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 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.
19 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.
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.
22 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.
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.
25 Jessie J
29 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.
31 Chaka Khan
32 Jeff Porcaro
33 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.
34 Ravi Shankar
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.
36 Young M.A
Young M.A is an American rapper who achieved popularity after the release of her single Ooouuu, which was certified quadruple-platinum. Also a well-known philanthropist, Young M.A launched the KWEENZ Foundation in 2018; the foundation aims at helping those trying to cope with the loss of loved ones. The same year, she was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
37 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.
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.
40 Maren Morris
Maren Morris is an American record producer, singer, and songwriter. Many of her songs and albums have performed well on Billboard charts; her album Hero peaked at the fifth position on Billboard 200. As a songwriter, Maren Morris has contributed to the success of several songs recorded by artists like Kelly Clarkson, Tim McGraw, Jessie James Decker, and Aubrey Peeples.
42 Damon Albarn
44 Tiny Tim
Folk singer and ukulele artist Herbert Butros Khaury, better known as Tiny Tim, is remembered for his hits such as Tiptoe Through the Tulips. His album For All My Little Friends was nominated for a Grammy Award. He earned a star outside the Minneapolis nightclub First Avenue.
45 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 Paul Reiser
48 Carl Perkins
50 Joss Stone
Joss Stone is an English singer, actress, and songwriter. One of the most successful British female singers of her generation, Stone has sold more than 15 million records worldwide. She has also received several prestigious awards, such as Grammy Award and Brit Awards. In 2006, Joss Stone became the youngest woman to be featured in the Sunday Times Rich List.