Famous 21st Century Composers

Find out more about the greatest 21st Century Composers, including Paul McCartney, Elton John, John Williams, David Gilmour and James Horner.

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 Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer.
5
Famous As: Composer & Record producer
Birthdate: September 12, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany

German film score composer and record producer Hans Zimmer has composed music for over 150 films so far. He developed a love for music as a child and started playing professionally when he was in his teens. He eventually ventured into films. He is the recipient of four Grammy Awards and three Classical BRIT Awards.

 2 Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber.
4
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 22, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kensington, London
Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber reinvented the musical and created masterpieces such as Don't Cry for Me Argentina from Evita and Memory from Cats. He is one of 16 people to have won the Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony. He owns one of the biggest theater companies in London.
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 3 Ennio Morricone

Ennio Morricone.
4
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: November 10, 1928
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: July 6, 2020

Regarded as one of the world’s greatest film composers, Ennio Morricone was an Italian composer, orchestrator and conductor who scored music for over 500 films in his career spanning seven decades. Morricone covered a wide range of music styles and is best known for scores in the Dollar Trilogy and Once Upon a Time in the West.

 4 Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones.
4
Famous As: Record Producer, Songwriter
Birthdate: March 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Regarded as one of the most popular and influential jazz musicians of the previous century, Quincy Jones is known for his work with other legendary artists like Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra. As the first African-American to find success at the Academy Awards ceremony, Quincy has influenced a host of black musicians and songwriters.

 5 Bjork

Bjork.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: November 21, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Reykjavík, Iceland

Bjork is an Icelandic singer, record producer, songwriter, DJ, and actress. She is best known for her association with the now-defunct yet popular band, The Sugarcubes. The bestselling Icelandic singer-songwriter of all time, Bjork was named in Time magazine's most influential people in the world list in 2015. Over the course of her illustrious career, Bjork has received several awards.

 6 Ray Charles

Ray Charles.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: September 23, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Albany, Georgia, United States
Died: June 10, 2004

Ray Charles went on to become a great singer-songwriter, composer, and pianist, despite suffering blindness due to glaucoma early in his life. One of the most respected and decorated musicians of all time, Ray Charles has been named in lists, such as 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. He pioneered the soul music genre, which remains his greatest contribution.

 7 Billy Joel

Billy Joel.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States

Popularly known as the Piano Man, Billy Joel is a singer-songwriter and musician. Having sold more than 150 million records worldwide, Billy is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He is also America's third best-selling solo artist and the sixth best-selling recording artist. He is also known for his multiple relationships with popular women.

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 8 Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams.
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 5, 1959
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Canadian rock guitarist and singer Bryan Adams, known for his cult classics Everything I Do and Summer of '69, has won 20 Juno Awards and a Grammy. The Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee is also an avid animal rights activist and a professional photographer who has held several exhibitions.

 9 Elton John

Elton John.
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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.

 10 A. R. Rahman

A. R. Rahman
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: January 6, 1967
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chennai, India

A. R. Rahman is an Indian film composer, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Rahman is one of the most decorated and celebrated musicians in Indian history. He was won several prestigious awards including two Grammy Awards, two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA Award. In 2009, he was named among the 100 most influential people in Time.

 11 David McCallum

David McCallum.
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

David McCallum is a Scottish musician and actor who gained recognition for portraying Illya Kuryakin in the popular spy fiction TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He gained international recognition for playing Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the action police procedural TV series NCIS. David McCallum has also contributed as a writer, publishing a novel titled Once a Crooked Man.

 12 Don Henley

Don Henley
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Famous As: Singer, Composer, Musician, Drummer, Pianist, Songwriter
Birthdate: July 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gilmer, Texas, United States

Don Henley is an American record producer, singer, songwriter, and musician. A founding member of Eagles, Henley contributed immensely to the success of the band. Don Henley has also been successful as a solo artist, selling more than 10 million albums and winning two Grammy Awards. In 2008, Rolling Stone magazine named him among the greatest singers of all time.

