Famous British Folk Singers

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Find out more about the greatest British Folk Singers, including George Ezra, Marcus Mumford, James Blunt, Cat Stevens and Nick Drake.
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 1 
Cat Stevens
(Singer and Multi-Instrumentalist Known for His Albums ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ and ‘Teaser and the Firecat’)
Cat Stevens
10
Birthdate: July 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom

British singer, Cat Stevens, has released more than 15 studio albums and has churned out many hit songs. He converted to Islam in 1977 and adopted the name Yusuf Islam. He was slammed for reportedly backing the death fatwa on author Salman Rushdie. He has also been accused of allegedly having ties with terrorist organisations, a charge he has vehemently denied.

 2 
Van Morrison
(Singer)
Van Morrison
4
Birthdate: August 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bloomfield, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Northern Irish singer, Van Morrison, garnered recognition in the 1960s while playing with the band, Them, and then later as a solo singer with the 1967 song Brown Eyed Girl. Over the years, he has released more than 40 albums. Astral Weeks, Moondance, Wavelength, Down the Road and Keep It Simple are some of his acclaimed and commercially successful albums.

 3 
George Ezra
(Best Known for His Hit Single 'Budapest' & Debut Studio Album 'Wanted on Voyage')
George Ezra
7
Birthdate: June 7, 1993
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hertford, Hertfordshire, England

George Ezra is an English guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He achieved popularity after releasing his debut album Wanted on Voyage, which peaked at number one in the UK. It was also one of the best-selling albums in the UK in the year 2014. In 2019, George Ezra was honored with the Brit Award under the British Male Solo Artist category.

 4 
Donovan
(Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Composer, Autobiographer, Writer, Poet, Record producer, Film score composer)
Donovan
5
Birthdate: May 10, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Donovan is a Scottish guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is best known for developing and popularizing a distinctive and eclectic style that blended many genres, such as folk, jazz, pop, calypso, and psychedelic rock. Donovan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

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 5 
Sandy Denny
(Legendary British Folk Rock Singer and Fomer Lead Singer of the Band ‘Fairport Convention’)
Sandy Denny
7
Birthdate: January 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London
Died: April 21, 1978
 6 
Vera Lynn
(Legendary English Singer Known for Her Performances for the Troops During World War II)
Vera Lynn
6
Birthdate: March 20, 1917
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Essex, England, United Kingdom
Died: June 18, 2020

Iconic English singer Vera Lynn was a favorite of the masses during World War II and earned the nickname the Forces' Sweetheart, owing to her outdoor concerts for the army. Initially part of a singing troupe, she later became quite a sensation on both radio and TV.

 7 
Nick Drake
(Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Guitarist, Composer)
Nick Drake
5
Birthdate: June 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Yangon, Myanmar
Died: November 25, 1974

Nick Drake was a British singer-songwriter best remembered for his acoustic guitar-based music. Although he failed to achieve popularity during his lifetime, Drake's music has achieved recognition in recent times. He suffered from depression throughout his life and died at the age of 26 from an overdose of a prescribed antidepressant called amitriptyline.

 8 
Richard Thompson
(Best Known as the Lead Guitarist and Songwriter of the Folk Fock Group 'Fairport Convention')
Richard Thompson
3
Birthdate: April 3, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Notting Hill Gate, London

Richard Thompson is an English guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He helped revive British folk music during the 1960s and 1970s by co-founding the folk rock band Fairport Convention where he performed as the lead guitarist and songwriter. One of his best-known songs, 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, was named in Time magazine's list of All Time 100 Songs.

 9 
Passenger
(English Singer-Songwriter and Musician Best Known for His Chart-Topping Song ‘Let Her Go’)
Passenger
7
Birthdate: May 17, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brighton and Hove
 10 
Al Stewart
(Scottish Folk-Rock Musician Best Known for His Hit Single 'Year of the Cat')
Al Stewart
4
Birthdate: September 5, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glasgow

Al Stewart is a Scottish folk-rock musician and singer-songwriter. He achieved popularity during the 1960s and 1970s and helped revive British folk music. He is best known for his single Year of the Cat, which became a hit worldwide. Over the course of his career, Al Stewart has worked with well-known musicians like Peter White, Jimmy Page, and Richard Thompson.

