, That's Country!, was even aired in the United States by TNN in the 80s. Ireland spawned a subgenre, Country and Irish, which fuses North American country style music with Irish influences, notably spawning artists such as Nathan Carter and T.R. Dallas. The UK even has a few country radio stations such as Chris Country, and has it's own massive country festival, C2C: Country to Country.
City Pop, a Japanese pop music genre from the late 70s and 80s: it completely fell out of popularity in Japan in the 90s, becoming a Dead Horse Genre, but saw a revival on the internet in The New '10s. While some of the new fans are Japanese, the genre is mostly popular with western audiences.
The original 1982 single "Pale Shelter (You Don't Give Me Love)" by Tears for Fearsnote it's different from the more popular 1983 version which is simply called "Pale Shelter" without the parenthetical subtitle was a commercial failure everywhere (including the band's native UK) except in Canada, where it peaked at #12 on the Canadian music chart, which makes it a Top 20 hit (and invokedBreakthrough Hit) in that country. note Roland Orzabal, the songwriter, confirms in a CBCinterview that the group's highest per capita record sales are in Canada.
The instrumental track "1980-F" by British prog rock band After The Fire is obscure pretty much everywhere in the world... except for Germany, where it is remembered as the theme music for the early 1980s TV show Na sowas!
German singer Lou Bega, known for the dance hit "Mambo No. 5", is considered a One-Hit Wonder after his second album, Ladies and Gentleman, flopped. But one of the songs from that album, "Angelina", became a very popular dance craze in the Philippines back in 2002. Many 90's kids would talked about how this song was commonly used in school programs and dance demonstrations.
The English version of the Pinkfong cover of "Baby Shark" is so big outside of South Korea that it is currently the most-watched YouTube video of all time. The song also spawned an entire Cash Cow Franchise overseas, mainly in the United States, where the characters from the song can be found on items from beach towels to cereal. There was also a live tour spin-off for the song.
"Better Days Are Coming" by Neil Sedaka is better known in Japan as "Toki wo Koete", one of the opening songs of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. In fact, a number of the songs in that anime came from him, which is in part why due to copyright reasons those tracks were replaced in overseas versions of Zeta.
"Bizarre Love Triangle" by New Order was so popular within the Asian-American community that it became the unofficial anthem for the community. This article explains that it was one part Narm Charm, and another part sounding like freestyle, a popular dance genre at the time.
Radiohead's first five single releases were all relative flops in the band's native UK and their debut album Pablo Honey was very poorly received by the British press, failing to sell particularly well. Then their song "Creep" became a massive radio hit in Israel, because (according to The Other Wiki) local influential radio host Yoav Kutner liked it a lot and played it repeatedly. It soon became a massive hit in America, while the band were still virtually unheard of in their own country.
Another young American R&B performer, Dawin, has experienced similar fame in the Philippines for his song "Dessert", which only peaked at #68 on the Billboard Hot 100, but is one of late-2015 to 2016's most-played songs in the Philippines. Like the aforementioned "God Gave Me You" and "Twerk it Like Miley", a lot has to do with its use on Eat Bulaga's Kalye-Serye.
Timmy Thomas ("Why Can't We Live Together") and Hot Chocolate ("You Sexy Thing") were huge worldwide in the '70s, but Thomas and Hot Chocolate singer Errol Brown only became real household names in the Philippines in the early 1990s when both men were close to their 50s and well beyond their main period of fame, the former for his song "Dying Inside (To Hold You)," the latter for "This Time I Know It's Forever."
To a milder extent, the song Everyday I'm Drinking by the Russian band LITTLE BIG gained a large exposition in France thanks to French YouTuber Antoine Daniel who reviewed it in his special What the Cut episode covering Russian videos.
"Fascination Street" by The Cure is merely an album cut from their 1988 album Disintergration to the entire world... except in the United States. The Cure's US record label Elektra rejected lead single "Lullaby" and sent "Fascination Street" to radio instead, believing the extended bass introduction was a better hook for Americans. The gamble paid off, to where "Street" became a #1 Alternative hit and stayed there for seven weeks, in addition to a #46 peak on the Hot 100. It remains better known than "Lullaby" and even some of their worldwide hits in the United States.
