Famous 20th Century Rock Singers

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.
190
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 Prince

Prince.
8
Famous As: African-American Singer
Birthdate: June 7, 1958
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Died: April 21, 2016

Singer-songwriter, dancer, and musician, Prince is is widely regarded as one of the greatest musicians of his generation. He was considered a guitar virtuoso and could also play several other instruments. With worldwide sales of over 150 million records, he is ranked among the best-selling music artists of all time. He was also well known for his flamboyant persona.

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 3 John Lennon

John Lennon.
152
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
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.

 4 Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash.
4
Famous As: Country Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: February 26, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kingsland, Arkansas, United States
Died: September 12, 2003

Johnny Cash, the American singer, songwriter and actor, was known for sorrow, moral suffering and redemption themes in his music. His genre was country, rock and roll, blues, folk and gospel sounds and he is one of the best-selling artists of all time. Cash had issues with drinking and drug abuse. Later he was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease.

 5 Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain.
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: February 20, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Aberdeen, Washington, United States
Died: April 5, 1994

Gaining fame as a member of the rock band Nirvana, singer-songwriter and musician Kurt Cobain was often heralded as a spokesman of Generation X. He is considered to be one of the most influential musicians in the history of alternative rock. He enjoyed tremendous professional success, but his personal life was troubled. He died of suicide at just 27.

 6 Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix.
5
Famous As: Singer & Musician
Birthdate: November 27, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States
Died: September 18, 1970

One of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century, Jimi Hendrix began playing guitar at the age of 15. As his career progressed, he became the first musician to use stereophonic phasing effects in recordings. Rolling Stone ranked him as the greatest guitarist and the sixth greatest artist of all time. He died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 27.

 7 Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison.
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 8, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Melbourne, Florida, United States
Died: July 3, 1971

Considered the prototypical rock star, Jim Morrison remains one of the most influential singer-songwriters, almost five decades after his death. Jim influenced the counterculture of the 1960s as he embodied the hippie counterculture rebellion. Due to his erratic performances and wild personality, he is regarded as one of the most iconic frontmen in rock history.

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 8 Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper.
7
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 4, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan

Alice Cooper is a singer-songwriter. In his career, spanning more than five decades, Alice Cooper has earned the nickname The Godfather of Shock Rock for his ability to produce a theatrical brand of rock aimed at shocking audiences. He is also credited with helping to shape the look and sound of heavy metal. Cooper has influenced musicians like Rob Zombie.

 9 Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart.
148
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.

 10 Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry.
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Guitarist
Birthdate: October 18, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: March 18, 2017

Chuck Berry was an American singer-songwriter. Referred to as the Father of Rock and Roll, Berry is credited with pioneering rock and roll music. He is also credited with influencing the attitude with which the rock music lifestyle is usually associated. Also revered for his guitaring skills, Berry is often included in lists like the Greatest Artists of All Time.

 11 Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop.
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 21, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Muskegon

Iggy Pop is an American singer-songwriter, actor, musician, and record producer. Nicknamed the Godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop was an important member of the proto-punk band Iggy and the Stooges. One of the first singers to perform stage-dive, Pop is credited with popularizing the activity. A culture icon, Iggy Pop has had a major influence on musicians of various genres.

 12 Joan Jett

Joan Jett.
9
Famous As: Singer, Composer
Birthdate: September 22, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia

Joan Jett, also known as The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, is the frontwoman of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, best known for their rendition of the Arrows song I Love Rock 'n Roll, which topped the Billboard Hot 100. Jett also released the hit Cherry Bomb with the Runaways

 13 George Harrison

George Harrison.
4
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

 14 Bon Scott

Bon Scott.
4
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.

 15 Lou Reed

Lou Reed.
3
Famous As: Musician, Singer
Birthdate: March 2, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Southampton, New York, United States
Died: October 27, 2013
Lou Reed redefined the glam rock genre with his album Transformer. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee initially wrote sings for Pickwick Records and performed with the Velvet Underground. He then released 20 solo albums. His parents had made him go through electro-shock therapy to “cure” his bisexuality.

 16 Gregg Allman

Gregg Allman.
4
Famous As: Singer, Guitarist
Birthdate: December 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nashville
Died: May 27, 2017

Gregg Allman was an American musician and singer-songwriter. He is credited with co-founding the rock band The Allman Brothers Band along with his brother Duane Allman. Dubbed the Southern rock pioneer, Allman was recognized for his distinctive, soulful voice; Rolling Stone magazine named him in its 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list.

 17 David Lee Roth

David Lee Roth
4
Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: October 10, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bloomington, Indiana, United States

David Lee Roth is an American rock singer, songwriter, musician, and former radio personality. Renowned for his energetic stage persona, Roth was a long-time member of the popular hard rock band Van Halen where he served as the lead singer. In 2007, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 18 Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson.
124
Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: October 5, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dunston

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.