 11 
Laura Marling
(Brit Award Winning British Folk Singer-Songwriter Known for Albums like 'Song for Our Daughter')
Laura Marling
6
Birthdate: February 1, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: England
 12 
Roger Whittaker
(British Musician and Singer Known for His Trademark Whistling Ability, Baritone Singing Voice, and Guitar Skills)
Roger Whittaker
4
Birthdate: March 22, 1936
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nairobi, Kenya

Roger Whittaker is a British musician and singer-songwriter. Best known for his trademark whistling ability, baritone singing voice, and guitar skills, Whittaker is one of the best-selling artistes in the UK. Roger Whittaker forsook his teaching career to establish himself as a musician, a decision which he has never regretted. 

 13 
Ronnie Lane
(Bass Guitarist and Founding Member of Rock-&-Roll Bands 'Small Faces' and 'Faces')
Ronnie Lane
4
Birthdate: April 1, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Plaistow
Died: July 4, 1997

Ronnie Lane was an English musician, music producer, and songwriter. He is best remembered as the founding member of the popular rock and roll bands, Small Faces and Faces. Ronnie Lane’s work with the bands earned him a posthumous induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 14 
Rebecca Pidgeon
(Actress and Singer-Songwriter Known for Her Film ‘Homicide’ and Album ‘Behind the Velvet Curtain’)
Rebecca Pidgeon
5
Birthdate: October 10, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
 15 
Beth Gibbons
(English Singer-Songwriter and Member of the Trip Hop Band 'Portishead')
Beth Gibbons
5
Birthdate: January 4, 1965
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Exeter, Devon, England

Singer and lyricist of the English band Portishead, Beth Gibbons was at her family’s farm in Exeter and grew up shunning modern lifestyle or education. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with many artists. She has also been a judge at the Independent Music Award.

 16 
Ed Sheeran
(Singer)
Ed Sheeran
4
Birthdate: February 17, 1991
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Halifax, West Yorkshire, England

Ed Sheeran is one of the most popular English singer-songwriters of the current generation. His songs Castle on the Hill and Shape of You from his third studio album broke records in several countries. He is one of the best-selling music artists in the world, having sold over 150 million records worldwide.

 17 
Ralph McTell
(English Singer-Songwriter and Guitarist Known for His Hit Song 'Streets of London')
Ralph McTell
3
Birthdate: December 3, 1944
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Farnborough, Kent, England

English singer and guitarist Ralph McTell is best known for his contribution to English folk music. He soared to fame with his chartbusting hit Streets of London. The singer has also hosted children’s programs such as Alphabet Zoo. Interestingly, he had started his career as a teacher, before switching to music.

 18 
Ewan MacColl
(Folk Singer-Songwriter Known for His Songs: 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face', 'Dirty Old Town')
Ewan MacColl
3
Birthdate: January 25, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Broughton, Salford, England
Died: October 22, 1989
 19 
John Martyn
(British Singer-Songwriter and Guitarist Known for His Albums ‘Glorious Fool’ and ‘Well Kept Secret’)
John Martyn
3
Birthdate: September 11, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Malden, Surrey, England, UK
Died: January 29, 2009
 20 
Peter Sarstedt
(British Singer-Songwriter Best Known for His Song 'Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?')
Peter Sarstedt
4
Birthdate: December 10, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Delhi, India
Died: January 8, 2017

Peter Sarstedt was an English singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. He mainly performed pop music with elements inspired by ballads and traditional folk music. He is best known for writing and singing the song Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?, which won an Ivor Novello Award. He was active in the music scene for over 40 years. 

 21 
Dewey Bunnell
(Singer-Songwriter and Member of the Folk-Rock Band 'America')
Dewey Bunnell
3
Birthdate: January 19, 1952
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Harrogate, Yorkshire, England

British-American singer-guitarist Dewey Bunnell soared to fame as part of the folk-rock band America, which released hit singles such as A Horse with No Name in the 1970s. His tracks were later reworked by music legend Michael Jackson. He and his band have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 22 
Lianne La Havas
(British Record Producer and Singer-Songwriter)
Lianne La Havas
7
Birthdate: August 23, 1989
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London

Lianne La Havas is a British record producer and singer-songwriter. Apart from releasing award-winning albums like Lianne La Havas and Is Your Love Big Enough, La Havas also headlines concert tours. Her work has received nominations for the prestigious Grammy Awards and Brit Awards.

