Famous 20th Century British Musicians

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Find out more about the greatest 20th Century British Musicians, including John Lennon, Mel B, David Bowie, Amy Winehouse and Ellie Goulding
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 1 
Elton John
(Singer, Pianist and Composer- One of the Best-Selling Artists of All Time)
Elton John
96
Birthdate: March 25, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pinner, England
The supremely gifted English singer, songwriter, pianist and composer, Elton John has entertained music lovers globally since the 1970s. His phenomenal talent make him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Not to forget his tribute to Princess Diana, Candle in the Wind 1997, which till date is one of the best-selling singles in the UK and the US.
 2 
Mick Jagger
(British Singer-Songwriter and Founding Member of the Rock Band 'Rolling Stones')
Mick Jagger
20
Birthdate: July 26, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dartford, England, United Kingdom

Mick Jagger is widely regarded as one of the most influential frontmen in rock & roll history. Known for his energetic performances on-stage and multiple relationships off-stage, Mick is frequently portrayed as a countercultural figure. He is an inductee to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and UK Music Hall of Fame.

 3 
Ringo Starr
(The Drummer of the Rock Band 'The Beatles')
Ringo Starr
44
Birthdate: July 7, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dingle, Liverpool, England

English musician, singer, and songwriter, Ringo Starr, gained international fame as the drummer for the rock band, the Beatles. Raised by a single mother, he had a difficult childhood. He sought solace in music and it became his vocation. After finding success with the Beatles, he embarked on a solo career as well.

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 4 
Brian May
(Lead Guitarist of the Rock Band 'Queen')
Brian May
36
Birthdate: July 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hampton, London, England

Queen guitarist and singer-songwriter Brian May is also a PhD in astrophysics. One of Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time and Guitar World’s second-greatest guitarist, he received a CBE. He was a Chancellor of Liverpool at John Moores University, has worked with NASA, and fights for animal rights.

 5 
Eric Clapton
(One of the Greatest Guitarists of All Time)
Eric Clapton
35
Birthdate: March 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ripley, England

Eric Clapton, the rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, is considered one of the most influential guitarists of all time. In the 1970s, he recorded a number of successful solo albums and continued to do so over the next several decades and is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He has had issues with alcohol and drugs.

 6 
Phil Collins
(Drummer & Lead Singer of the Rock Band 'Genesis')
Phil Collins
39
Birthdate: January 30, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chiswick, Middlesex, London, United Kingdom

Phil Collins is best known for his work with the popular rock band Genesis. Having sold more than 150 million copies worldwide, he is one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Phil is one of three recording artists who have sold more than 100 million records both as principal members of a band and as solo artists.

 7 
Ozzy Osbourne
(Lead Vocalist of the Heavy Metal Band 'Black Sabbathe')
Ozzy Osbourne
21
Birthdate: December 3, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Aston, Birmingham, England

The lead vocalist of the hard rock band, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne is an iconic hard rock star. His successful stint with the band was followed by an equally successful solo career with albums like No More Tears. However, the Godfather of Metal has also attracted media glare owing to his alcohol and drug abuse issues and crazy public behaviour.

 8 
Slash
(Musician)
Slash
29
Birthdate: July 23, 1965
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hampstead

Slash is an English-American songwriter, musician, and record producer. After achieving popularity as the lead guitarist of Guns N' Roses, Slash left the band to form Velvet Revolver, a hard rock supergroup. Widely regarded as one of the greatest guitar players in the history of rock, Slash is often named in lists, such as the Top Guitarists of All Time.

 9 
Jimmy Page
(Guitarist and Founder of the Rock Band 'Led Zeppelin')
Jimmy Page
18
Birthdate: January 9, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Heston, Middlesex, England

An English musician, songwriter, and record producer, Jimmy Page gained international recognition as the founder of the popular rock band Led Zeppelin. Widely regarded as one of the most influential and greatest guitarists of all time, Jimmy Page was ranked third in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Jimmy Page has influenced several popular guitarists.

