Famous American Musicians

If you love your Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison and Bob Marley and cannot do without your daily dose of Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder, you have landed in the right page. America has been blessed enough to home a world of soul-stirring, mind-blowing, Grammy-worthy musicians whose innovative, mellifluous, energizing and eclectic music have inspired several generations of musical buffs. They are the musicians whom you will find on every music lover’s playlist — young or old. They are the musical trendsetters, timeless in their music, fame and appeal. They are the true force behind America’s music legacy. These are the music makers who have left something lasting behind — music that won’t wither with time. They are America’s real musical survivors. Read on to explore to mind-bending biographies, trivia and facts on America’s most famous, most celebrated, most heard musicians who continue to awe the music lovers to this day.

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 Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish
92
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: December 18, 2001
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

A young singer and songwriter who rose to international fame while still in her teens, Billie Eilish is blessed with a soprano vocal range and an ethereal voice. Already the recipient of numerous accolades, including five Grammy awards, she was named in Time magazine’s  inaugural "Time 100 Next" list in 2019.

 2 Eminem

Eminem
11
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 17, 1972
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

Amongst the biggest rappers of all time, Eminem gained worldwide popularity with the release of albums like The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP. His subsequent albums became huge successes further making him a bigger sensation and one of the bestselling music artists of all time. His fame greatly inspired other white rappers to succeed in popular music.

 3 Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks
9
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: May 26, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

Stevie Nicks is a songwriter and vocalist with the British-American rock band, Fleetwood Mac. She also performs solo and is known for her unique voice. She has numerous hits to her credit and her records have sold in millions. She has won many awards, including the Grammy and was named one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time by the Rolling Stone magazine.

 4 Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X
6
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: April 9, 1999
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 5 Kurt Cobain

Kurt Donald Cobain
9
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: February 20, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
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 Marshmello

Marshmello
13
Famous As: DJ & Music Producer
Birthdate: May 19, 1992
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

Marshmello is an American DJ and electronic music producer. In 2017, he was named as one of the world's highest-paid DJs by Forbes magazine. He wears a custom helmet, which looks like a marshmallow, for public appearances, and his identity was unknown at the beginning of his career. He is also a well-known philanthropist and a generous donator.

 7 Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson
7
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: April 29, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

An accomplished musician and one of the most popular names of the late 20th century American country music, Willie Nelson garnered fame with his albums Shotgun Willie, Red Headed Stranger, Stardust and Always on My Mind. The multiple Grammy award winning musician, who continues to record even today, has also appeared in numerous films and authored a number of books.

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 8 Joe Pesci

Joseph Frank Pesci
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 9, 1943
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
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 9 Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys
2
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: January 25, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys has been active in the music industry since the mid-1990s. Her debut album was a super hit and earned her five Grammy Awards. She is one of the best-selling artists in the United States and has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. She is also known for her humanitarian work, philanthropy, and activism.

 10 Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 25, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: August 16, 2018

Widely regarded as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin was a singer-songwriter, actress, and civil rights activist. Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Aretha was ranked number one on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list in 2010. Having sold over 75 million records, she is also one of the best-selling musicians ever.

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 11 Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell
0
Famous As: musician
Birthdate: July 20, 1964
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: May 18, 2017

Singer, songwriter, and musician Chris Cornell rose to fame as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. One of the key figures of the 1990s grunge movement, he also had a successful solo career. Unfortunately, he suffered from depression and died of suicide at the peak of his career.

 12 DJ Khaled

DJ Khaled
2
Famous As: Disc Jockey
Birthdate: November 26, 1975
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

Founder of We the Best Music Group record label, DJ Khaled is an internationally acclaimed DJ and record producer. He has won prestigious awards, such as the Grammy and American Music Award. Apart from music, Khaled is also known for his acting and writing skills; his book, The Keys, was named in New York Times Best Seller list.