 23 
Ella Edmondson
(English Singer-Songwriter and Daughter of Comedians Ade Edmondson and Jennifer Saunders)
Ella Edmondson
5
Birthdate: January 22, 1986
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hammersmith
 24 
Maddy Prior
(British Folk Singer Best Known as a Founding Member and Lead Vocalist of ‘Steeleye Span’)
Maddy Prior
5
Birthdate: August 14, 1947
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Blackpool
 25 
Steve Tilston
(English Singer-Songwriter Known as One of the Finest Artists of Irish and English Folk Music)
Steve Tilston
3
Birthdate: March 26, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Liverpool

Known for both his singing and guitar skills, English singer Steve Tilston remains one of the most celebrated musicians of the Irish and English folk genre. He has also often collaborated with his former partner, Maggie Boyle. He has also won a Folk Award and penned a novel.

 26 
Vashti Bunyan
(Known for Her 1970 Album 'Just Another Diamond Day')
Vashti Bunyan
5
Birthdate: December 20, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne, England
 27 
Kate Rusby
(One of the Most Reputed Contemporary English Folk Singers)
Kate Rusby
4
Birthdate: December 4, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barnsley
 28 
Phil Coulter
(Irish Singer-Songwriter Known for His Partnership with Songwriter Bill Martin)
Phil Coulter
3
Birthdate: February 19, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Derry

A legend of Celtic music, Phil Coulter was the best-selling Irish music artist of his time. Starting his career as a songwriter for various artists, he later teamed up with songwriter Bill Martin to write hits such as Puppet on a String. He also penned a theme for the Irish rugby team.

 29 
Dana Gillespie
(English Singer-Songwriter and Actress)
Dana Gillespie
3
Birthdate: March 30, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Woking

Dana Gillespie is an English singer, songwriter, and actress. Gillespie, who started her career as a teen pop musician, went on to experiment with other genres like folk and rock. More recently, she has established herself as an exponent of the blues. As an actress, Dana Gillespie has played interesting roles in movies like The Lost Continent and Bad Timing.  

 30 
Jake Thackray
(English Singer-Songwriter, Poet & Journalist)
Jake Thackray
3
Birthdate: February 27, 1938
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Leeds
Died: December 24, 2002

Jake Thackray was an English poet, journalist, and singer-songwriter. He achieved immense popularity during the 1960s and 1970s when he started appearing on British television, performing his topical comedy songs. Jake Thackray is credited with influencing performers like Jarvis Cocker, Alex Turner, Ralph McTell, and Mike Harding.

 31 
Lucy Rose
(English Folk-Rock and Indie-Rock Musician)
Lucy Rose
4

While singer Lucy Rose initially sang gentle folk-rock, she later experimented with pop and added acoustic elements to it. Interestingly, she once sold her own brand of tea at her shows. She also shot a documentary while performing for free and staying with her fans in Latin America.

 32 
Julie Driscoll
(English Actress and Singer)
Julie Driscoll
5
Birthdate: June 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London

Julie Driscoll is an English actress and singer best known for her '60s version of Rick Danko and Bob Dylan's This Wheel's on Fire. Driscoll's version of the song became the unofficial anthem of the psychedelic subculture era in British rock music.

 33 
John Tams
(Actor, Songwriter, Singer, Record producer, Entrepreneur, Film score composer, Photographer)
John Tams
2
Birthdate: February 16, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Holbrook, Derbyshire

John Tams is an English actor, musician, composer, singer, and songwriter. He is best known for portraying the role of Daniel Hagman in the television drama series Sharpe. As a musician, John Tams worked with Ashley Hutchings before forming a folk-rock group called Home Service in late 1980.

 34 
Mike Harding
(English Singer-Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist and Comedian)
Mike Harding
2
Birthdate: October 23, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Crumpsall

Mike Harding is an English singer, songwriter, poet, comedian, author, multi-instrumentalist, and broadcaster. A multi-talented person, Harding has also tried his hand at photography, filmmaking, and scriptwriting. Mike Harding is also credited with launching his own radio show titled The Mike Harding Folk Show. 

 35 
Anne Briggs
(Legendary English Folk Singer Active During the 1960s and 1970s)
Anne Briggs
2
Birthdate: September 29, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Toton

English folk singer Anne Briggs started her career with folk clubs and later became a cult figure in folk music. However, she apparently hated her voice so much that she ended up retiring from music at age 27. She became a recluse later, but her music ended up inspiring many future folk artists.