 19 Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke.
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 22, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clarksdale, Mississippi, United States
Died: December 11, 1964
The King of Soul Sam Cooke is best remembered for his hits A Change is Gonna Come, You Send Me, and Wonderful World. He began singing gospel as a child and later joined The Soul Stirrers. He was shot and killed by a motel manager in Los Angeles. 

 20 Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison.
9
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: April 23, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vernon, Texas, United States
Died: December 6, 1988
Six-time Grammy-winner Texan rocker Roy Orbison gained fame with songs such as Oh, Pretty Woman and Drove All Night. His shyness and stage fright made him dye his hair black and wear sunglasses. The "Caruso of Rock" was part of the Traveling Wilburys, along with legends such as Bob Dylan.

 21 Ritchie Valens

Ritchie Valens.
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 13, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pacoima, Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: February 3, 1959

Widely regarded as the pioneer of Latin rock and Chicano rock, Ritchie Valens was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter. Since his untimely death at the age of 17, Ritchie Valens has inspired several musicians and bands like Carlos Santana, Los Lonely Boys, and Los Lobos. Valens also inspired Robert Quine, Jimi Hendrix, Keith O'Conner Murphy, and Chris Montez among others.

 22 Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin.
1
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 19, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Port Arthur, Texas, United States
Died: October 4, 1970

Best known for her powerful mezzo-soprano voice, Janis Joplin was one of the most successful rock stars of her era. Before dying at the age of 27, she achieved so much that Rolling Stone magazine included her in its 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list in 2004 and 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list in 2008.

 23 Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor.
141
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.

 24 Anthony Kiedis

Anthony Kiedis.
4
Famous As: American musician
Birthdate: November 1, 1962
Sun Sign: Scorpio

Red Hot Chili Peppers co-founder and vocalist Anthony Kiedis released 11 rock albums with his band, focusing on issues such as sex, drugs, and loss. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has struggled with drug issues but has been drug-free since 2000. His memoir, Scar Tissue, became a bestseller.

 25 Jeff Buckley

Jeff Buckley.
4
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter, Guitarist
Birthdate: November 17, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Orange, California
Died: May 29, 1997

Jeff Buckley was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter. His only studio album, Grace, was included in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. Since his untimely death at the age of 30, Jeff Buckley has been the subject of several documentaries. His death also inspired several artists to record songs in tribute to his life and career.

 26 Lindsey Buckingham

Lindsey Buckingham.
4
Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: October 3, 1949
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Palo Alto

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Lindsey Buckingham ruled the American rock scene with the band Fleetwood Mac, performing with his then-girlfriend, Stevie Nicks. Rolling Stone named him one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. After a brief hiatus, he rejoined the band but was fired eventually.

 27 John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp.
3
Famous As: Musician, Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: October 7, 1951
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Seymour

John Mellencamp, also known as Johnny Cougar and John Cougar, has earned 13 Grammy nominations, winning one. He co-founded Farm Aid and helped raise funds for farmers through concerts. With 22 Top 40 hits in his kitty, he has also held painting exhibitions and acted in and directed movies.

 28 Maurice Gibb

Maurice Gibb.
133
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 22, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Douglas, Isle of Man
Died: January 12, 2003

Maurice Gibb was one of the three members of the Bee Gees, the iconic pop-rock band of the 1960s and the 1970s, which redefined disco music of that era and released hits such as Stayin’ Alive. He also went solo with the single Railroad, but his solo album remained unreleased. 

 29 Amy Lee

Amy Lee.
3
Famous As: American singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 13, 1981
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Riverside, California, U.S.
Amy Lee, frontwoman of the rock band Evanescence, soared to fame with hits such as Bring Me to Life. A trained pianist and one of of VH1’s Top 100 Greatest Women in Music, she has also delivered the award-winning soundtrack of Indigo Grey: The Passage and chairs an epilepsy foundation.

 30 Paul Anka

Paul Anka.
4
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: July 30, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Paul Anka is a Canadian-American actor and singer-songwriter. As a songwriter, he has contributed to the success of popular musicians, such as Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, and Michael Jackson. He has also contributed to the theme of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Also known for his business ventures, Anka is credited with opening the popular restaurant and club, Jubilation.

 31 Michael Hutchence

Michael Hutchence.
11
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: January 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Crows Nest, Australia
Died: November 22, 1997

Michael Hutchence, co-founder of the Australian rock band INXS, was known for his wild lifestyle, his affairs with celebrities, and his history of drug abuse. He was named to News.com’s list of the 15 greatest Australian singers of all time but unfortunately died by suicide in a Sydney hotel room.

 32 Robin Gibb

Robin Gibb.
133
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.

 33 Jim Croce

Jim Croce.
3
Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: January 10, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: South Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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.

 34 Sonny Bono

Sonny Bono.
11
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 16, 1935
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
Died: January 5, 1998
Sonny Bono formed the musical duo Sonny & Cher, with his second wife, Cher. They also starred in The Sonny and Cher Show. He also served as the mayor of Palm Springs and a congressman for California's 44th district. The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act was named after him.

