Famous 20th Century Folk Singers

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 1 
John Denver
(Best Know for His Songs 'Rocky Mountain High', 'Take Me Home, Country Roads', and 'Annie's Song')

John Denver
7
Birthdate: December 31, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Roswell, New Mexico, United States
Died: October 12, 1997

John Denver was one of the highest-selling and most popular singers during the 1970s. He was known for folk, pop and country music. Some of his greatest songs are Take Me Home Country Roads, Leaving on a Jet Plane, Rocky Mountain High, Sunshine on My Shoulders and Annie's Song. He died when a plane he was piloting crashed in California.

 2 
Leonard Cohen
(Singer-songwriter)

Leonard Cohen
6
Birthdate: September 21, 1934
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Westmount, Canada
Died: November 7, 2016

Leonard Cohen was one of the most popular Canadian celebrities of all time. After starting his career as a poet and novelist, Leonard went on to become a famous singer-songwriter, exploring themes like sexuality, religion, depression, and romantic relationships in his work. Leonard Cohen was one of the inspirations for Steven Clark and Matthew Bissonnette's 2002 film Looking for Leonard.

 3 
Joni Mitchell
(Famous for Her Studio Album 'Blue')

Joni Mitchell
12
Birthdate: November 7, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fort Macleod, Canada

Joni Mitchell is one of the most popular Canadian singer-songwriters. Widely regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, her songs reflect her feelings about joy, romance, disillusionment, and confusion. Apart from being a musician, Joni is also a visual artist who designs most of her album covers. In fact, she calls herself a painter derailed by circumstance.  

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 4 
Tracy Chapman
(Known for Her Hit Singles 'Fast Car', 'Talkin' 'bout a Revolution' and 'Baby Can I Hold You')

Tracy Chapman
7
Birthdate: March 30, 1964
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

A four-time Grammy Award-winning artist, singer Tracy Chapman is best known for her hit single, Give Me One Reason. Interested in music from a young age, she learned to play multiple instruments as a child. She made her major-stage debut in 1985 and soon became a sensational hit. She is also known for her social activism.

 5 
Cat Stevens
(Singer and Multi-Instrumentalist Known for His Albums ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ and ‘Teaser and the Firecat’)

Cat Stevens
5
Birthdate: July 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom

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.

 6 
Harry Belafonte
(Singer, Actor)

Harry Belafonte
5
Birthdate: March 1, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, United States

 7 
Gordon Lightfoot
(Singer, Songwriter)

Gordon Lightfoot
5
Birthdate: November 17, 1938
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Orillia
Canadian folk-rock sensation Gordon Meredith Lightfoot Jr. is best known for his chart-topping tracks such as If You Could Read My Mind and Ribbon of Darkness. He set the tone for the folk-pop genre in the 1960s and 1970s. The 16-time Juno-winner has earned the Governor General's Performing Arts Award.
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 8 
John Prine
(Known for an Often Humorous Style of Original Music That Has Elements of Protest and Social Commentary)

John Prine
4
Birthdate: October 10, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Maywood, Illinois, United States
Died: April 7, 2020

 9 
Woody Guthrie
(Singer-songwriter)

Woody Guthrie
4
Birthdate: July 14, 1912
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Okemah, Oklahoma, United States
Died: October 3, 1967
Legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie is best remembered for his songs such as This Land Is Your Land and Cocaine Blues, and the concept album Dust Bowl Ballads. He inspired artists such as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, and performed with a guitar labeled “This machine kills fascists.”

 10 
Townes Van Zandt
(Country Singer & Songwriter Best Known for His Songs: 'Pancho and Lefty' and 'For the Sake of the Song')

Townes Van Zandt
4
Birthdate: March 7, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Died: January 1, 1997

Country singer Townes Van Zandt is remembered for his melancholy and lyrical tracks. His hits such as Pancho and Lefty and To Live Is to Fly have influenced many artists of subsequent generations. He struggled with depression and spent a considerable part of his life in cheap shacks and motels.

 11 
Pete Seeger
(Singer)

Pete Seeger
4
Birthdate: May 3, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, United States
Died: January 27, 2014

Pete Seeger was an American social activist and folk singer. Seeger believed that the power of music could bring about a social change, an ideology that reflected on his works. Through his music, Seeger expressed his support towards counterculture, civil rights, environmental rights, international disarmament, and workers rights.

