American Male 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 John Williams

John Williams
5
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 8, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Queens, New York City

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.

 2 Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones
5
Famous As: Musician, Composer
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.

 3 Ray Charles

Ray Charles
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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.

 4 Miles Davis

Miles Davis
4
Famous As: Jazz Trumpeter
Birthdate: May 26, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Alton, Illinois, United States
Died: September 28, 1991
Jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis was a pioneer in the bepop and jazz fusion genres. His work also had electronic, African, and Spanish influences. His album Kind of Blue sold 5 million copies in the U.S. and was termed a national treasure by the House of Representatives, years later. 

 5 Billy Joel

Billy Joel
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Famous As: Singer, Composer
Birthdate: May 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York, 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.

 6 George Gershwin

George Gershwin
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: September 26, 1898
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: July 11, 1937

George Gershwin was an American pianist, composer, and painter. His work Porgy and Bess is widely regarded as an American cultural classic and one of the 20th century's most important American operas. Many of his compositions have been used in films and television series. His life and work inspired the 1945 biographical movie, Rhapsody in Blue.

 7 Danny Elfman

Danny Elfman
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: May 29, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

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.

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 8 David McCallum

David McCallum
4
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.

 9 Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein
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Famous As: Conductor, Composer
Birthdate: August 25, 1918
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lawrence, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 14, 1990

Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, music educator, conductor, pianist, author, and humanitarian. One of the most important cultural personalities of 20th century America, Bernstein influenced many generations of musicians. He is also credited with mentoring famous conductors like John Mauceri, Herbert Blomstedt, Alexander Frey, Marin Alsop, and Edo de Waart among many others.

 10 Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh
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Famous As: Guitarist, Singer
Birthdate: November 20, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas, United States

Joe Walsh is an American guitarist, songwriter, and singer. Over the years Walsh has contributed to the success of popular rock bands such as Eagles and James Gang. In 1998, he was made an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was ranked 54th on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list.

 11 Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim
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Famous As: American composer
Birthdate: March 22, 1930
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City
Died: November 26, 2021

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.

 12 Tom Waits

Tom Waits
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Famous As: Musician, Composer
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.

 13 Don Henley

Don Henley
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Famous As: Musician, Singer
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.

 14 Luther Vandross

Luther Vandross
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 20, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City
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.

 15 Robert Mitchum

Robert Mitchum
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 6, 1917
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States
Died: July 1, 1997
Robert Mitchum is best known for his film noirs, such as Undercurrent, and for defining the antihero in movies of the 1950s and 1960s. Fans loved him in The Story of G.I. and Joe and as U.S. Navy Captain Victor Henry in The Winds of War and its sequel.

 16 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.

 17 Trent Reznor

Trent Reznor
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Famous As: Frontman and founder of the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails
Birthdate: May 17, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Castle, Pennsylvania, United States

Trent Reznor is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and composer. Reznor is credited with founding the popular band Nine Inch Nails, where he serves as the principal songwriter, lead vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist. Trent Reznor is also credited with mentoring Marilyn Manson and has contributed to the latter's albums. . 

 18 Dimebag Darrell

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

 19 Christopher Guest

Christopher Guest
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Famous As: Screenwriter, Director
Birthdate: February 5, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Screenwriter, composer, musician, and director Christopher Guest is a multifaceted man. He is known for writing and directing a series of comedy films shot in mock-documentary (mockumentary) style. He has also starred in many of his films, often playing comedic characters. Despite his penchant for portraying comedic characters onscreen, he is known to be a serious person in real life.

 20 Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: April 29, 1899
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: May 24, 1974
Jazz legend Duke Ellington managed his orchestra till his death, and over a 6-decade-long career. He is known for his collaborations with legends such as pianist and composer Billy Strayhorn. He termed his music “American music” and refused to attach any category to it. He received a posthumous Pulitzer Prize.

 21 John Coltrane

John Coltrane
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Famous As: Saxophonist, Composer
Birthdate: September 23, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: HaHamlet, North Carolina, United States
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.

 22 Rick Rubin

Rick Rubin
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Famous As: Record Producer
Birthdate: March 10, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lido Beach

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.

 23 Steven Van Zandt

Steven Van Zandt
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Famous As: Musician, Actor
Birthdate: November 22, 1950
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Winthrop, Massachusetts, United States

Steven Van Zandt is an American singer, musician, songwriter, actor, producer, and activist. Steven is renowned for his association with E Street Band. As a member of the band, Steven was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. Also known for his philanthropic efforts, Steven works with a nonprofit organization called Little Kids Rock.