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 13 Finneas O'Connell

Finneas O'Connell
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 30, 1997
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

Finneas O'Connell is an American singer-songwriter, actor, and record producer. He has played an important role in the success of his younger sister Billie Eilish's career as he has written and produced many of her popular songs. He has written and produced songs for other famous music artists as well.

 14 Kesha

Kesha
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: March 1, 1987
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

Kesha is an American singer-songwriter. Having sold more than 134 million records, Kesha is one of the best-selling singers of her generation. As a songwriter, she has contributed to the success of songs recorded by artists like Britney Spears, Miranda Cosgrove, Miley Cyrus, and Ariana Grande. As an openly bisexual musician, she serves as an inspiration to the LGBT community.

 15 John Mayer

John Mayer
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 16, 1977
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
John Mayer went from working at a gas station to producing the multi-platinum albums Room for Squares and Heavier Things and winning multiple Grammys. He has worked with bands such as the John Mayer Trio and Dead & Company. He has written for Esquire, donates to charities, and collects watches. 

 16 Lenny Kravitz

Lenny Kravitz
0
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: May 26, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

A well-known singer-songwriter, Lenny Kravitz won the Grammy Award for four consecutive years from 1999 to 2002 under the same category - Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. In 2003, he founded a New York City-based company called Kravitz Design Inc. From being an award-winning musician to a successful entrepreneur, Lenny Kravitz is truly a multi-talented individual.

 17 Ray Charles

Ray Charles
0
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.

 18 Lizzo

Lizzo
6
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 27, 1988
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Three-time Grammy-winning rap and hip-hop sensation Lizzo is also a queer and body-positivity icon. She began singing with groups such as The Chalice and Grrrl Prty, and graced the Billboard 200 with the album Cuz I Love You. Time’s 2019 Entertainer of the Year, Lizzo is also a talented flute-player.
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 19 Hank Williams

Hank Williams
9
Famous As: Father of contemporary country music
Birthdate: September 17, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: January 1, 1953

Musician Hank Williams is widely considered one of the most influential and significant American singer-songwriters of the 20th century. Hank Williams influenced several singers, such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, and Charley Pride to name a few. Since his untimely death at the age of 29, many artists have released tribute albums honoring Hank Williams.  

 20 Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers
2
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: August 21, 1938
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: March 20, 2020

Kenny Rogers was an American singer-songwriter. He is among the best-selling musicians of all-time list, having sold over 100 million records. His songs and albums remain influential among country music lovers. A multi-talented personality, Rogers was also successful as an actor and entrepreneur; he was the co-founder of the Kenny Rogers Roasters chain of restaurants.

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 21 Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 8, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
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.

 22 Billy Joel

Billy Joel
0
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.

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 23 Fergie

Fergie
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: March 27, 1975
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Fergie soared to fame as part of the hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas, which has delivered hits such as Boom Boom Pow. She was initially a child star in Kids Incorporated. She has also released solo hits such as Big Girls Don't Cry and owns a line of fragrances. 

 24 Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: April 16, 1993
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Chance the Rapper is best known for his Billboard-charting mixtape Coloring Book, which was the first streaming-only album to earn a Grammy. An avid social activist in Chicago, he owns the non-profit SocialWorks. He is known for his signature style of wearing a cap with the number "3" on it.

 25 Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong
2
Famous As: Trumpeter
Birthdate: August 4, 1901
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: July 6, 1971

Louis Armstrong was an American trumpeter and singer who played an important role in the development of jazz. Thanks to his playing, trumpet became known as a solo instrument and jazz, which was previously known as a collectively improvised folk music, became a soloist's art form. Not surprisingly, Louis Armstrong is widely accepted as the embodiment of jazz. 

 26 Meek Mill

Meek Mill
0
Famous As: Hip-hop Artist
Birthdate: May 6, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Rapper Meek Mill initially performed with the group The Bloodhoundz. His debut album was featured at number 2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. He has released Billboard-charting tracks such as Amen and Going Bad, both featuring Drake. His brushes with the law inspired the documentary Free Meek.