 13 Tom Waits

Tom Waits.
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Famous As: Singer, Composer, Actor
Birthdate: December 7, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pomona, California, United States

Tom Waits is a musician and songwriter. His lyrics, which are delivered in his trademark gravelly voice, often focus on the underbelly of society. His story of being born in a middle-class family to becoming one of the greatest songwriters of all time serves as an inspiration to many. He has also influenced several musicians and attained a cult following.

 14 S. P. Balasubrahmanyam

S. P. Balasubrahmanyam
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 4, 1946
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India
Died: September 25, 2020

S. P. Balasubrahmanyam was an Indian playback singer, music director, actor, television presenter, film producer, and voice-over artist. Widely regarded as one of the most gifted singers of his generation, Balasubrahmanyam received six National Film Awards in an illustrious singing career that spanned more than five decades. He was posthumously honored with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award.

 15 Mos Def

Mos Def
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Famous As: Rapper, Actor
Birthdate: December 11, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 16 Don Shirley

Don Shirley
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: January 29, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pensacola, Florida, USA
Died: April 6, 2013

 17 Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar
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Famous As: Singer, Singer-songwriter, Musician, Guitarist, Composer
Birthdate: October 13, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Salinas, California, United States

 18 Brian Eno

Brian Eno.
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Famous As: Musician, Record producer
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.

 19 John Fogerty

John Fogerty
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Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: May 28, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berkeley, California, United States

 20 Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Sanjay Leela Bhansali
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Famous As: Film director, Film producer, Music director, Television producer, Composer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: February 24, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Known for epic romantic and historic drama films such as Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas, and Bajirao Mastani, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is an Indian director recognized for his signature opulent sets and star-studded cast. The five-time National Film Award winner also has a Padma Shri in his kitty.

 21 Nancy Wilson (Rock Musician)

Nancy Wilson (Rock Musician)
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: March 16, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

Nancy Wilson is a celebrated musician, singer, songwriter and composer.  A guitar virtuoso from the age of ten, she joined the rock band Heart in early 1970s, releasing numerous albums with them. She released her first solo studio album in 2021.

 22 David Gilmour

David Gilmour
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Famous As: Guitarist, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Multi-instrumentalist, Record producer
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.

 23 Terry Jones

Terry Jones
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales
Died: January 21, 2020
Starting his career as a comedy writer, actor-director Terry Jones later soared to fame as part of the Monty Python comedy team. An avid historian, too, he wrote several books and presented TV documentaries on the topic. In his later years, the BAFTA Cymru award winner struggled with dementia. 

 24 Krist Novoselic

Krist Novoselic
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: May 16, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Compton, California, United States

 25 Teddy Pendergrass

Teddy Pendergrass
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 26, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kingstree, South Carolina, USA
Died: January 13, 2010

 26 Petula Clark

Petula Clark
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 15, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ewell, Surrey, England

 27 Sarah Bolger

Sarah Bolger.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 28, 1991
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Sarah Bolger is best known for her roles in movies such as Stormbreaker, The Lazarus Effect, and The Spiderwick Chronicles. She is also known for her IFTA Award-winning performance as Princess Mary Tudor in the series The Tudors and for her role as Princess Aurora in Once Upon a Time.

 28 Donovan

Donovan
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Composer, Autobiographer, Writer, Poet, Record producer, Film score composer
Birthdate: May 10, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

 29 Virgil Abloh

Virgil Abloh
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Famous As: Fashion designer
Birthdate: September 30, 1980
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rockford, Illinois, U.S.

Virgil Abloh is not just a designer but also a qualified architect. He has been a DJ, too. Apart from heading Louis Vuitton's menswear collection as its artistic director, he also became the first Black designer to lead a major fashion brand. He has also launched the luxury streetwear label Off-White.

 30 Björn Ulvaeus

Björn Ulvaeus
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 25, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gothenburg, Sweden

 31 Michel'le

Michel'le
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Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: December 5, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Compton, United States

 32 Ilaiyaraaja

Ilaiyaraaja
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Famous As: Singer, Composer, Musician, Screenwriter
Birthdate: June 3, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pannaipuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Born into a Tamil musical family, legendary composer, conductor, and lyricist Ilaiyaraaja became the first Asian to compose for the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has composed for more than 1000 feature films and has five National Film Awards, the Padma Bhushan, and the Padma Vibhushan to his credit.

