Famous American Composers

The musical heritage of America is rich and overflowing with supremely endowed musicians and composers who have composed some of the most enduring musical pieces. A potpourri of talent, American soil has seen meteoric rise in the field of music, thanks to the brilliant American composers who with their skill at musical play created some of the most mind-blowing musical compositions that world has ever listened to. Interestingly, American composers have touched the lives and moods of one and all with their compositions – witty lyrics and catchy melodies for that playful listening spree or soulful renditions backed by heart-melting words for those moments of love or even down under lyrics and soft music for the feeling of blue. And any discussion on America composers and compositions cannot be fulfilled without the mention of Stephen Foster, father of American music. He is regarded as the first professional American songwriter and is the proud composers of more than 200 songs, including two state songs. Other eminently talented and noted American composers include George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Richard Rogers, John Philip Sousa, Irving Berlin, Burt Bucharach, Amy Beach and so on. Check this section to know about the life and works of famous American composers.

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 Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones
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Famous As: Musician, Conductor, Producer, Arranger, Composer, Film Composer
Birthdate: March 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

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.

 2 Billy Joel

Billy Joel
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

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.

 3 Ray Charles

Ray Charles
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 23, 1930
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
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.

 4 John Williams

John Williams
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 8, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

John Williams is an American composer, pianist, trombonist, and conductor. Widely considered the greatest film composer ever, John Williams has played a significant role in the American film industry by composing music for films, such as the Jurassic Park films, Star Wars saga, the Indiana Jones films, and Schindler's List. He has also influenced several other composers like Marcus Paus.

 5 Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh
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Famous As: Guitarist
Birthdate: November 20, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

 6 Adrienne Bailon

Adrienne Bailon
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Famous As: Actor, Singer, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Dancer, Television actor
Birthdate: October 24, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

 7 Don Henley

Don Henley
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Famous As: Singer, Composer, Musician, Drummer, Pianist, Songwriter
Birthdate: July 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
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 8 Danny Elfman

Danny Elfman
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: May 29, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

Composer, singer, songwriter, and record producer, Danny Elfman is best known for his association with the new wave band Oingo Boingo. He has written over 100 feature film scores and has composed music for numerous TV shows and stage productions. He is the recipient of two Emmy Awards and one Grammy and has been nominated for the Academy Award.

 9 Steven Van Zandt

Steven Van Zandt
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Famous As: Actor, Musician, Screenwriter, Record producer, Disc jockey, Singer, Television actor, Guitarist, Pianist, Composer
Birthdate: November 22, 1950
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

 10 Tom Morello

Tom Morello
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Famous As: Guitarist, Singer-songwriter, Musician, Actor, Composer, Trade unionist
Birthdate: May 30, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 11 David Lee Roth

David Lee Roth
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Famous As: Singer, Musician, Record producer, Radio personality, Composer,
Birthdate: October 10, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

 12 Chaka Khan

Chaka Khan
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 23, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Ten-time Grammy-winning funk/R&B/disco artist Chaka Khan, or the Queen of Funk, soared to fame as the frontwoman of the band Rufus. Known for her hit track I Feel for You, Khan has sold 70 million records and has ranked 17th on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll list.

 13 Michelle Phillips

Michelle Phillips
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Famous As: Television actor, Singer, Actor, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Model
Birthdate: June 4, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 14 Maynard James Keenan

Maynard James Keenan
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Famous As: Singer, Musician, Record producer, Composer
Birthdate: April 17, 1964
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 15 Trent Reznor

Trent Reznor
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Famous As: Singer, Composer, Pianist, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Record producer
Birthdate: May 17, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 16 Dennis Wilson

Dennis Wilson
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Famous As: Record producer, Singer, Drummer, Surfer, Composer
Birthdate: December 4, 1944
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: December 28, 1983

 17 Luther Vandross

Luther Vandross
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 20, 1951
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: July 1, 2005

Luther Vandross was an American record producer and singer-songwriter. As a background vocalist, Vandross contributed to the success of several songs recorded by artists like David Bowie, Diana Ross, and Judy Collins. Regarded as a singer with one of the greatest voices in recorded history, Luther Vandross' works have influenced many artists like D'Angelo, Jaheim, Ne-Yo, John Legend, and Usher.

 18 Rick Rubin

Rick Rubin
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Famous As: Record Producer
Birthdate: March 10, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

A record producer, Rick Rubin is the former co-president of Columbia Records and a co-founder of Def Jam Recordings. By promoting the musical groups  Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, and Public Enemy, he helped popularize hip hop music. He has been named on Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World.

