One final trial was to face Jeff. Having finally completed the album, CBS in the USA unexpectedly turned it down, unable to bring themselves to believe it could work with an American audience. Luckily CBS in the UK were far more understanding and enthusiastic in their endorsement and committed to a launch in July 1978. The repentant Americans duly followed when the album proved an enormous smash, going on to spend an unprecedented 235 weeks in the UK charts and selling over 13 million copies.
Two Spanish versions were released in 1978, one starring Anthony Quinn as the narrator, and Curd Jurgens took the role in Germany. Various singles from the album also did extremely well, and in later years, the album found itself sampled by DJ’s such as Orbital and Todd Terry. Most recently, it has enjoyed a new lease of life both in a sumptuous 5.1 surround re-release and as a sell-out stage play. With the planned release in 2007 of a movie version, there just seems no stopping the onward march of this cultural landmark.