Famous 20th Century British Singers

Find out more about the greatest 20th Century British Singers, including Adele, John Lennon, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury and Paul McCartney.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury
313
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Record Producer
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.  

 2 Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran
297
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 17, 1991
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Halifax, West Yorkshire, England

Ed Sheeran is one of the most popular English singer-songwriters of the current generation. His songs Castle on the Hill and Shape of You from his third studio album broke records in several countries. He is one of the best-selling music artists in the world, having sold over 150 million records worldwide.

 3 David Bowie

David Bowie
220
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
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.

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 4 John Lennon

John Lennon
223
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 9, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
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.

 5 Elton John

Elton John
87
Famous As: Singer, Composer
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.

 6 Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney
199
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: June 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Liverpool, England

English singer-songwriter and musician, Paul McCartney, is one of the most successful composers and performers of all time. He gained worldwide fame as co-lead vocalist and bassist for the rock band, the Beatles. He also enjoyed a successful solo career. Besides music, he has been actively involved in humanitarian causes and animal rights issues.

 7 Amy Jade Winehouse

Amy Jade Winehouse
56
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 14, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Enfield, London, England
Died: July 23, 2011
Soul and jazz singer Amy Winehouse is best remembered for her tracks Stronger Than Me and Rehab. She was the first British female to win five Grammys. Following her death due to alcohol poisoning at age 27, her album Back to Black became U.K.’s best-selling album of the 21st century.
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 8 George Michael

George Michael
85
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 25, 1963
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: East Finchley, London, England
Died: December 25, 2016

George Michael is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He rose to fame as a member of the music duo Wham and later went solo. His first solo single Careless Whisper reached number one in over 20 countries. He came out as gay in 1998. He was often in news for his personal life and legal troubles.

 9 Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne
32
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
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.

 10 Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart
172
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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.

 11 Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger
168
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: July 26, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dartford, England

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.

 12 Sting

Sting
17
Famous As: Musician & Singer
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.

 13 Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton
15
Famous As: Singer, Musician
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.

 14 Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams
23
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 13, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England

Robbie Williams is one of the most popular and successful English singer-songwriters of his generation. Having sold 75 million records, Williams is one of the best-selling music artists ever. His lasting impact on British culture earned him the 2017 Brits Icon Award. Also a well-known philanthropist, Williams has established a charity organization called Give It Sum in his home town.

 15 George Harrison

George Harrison
33
Famous As: Musician
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

 16 Robert Plant

Robert Plant
28
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: August 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Bromwich, England

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.

 17 Liam Gallagher

Liam Gallagher
29
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 21, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Manchester, England
Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher later also led the band Beady Eye, before launching a solo career. Both his solo albums have topped the U.K. charts. The rock icon has been heavily influenced by John Lennon’s singing style. He loves dressing in parkas and is known for his outspokenness.

 18 Seal

Seal
21
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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.

 19 Harry Styles

Harry Styles
241
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: February 1, 1994
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Redditch, Worcestershire, England

With a career that began on the stage of The X Factor to being named Billboard’s Artist of the Year in 2014, Harry Styles is a name to be reckoned with in the music industry. He is a member of the internationally successful pop band, One Direction, and is known for his flamboyance and versatility.   

 20 Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens
20
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England

British singer, Cat Stevens, has released more than 15 studio albums and has churned out many hit songs. He converted to Islam in 1977 and adopted the name Yusuf Islam. He was slammed for reportedly backing the death fatwa on author Salman Rushdie. He has also been accused of allegedly having ties with terrorist organisations, a charge he has vehemently denied.

 21 Zayn Malik

Zayn Malik
31
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 12, 1993
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bradford, England, UK
Popular singer Zayn Malik shot to fame with the television reality show The X Factor and later became a part of a hugely successful band One Direction. Afterwards, Zayn Malik set out to establish his solo career and released his debut album, Mind of Mine, which made him a star. The singer has also made an entry into fashion world.

 22 Bon Scott

Bon Scott
14
Famous As: Singer & Musician
Birthdate: July 9, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Forfar, Scotland
Died: February 19, 1980
Bon Scott worked with bands such as The Spektors, Valentines, and Fraternity before joining the Australian hard rock band AC/DC, replacing lead singer Dave Evans in 1974. He was one of Classic Rock’s 100 Greatest Frontmen of All Time. Following his death, AC/DC released a best-selling album as a tribute.

