Not all the Smash Hits
cover stars who were successful in the 1980s made it in the US too. “Breaking America” was sometimes seen as the ultimate test for a British act as it was not easy to duplicate a winning formula in the UK on the other side of the Atlantic. For reasons of geography alone tour plans had to be quite different to have a similar impact, and the viewing and listening habits of audiences in one US state might be quite different from another on the other side of the country: with multiple television channels and radio stations, it wasn’t as easy as getting a video on ‘Top Of The Pops’ or a song on Radio 1 to reach the whole target audience in the territory at once. One of the biggest acts at the start of the decade here was Adam & The Ants, who had no hits in the US at all; when Adam Ant
went solo he made the American Billboard Hot 100 chart with a few singles, but never the Top 10. At the other end of the 80s Bros
also failed to make much impact stateside despite rarely being off the TV and radio here. But the person with the most starkly different profile on the UK and US singles charts in the 1980s is Paul Weller
. He charted here every year during the decade, with 36 different singles: 9 were new hits with The Jam
which included two imports that weren’t even released in this country; 9 were The Jam’s first 9 singles from the 1970s which all charted again at least once each in the 80s; and 18 were with The Style Council
. Not one of them made the Billboard chart. In fact, he is still yet to have a charting single in the US, despite a 25-year solo career that has offered up numerous hits over here.
For a while, it seemed that Duran Duran were to be denied success in the US too: they had two years of hits in the UK before Hungry Like The Wolf finally brought them fame in America. Released on 7 June 1982 in America, initially the song failed to chart; it was only over six months later, helped by the expensive-looking video clip shot in Sri Lanka, that it made the Hot 100 and kick-started a run of ten Top 20 hits. In addition to Hungry Like The Wolf, two other tracks from the 1982 album it was taken from, Rio, also charted: the title track (Spring 1983) and Save A Prayer in 1985. The latter was chosen as a single to accompany the live album Arena and featured the original studio recording on the A-side and the live version on the B-side. The first of Duran’s two #1s in the States came in the summer of 1984 with The Reflex; the second was their Bond movie theme, A View To A Kill, in 1985. Thereafter, their US career would follow a similar pattern to their UK one, with peaks and troughs.
NEW SINGLES on sale from May. 4
DURAN DURAN Hungry Like The Wolf (EMI EMI5295)
The CULT (Ian Astbury) Spirit Walker (Situation Two SIT33)
INXS (Michael Hutchence) I Send A Message (Mercury PH2)
ORANGE JUICE (Edwyn Collins) What Presence? (Polydor OJ6)
Nick KAMEN Nobody Else (WEA YZ122)