 35 Jeff Lynne

Jeff Lynne.
129
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Record producer
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.

 36 Agnetha Faltskog

Agnetha Faltskog.
10
Famous As: Swedish musician
Birthdate: April 5, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jönköping, Sweden
Swedish singer Agnetha Fältskog was part of the iconic pop group ABBA, along with her husband, Bjorn Ulvaeus. After the group disbanded, Fältskog launched a solo career and also appeared in a film. She released an album in 2004, after a 16-year hiatus, and then again in 2013.

 37 Jesse McCartney

Jesse McCartney.
10
Famous As: Singer/Songwriter, Actor, Voice Actor
Birthdate: April 9, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ardsley
Jesse McCartney is best known as JR Chandler from the soap All My Children. He also sang for the pop band Dream Street and then went solo. He has appeared on shows such as Law & Order: SVU and has voiced Theodore in Alvin and the Chipmunks and its sequels.

 38 Michael Bolton

Michael Bolton.
3
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: February 26, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Michael Bolton is an American singer-songwriter who has sold over 75 million records so far. Apart from recording several top 10 albums on the Billboard charts, Bolton also has several prestigious awards under his belt, such as Grammy Awards. Also known for his charity work, Bolton set up the Michael Bolton Foundation in order to aid children and women.

 39 Waylon Jennings

Waylon Jennings.
3
Famous As: Singers
Birthdate: June 15, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Littlefield
Died: February 13, 2002
Waylon Jennings was one of the pioneers of outlaw country music. He began performing on KVOW radio, at age 12, and then performed with several bands, such as The Texas Longhorns, The Waylors, and The Highwaymen. He also contributed to Wanted! The Outlaws, the first platinum country album. 

 40 Richard Marx

Richard Marx.
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 16, 1963
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago

Richard Marx is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer. In 1987, his self-titled debut album was certified triple-platinum, following which he went on to work on several chart-busting hits. As a songwriter, Marx worked on Luther Vandross' Dance with My Father, which earned him the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 2004.

 41 Bradley Nowell

Bradley Nowell.
3
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: February 22, 1968
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Belmont Shore, Long Beach, California
Died: May 25, 1996
Bradley Nowell is best remembered as the lead vocalist and guitarist of the punk band Sublime. His dalmatian, Lou Dog, was the band’s mascot and often appeared on stage with the band. Nowell died of a heroin overdose, at 28, at a hotel in San Francisco, while touring with Sublime. 

 42 Thom Yorke

Thom Yorke.
130
Famous As: Singer, Musician, Songwriter
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.

 43 Melanie C

Melanie C
141
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 12, 1974
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Whiston, England

 44 Johnny McDaid

Johnny McDaid.
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 24, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Londonderry
Indie rock/pop singer, songwriter, and producer John McDaid has been part of bands such as Snow Patrol and Vega4. He is also known for his collaborations with popular artists, mostly with Ed Sheeran. He co-wrote Sheeran’s chartbusting track Shape of You and co-produced his platinum album X.

 45 Michael Stipe

Michael Stipe.
4
Famous As: Singer-lyricist
Birthdate: January 4, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Decatur

Michael Stipe is best known as the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band R.E.M., which has released hits such as Losing my Religion. He has a signature “mumbling” and “wailing” style of singing. He has also directed several videos for the band and owns two movie production studios.

 46 Syd Barrett

Syd Barrett.
142
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 6, 1946
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cambridge
Died: July 7, 2006
Pink Floyd co-founder and frontman Syd Barrett was known for his contribution to psychedelic rock and experiments with studio effects such as echo and distortion. He was removed from the band due to his drug addiction, following which he began a solo career. His final years were spent in privacy.

 47 Jakob Dylan

Jakob Dylan.
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 9, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.
Two-time Grammy-winning artist Jakob Dylan is best known as the lead singer of the rock band The Wallflowers. He has also had a successful solo career, with his Billboard-charting album Women + Country. He is associated with several philanthropic causes, especially those related to health issues such as diabetes.

 48 Tori Amos

Tori Amos.
3
Famous As: Musician and Singer
Birthdate: August 22, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Newton
Alternative rock singer Tori Amos is known for her songs that highlight issues such as feminism. Amos was the youngest to win a music scholarship to the Peabody Institute. She performed with the group Y Kant Tori Read before going solo. She is associated with RAINN, a sexual abuse helpline. 

 49 Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon.
3
Famous As: Rock Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 24, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: September 7, 2003

Warren Zevon was an American musician, rock singer, and songwriter. As a songwriter, Zevon contributed immensely to the success of songs recorded by other artists, such as Murray McLauchlan. Also known for his acerbic lyrics and dry wit, Warren Zevon made several appearances on shows like the Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with David Letterman.

 50 Hope Sandoval

Hope Sandoval.
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 24, 1966
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Hope Sandoval is best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Mazzy Star and the alternative pop band Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions. She has delivered hits such as Fade into You. She is known to be stage-shy and likes singing on near-dark stages.