Famous American Rock Musicians

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite American Rock Musicians

 1 Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis
6
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 29, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ferriday, Louisiana, United States
Four-time Grammy-winner Jerry Lee Lewis, nicknamed “The Killer,” is best known for his track Great Balls of Fire. A controversy surrounding his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin Myra destroyed his career. Named to Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, he was also part of the Million Dollar Quartet.

 2 Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: January 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Neil Diamond has sold more than 125 million records and has had 10 Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary chart-topping singles. The Lifetime Achievement Grammy-winner was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His song Sweet Caroline was preserved in the National Recording Registry for being culturally relevant.

 3 Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow
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Famous As: Musician, Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 11, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kennett, Missouri, United States

Sheryl Crow is an American musician, actress, and singer-songwriter. Over the years, Crow has contributed to several film soundtracks, including the iconic theme song for the popular James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies. After being diagnosed with intraductal carcinoma, a form of breast cancer, Sheryl Crow opened the Sheryl Crow Imaging Center by joining hands with her surgeon Kristi Funk.

 4 St. Vincent

St. Vincent
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Birthdate: September 28, 1982
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tulsa

 5 Travis Barker

Travis Barker
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 14, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fontana, California, United States

Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker is known for his mohawk and tattoos. He has also been part of bands such as The Transplants+44, and Box Car Racer, and starred in the reality series Meet the Barkers. He owns a record label and a clothing brand, and has written a memoir.

 6 Mick Mars

Mick Mars
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: May 4, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States
Mick Mars gained fame as the guitarist for the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe and came to be known for his aggressive style of playing the instrument. He has also written songs for bands such as Crashdïet. He has suffered from ankylosing spondylitis since his teenage years. 

 7 Lou Reed

Lou Reed
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Famous As: Musician, Singer
Birthdate: March 2, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Southampton, New York, United States
Died: October 27, 2013
Lou Reed redefined the glam rock genre with his album Transformer. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee initially wrote sings for Pickwick Records and performed with the Velvet Underground. He then released 20 solo albums. His parents had made him go through electro-shock therapy to “cure” his bisexuality.
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 8 Ricky Nelson

Ricky Nelson
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: May 8, 1940
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Teaneck, New Jersey, United States
Died: December 31, 1985

Ricky Nelson was an American pop pioneer, rock & roll star, and singer-songwriter. After establishing himself as a top teen idol during the 1950s, Ricky Nelson went on to release several chartbusting songs. He achieved great popularity and was ranked 91st on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list.

 9 Rick James

Rick James
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: February 1, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Buffalo, New York, United States
Died: August 6, 2004

Rick James was an American multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and record producer. He is credited with forming several bands, including The Mynah Birds and Stone City Band. His career was hampered by his controversial personal life and drug addiction problems; he was convicted of kidnapping and torturing women on two separate instances under the influence of crack.

 10 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
Birthplace: Mercer

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. . 

 11 Benji Madden

Benji Madden
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Famous As: Guitarist
Birthdate: March 11, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: La Plata, Maryland, United States

Along with his identical twin brother, Joel Madden, Benji Madden has been one of the greatest musical duos as far as twin siblings are concerned. A huge fan of tattoos, Benji Madden has several tattoos, including one of Benjamin Franklin, which is so big that it covers his entire back!

 12 Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana
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Birthdate: July 20, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, México

Guitarist Carlos Santana rose to fame in the late 1960s and 1970s with his rock band Santana. He introduced elements of Latin American jazz in his rock music to create unique songs. He is the recipient of ten Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards. Rolling Stone magazine listed him on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists in 2015.

 13 David Byrne

David Byrne
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Famous As: American-Scottish musician
Birthdate: May 14, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dumbarton, Scotland
Talking Heads lead vocalist and avant-garde musician David Byrne has won several awards, including the Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe. He has spoken at TED Talks, launched his own record label, and held visual arts exhibitions. He advocates for cycling and has mostly used a bike throughout his life.