 27 Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson
0
Famous As: Musician, Singer
Birthdate: June 20, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

Brian Wilson is a singer-songwriter and record producer. He is credited with co-founding the popular rock band, The Beach Boys. Referred to as a genius, Wilson serves as an inspiration to several indie musicians. Regarded as one of the most significant songwriters of his generation, Wilson is often featured in lists, such as the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.

 28 Axl Rose

Axl Rose
0
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: February 6, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer W. Axl Rose, being true to his rebel spirit, fled to Los Angeles on a bus at 17, before he co-founded the legendary hard rock band Guns N' Roses. Working as the lead vocalist/lyricist of the band, he soon became a global sex symbol. 

 29 Steven Tyler

Steven Tyler
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 26, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

Popularly known as the Demon of Screamin, Steven Tyler is the lead singer of the famous rock band Aerosmith. Known for his high-energy performances, Tyler is named in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Singers. Also a well-known philanthropist, Tyler launched a non-profit organization called Janie's Fund and has helped raise more than $2.4 million for the organization.

 30 Paul Simon

Paul Simon
0
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: October 13, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

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.

 31 Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 28, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

Regarded as one of the most acclaimed musical artists of his generation, Frank Ocean is recognized for his unconventional production techniques and wide vocal range. He is credited with revitalizing and popularizing jazz and funk-influenced R&B. He is also regarded as a representative of alternative R&B. He was named in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world list.

 32 ASAP Rocky

ASAP Rocky
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 3, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Rapper ASAP Rocky gained fame with his debut mixtape, LiveLoveA$AP. He released two consecutive Billboard 200-topping albums, Long. Live. ASAP and At. Long. Last. A$AP. Fans loved his Grammy-nominated single Fuckin' Problems. He also produces using the pseudonym Lord Flacko and is part of the hip-hop collective A$AP Mob.

 33 Troyal Garth Brooks

Troyal Garth Brooks
0
Famous As: American singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

Troyal Garth Brooks is an American singer-songwriter. Having sold over 170 million records worldwide, Brooks is one of the best-selling musicians in the world. He is also the best-selling solo albums musician in the US. Also known for his charitable activities, Garth Brooks established the Teammates for Kids Foundation in 1999, which provides financial support to charities for kids.

 34 Khalid (Singer)

Khalid (Singer)
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 11, 1998
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

Khalid is an American singer-songwriter whose work in Logic’s hit single 1-800-273-8255 earned him a nomination at the Grammy Awards. He has also received prestigious awards, such as Billboard Music Awards, MTV Video Music Award, and American Music Awards. In 2019, he was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.

 35 Diplo

Diplo
0
Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter, Record Producer
Birthdate: November 10, 1978
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Rapper, producer, and DJ Diplo is part of the duo Jack U, with Skrillex, and of the supergroup LSD, with Labrinth and Sia. He is also a co-creator of the electronic dance-music trio Major Lazer, with DJs Ape Drums and Walshy Fire. He owns a record company and a non-profit.

 36 Danielle Bregoli

Danielle Bregoli
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 26, 2003
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 37 Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
58
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 29, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: June 25, 2009

The King of Pop and an international superstar, Michael Jackson was a musical entertainer whose work – both with Jackson 5 and solo – won accolades and hearts worldwide. Equally popular were his unique dance moves that created sensation and shaped future dance styles. Amongst the most successful entertainers of all time, Jackson was later accused of child molestation.  

 38 Young Thug

Young Thug
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: August 16, 1991
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

Rapper, singer, and songwriter, Young Thug, is considered to be one of the most influential rappers of his generation. Famous for his eccentric vocal style, he has inspired many others in the music industry. His debut studio album peaked at number one on the US Billboard 200 and earned him international fame.

 39 NBA YoungBoy

NBA YoungBoy
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 20, 1999
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

NBA YoungBoy is an American singer, songwriter, and rapper. He garnered a cult following between 2015 and 2017, during which he released eight successful, independent mixtapes. Rated highly among America's most controversial rappers, NBA YoungBoy has been arrested on a couple of occasions for charges, including attempted first degree murder.