 23 Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews
20
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 1, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Walton-on-Thames, United Kingdom

A distinguished films, television and Broadway actress, Julie Andrews is best known for her performances in films like Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Victor/Victoria. She has also done voiceovers for animation movie like Despicable Me and Enchanted. The legendary actress has also released multiple albums and authored numerous children’s books as well as her autobiography.

 24 Rita Ora

Rita Ora
42
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 26, 1990
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia

Rita Ora is a popular singer and actress who became the first British female solo artist to release 13 top ten songs in the UK. Also a well-known philanthropist, Rita Ora was appointed as one of the ambassadors for UNICEF UK in 2019. She performs quite frequently in charity concerts and supports several charity organizations.

 25 Brian May

Brian May
10
Famous As: Musician
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.

 26 Liam Payne

Liam Payne
68
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: August 29, 1993
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wolverhampton

Liam Payne is a popular English singer-songwriter who is part of the world-renowned boy band One Direction. Also a well-known philanthropist, Liam Payne has supported Comic Relief and Unicef. In 2020, he helped raise over $10 million for charitable organizations fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to his charity work, he serves as an inspiration to many youngsters across the world.

 27 Phil Collins

Phil Collins
20
Famous As: Drummer, Singer
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.

 28 Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John
54
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 26, 1948
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cambridge, England

A singer, actress, businesswoman and activist, Olivia Newton-John is an DBE honouree who has donned on many hats and shined in all of them. Her five Billboard No.1 singles and two Billboard No.1 albums made her a household name. Turning her personal pain into a global mission for cancer awareness, this four-time Grammy winner is truly a symbol of resilience.

 29 Dusty Springfield

Dusty Springfield
21
Famous As: Singer, Artist, Cleric
Birthdate: April 16, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: West Hampstead, London,England
Died: March 2, 1999

 30 Bruce Dickinson

Bruce Dickinson
8
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 7, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England

Bruce Dickinson is an English singer-songwriter best known for his association with the heavy metal band, Iron Maiden. An important member and lead singer of the band since 1981, Dickinson is famous for his energetic stage presence and wide-ranging operatic vocal style. Also an aircraft enthusiast, Dickinson is credited with creating Cardiff Aviation, a pilot training and aircraft maintenance company.

 31 Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson
131
Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: October 5, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dunston, County Durham, England

Brian Johnson is an English singer and songwriter. Johnson is credited with founding the popular rock band Geordie. Famous for his strong North East England accent and distinctive singing voice, he also played a major role in the success of the band AC/DC over the course of his career. Apart from music, Johnson supports the Yorkshire Dementia Charity.

 32 Idris Elba

Idris Elba
34
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

Idris Elba is a successful actor both on the small and the big screen and is mainly known for the television series The Wire and Luther and also for films, such as Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Beasts of No Nation. He has also acted in blockbuster films of Marvel Comics universe like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War.

 33 Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend
7
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Guitarist
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.

 34 Tom Jones

Tom Jones
28
Famous As: Welsh singer
Birthdate: June 7, 1940
Sun Sign: Gemini

Tom Jones is a Welsh singer who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. His life and work inspired the 2016 musical, Tom: A Story of Tom Jones. In 2005, for his services to music, Tom Jones was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

 35 Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 16, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England

Angela Lansbury played a key role in shaping the Golden Age of Hollywood. Recognized as one of the few stars still alive from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema, Angela Lansbury has received accolades, such as an Honorary Oscar. In 2014, Queen Elizabeth II appointed her a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

 36 Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee
15
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 27, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Belgravia, Westminster, London, England, United Kingdom
Died: June 7, 2015

Christopher Lee was one of the most respected actors of his generation. Such was his impact on the British and American film industries that David Cameron described him as a titan of the golden age of cinema following his death in 2015. Famous for his deep, strong voice, Christopher Lee was also a popular singer who worked with several metal bands.

 37 Jessie J

Jessie J
50
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: March 27, 1988
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Redbridge, London, England
Jessie J, the first U.K. female artist to score six Top-10 singles from the same album, is best known for her Billboard Hot 100-charting single Domino. She has been a coach on The Voice in the U.K. and Australia, and has also appeared in the Chinese singing contest Singer.