 19 Linda Perry

Linda Perry
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Famous As: Singer, Composer, Musician, Songwriter, Record producer, Guitarist
Birthdate: April 15, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 20 Dimebag Darrell

Dimebag Darrell
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Famous As: Guitarist, Composer, Musician
Birthdate: August 20, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: December 8, 2004

 21 Mos Def

Mos Def
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Famous As: Singer, Actor, Songwriter, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Rapper, Television actor, Record producer, Film actor
Birthdate: December 11, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

 22 Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Singer, Composer, Pianist, Writer, Songwriter, Jazz musician
Birthdate: September 13, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 23 John Fogerty

John Fogerty
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Famous As: Singer, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Composer, Guitarist
Birthdate: May 28, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 24 Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar
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Famous As: Singer, Singer-songwriter, Musician, Guitarist, Composer
Birthdate: October 13, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

 25 Ronnie James Dio

Ronnie James Dio
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Famous As: Singer, Composer
Birthdate: July 10, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: May 16, 2010

 26 Carroll O’Connor

Carroll O’Connor
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: June 21, 2001

Carroll O'Connor was an American actor, director, and producer. In a TV career that spanned 40 years, O'Connor popularized several fictional characters, including Archie Bunker from the sitcom All in the Family, for which he received four Emmy Awards. In 1996, he was ranked 38th on the 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list published by TV Guide.

 27 John Phillips

John Phillips
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: August 30, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: March 18, 2001

 28 Brandon Flowers

Brandon Flowers
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Famous As: Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: June 21, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 29 John Coltrane

John Coltrane
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Famous As: Saxophonist, Composer
Birthdate: September 23, 1926
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: July 17, 1967
Jazz saxophonist John Coltrane is remembered for his significant influence on modern jazz. He was initially part of the Navy band and eventually collaborated with musicians such as Miles Davis. He won a Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and was canonized by the African Orthodox Church.

 30 Bret Michaels

Bret Michaels
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 15, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

Singer-songwriter and musician Bret Michaels first gained fame as the frontman of the rock band Poison. He also performs as a solo artist and has released many albums. He is an occasional actor as well and has appeared in numerous films and TV shows.  

 31 Virgil Abloh

Virgil Abloh
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Famous As: Fashion designer
Birthdate: September 30, 1980
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

 32 Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Composer, Oboist, Banjoist, Record producer, Guitarist, Pianist
Birthdate: July 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

 33 Michel'le

Michel'le
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Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: December 5, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

 34 Buckethead

Buckethead
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Famous As: Guitarist, Composer, Banjoist, Jazz musician, Jazz guitarist
Birthdate: May 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 35 Brad Douglas Paisley

Brad Douglas Paisley
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Famous As: American singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 28, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

Brad Douglas Paisley is an American singer-songwriter. One of the most decorated male country music singers of the current generation, Paisley has won multiple American Music Awards, Grammy Awards, Country Music Association Awards, and Academy of Country Music Awards. Brad Paisley is also known for his skills as a guitarist and one particular model of guitar is named after him.

 36 Nile Rodgers

Nile Rodgers
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Famous As: Guitarist, Composer, Songwriter, Record producer, Film score composer
Birthdate: September 19, 1952
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 37 Ronnie Van Zant

Ronnie Van Zant
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Famous As: Singer, Singer-songwriter, Musician, Composer, Guitarist
Birthdate: January 15, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: October 20, 1977

 38 James Horner

James Horner
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Famous As: Composer, Conductor, Musician, Orchestrateur, Film score composer
Birthdate: August 14, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: June 22, 2015

 39 La Toya Jackson

La Toya Jackson
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 29, 1956
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 40 Susanna Hoffs

Susanna Hoffs
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Famous As: Actor, Singer-songwriter, Film producer, Musician, Singer, Composer, Television actor
Birthdate: January 17, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

 41 Debbie Gibson

Debbie Gibson
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Singer, Actor, Composer, Film producer, Musician, Record producer, Pianist, Television actor
Birthdate: August 31, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 42 Richie Sambora

Richie Sambora
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Famous As: Guitarist, Singer, Singer-songwriter, Banjoist, Composer
Birthdate: July 11, 1959
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

 43 Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim
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Famous As: American composer
Birthdate: March 22, 1930
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

Stephen Sondheim is an American lyricist and composer. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most prominent figures in musical theatre, Sondheim is credited with reinventing the American musical. In 1981, he founded Young Playwrights Inc. to encourage young people to write for the theatre. An openly gay composer, Sondheim also serves as an inspiration to the LGBT community.

 44 Randy Newman

Randy Newman
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Singer, Composer, Conductor, Musician, Screenwriter, Film score composer, Pianist, Journalist
Birthdate: November 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

 45 Kenny Loggins

Kenny Loggins
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Singer, Composer
Birthdate: January 7, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

 46 Orrin Hatch

Orrin Hatch
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Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: March 22, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 47 Harry Nilsson

Harry Nilsson
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Musician, Singer, Composer, Songwriter, Pianist
Birthdate: June 15, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: January 15, 1994

 48 Pat Boone

Pat Boone
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Famous As: Actor, Singer, Singer-songwriter, Composer
Birthdate: June 1, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 49 Krist Novoselic

Krist Novoselic
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Famous As: Bassist, Musician, Composer, Blogger
Birthdate: May 16, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 50 Kyle Eastwood

Kyle Eastwood
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Famous As: Actor, Composer, Jazz musician, Music arranger, Jazz guitarist, Film score composer
Birthdate: May 19, 1968
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American