 12 
Arlo Guthrie
(Folk Singer Known for His Song 'Massachusetts', Which Became the Official Folk Song of the State)

Arlo Guthrie
4
Birthdate: July 10, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City, United States
Folk singer Arlo Guthrie is known for his songs that have prominent social themes and talk about his anti-war sentiments or about social injustice. Two of his most popular tracks are Alice's Restaurant Massacree, Massachusetts, and City of New Orleans. He has also starred in films such as Alice's Restaurant.

 13 
Harry Chapin
(Singer Best Known for His Folk Rock & Pop Rock Songs)

Harry Chapin
4
Birthdate: December 7, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Greenwich Village, New York, United States
Died: July 16, 1981
Grammy-winning folk rock and pop rock singer Harry Chapin was one of the highest-paid artists of the 1970s, known for tracks such as Cat's in the Cradle. An avid philanthropist, he was part of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger. He also won a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal

 14 
Judy Collins
(Singer-songwriter)

Judy Collins
11
Birthdate: May 1, 1939
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States

 15 
Sandy Denny
(Singer-songwriter, Singer, Songwriter)

Sandy Denny
6
Birthdate: January 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London
Died: April 21, 1978

 16 
Paul Simon
(American Singer-Songwriter)

Paul Simon
7
Birthdate: October 13, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States

One half of the popular musical duo Simon & Garfunkel, Paul Simon is a singer-songwriter, musician, and actor. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists and songwriters of all time. His career, which has spanned more than 60 years, has been so influential that Time named him among the 100 People Who Shaped the World in 2006.

 17 
Joan Chandos Baez
(Best Known for Her Songs "Diamonds & Rust," "We Shall Overcome" and "Joe Hill")

Joan Chandos Baez
6
Birthdate: January 9, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Staten Island, New York, United States

Singer, songwriter, musician, and activist Joan Baez has been active in the music world for over six decades. She emerged as a major musical figure in the counterculture era of the 1960s. Her music encompasses various genres like pop, folk-rock, country, and gospel music. She is involved in civil rights, human rights, and environmental activism as well.

 18 
Van Morrison
(Singer)

Van Morrison
4
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.

 19 
Richard Thompson
(Musician, Singer-Songwriter)

Richard Thompson
3
Birthdate: April 3, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Notting Hill Gate, London

 20 
Jim Croce
(Folk and Rock Singer Best Known for His Third album 'You Don't Mess Around with Jim')

Jim Croce
5
Birthdate: January 10, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: September 20, 1973

Jim Croce was an American rock and folk singer-songwriter. At the peak of his popularity, Jim Croce died in a plane crash at age 30. Many of his works were released posthumously and achieved popularity. Jim Croce's music has been used in many popular films, such as The Hangover Part II, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Hobbs & Shaw.

 21 
Phil Ochs
(Singer)

Phil Ochs
3
Birthdate: December 19, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: El Paso, Texas, USA
Died: April 9, 1976

 22 
Victor Garber
(Actor, Singer)

Victor Garber
5
Birthdate: March 16, 1949
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, Canada

Victor Garber is a Canadian singer and actor best known for his work in theatre, television, and film. Over the years, Garber has received nominations for several prestigious awards, such as Primetime Emmy Awards and Tony Awards. His work in critically acclaimed movies like Titanic, Argo, and Milk was also appreciated with Screen Actors Guild Award nominations.

 23 
Donovan
(Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Composer, Autobiographer, Writer, Poet, Record producer, Film score composer)

Donovan
4
Birthdate: May 10, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Donovan is a Scottish guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is best known for developing and popularizing a distinctive and eclectic style that blended many genres, such as folk, jazz, pop, calypso, and psychedelic rock. Donovan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

 24 
Sufjan Stevens
(Singer-songwriter most famous for his Illinois album, which includes the hit Chicago)

Sufjan Stevens
4
Birthdate: July 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

 25 
Jewel
(Singer-Songwriter)

Jewel
12
Birthdate: May 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Payson, Utah, United States

 26 
Nick Drake
(Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Guitarist, Composer)

Nick Drake
5
Birthdate: June 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Yangon, Myanmar
Died: November 25, 1974

Nick Drake was a British singer-songwriter best remembered for his acoustic guitar-based music. Although he failed to achieve popularity during his lifetime, Drake's music has achieved recognition in recent times. He suffered from depression throughout his life and died at the age of 26 from an overdose of a prescribed antidepressant called amitriptyline.