 10 
Sting
(Musician & Singer)
Sting
18
Birthdate: October 2, 1951
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wallsend, England

Sting is an English singer-songwriter, musician, and actor. Credited with co-founding the popular rock band, The Police, Sting played an important role in the band's success from 1977 to 1984 during which he served as the band's bassist, lead singer, and principal songwriter. Also known for his work as an activist, Sting has shown interest in political and social issues.

 11 
Keith Richards
(Musician)
Keith Richards
27
Birthdate: December 18, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dartford, Kent, England, United Kingdom

Keith Richards is a musician and songwriter. He is credited with co-founding one of the most popular rock bands ever, The Rolling Stones. Also a guitarist, he was ranked fourth on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 best guitarists list in 2011. Richards' look and characterization inspired the character of Captain Teague who appears in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series.

 12 
John Bonham
(Drummer of Rock Band Led Zeppelin)
John Bonham
11
Birthdate: May 31, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Redditch, England, UK
Died: September 25, 1980

John Bonham was an English drummer and songwriter. Considered one of the most influential and greatest rock drummers in history, Bonham was part of the world-renowned rock band Led Zeppelin. He influenced several drummers like Joey Kramer, Dave Grohl, Ian Mosley, Neil Peart, and Tommy Lee among other famous drummers. Bonham is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

 13 
Keith Moon
(Drummer)
Keith Moon
11
Birthdate: August 23, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wembley, England
Died: September 7, 1978

Keith Moon was an English drummer whose drug addiction and self-destructive behavior overshadowed his contribution to the rock band The Who. His drumming continues to attract appreciation from critics. Several other drummers like Dave Grohl and Neil Peart have cited Moon's drumming style as an influence. In 1982, he was inducted posthumously into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.

 14 
Jeff Lynne
(Singer-songwriter, Record producer)
Jeff Lynne
10
Birthdate: December 30, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Shard End

Jeff Lynne is an English multi-instrumentalist, record producer, singer, and songwriter. He is credited with co-founding the popular rock band Electric Light Orchestra. He is also credited with popularizing the band with his leadership skills following the exit of co-founder Roy Wood in 1972. In the 2020 Birthday Honours, Lynne was appointed OBE for services to music.

 15 
Mark Knopfler
(Former lead guitarist, singer and songwriter of the rock band Dire Straits)
Mark Knopfler
11
Birthdate: August 12, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Best known as the lead guitarist and singer of the popular rock band Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler is one of Britain’s most celebrated guitar icons. Known for hits such as Sultans of Swing, he and his band also released Brothers in Arms, one of the best-selling albums of all time.

 16 
Thom Yorke
(Singer, Musician, Songwriter)
Thom Yorke
12
Birthdate: October 7, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wellingborough

English musician, Thom Yorke, is the main vocalist and songwriter of the rock band Radiohead. He is a multi-instrumentalist as well. Active in the music industry for over 35 years, he performs both as part of his band and as a solo artist. He is a human rights activist and also supports animal rights, environmental and anti-war causes.

 17 
John Deacon
(Musician)
John Deacon
21
Birthdate: August 19, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Oadby, United Kingdom
Former Queen bass guitarist and songwriter John Deacon contributed to some of the most popular hits of the band, such as I Want to Break Free and Another One Bites the Dust. He was the last member to enter the band, and the “quietest.” He retired in 1997.
 18 
Morrissey
(Frontman of Rock Band the 'Smiths')
Morrissey
10
Birthdate: May 22, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Davyhulme, Urmston, England
Morrissey, frontman of the 1980s’ rock band The Smiths, is known for his anti-establishment lyrics and themes such as isolation. He has dabbled in music journalism and has had a successful solo career, too. A cultural icon, he is an animal rights activist and has a huge gay fan base.
 19 
Van Morrison
(Singer)
Van Morrison
12
Birthdate: August 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bloomfield, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Northern Irish singer, Van Morrison, garnered recognition in the 1960s while playing with the band, Them, and then later as a solo singer with the 1967 song Brown Eyed Girl. Over the years, he has released more than 40 albums. Astral Weeks, Moondance, Wavelength, Down the Road and Keep It Simple are some of his acclaimed and commercially successful albums.