In 1993, Aussie band Indecent Obsession and American duo the Williams Brothers strummed their way into Filipinos' hearts with acoustic ballads "Fixing a Broken Heart" and "Can't Cry Hard Enough" respectively. "Fixing a Broken Heart" was not a hit in the former band's native Australia, and their only U.S. Top 40 hit was the dance-pop "Tell Me Something". As for the Williams Brothers, they scraped the bottom of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974 as 15-year-old teen idol-wannabes, with their cover of Don and Juan's "What's Your Name", and were a few rungs short of the Top 40 almost two decades later with "Can't Cry Hard Enough".
North Carolina alt-rockers Athenaeum are mostly obscure back home in America, but their song "Flat Tire" stayed on Philippine rock station NU 107's Midnight Countdown for about ONE YEAR. (Most chart-toppers on that countdown usually stayed in the charts for about 3-4 months tops.)
Thanks to the viral YouTube video, the K-pop song "Gangnam Style" by PSY hit it big in the US and Western Europe. Eastern Europe and South America had already succumbed to cultural technology and already had K-pop airplay. Before "Gangnam Style", playing a song on a Top 40 station in America that wasn't in English or Spanish was unheard of. Back in South Korea, "Gangnam Style" is just another K-pop hit that doesn't really stand out other than being "the one that got really popular worldwide".
Most fans of Jethro Tull probably have never heard of the song Get a Life, which was made by the band leader Ian Anderson. It is popular in fan communities of Dutch/Belgian home video as a shorter version of the song was used by the anti-piracy communities there (Baf in Belgium, BREIN in the Netherlands) used for their piracy warnings from 1995-2006. The song itself has also been used for remixes there on more than one occasion.
The song "God Gave Me You" by American country singer Bryan White is very popular in the Philippines and is the unofficial theme song to Eat Bulaga's "kalye-serye", AlDub, which shows TV heartthrob Alden Richards' courtship to Yaya Dub (Maine Mendoza in Real Life) which is done by lipsynching various songs as a way of conversing each other and it is in split screen. In fact, Bryan White himselfwas thrilled with how his song was used. It also bears mentioning that "God Gave Me You" became a huge hit in the Philippines sixteen years after it was a rather low-ranking hit in the Billboard country charts — and White's LAST stateside hit as well.
The Breakfast Club had only one U.S. top 10 hit with 1987's "Right on Track" and are arguably best remembered as Madonna's former band before she became famous. In the Philippines, they're almost exclusively remembered for their 1984 single "Rico Mambo".
"HandClap" by Fitz and The Tantrums is famous enough in its home country to be featured in video games, but it apparently enjoyed its greatest popularity in South Korea, and a lot of commenters in the official YT Music Video mentions how they were introduced to the song via covers by Korean artists.
Late 1980s teen idol Tiffany was well-known stateside for her ballads, but they are especially popular in the Philippines (as opposed to upbeat hit songs like "I Think We're Alone Now"), with the song "Hearts Never Lie," a duet with obscure country singer Chris Farren, becoming a huge hit on Philippine radio, despite not being released as a single in the U.S.
Diana Ross's "If We Hold on Together" — yes, the Award-Bait Song from The Land Before Time — was so popular in Japan that it remained #1 on Oricon International charts for 12 weeks and was even used as a theme song for a Japanese drama.
"Johnny Johnny Yes Papa" was an Indian nursery rhyme that gained popularity overseas after several YouTube channels for children picked up the song and used it in their videos. One version, by LooLoo Kids, is currently the 13th most-watched YouTube video of all time.
Jozin s bazin, a Czech novelty song, has achieved memetic status in Poland and Russia.
It's even been translated into Polish, but the Czech version is still more popular.
In the Philippines, it's mostly the kids and teens of the early-mid '80s who remember American singer Rockwell's biggest U.S. hit, the upbeat AND off-beat "Somebody's Watching Me", which notably included his old friends (and his father Berry Gordy's onetime proteges) Michael and Jermaine Jackson on backing vocals. But his best-known song in the country is the serious, depressing ballad "Knife", which is especially popular to this day in karaoke bars.
Indonesians still love the Japanese song "Kokoro No Tomo" despite it never being a hit in Japan and almost forgotten there.