 40 Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley
11
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 8, 1935
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: August 16, 1977
The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, winner of 3 Grammys, and pioneer of the Pelvis move, Elvis Presley was a musical phenomenon of the 20th century. Known for his humbleness, love for God and devotion to his country, Presley had numerous gold, platinum and multi-platinum records to his credit, including 18 number 1 hits and 38 top ten hits.

 41 Taylor Swift

Taylor Alison Swift
55
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 13, 1989
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

American pop and country music singer-songwriter, Taylor Swift is a multiple Grammy award winning artist who has inspired a number of hopeful musicians. A talented artist since a young age, she achieved success with her first single and debut album in 2006. Since then, the Fearless star has not looked back and also made her acting debut in 2009.

 42 Nikki Sixx

Nikki Sixx
0
Famous As: Musician, Songwriter
Birthdate: December 11, 1958
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

Nikki Sixx, the co-founder, songwriter, and bassist of the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe, has also worked with side bands such as Sixx:A.M. Sixx owns a clothing line, has been part of radio shows such as Sixx Sense, and has written a bestselling memoir. He is also a talented photographer.

 43 Akon

Akon
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 16, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

Akon is one of the most successful R&B, hip hop and rap singers in the world. His albums Trouble, Konvicted, Freedom, El Negreeto and Akonda have many chartbusters songs. He has also founded record labels Akonik Label Group, KonLive Distribution and Konvict Mizik. He courted controversy in 2007 for an onstage act involving simulated sex with a 15-year-old girl.

 44 Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

Queen Latifah is an American musician and actress whose song U.N.I.T.Y. played a major role in raising awareness about women's rights worldwide. Dubbed Queen of Jazz-Rap, Latifah has influenced several soul, R&B, and hip-hop artists like Remy Ma, Lil' Kim, Ivy Queen, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, and Eve among other artists. As an actress, Latifah has won several prestigious awards.

 45 Lil Xan

Lil Xan
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: September 6, 1996
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Mexican-American rapper Nicholas Diego Leanos, better known by his pseudonym, "Lil Xan," soared to fame with his platinum-certified track Betrayed from his album Total Xanarchy. His stage name is the shortened form of Xanax, another name for the drug alprazolam, which is why he once considered using the nickname "Diego."

 46 David Cassidy

David Cassidy
0
Famous As: Actor, Singer, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Television actor
Birthdate: April 12, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 47 Phil Spector

Phil Spector
0
Famous As: Record Producer
Birthdate: December 26, 1939
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: January 16, 2021
Music producer Phil Spector invented the Wall of Sound music production formula. He was part of the band Teddy Bears and collaborated with the Wrecking Crew. With Philles Records, he became the youngest American label owner. He was later sentenced to life for the murder of actor/model Lana Clarkson.

 48 John Williams

John Williams
0
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.

 49 Billie Joe Armstrong

Billy Joe Armstrong
0
Famous As: Singer, Musician, Guitarist
Birthdate: February 17, 1972
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

Billie Joe Armstrong is an American musician and record producer. He is credited with co-founding and popularizing the rock band, Green Day. As a guitarist and vocalist, he has also contributed immensely to the success of the punk rock band Pinhead Gunpowder. In 1997, Armstrong founded Adeline Records to help support contemporary bands; the record company was closed in 2017.

 50 Frank Vincent Zappa

Frank Vincent Zappa
0
Famous As: American musician
Birthdate: December 21, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: December 4, 1993

Frank Zappa was an American composer, multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and bandleader. Widely regarded as one of the most stylistically diverse and innovative rock musicians of his generation, Zappa was named in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list in 2004. Zappa's works have influenced other musicians like Alice Cooper, Jimi Hendrix, Simon Phillips, Steve Vai, and Warren DeMartini.