 20 
Lemmy
(Founder, Lead Singer, Bassist and Primary Songwriter of the Rock Band 'Motörhead')
Lemmy
14
Birthdate: December 24, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Died: December 28, 2015

Lemmy was an English musician who founded the popular rock band Motörhead. The only continuous member of Motörhead, Lemmy served as the band's lead singer, primary songwriter, and bassist. Renowned for his gravelly voice, which was counted among the most recognizable voices in rock, Lemmy is also remembered for his military-influenced fashion sense and his signature friendly mutton chops.

 21 
David Gilmour
(Guitarist, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Multi-instrumentalist, Record producer)
David Gilmour
6
Birthdate: March 6, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cambridge ,England

Pink Floyd guitarist/singer David Gilmour helped the band become one of the best-selling acts ever. One of Rolling Stone magazine’s greatest guitarists of all time, he has also been an advocate of animal rights and other causes. He once auctioned off 120 guitars, including his iconic Black Strat, for charity.

 22 
Bernie Taupin
(British Songwriter Best Known for His Long-Term Partnership with Musician Elton John)
Bernie Taupin
11
Birthdate: May 22, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England

Lyricist Bernie Taupin is best known for his collaboration with Elton John for over 30 albums. Their works include the iconic hit Candle in the Wind. Taupin has also had a successful solo career and has performed with the band Farm Dogs. He has also exhibited his original artwork.

 23 
Pete Townshend
(Co-Founder and Lead Vocalist of the Rock Band 'The Who')
Pete Townshend
9
Birthdate: May 19, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England

Pete Townshend is an English guitarist, composer, and singer. He is credited with co-founding and leading one of the most influential and important rock bands of the 20th century, The Who. Also an influential guitarist, Pete Townshend was ranked 10th in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 greatest guitarists of all time list published in 2011.

Elvis Costello
10
Birthdate: August 25, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paddington, London, England

Regarded as one of the greatest artists of all time, Elvis Costello is a British singer-songwriter. Often counted among British cultural icons, Costello is also known for his humanitarian efforts; a prominent member of the Jazz Foundation of America, Costello has played a crucial role in saving the lives of many elderly blues and jazz musicians in America.

 25 
Ronnie Wood
(Best Known as a Member of the Rock Band 'Rolling Stones')
Ronnie Wood
9
Birthdate: June 1, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hillingdon, England, United Kingdom

Ronnie Wood is a musician and songwriter. Over the years, Wood has been an important member of popular rock bands like the Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck Group, and Faces. He is one of the few musicians to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A cancer survivor, Wood serves as an inspiration to those fighting cancer.

 26 
Mick Fleetwood
(Musician)
Mick Fleetwood
7
Birthdate: June 24, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Redruth, Cornwall, England
 27 
Freddie Mercury
(One of the Greatest Rock Singers and the Lead Vocalist of the Rock Band 'Queen')
Freddie Mercury
58
Birthdate: September 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Stone Town, Tanzania
Died: November 24, 1991

Legendary singer, songwriter and lead vocalist of the British rock band, Queen, Frederick Bulsara adopted the name Freddie Mercury which aptly suits his on-stage vibrant and exuberant persona. A four-octave vocal range musician, Mercury owned every stage he set foot on as much with his vivid performance as with his superhuman voice modulation.  

 28 
David Bowie
(Regarded as One of the Most Influential Musicians of the 20th Century)
David Bowie
29
Birthdate: January 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: January 10, 2016

English singer-songwriter and actor David Bowie is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Dubbed "The Greatest Rock Star Ever" by Rolling Stone magazine, he rose to international prominence in the 1970s with his innovative style of music. Deeply dedicated to his profession, he remained musically active until his death in 2016.

 29 
John Lennon
(The Founder, Co-Songwriter, Co-Lead Vocalist & Rhythm Guitarist of 'The Beatles')
John Lennon
69
Birthdate: October 9, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
Died: December 8, 1980

John Lennon was part of the hugely successful and popular music band, Beatles. It became the first British band to break out big in the US. However, they eventually broke up. Subsequently, Lennon went solo, with 1971 album, Imagine, being his most successful and acclaimed post-Beatles efforts. Sadly he was shot dead by a deranged fan in New York.

