Because I've tried and failed to put it better myself, I'd like to begin by quoting my colleague Alec Palao: "There was a time not so long ago when credibility in pop and rock music came only from success within the American or British marketplace. No matter how accomplished they might be, foreign acts and their attendant music scenes were frequently viewed with condescension, and anything not sung in English deemed a novelty. As the development of rock in other countries during its first two decades comes increasingly into focus, such cultural imperialism has been proved wrong time and again. Even when its practitioners were aping American or UK acts, each country added something of its own identity. There were different levels of energy too. The raucous abandon ofIceland's Thor's Hammer or the Antipodean beat groups contrasts with the sophisticated pop oozed by a French chanteuse. In 60s Japan, you got both sides of the coin - sometimes even within the same record."