 38 Sarah Brightman

Sarah Brightman
10
Famous As: Soprano Singer
Birthdate: August 14, 1960
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England
Classical crossover soprano and actor Sarah Brightman is best known for her international hit Time to Say Goodbye, sung with Andrea Bocelli. She has also performed in various West End and Broadway musicals, such as Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. She was previously married to Andrew Lloyd Webber.

 39 Rick Astley

Rick Astley
46
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 6, 1966
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Newton-le-Willows

Rick Astley went from being a high-school drop-out and a driver, to becoming a music sensation. He turned into a global phenomenon with his 1987 track Never Gonna Give You Up, which topped charts in 25 countries. Years later, in 2007, the video was part of the viral meme “rickrolling.”

 40 Sade Adu

Sade Adu
14
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: January 16, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ibadan, Nigeria

Nigerian-British singer Helen Folasade Adu, or Sade Adu, often blends Afro-Cuban tunes with soul and smooth jazz in her music. The Grammy Award winner had initially studied fashion designing and been a model. The founder of the band Sade, she has released iconic tracks such as No Ordinary Love.

 41 Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel
139
Famous As: Musician & Singer
Birthdate: February 13, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chobham, Surrey, England

Man of Peace recipient and six-time Grammy-winner Peter Gabriel was the lead singer of Genesis but switched to a solo career in 1977. He co-founded the first online music download platform, OD2, and the WOMAD festival, apart from contributing to human rights, with groups such as Witness and The Elders.

 42 Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor
147
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 26, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: King's Lynn, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
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.

 43 Kate Bush

Kate Bush
19
Birthdate: July 30, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Welling, Southeast London, England
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.

 44 Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle
20
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 1, 1961
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Blackburn
Susan Boyle shot to fame with her rendition of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables in an audition for Britain's Got Talent. Her first album, I Dreamed a Dream, was the best-selling debut album in U.K. history. She has also performed at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

 45 Geri Halliwell

Geri Halliwell
32
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Watford

Geri Halliwell is a British singer-songwriter who achieved international fame as part of the popular girl group, The Spice Girls, which has sold more than 85 million records worldwide. Also a well-known philanthropist, Geri Halliwell has worked closely with the United Nations Population Fund, becoming its goodwill ambassador in 1998. She is widely regarded as a girl power icon.

 46 Robin Gibb

Robin Gibb
137
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 22, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Douglas, Isle of Man
Died: May 20, 2012
Robin Gibb was part of the Bee Gees, an iconic pop/rock/disco band of the 1960s and the 1970s and makers of hits such as Stayin' Alive. Robin, a Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee and a CBE-awardee, also had a successful solo career and was the president of the Heritage Foundation.

 47 Alesha Dixon

Alesha Dixon
11
Famous As: Singer, Model, Dancer
Birthdate: October 7, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London

Alesha Dixon is an English singer-songwriter, rapper, and TV personality. She initially wanted to become a teacher, but destiny had other plans for her, and she ended up entering the music world. She rose to fame as a singer in the 2000s as a member of the girl group Mis-Teeq. She later pursued a successful solo career as well. 

 48 James Blunt

James Blunt
13
Birthdate: February 22, 1974
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tidworth, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
Five-time Grammy nominee James Blunt topped international charts with his single You're Beautiful. His album Back to Bedlam recorded the highest sales in the U.K. in the 2000s. He is also concerned about climate change and is known for screening the environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth before his concerts.

 49 Joe Cocker

Joe Cocker
8
Famous As: Singer & Musician
Birthdate: May 20, 1944
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Crookes, Sheffield, England
Died: December 22, 2014

Grammy-winning artist Joe Cocker is best remembered for his tracks You Are So Beautiful and Up Where We Belong. His chartbusting version of the Beatles song With a Little Help from My Friends was the theme song of the series The Wonder Years. He also received an OBE.

 50 Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard
20
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 14, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lucknow
The third-top-selling artist in UK Singles history, Cliff Richard has sold over 250 million records. He charted 67 top-ten and 14 number-one singles in the U.K. He mostly performed with his backing band, The Shadows, and redefined the rock-and-roll genre with singles such as Move It, which inspired The Beatles.