 24 Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: April 1, 1873
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oneg, Russia
Died: March 28, 1943

Sergei Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, conductor, and virtuoso pianist of the late Romantic period. Credited with exploring the expressive possibilities of the piano, Rachmaninoff's music continues to be featured in films. His four-year struggle with depression, which was followed by the critical failure of his Symphony No. 1, was depicted in the 2015 musical Preludes.

 25 Carroll O’Connor

Carroll O’Connor
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States
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.

 26 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

 27 Ronnie James Dio

Ronnie James Dio
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Famous As: Former heavy metal singer, songwriter and composer
Birthdate: July 10, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States
Died: May 16, 2010

 28 Tom Morello

Tom Morello
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: May 30, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City, United States

Tom Morello is an American musician, rapper, singer, actor, songwriter, and political activist. Morello is best known for his association with Rage Against the Machine, which he co-founded with Zack de la Rocha. Renowned for his creative and unique guitar playing style, Tom Morello was ranked among the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine.

 29 Bret Michaels

Bret Michaels
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 15, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Butler, Pennsylvania

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.  

 30 David Lee Roth

David Lee Roth
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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.

 31 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
Birthplace: Jacksonville
Died: October 20, 1977

 32 Sammy Hagar

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

 33 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
Birthplace: New York City

 34 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

 35 Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter most famous for his Illinois album, which includes the hit Chicago
Birthdate: July 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

 36 Philip Glass

Philip Glass
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Famous As: Founder of the Philip Glass Ensemble
Birthdate: January 31, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

 37 John Cage

John Cage
5
Famous As: Composer, Writer
Birthdate: September 5, 1912
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: August 12, 1992
John Cage was one of the most influential avant-garde composers of the post-World War II era. He pioneered many innovative techniques in music, such as the prepared piano and electroacoustic music. His composition 4′33″ involved musicians sitting silently, without playing any instrument, while the audience heard environmental sounds. 

 38 Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker
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Famous As: Jazz saxophonist, composer
Birthdate: August 29, 1920
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kansas City, Kansas, United States
Died: March 12, 1955

Charlie Parker was an American composer and jazz saxophonist. A highly influential soloist, Parker played a significant role in the development of a form of jazz called bebop. He is also credited with introducing harmonic ideas into jazz, such as chord substitutions and rapid passing chords. His contribution to jazz and bebop made him an icon of the hipster subculture.

 39 James Horner

James Horner
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Famous As: Composer, conductor, and orchestrator of film scores
Birthdate: August 14, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: June 22, 2015

 40 Kenny G

Kenny G
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Famous As: Saxophonist
Birthdate: June 5, 1956
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States

Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, better known as Kenny G, is a best-selling jazz saxophonist who has sold over 75 million records and even owns a line of saxophones. He is also a certified pilot and a skilled golfer who has participated in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am seven times.

 41 Randy Newman

Randy Newman
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Pianist
Birthdate: November 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

 42 Kenny Loggins

Kenny Loggins
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter,
Birthdate: January 7, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Everett, Washington, United States

 43 Glenn Miller

Glenn Miller
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Famous As: Trombonist
Birthdate: March 1, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Clarinda, Iowa, United States
Died: December 15, 1944

 44 Pat Boone

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

 45 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

 46 Yanni

Yanni
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: November 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kalamata, Greece

Yanni is a Greek keyboardist, pianist, composer, and music producer. He achieved international recognition by organizing and producing concerts at historic monuments, such as Taj Mahal, Burj Khalifa, and the Great Sphinx of Giza. Adhering to his one world, one people philosophy, Yanni works with musicians of various nationalities to create music that incorporates an eclectic fusion of ethnic sounds.

 47 Jerry Reed

Jerry Reed
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Musician
Birthdate: March 20, 1937
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Died: September 1, 2008

Jerry Reed was an American guitarist, country music singer, songwriter, composer, and actor. He won three Grammy Awards and two Country Music Association awards during his illustrious career. In 2017, he was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Jerry Reed was also inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.

 48 Levon Helm

Levon Helm
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Famous As: Singer, Musician, Autobiographer, Composer, Actor, Mandolinist, Drummer, Songwriter
Birthdate: May 26, 1940
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Elaine
Died: April 19, 2012

 49 Maynard James Keenan

Maynard James Keenan
4
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: April 17, 1964
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ravenna, Ohio, United States

 50 Carl Wilson

Carl Wilson
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Famous As: American musician
Birthdate: December 21, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hawthorne, California
Died: February 6, 1998