"Last Christmas" by Wham! is very popular in Japan, which is not surprising given that Christmas in Japan is a romantic holiday on par with Valentine's Day. Several Japanese artists like EXILE have even covered the song!
Ellie Goulding's "Lights" was huge everywhere in the world except in the UK itself, despite her fame at home.
A song named Loli Mou (Red Wine) by Polish Gypsy artist Tobi King is a subject to Memetic Mutation in Russia, and most comments on the linked YouTube vid are in Russian.
In most countries, Adele's cover of "Make You Feel My Love" by Bob Dylan was initially not a hit upon release. In the Netherlands, it was one of the best-performing singles of 2009.
Charlie Puth's "Marvin Gaye" topped the charts in five different countries, and went Top 10 in many others. In his native United States? It barely limped to a #21 position, largely fueled by his appearance on Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again" and its Meghan Trainor guest verse, before quickly falling off the charts and out of American public consciousness, with very little recurrent airplay on the radio. However, Puth then recovered with the #12 "One Call Away" and the Top-10 hits "Attention" and "We Don't Talk Anymore".
Before becoming the comedy force that he is today, Ricky Gervais fronted the electropop band Seona Dancing in the early '80s. After they had supposedly dwindled into obscurity, one of their singles "More to Lose" took on a life of its own as a supposed teen anthem in the Philippines.
Michael Jackson had a little ballad back in 1981 called "One Day in Your Life". It was a modest hit in the US. In the Philippines, however, you can still hear it on the radio every Retro Sunday broadcast in every station all over the country. It's still sung by kids for singing contests.
It was also a #1 hit in the UK and South Africa.
Polish disco track "Papaya" (by Ursula Dudziak) was mildly popular among Filipino Gay Bars in the 70's, but it rose to mainstream prominence in the mid 2000's when Pinoy gameshow host Edu Manzano danced to it and started a trendy dance craze.
While Laura Branigan was fairly popular in the Philippines throughout the 1980s for her ballads and dance hits alike, her biggest hit in the country, by far, is the over-the-top ballad "Power of Love", which only peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard charts. Her 1987 cover of Shirley Ellis' 1965 hit "The Name Game" was also especially popular with Filipinos, especially younger listeners, but is largely forgotten today, as opposed to "Power of Love."
Brazilian song "Rap das Armas" earned some popularity in its own country, specially after usage in local blockbuster The Elite Squad. But somehow after being played in Portugal as well, some European DJs picked up the song, and remixes became hits in Scandinavia and the Netherlands. Supporters of a Swedish team even sing it during games.
1960s pop group The Cascades are a one-hit wonder stateside, with "Rhythm of the Rain" being their biggest and most recognizable hit worldwide. But they were HUGE in the Philippines, so huge that their eventual fadeout into obscurity resulted in an Urban Legend that the band had died in a plane crash. But guess who came to play in the Philippines in 2004, alive and well, if 40-plus years older than they were in their heyday.
Engelbert Humperdinck's single "Release Me" featured the B-side "Ten Guitars". The B-side went largely un-noticed in the U.S. and Britain, but in New Zealand it became a big pop anthem, to the point where "Ten Guitars" was more popular than the A-side.
Elton John usually only plays "Skyline Pigeon" in Brazil, where the piano version (an outtake first available as a B-Side to "Daniel") got quite a lot of airplay.
Also one of Elton's most recognizable songs in the Philippines, despite not making a dent in the U.S. and his native U.K.
Tom Dissevelt & Kid Baltan's "Song of the Second Moon" from 1957 was surprisingly influential in Hungary, where it served as the theme-tune of an educational program called Delta that ran from 1964 to 1996. The eerie music engraved itself deeply into public consciousness and frightened generations, though for decades no one actually knew its origin or title. Nowadays, YouTube comments about the song are dominated by people from that country reminiscing about their past love-hate relationship with the music.
Italo Brothers' song "Stamp on the Ground" had quite the Scandinavian success.
Similarly, American new wave band Industry was a minor success in their home country, with their biggest hit, "State of the Nation" peaking at a modest No. 81 in 1982. That song, however, was HUGE in the Philippines, and still fondly remembered by those who grew up in the 1980s.
"Sweet Soul Revue" by Japanese Shibuya-Kei band Pizzicato Five became popular in the Philippines due to its use in a 90's era cosmetics commercial. Additionally, it was used as the theme song of Ranma 1/2's Filipino Dub.