 30 
Joe Strummer
(Singer, Guitarist)
Joe Strummer
6
Birthdate: August 21, 1952
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ankara, Turkey
Died: December 22, 2002
Joe Strummer is remembered for his memorable performances with the punk rock band The Clash, with whom he delivered hits such as London Calling and Train in Vain. He was known for his rebellious and politically charged lyrics. He also experimented with acting and hosted on a BBC radio show.
 31 
George Harrison
(Achieved Fame As the Lead Guitarist of the Beatles)
George Harrison
46
Birthdate: February 25, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: November 29, 2001

Gaining fame as the lead guitarist of the rock band, the Beatles, English musician, George Harrison, helped broaden the scope of popular music in the Western world. He was also successful as a solo performer and released many best-selling albums. He was named in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time

 32 
Brian Eno
(Musician, Record producer)
Brian Eno
10
Birthdate: May 15, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Melton, Suffolk, England
Brian Eno created "The Microsoft Sound" for Windows 95 and co-developed the card-based creativity-improving technique Oblique Strategies. His ambient music album Reflection was nominated for a Grammy, and his visual installations have been projected on structures such as the Sydney Opera House. He also co-founded the Long Now Foundation.
 33 
Charlie Watts
(Drummer)
Charlie Watts
7
Birthdate: June 2, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kingsbury, London, England
Died: August 24, 2021

English drummer, Charlie Watts, was best known as a member of the band Rolling Stones. He was associated with the group for almost 60 years. He began his career as a graphic designer for an advertising company and played with bands in his leisure time. He eventually started drumming full time with Rolling Stones.

 34 
Richard Wright (Musician)
(One of the Founders of the Progressive Rock Band ‘Pink Floyd’)
Richard Wright (Musician)
6
Birthdate: July 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hatch End, Middlesex, England
Died: September 15, 2008

Richard Wright was an English musician. He is credited with co-founding the popular band ,Pink Floyd, for which he also served as a vocalist and keyboardist. Wright contributed immensely to the success of Pink Floyd and his distinctive keyboard playing was a key component of the music produced by the band.

 35 
Ginger Baker
(Former Drummer known for co-founder and occasional vocalist of the rock band Cream)
Ginger Baker
7
Birthdate: August 19, 1939
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lewisham, South London, England
Died: October 6, 2019
 36 
Bill Wyman
(Musician and Singer)
Bill Wyman
6
Birthdate: October 24, 1936
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lewisham
Bill Wyman is known as the bassist for the iconic band The Rolling Stones. He later formed the band Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. He is a skilled photographer who has exhibited his work. He has also written several books, including one on archaeology. He has also patented a metal detector.
 37 
Olivia Newton-John
(One of the Best-selling Artists, Who Starred in the Musical 'Grease')
Olivia Newton-John
6
Birthdate: September 26, 1948
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cambridge, England, US
Died: August 8, 2022

Olivia Newton-John's breathy voice and stunning beauty made her one of the biggest pop stars of the 1970s. She charmed generations of movie viewers in the blockbuster film Grease. Following a string of country and soft-rock hits, Newton-John starred opposite John Travolta in the 1978  blockbuster Grease, considered as one the most popular movie musicals of all time.

 38 
Mark Ronson
(DJ, Songwriter, Record Producer)
Mark Ronson
23
Birthdate: September 4, 1975
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Seven-time Grammy-winning music producer and DJ Mark Ronson shot to fame with Amy Winehouse’s album Back to Black and single Rehab, and his own single Uptown Funk, featuring Bruno Mars. He won both the Grammy and the Golden Globe for co-writing Shallow. He supports disadvantaged children and budding artists.
 39 
Peter Green
(Musician & Songwriter)
Peter Green
9
Birthdate: October 29, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bethnal Green, London, England
Died: July 25, 2020

Peter Green was an English guitarist and singer-songwriter. Green is credited with founding the popular British-American rock band, Fleetwood Mac. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Named in Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list, Green has influenced many other guitarists like Joe Perry and Gary Moore.

