Reader V. notes that bands that were a flash in the pan here often had long and rewarding careers in the British Isles. Very true. I remember reading Trainspotting and glancing over a reference to hearing Clare Grogan on the radio. "Wha'!?!" I said. "Clare Grogan! The model for my adolescent womanhood? No freaking way!" But yes, Ms. Grogan, in addition to her acting (Gregory's Girl, in which she was all but invisible behind bangs and a beret) and singing (Altered Images, including the ubiquitous "Happy Birthday"), went on to a solo singing career. This warms my heart.
But the British music scene is different, for a number of reasons. For one, it seems a bit more discrete than the American scene: more divided into camps with specific class and political distinctions. And what passes as a brief fad here goes to England and stays. To wit: not a lot of teddy boys in America, with the exception of the cook at Danny's Diner here in Binghamton, and an anthropologically interesting fellow I met once in the darkest recesses of Queens (Ozone Park, possibly?) who assured us that he had once owned a car "as shiny as a nigger's ass." Huh. But even bikers aren't greasers anymore.
For another, it seems easier for new music to make a big splash there, perhaps because of the smaller market. One true-believer DJ can make a career (eg, John Peel and the Undertones). The role of nationalized media may have some effect, as well.
Discuss. Disagree. Enlighten.