 27 
Vera Lynn
(Singer, Entertainer whose musical recordings, performances were very popular during the Second World War)

Vera Lynn
5
Birthdate: March 20, 1917
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Essex, England, United Kingdom
Died: June 18, 2020

 28 
Don McLean
(Singer-songwriter)

Don McLean
4
Birthdate: October 2, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Rochelle, New York, United States

 29 
Stephen Stills
(Singer-songwriter)

Stephen Stills
4
Birthdate: January 3, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States

 30 
Burl Ives
(American singer)

Burl Ives
5
Birthdate: June 14, 1909
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hunt City Township, Illinois, United States
Died: April 14, 1995

 31 

Tyler Childers
4
Birthdate: June 21, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lawrence County, Kentucky, United States

 32 

Roberta Flack
4
Birthdate: February 10, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Black Mountain, North Carolina, United States

 33 
Passenger
(musician, singer-songwriter, singer)

Passenger
5
Birthdate: May 17, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brighton and Hove

 34 
Buffy Sainte-Marie
(Actor, Singer-songwriter, Visual artist, Record producer, Composer)

Buffy Sainte-Marie
5
Birthdate: February 20, 1941
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Piapot, Canada

Known for her music that showcases the issues of Native Americans, Canadian-American singer Buffy Sainte-Marie became the first person from any indigenous community to win an Oscar, with the song Up Where We Belong. She had also been blacklisted by many radio stations earlier due to her activism.

 35 
Janis Ian
(Singer, Songwriter, Musician & Author)

Janis Ian
4
Birthdate: April 7, 1951
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Farmingdale, New Jersey, United States

 36 
Sixto Rodriguez
(Detroit-based folk musician who released little-heard but influential folk music in the 1970's.)

Sixto Rodriguez
5
Birthdate: July 10, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

 37 
Colbie Caillat
(Singer-songwriter)

Colbie Caillat
7
Birthdate: May 28, 1985
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Malibu, California, United States

 38 
Laura Marling
(Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Singer)

Laura Marling
5
Birthdate: February 1, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: England

 39 
Deborah Falconer
(Singer-songwriter and Ex-Wife of Robert Downey Jr.)

Deborah Falconer
9
Birthdate: August 13, 1965
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sacramento, California, United States
Deborah Falconer has appeared in quite a few films, such as the comedy Pyrates and the biographical film The Doors. She also released music albums such as Untangle and Brave Like Me. She was previously married to actor Robert Downey Jr. and also had a son with him.

 40 
Peter Yarrow
(Singer-songwriter who found fame with the 1960s folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary)

Peter Yarrow
3
Birthdate: May 31, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States

 41 
Al Stewart
(Singer-songwriter, Singer, Songwriter)

Al Stewart
3
Birthdate: September 5, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glasgow

 42 
Tom T. Hall
(Singer)

Tom T. Hall
3
Birthdate: May 25, 1936
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Olive Hill, Kentucky, USA

 43 
Ralph McTell
(Singer-Songwriter Best Known for His Song ‘Streets of London')

Ralph McTell
3
Birthdate: December 3, 1944
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Farnborough, Kent, England

 44 
Tom Paxton
(Singer-songwriter, Singer, Musician, Guitarist, Writer)

Tom Paxton
4
Birthdate: October 31, 1937
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chicago

 45 
Blaze Foley
(Singer-songwriter)

Blaze Foley
3
Birthdate: December 18, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Malvern, Arkansas, United States
Died: February 1, 1989

 46 
Roger McGuinn
(Musician)

Roger McGuinn
5
Birthdate: July 13, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA

 47 

Ray LaMontagne
6
Birthdate: June 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nashua, New Hampshire, USA

 48 
Loudon Wainwright III
(Singer, Actor, Singer-songwriter, Film actor, Television actor, Guitarist)

Loudon Wainwright III
3
Birthdate: September 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

 49 
Jerry Jeff Walker
(Singer-Songwriter)

Jerry Jeff Walker
3
Birthdate: March 16, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oneonta, New York, United States

 50 
Roger Whittaker
(Singer-songwriter)

Roger Whittaker
3
Birthdate: March 22, 1936
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nairobi, Kenya