 40 
John Entwistle
(Musician & Songwriter who was The Bassist ‍for The Rock Band 'The Who')
John Entwistle
5
Birthdate: October 9, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: June 27, 2002

John Entwistle was an English singer-songwriter, bass guitarist, and music producer. He is credited with co-founding the popular rock band, The Who, for which he served as the original bass guitarist and backing vocalist. Nicknamed Thunderfingers, Entwistle was named in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Bass Players list. He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 41 
John Paul Jones
(Musician)
John Paul Jones
6
Birthdate: January 3, 1946
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sidcup, Kent, England
 42 
Jeff Beck
(Guitarist, Composer, Musician, Jazz guitarist, Songwriter)
Jeff Beck
7
Birthdate: June 24, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: England

Jeff Beck is a British rock guitarist renowned for his association with popular rock bands like The Yardbirds, Beck, Bogert & Appice, and The Jeff Beck Group. Regarded as one of the greatest and most influential players in history, Beck has won several awards like the Grammy Awards. He has also appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine thrice.

 43 
Robert Plant
(Lead Singer and Lyricist of the English Rock Band 'Led Zeppelin')
Robert Plant
6
Birthdate: August 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Bromwich, England, United Kingdom

Regarded as one of the most influential music artists of all time, Robert Anthony Plant was the lead singer and song writer of the extremely successful rock group Led Zeppelin. After the band disbanded, the Grammy award winning artist, with his powerful and wide vocal range, established a successful solo career. He has also collaborated with other artists and bands.

 44 
Rod Stewart
(One of the Best-Selling Music Artists of All Time)
Rod Stewart
9
Birthdate: January 10, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Highgate

British rock and pop singer and songwriter, Rod Stewart has sold over 250 million records worldwide and is counted among the best-selling music artists of all time. During his extensive career that spans almost six decades, he has won numerous awards and accolades. He was mentioned on the "Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists" list in 2008.

 45 
Ritchie Blackmore
(Guitarist, Songwriter)
Ritchie Blackmore
9
Birthdate: April 14, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Weston-super-Mare
 46 
Tony Iommi
(Guitarist, Composer, Musician, Songwriter)
Tony Iommi
7
Birthdate: February 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Birmingham

Black Sabbath lead guitarist Tony Iommi was named one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Known for his signature black leather jacket and silver cross neckpiece, he is fond of playing dark guitar tones. While he successfully beat lymphoma, the cancer was in remission later.

 47 
Barry Gibb
(Member of the Music Group "Bee Gees," One of the Best-Selling Groups of All Time)
Barry Gibb
5
Birthdate: September 1, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Douglas, Isle of Man

A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees is known for his versatility. Barry ranks second on the Guinness World Records list of successful songwriters and has gifted his fans cult classics of pop/disco music of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Stayin’ Alive.

 48 
Kate Bush
(One of the Most Successful British Solo Performers of All Time)
Kate Bush
5
Birthdate: July 30, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bexleyheath, England, United Kingdom
Kate Bush is best known for her UK Singles Chart-topper debut single Wuthering Heights. She has released 25 UK Top 40 singles, such as Babooshka and Running Up That Hill. She is known for her literary themes and drew inspiration from James Joyce’s Ulysses. She was also awarded the CBE.
 49 
Roger Taylor
(Best Known As The Drummer Of The Rock Band 'Queen')
Roger Taylor
12
Birthdate: July 26, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: King's Lynn, Norfolk, England
Roger Taylor soared to fame as the drummer of the iconic rock band Queen. A Planet Rock poll named him the eighth-greatest classic rock drummer. Taylor also became known for his falsetto vocal range and co-wrote hits such as Innuendo and Under Pressure. He also appeared on Pop Quiz.
 50 
Seal
(Singer-songwriter)
Seal
18
Birthdate: February 19, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paddington, London, England

Seal is a British singer and songwriter. He has received several prestigious awards over the course of his career. Also known for his charity work, Seal has performed at several charity events in an attempt to help non-profit organizations, such as the Make It Right Foundation.