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.
American singer Marvin Gaye is one of the most successful black artists ever and his albums have sold in millions. His success reached great heights with the 1972 song What's Going On. The 1982 single Sexual Healing was the biggest hit of his career and was a chartbuster. He was tragically shot dead by his father after a family altercation.
Eric Clapton, the rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, is considered one of the most influential guitarists of all time. In the 1970s, he recorded a number of successful solo albums and continued to do so over the next several decades and is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He has had issues with alcohol and drugs.
Johann Sebastian Bach was an 18-th century German composer of the Baroque period. He redefined both church and secular music. He served as the court musician of Duke Johann Ernst and King Augustus III. He created more than 300 cantatas and vocal music such as Mass in B minor.
Loretta Lynn is an American singer known for her groundbreaking contribution to country music. In a career spanning six decades, she has released multiple gold albums and has won Grammy Award thrice. Apart from being the most decorated female country singer, Loretta is also the only female Academy of Country Music (ACM) Artist of the Decade (the 1970s).
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.
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 Joseph Haydn
Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer who played a key role in the progression of chamber music during the Classical period. He is often referred to as the Father of the String Quartet and Father of the Symphony for his contributions to musical form. Joseph Haydn is also credited with mentoring and tutoring Mozart and Beethoven, respectively.
13 Muddy Waters
14 Al Green
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.
16 Lady Gaga
Popular singer and songwriter, Lady Gaga has been active in the music industry since her teens. One of the world's best-selling music artists, she is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards. A versatile performer, she is known for her consistent image reinventions in music. She is actively involved in philanthropy and social activism.
17 Lil Nas X
Montero Lamar Hill, better known as Lil Nas X, soared to fame with his US Billboard Hot 100 charter country rap track Old Town Road. The gay singer initially became viral for his comedy videos on Facebook and Vine and then soared to fame on Spotify.
18 Mariah Carey
Known for her five-octave vocal range and melismatic singing style, singer-songwriter Mariah Carey is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She holds the record for the most number-one singles by a solo artist and a female songwriter. She was ranked second on VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music in 2012.
20 Diana Ross
With several prestigious honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, under her belt, Diana Ross is one of the most popular and influential singers of all time. In 1976, Billboard named her the Female Entertainer of the Century. She has influenced popular artists like Madonna, Beyoncé, and Michael Jackson.
21 Mandy Moore
Mandy Moore is a popular singer, songwriter, and actress who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Apart from her entertainment career, Moore is a known philanthropist who endorses the philosophy of effective altruism. In 2017, she was an active participant at the Los Angeles Women's March.
Legendary Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi is best remembered for his masterpieces such as Requiem, Rigoletto, Falstaff, and Otello. He was also briefly associated with the Risorgimento movement meant to unify Italy and thus composed many choruses reflecting the spirit. He was inspired by composers such as Bellini and Donizetti.
Canadian actor, William Shatner, is best known for his roles in the television series Boston Legal, a legal drama for which he won two Emmy Awards and Star Trek, a science fiction adventure. He has also worked in many other sitcoms and films and has authored a number of science fiction novels. He is a singer and a spoken-word artist too.
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.
27 Jessie J
29 Brendon Urie
Singer, songwriter, and musician Brendon Urie is best known as the lead vocalist of the pop-rock band Panic! at the Disco. He started taking guitar classes while in high school and also joined a band. He has enjoyed considerable success with Panic! and also takes up projects as a solo artist. He launched the Highest Hopes Foundation in 2018.
30 Suge Knight
American businessman and co-founder of a successful music label. Death Row Records, Suge Knight has been a controversial figure. He had been in and out of prison for a number of years for charges like theft, racketeering, attempt to murder and parole violation, before he was sentenced to 28 years in prison for the a hit-and-run incident in October 2018.
31 Rick Moranis
Rick Moranis is one of the most popular Canadian artists to make it big in the American film industry. Best known for playing father characters in children's films like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Rick proved to be a great father off-screen as he took a long break from his career to take care of his children, after the death of his wife.
32 Gerard Way
Best known as the co-founder of the rock band, My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way is a popular singer and songwriter. Also a famous comic book writer, Gerard Way co-founded DC's Young Animal imprint and wrote the Eisner Award-winning book series ,The Umbrella Academy. After struggling with prescription drug addiction and alcoholism, he has been maintaining sobriety for many years now.
Kim Jong-hyun was a South Korean record producer, singer-songwriter, author, and radio host. Kim was the principal vocalist of the popular boy band Shinee before he committed suicide at the age of 27. In 2018, his family members established the Shiny Foundation in an attempt to help struggling young artists.
Actor-singer and teen idol David Cassidy soared to fame with his iconic role of Keith Partridge in the long-running musical sitcom The Partridge Family. Known for hits such as Cherish and Daydreamer, he was often mobbed by girls in his youth. He spent his later life struggling with alcoholism and dementia.
38 Chaka Khan
39 Jeff Porcaro
John Lennon’s son Julian Lennon, who spent his childhood in oblivion, inspired Beatles tracks such as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. He has dabbled in photography, won a Grammy for his album Valotte, written a best-selling trilogy, produced documentaries, and founded a charity for environmental and humanitarian causes.
43 Ravi Shankar
44 Luis Miguel
Luis Miguel is a Mexican singer. Having performed in a wide range of styles like pop and jazz, Miguel is considered the most successful artist in the history of Latin America. One of the best-selling Latin musicians ever, Miguel is credited with popularizing the bolero genre. Thanks to his popularity, he has been referred to as the Latin Frank Sinatra.
Hayley Kiyoko is a singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress. She displayed an interest in the performing arts as a child and was encouraged by her parents to follow her passion. She began her career as a model and actress and soon joined a singing and dancing group as well. She is considered to be a gay icon by her fans.
46 Bela Bartok
Bela Bartok was a Hungarian pianist, composer, and ethnomusicologist. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most prominent composers, Bartok is also counted among Hungary's greatest composers of all time. He is credited with co-founding comparative musicology, which came to be known as ethnomusicology.
47 Thomas Rhett
Country singer Thomas Rhett, son of singer Rhett Akins, has delivered countless chartbusting tracks such as Crash and Burn, Unforgettable, and It Goes Like This. The Grammy-nominated singer has also won honors such as the BMI Award, the Billboard Music Award, and the Academy of Country Music Award.
49 Damon Albarn
Grammy-winning English singer Damon Albarn has previously been part of two major bands, Blur and Gorillaz, as their lead vocalist and primary songwriter. He has also performed as part of the supergroup The Good, the Bad & the Queen. His solo album Everyday Robots was nominated for a Mercury Award.