British artists invade US summer charts
It has been a big summer in the U.K. Not only did the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics take place within two months of one another, but British musicians made a name for themselves as they wormed their way onto U.S. music charts and soaked Billboard’s Hot 100 with their hit records.
At this tail end of the summer, there are 10 British singles sitting comfortably on the Hot 100 chart. Near the top rests the ethereal pop of Ellie Goulding’s single “Lights,” which has been on the Hot 100 for 34 weeks and has climbed steadily to its current seat at No. 2. It is an advantageous position for an artist about to release her second album this fall.
There has also been a mighty resurgence of the “boy band,” and no, it is not a concept left behind in the 1990s. This summer, there were two groups battling for prominence here in the U.S: One Direction and The Wanted, both of which include five members hailing from the United Kingdom and Ireland. Both groups also boast two current singles on the Billboard charts, with The Wanted’s “Glad You Came” at No. 37 after 31 weeks on the chart and One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” at No. 25 after 26 weeks on the chart.
A few surprises have also graced the charts: the grit of newcomer Alex Clare’s new album, "The Lateness of the Hour;" the up-tempo, smooth pop of Olly Murs’s debut record; and the road trip-ready quality of Cher Lloyd’s vocals on her first U.S. release. Both Clare and Lloyd have singles on the Hot 100, with Lloyd’s in-your-face, pop-driven “Want U Back” at No. 14 and Clare’s “Too Close,” a soulful rock tune, at No. 21. Both have received ample radio airplay this summer.
The injection of British music into American media does not end with pop singers and boy bands, though. Ed Sheeran, who performed with some of rock music’s greats at the Olympics in what is arguably his most important performance yet, has a single on the Hot 100 and he starts a US Tour in September to promote his debut album. Meanwhile, Scottish disc jockey and musician Calvin Harris has made a name for himself, first with his solo single “Feel So Close” and more recently with his collaboration with Ne-Yo in “Let’s Go,” where Harris takes the David Guetta approach and mixes the music, but leaves the vocals to his American counterpart.
Rounding out the British coup is a familiar name; folk-rock band Mumford & Sons just released the first single off their upcoming album, “I Will Wait,” which debuted on the Hot 100 at No. 23.