Most of the world knows Rupert Holmes as the man behind "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)"; he also has lesser but still significant notability as the creator of the smash musical Drood. The Philippines knows him mainly for his 1974 ballad "Terminal", which remains a staple of Philippine FM radio programming a good 40+ years later.
Super-simple, upbeat songs and their performers also tend to become big in the Philippines while flopping most anywhere else. For example, the song "Twerk It Like Miley" by Brandon Beal and Danish singer Christopher was a hit in the latter's home country but never made it to the US Billboard charts. Instead, it became the most played song in the Philippines due to being frequently used in DubSmash, and on local variety show Eat Bulaga.
This rather obscure song by Italian singers Edoardo Benato and Gianna Nannini is still huge in Germany. Why? Two reasons mostly - first, Germany has had a weird obsession/love affair with all things Italian since the first VW Käfer in the 1950s made it possible to go to the beaches of bella Italia for some pasta and gelato. Second, this song happened to be the "anthem" of the soccer World Cup of 1990, which took place in Italy... and Germany won it. Naturally this song is played every time highlights from the 1990 world cup are shown and for some reason they are often shown in Germany.
"When You Are a King" was a #13 hit in the United Kingdom in 1971 for the group White Plains. Like many other "faceless" hit songs by studio-only groups at the time, it was forgotten very quickly... but it remains an iconic anthem in Israel where it was Covered Up by Shlomo Artzi (essentially, the Israeli equivalent to Bruce Springsteen).
How about this one-hit wonder in the Philippines who had zero hits in America? Jason Everly, son of Phil of the Everly Brothers, dueted with Filipino singer Donna Cruz on the ballad "Wish", which was one of the biggest local hits of 1995.
UK New Wave band China Crisis was moderately successful at home, with their 1983 song "Wishful Thinking" becoming their only British Top 10 hit. But in the Philippines, "Wishful Thinking" is a bona fide classic of the genre, popular enough with new wave fans to bring the band back to the country four times in the 21st century.
"Sukiyaki" Kyu Sakamoto was one the biggest hits of 1963, Making it the first foreign single to make it in the billboard top 100, selling 13 million singles world wide. Too this day one of the best-selling singles of all time!
About a couple of months later The Singing Nun's Christian Folk song "Dominique" would make it into the top 10 the top 100, shifting between from number 1 to number 2 on charts for 28 weeks; it might have even surpassed "Sukiyaki" in terms of success if it weren't for Tthehe surprise invasion of the The Beatles's "I Wanna Hold your Hand" in February 1964.
Due to its use in an episode of Arthur the Finnish Folk song "Matalii ja mustii" performed by Värttinä has gained a small cult following In North America.
Pennsylvania band The Buoys hit the Billboard top 20 with "Timothy", but had no further success in their home country. (Perhaps unsurprising, considering that "Timothy" was a controversial novelty song about cannibalism.) But the follow-up single, "Give Up Your Guns", was a smash hit in The Netherlands.
Frank Zappa's 1979 song "Bobby Brown" (which is not aboutthe R&B singer) had lyrics so vulgar that it never could get any mainstream attention in the US when it was released. But in Europe the song became massively popular, charting #1 in Sweden and Norway and #4 in Germany, and it became Zappa's best known song there. Its huge success was probably made possible because the sexual and cultural references in the lyrics weren't so clear to European listeners and they could appreciate the song's catchy melody without being overwhelmed by its pervasive imagery.
The success of any Mandarin pop singer born in Malaysia or Singapore in Taiwan is justified due to the huge demand of Mandarin music there.
Their look and style tends to be emulated, especially given that Wigan has garnered a reputation for unusual fashions amongst women and following fashionable female celebs.
Anjulie can be added to the list.
The trope has evolved to expand to a wider area now; these celebs are popular in Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, Metropolitan Borough of Sefton, Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Watford and London Borough of Hillingdon as well, but elsewhere in the UK retain a lower profile.
One of the few markets where the CD isn't dead is Japan. Japanese customers prefer physical copies of music over downloads. Record companies can also get otaku to buy multiple copies of the Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition of some Idol Singer's latest album. The country is also having its own vinyl revival because the culture values physical media.
