Famous American 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
11
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 
Joni Mitchell
(Famous for Her Studio Album 'Blue')
Joni Mitchell
17
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.  

 3 
Tracy Chapman
(Known for Her Hit Singles 'Fast Car', 'Talkin' 'bout a Revolution' and 'Baby Can I Hold You')
Tracy Chapman
12
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.

 4 
Harry Belafonte
(Singer, Actor)
Harry Belafonte
6
Birthdate: March 1, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, United States
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
 5 
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.

 6 
Woody Guthrie
(Singer-songwriter)
Woody Guthrie
5
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.”
 7 
Joan Chandos Baez
(Best Known for Her Songs "Diamonds & Rust," "We Shall Overcome" and "Joe Hill")
Joan Chandos Baez
7
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.

 8 
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.

 9 
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.

 10 
Pete Seeger
(American Folk Singer Best-Known for His Songs: ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone?’ & ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’)
Pete Seeger
4
Birthdate: May 3, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: 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.

 11 
Harry Chapin
(Singer Best Known for His Folk Rock & Pop Rock Songs)
Harry Chapin
5
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
 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 
Don McLean
(Singer-songwriter)
Don McLean
5
Birthdate: October 2, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Rochelle, New York, United States
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 14 
Stephen Stills
(Singer-songwriter)
Stephen Stills
4
Birthdate: January 3, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States
 15 
Joanna Newsom
(Keyboardist in the San Francisco–based Indie Band “The Pleased”)
Joanna Newsom
11
Birthdate: January 18, 1982
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Grass Valley, California, United States

Joanna Newsom is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actress. Noted for her unique musical style, Newsom's early work was influenced by polyrhythms. She is one of the most important members of the modern freak folk and psychedelic folk movement. Newsom is also noted for her songwriting, which incorporates elements of avant-garde modernism and Appalachian music.

 16 
Tyler Childers
(Singer)
Tyler Childers
4
Birthdate: June 21, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lawrence County, Kentucky, United States
 17 
Roberta Flack
5
Birthdate: February 10, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Black Mountain, North Carolina, United States
Height: 5'4" (163 cm)
 18 
Sufjan Stevens
(Singer-songwriter most famous for his Illinois album, which includes the hit Chicago)
Sufjan Stevens
5
Birthdate: July 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
 19 
Jewel
(Singer-Songwriter)
Jewel
17
Birthdate: May 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Payson, Utah, United States
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 20 
Burl Ives
(American Musician, Actor and Folk Singer Known for His Hit 'A Little Bitty Tear')
Burl Ives
6
Birthdate: June 14, 1909
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hunt City, Illinois, United States
Died: April 14, 1995
 21 
Avi Kaplan
(Singer-Songwriter)
Avi Kaplan
5
Birthdate: April 17, 1989
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Visalia, California
Avi Kaplan gained fame as part of the three-time Grammy-winning a cappella group Pentatonix, as their designated vocal bass. He later went solo with the EP Sage and Stone under the name "Avriel & the Sequoias." In 2019, he released the track Change on the Rise, as "Avi Kaplan."
 22 
Phil Ochs
(Singer)
Phil Ochs
3
Birthdate: December 19, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: El Paso, Texas, USA
Died: April 9, 1976
 23 
Lead Belly
(Folk and blues singer)
Lead Belly
4
Birthdate: January 23, 1888
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mooringsport, Louisiana, United States
Died: December 6, 1949
 24 
Judy Collins
(Singer-songwriter)
Judy Collins
13
Birthdate: May 1, 1939
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 25 
Janis Ian
(Singer, Songwriter, Musician & Author)
Janis Ian
4
Birthdate: April 7, 1951
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Farmingdale, New Jersey, United States
 26 
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
 27 
Alec Benjamin
(Best Known for His Breakthrough Single "Let Me Down Slowly.")
Alec Benjamin
4
Birthdate: May 28, 1994
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 28 
Colbie Caillat
(Singer-songwriter)
Colbie Caillat
7
Birthdate: May 28, 1985
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Malibu, California, United States
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 29 
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
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 30 
Regina Spektor
(Singer-Songwriter)
Regina Spektor
5
Birthdate: February 18, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Height: 5'2" (157 cm)
 31 
Roger McGuinn
(Musician)
Roger McGuinn
5
Birthdate: July 13, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 32 
Blaze Foley
(Singer-songwriter)
Blaze Foley
3
Birthdate: December 18, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Malvern, Arkansas, United States
Died: February 1, 1989
 33 
Tom T. Hall
(Singer)
Tom T. Hall
3
Birthdate: May 25, 1936
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Olive Hill, Kentucky, USA
 34 
Justin Vernon
(Singer)
Justin Vernon
6
Birthdate: April 30, 1981
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States
Height: 6'3" (190 cm)
 35 
Sharon Van Etten
(Singer)
Sharon Van Etten
5
Birthdate: February 26, 1981
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Belleville, New Jersey, USA
 36 
Maddie Poppe
(Singer)
Maddie Poppe
5
Birthdate: December 5, 1997
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Clarksville, Iowa, United States
Height: 5'4" (163 cm)
 37 
Jerry Jeff Walker
(Singer-Songwriter)
Jerry Jeff Walker
3
Birthdate: March 16, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oneonta, New York, United States
 38 
Kim Carnes
(Singer)
Kim Carnes
13
Birthdate: July 20, 1945
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pasadena, California, USA
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 39 
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
 40 
Ray LaMontagne
(Singer)
Ray LaMontagne
7
Birthdate: June 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nashua, New Hampshire, USA
 41 
Paul Stookey
(Singer-songwriter)
Paul Stookey
4
Birthdate: December 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
 42 
Chris Burke
5
Birthdate: August 26, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Point Lookout, New York, United States
Height: 5'4" (163 cm)
 43 
Gillian Welch
(Singer-songwriter, Singer, Guitarist, Composer)
Gillian Welch
7
Birthdate: October 2, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
 44 
Tom Paxton
(Singer-songwriter, Singer, Musician, Guitarist, Writer)
Tom Paxton
4
Birthdate: October 31, 1937
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chicago
 45 
Guy Clark
(Musician)
Guy Clark
3
Birthdate: November 6, 1941
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Monahans, Texas, U.S.
Died: May 17, 2016
 46 
Devendra Banhart
(American Singer-Songwriter and Visual Artist and a Pioneer of Psychedelic Folk Music)
Devendra Banhart
4
Birthdate: May 30, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

Born in the US, to a Venezuelan mother and an American father, American singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart grew up to be a major pillar of the New Weird America movement of psychedelic folk music. He is known for his lo-fi recordings and is also a talented visual artist who experiments with mixed media.

 47 
Ashe
(Singer)
Ashe
5
Birthdate: April 24, 1993
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: San Jose, California, United States
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 48 
Theodore Bikel
(Folksinger and Actor Known for His Role as ‘Max Muller’ in the 1958 Film ‘The Defiant Ones')
Theodore Bikel
5
Birthdate: May 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: July 21, 2015

Legendary Austrian-American actor Theodore Bikel is best remembered for his Academy Award-nominated portrayal of Sheriff Max Muller in the film The Defiant Ones. He had also ruled the stage with plays such as Fiddler on the Roof. As a folk singer, he sang in 21 languages and also played the guitar.

 49 
Suzanne Vega
(Singer-songwriter, Musician)
Suzanne Vega
7
Birthdate: July 11, 1959
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, United States
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 50 
Nanci Griffith
(Singer-songwriter)
Nanci Griffith
3
Birthdate: July 6, 1953
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Seguin, Texas, U.S.