 14 Grace Slick

Grace Slick
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Famous As: Artist, Musician
Birthdate: October 30, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Highland Park, Illinois, United States

Grace Slick is a retired singer-songwriter. Slick played an important role in the psychedelic music scene that flourished in San Francisco during the mid-1960s. One of the earliest female rock stars, Slick played a key role in the development of rock music during the 1960s. She was named among the Greatest Women of Rock N Roll by VH1 in 1999.

 15 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
Birthplace: Manhattan

 16 Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams
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Famous As: Singer, Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Musician, Songwriter
Birthdate: November 5, 1974
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Jacksonville

 17 Bob Seger

Bob Seger
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Musician
Birthdate: May 6, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Singer, songwriter, and musician, Bob Seger, first gained fame in the 1960s as a heartland rock artist. Known for his classic raspy and powerful voice, he recorded many songs that dealt with themes like love and women. With worldwide sales of more than 75 million records, he is one of the world's best-selling artists of all time.

 18 Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren
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Famous As: Multi-instrumentalist, Singer, Record Producer
Birthdate: June 22, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Todd Rundgren is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He is credited with forming popular rock bands, such as Utopia and Nazz. Regarded as a pioneer in the fields of progressive rock, electronic music, Internet music delivery, and music videos, Todd Rundgren's works, such as A Wizard, a True Star remain influential in the world of music.

 19 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

 20 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
Birthplace: Los Angeles

 21 Moby

Moby
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: September 11, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States

 22 Michael Stipe

Michael Stipe
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Famous As: Singer-lyricist
Birthdate: January 4, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Decatur

Michael Stipe is best known as the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band R.E.M., which has released hits such as Losing my Religion. He has a signature “mumbling” and “wailing” style of singing. He has also directed several videos for the band and owns two movie production studios.

 23 Steve Vai

Steve Vai
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Famous As: Guitarist, Songwriter
Birthdate: June 6, 1960
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Carle Place, New York, United States
Three-time Grammy-winning guitarist and singer Steve Vai began his career as a transcriptionist for Frank Zappa and played for his band till he launched his solo career. Guitar World named him the “10th Greatest Guitarist. His music was featured in music videos such as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

 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 Mike Love

Mike Love
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: March 15, 1941
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Mike Love is an American singer-songwriter. He is credited with co-founding the popular rock band, The Beach Boys. Over the years, Love has contributed to the success of the band as one of their main vocalists and lyricists. Although his lyrics reflected the youth culture throughout the 1960s, they started accommodating themes like meditation after he started practicing Transcendental Meditation.

 26 AJ Michalka

AJ Michalka
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 10, 1991
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Torrance, California

AJ Michalka is an American actress, musician, and singer-songwriter. She is credited with forming the popular pop duo Aly & AJ along with her sister Alyson Renae Michalka. Also a respected actress and voice actress, AJ Michalka has contributed to the success of several TV series, such as Steven Universe and The Goldbergs.

 27 Huey Lewis

Huey Lewis
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 5, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Huey Lewis is an American actor, singer, and songwriter. He is credited with forming the popular rock band, Huey Lewis and the News, which contributed to the soundtrack of the film Back to the Future. Apart from writing many of the band's songs, Huey Lewis also plays the harmonica and serves as the lead singer for his band.

 28 Chris Isaak

Chris Isaak
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: June 26, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stockton, California, United States

 29 Bradley Nowell

Bradley Nowell
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: February 22, 1968
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Belmont Shore, Long Beach, California
Died: May 25, 1996
Bradley Nowell is best remembered as the lead vocalist and guitarist of the punk band Sublime. His dalmatian, Lou Dog, was the band’s mascot and often appeared on stage with the band. Nowell died of a heroin overdose, at 28, at a hotel in San Francisco, while touring with Sublime. 

 30 Tori Amos

Tori Amos
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Famous As: Musician and Singer
Birthdate: August 22, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Newton
Alternative rock singer Tori Amos is known for her songs that highlight issues such as feminism. Amos was the youngest to win a music scholarship to the Peabody Institute. She performed with the group Y Kant Tori Read before going solo. She is associated with RAINN, a sexual abuse helpline. 