 36 
Lauren Aquilina
(Maltese-English Singer-Songwriter Known for Her Debut EP Trilogy—Fools, Sinners and Liars)
Lauren Aquilina
2

Lauren Aquilina is a Maltese-English singer-songwriter. She achieved popularity when she was still a school student by releasing a trilogy of independent EPs, namely Fools, Sinners, and Liars. Since then, Lauren Aquilina has released several best-selling singles, such as Lovers or Liars and Swap Places.

 37 
June Tabor
(Legendary English Folk Singer Known for Her Collaborations with 'Maddy Prior' and 'Oysterband')
June Tabor
3
Birthdate: December 31, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Warwick, England

English folk singer June Tabor first gained fame with the album Silly Sisters, a collaboration with singer Maddy Prior. She is also known for her collaboration with British folk-rock band The Oyster Band. In 2004, she bagged the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for the Folk Singer of the Year.

 38 
Teddy Thompson
(British Folk-Rock Artist and Son of Musicians Richard & Linda Thompson)
Teddy Thompson
3
Birthdate: February 19, 1976
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London

The only son of legendary folk-rock musicians Richard & Linda Thompson, Teddy Thompson is a folk-rock artist in his own right and first gained attention with his appearance in this father’s album You? Me? Us? He later brought his mother out of retirement and co-produced her come-back album.

 39 
Thea Gilmore
(English Alternative and Indie Singer-Songwriter)
Thea Gilmore
2
Birthdate: November 25, 1979
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oxford

English singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore was a teenager when she released her first album. Initially a poetry and short story writer, she left home at 16 and established her own label. She soon gained fame with tracks such as Juliet. She has also collaborated extensively with her husband, producer-songwriter Nigel Stonier.

 40 
A.L. Lloyd
(English Singer & Collector of Folk Songs)
A.L. Lloyd
1
Birthdate: February 29, 1908
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Wandsworth, London, England
Died: September 29, 1982

A.L. Lloyd was an English folk singer. A collector of folk songs, Lloyd played an important role during the British folk revival movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Lloyd also helped establish industrial folk music through his recordings, books, and theoretical writings.

 41 
Mike Waterson
(English Folk Singer-Songwriter Known for His Association With the Popular Folk Group, 'The Watersons')
Mike Waterson
0
Birthdate: January 16, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kingston upon Hull, England
Died: June 22, 2011

Mike Waterson was an English folk singer, songwriter, and author. He is best remembered for his association with the popular folk group, The Watersons. Waterson was also an important member of the English folk supergroup, Blue Murder. Mike Waterson is also remembered for his work with his sisters, Lal and Norma Waterson.

 42 
Frankie Armstrong
(English Folk Singer and a Prominent Voice Coach and Social Worker)
Frankie Armstrong
1
Birthdate: January 13, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Workington, England

Known for her powerful soprano voice, English folk singer Frankie Armstrong soared to fame with her rendition of Peggy Seeger's I'm Gonna Be an Engineer. She has performed at folk festivals across the US and Britain. She has also worked as a voice coach at National Theatre and other theater groups.

 43 
Louis Killen
(English Folk Singer Who Formed One of the UK's first Folk Clubs)
Louis Killen
0
Birthdate: January 10, 1934
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gateshead, England
Died: August 9, 2013

Louis Killen was an English folk singer. Killen is credited with forming one of the UK's first folk clubs in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1958. After moving to the USA, Louis Killen became an important member of The Clancy Brothers and featured in the band until the mid 1970s. 

 44 
Bob Roberts
(British Folk Singer-Songwriter & Storyteller)
Bob Roberts
0

Bob Roberts was a British storyteller, folk singer, songwriter, bargeman, journalist, and author. Renowned for his charismatic personality and great story-telling ability, Bob Roberts achieved popularity in the 1950s when he started appearing in folk clubs and festivals.

 45 
Bob Copper
(Legendary English Folk Singer and Member of the Musical 'Cooper Family')
Bob Copper
1
Birthdate: January 6, 1915
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: England
Died: March 29, 2004

Born into the famous musical Copper family of Rottingdean, British singer Bob Copper is remembered as a folk music legend. He, along with his family, wrote down songs and had a unique style of a capella singing. He was later awarded the Gold Badge of the English Folk Dance and Song Society.