Due to the mutual intelligibility between the Spanish and Italian languages (making for very easy translations) and the catchy melodies, ever since The '60s, many Italian pop singers have been very popular in Latin America, such as Laura Pausini, Gianluca Grignani and Tiziano Ferro.
Doing unjustice to everyone, one can state the following trope zig-zag of German pop:
1945-1976: No one cares about German pop outside Germany
1976-1985: Neue Deutsche Welle! Kraftwerk! Songs get covered even in Spain! Nena is #1 in multiple countries!
1985-now: see 1945-1976.
The Eurovision Song Contest began in 1956, with some West European countries participating. Today, these countries still participate, but regard the contest as a joke * and an expensive one for the winning country's state broadcaster, which then has to host the contest the following year - Ireland's RTÉ was nearly bankrupted after they won three contests in a row during the 1990s, largely because Eurovision's then-current "must be in the country's native language" rule meant only the UK and Ireland could use English., and send largely unknown artists (most of the West European countries) or grizzled music veterans of varying current popularity (mostly the UK, which has sent Engelbert Humperdinck and a reunion of 90s boy band Blue in the past). The Nordic and East European countries, which joined the contest later, take it seriously, and send their top artists. (see: ABBA, who had their big break at Eurovision) In Sweden, the contest is Serious Business, with the six-week qualifying contest Melodifestivalen dominating entertainment news during the season.
Which led to a historical kick in the ass and a Moment of Awesome in 2006, when the contest was won by a Finnish heavy metal band.note By that time, the "native language" rule had been eliminated for good. Lordi's winning entry "Hard Rock Hallelujah" is in English.
Interestingly, a handful of Eurovision songs have actually done quite well in the U.S., and only one of those songs ("Waterloo", of course) actually won the contest. Other successful songs include "Volare" (which was a #1 hit in the U.S. right as the Hot 100 was being established, despite placing third in the contest), "L'amour est bleu" (which also went to #1 under the title "Love Is Blue"), "Eres tu" (which went to #9), and "Ooh Aah...Just a Little Bit" (#12, despite only finishing eighth). In 2021, however, 2019 winner "Arcade" became a Sleeper Hit and the first winner to chart in the U.S., so far coming in at #78. A Eurovision winner that was HUGE in the UK was Vicky Leandros's "Come What May", a fantastic translation of the original "Apres Toi", hitting #2 in the charts and is a beloved karaoke song in the UK.
Vinyl records hung on as a mainstream format for longer in the UK, Europe, and South America than in the US, so much so that many modern vinyl pressings sold in the US are actually pressed in the EU. In the '90s, vinyl releases remained common there while in the US, vinyl albums would be issued as limited editions if they were issued at all. This was mainly because LPs were cheaper than CDs at the time, and these were price-sensitive markets. It probably helps that the genres that have made the most use of vinyl, Electronic Dance Music and indie, have significant fandoms over there.
Tower Records was a cultural force during the rock era, but due to the decline of physical music, it shut down the last of its American stores in 2006. However, it has always been incredibly popular in Japan and continues to thrive there to this day. Physical media and collectors items as a whole have more business in that country; visit the Tower Records in Shibuya, and you'll see new music enshrined with custom decorations, bonus DVDs, multiple versions, and even autographs by the band members. Tower would only reopen in the U.S. as a mail-order business in 2020.
Cassettes remained popular in the developing world (as well as in certain prisons, where prisons prohibit CDs because inmates can make weapons out of them) as the West abandoned the format in favor of CDs and digital music due to the format's low cost and high durability. As with vinyl, cassette culture would have a revival in the West starting in the 2010s, but it's nowhere near as big as the "vinyl revival". The format also had more acceptance early on in Europe and Latin America as a music medium as the 8-track tape had less of a foothold.
Tom Waits has a song titled "Big in Japan" reflecting this trope. Alphaville has one too, but it's not aboutthat kind of "big".
In addition to being a pastiche of Frank Zappa, "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Genius in France" is likely a poke at this along with Jerry Lewis. The whole song is about how the protagonist is by his own estimate just some random idiot but is a huge celebrity in France for, as far as he can tell, no reason whatsoever.
From the bridge of Steve Taylor's song "On The Fritz": "So they love Jerry Lewis in France; does that make him funny?"