 31 John Frusciante

John Frusciante
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Famous As: Prostitution, Singer-songwriter, Singer
Birthdate: March 5, 1970
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States

 32 Ben Gibbard

Ben Gibbard
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Famous As: Singer, Singer-songwriter, Actor, Composer, Guitarist
Birthdate: August 11, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bremerton

 33 Billy Preston

Billy Preston
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Famous As: Musician & Songwriter
Birthdate: September 2, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
Died: June 6, 2006

Billy Preston was an American musician and top session keyboardist who worked with popular artists like Ray Charles, Reverend James Cleveland, Sam Cooke, and the Beatles. A two-time Grammy Award winner, Preston struggled throughout his life with his sexual orientation. He chose not to come out as gay until before his death, due to his religious beliefs.

 34 Steve Burns

Steve Burns
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Famous As: Actor, Film actor, Television actor
Birthdate: October 9, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boyertown

 35 Linda Perry

Linda Perry
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Famous As: Famous songwriter for stars like Pink, Gwen Stefani, Courtney Love, Kelly Osbourne, and Christina Aguilera
Birthdate: April 15, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

 36 Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix
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Famous As: Singer & Musician
Birthdate: November 27, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States
Died: September 18, 1970

One of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century, Jimi Hendrix began playing guitar at the age of 15. As his career progressed, he became the first musician to use stereophonic phasing effects in recordings. Rolling Stone ranked him as the greatest guitarist and the sixth greatest artist of all time. He died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 27.

 37 Carrie Brownstein

Carrie Brownstein
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Famous As: Singer, Guitarist, Actor, Writer, Musician, Blogger, Television actor
Birthdate: September 27, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Seattle

 38 Dexter Holland

Dexter Holland
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: December 29, 1965
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Garden Grove, California, United States

Bryan Holland, or Dexter Holland, formed the rock band The Offspring, of which he is also the lead singer and guitarist. A virologist, too, he also attained a PhD in molecular biology from USC. He is also a certified pilot and works for charitable causes such as AIDS awareness.

 39 Brandon Flowers

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

 40 Alex Wolff

Alex Wolff
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 1, 1997
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

 41 Steve Earle

Steve Earle
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Famous As: Musician, Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hampton, Virginia United States

Rock, country, and folk singer-songwriter, Steve Earle, developed an early interest in music and started his career when he was a teenager. Rebellious as a young man, he went through his share of struggles before he was able to establish himself successfully as a singer. Also a political activist, he is a vocal opponent of capital punishment. 

 42 Graham Nash

Graham Nash
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Guitarist
Birthdate: February 2, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Blackpool

 43 Josh Homme

Josh Homme
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 17, 1973
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Joshua Tree, California, United States

Josh Homme is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. He is credited with founding the popular rock band, Queens of the Stone Age, for which he serves as the primary songwriter, lead vocalist, and guitarist. He is also credited with co-founding other rock bands, such as Eagles of Death Metal and Kyuss.

 44 Michelle Branch

Michelle Branch
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 2, 1983
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sedona, Arizona, United States

Michelle Branch is an American actress, singer, and songwriter. She is best known for her vocal performance on Santana's song The Game of Love, which received a Grammy Award under the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category. She is also credited with forming the now-defunct duo The Wreckers.

 45 Harry Nilsson

Harry Nilsson
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Musician, Singer, Composer, Songwriter, Pianist
Birthdate: June 15, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: January 15, 1994

 46 John Gallagher Jr.

John Gallagher Jr.
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 17, 1984
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wilmington, Delaware, United States

John Gallagher Jr. is an American musician and actor known for his contribution across all three major acting mediums. He is best known for playing Moritz Stiefel in a rock musical titled Spring Awakening, for which he was honored with a Tony Award. He has also played important roles in popular TV series, such as The Newsroom and Westworld.

 47 Stewart Copeland

Stewart Copeland
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 16, 1952
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Alexandria, Virginia, USA

 48 John Oates

John Oates
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: April 7, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

John Oates is an American guitarist, record producer, singer, and songwriter. One half of the popular pop rock duo Hall & Oates, John Oates was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the musical duo. In 2017, Oates published his memoir, Change of Seasons.

 49 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

 50 Rivers Cuomo

Rivers Cuomo
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Famous As: Musician, Singer
Birthdate: June 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States