 33 Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: August 2, 1994
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: North London, England

 34 Warren G

Warren G
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Famous As: Rapper, Record producer, Singer, Composer
Birthdate: November 10, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, United States

 35 Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 18, 1995
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Tash Sultana soared to fame with her phenomenally successful single Jungle, which was first posted on YouTube and went viral on social media, gaining a million views in 5 days. The non-binary Australian singer uses the pronoun “they.” She also made it to the 2019 Forbes 30 under 30 list.

 36 Aimee Osbourne

Aimee Osbourne.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 2, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London

The daughter of Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Aimee Osbourne followed in the footsteps of her father to become a singer. However, she has disapproved some of her parents' behavior. She failed to hog the limelight in the reality TV series The Osbournes. Aimee Osbourne helped found a synth-pop band called ARO where she is the lead vocalist.

 37 Dan Fogelberg

Dan Fogelberg
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: August 13, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Died: December 16, 2007

 38 Nick Mason

Nick Mason
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Famous As: Drummer
Birthdate: January 27, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Edgbaston, Birmingham, England

Born to a documentary film maker, drummer Nick Mason was no stranger to art and entertainment as a child. He formed his first band while studying architecture. He was the only original member of the iconic rock band Pink Floyd member to have been part of the band since its inception.

 39 Fatboy Slim

Fatboy Slim
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Famous As: Disc Jockey
Birthdate: July 31, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bromley, Kent, England

 40 Robby Benson

Robby Benson.
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 21, 1956
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States

Robby Benson is an American actor, filmmaker, composer, singer, and teacher. He gained popularity in the late-1970s when he established himself as a teen idol, appearing in films like Ice Castles and One on One. Apart from being an entertainer, Robby Benson is also a fundraiser and activist for heart research.

 41 Neil Sedaka

Neil Sedaka.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 13, 1939
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Singer, pianist, and composer Neil Sedaka initially co-founded the group The Tokens. Most of his collaborations have been with lyricists Phil Cody and Howard Greenfield. He has delivered hits such as Breaking Up Is Hard to Do and Bad Blood. He also launched free online mini-concerts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 42 Paul Shaffer

Paul Shaffer
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 28, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Best known as the band leader in Late Night with David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman, Paul Shaffer is a Grammy Award-winning Canadian multi-instrumentalist and singer. He co-wrote the 1980s’ hit It's Raining Men sung by the Weather Girls and later revived by Geri Halliwell.

 43 Peter Michael Escovedo

Peter Michael Escovedo.
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Famous As: Percussionist
Birthdate: July 7, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Alameda County, California, United STates
Peter Michael Escovedo is part of the famous Escovedo musical family and the son of legendary percussionist Pete Escovedo. He has composed music for several TV shows such as Wayne Brady Show and Martin Short Show. He is the biological father of Nicole Richie, who was adopted by Lionel Richie. 

 44 Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 22, 1973
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rhinebeck Village, Rhinebeck, New York, United States

 45 D'Angelo

D'Angelo
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 11, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States

 46 Keith Emerson

Keith Emerson
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 2, 1944
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Todmorden, West Yorkshire, England, UK
Died: March 11, 2016

 47 Bill Mumy

Bill Mumy
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 1, 1954
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: San Gabriel, California, USA

 48 Captain Beefheart

Captain Beefheart
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 15, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glendale, California, U.S.
Died: December 17, 2010

 49 Walter Becker

Walter Becker
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Famous As: Guitarist, Songwriter, Jazz musician, Jazz guitarist, Record producer, Composer
Birthdate: February 20, 1950
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States

 50 Dierks Bentley

Dierks Bentley
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 20, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Dierks Bentley is a country music singer and songwriter who has won many prestigious awards, such as the Country Music Association Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards. Over the years, he has also headlined many tours, including the Riser Tour, Sounds of Summer Tour, and Somewhere on a Beach Tour.