Famous British Composers

Find out more about the greatest British Composers, including Paul McCartney, Elton John, David Gilmour, Marc Bolan and Dave Gahan

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 British Composers

 1 Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 22, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kensington, London
Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber reinvented the musical and created masterpieces such as Don't Cry for Me Argentina from Evita and Memory from Cats. He is one of 16 people to have won the Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony. He owns one of the biggest theater companies in London.

 2 Elton John

Elton John
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Famous As: Singer, Pianist and Composer- One of the Best-Selling Artists of All Time
Birthdate: March 25, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pinner, England
The supremely gifted English singer, songwriter, pianist and composer, Elton John has entertained music lovers globally since the 1970s. His phenomenal talent make him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Not to forget his tribute to Princess Diana, Candle in the Wind 1997, which till date is one of the best-selling singles in the UK and the US.

 3 George Frideric Handel

George Frideric Handel
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Famous As: Baroque composer
Birthdate: February 23, 1685
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Halle (Saale), Germany
Died: April 14, 1759

George Frideric Handel was a Baroque composer renowned for his oratorios, operas, anthems, and organ concertos. A great composer, Handel's works had a strong influence on popular Classical-era composers like Beethoven and Mozart. George Frideric Handel's life and work have also inspired several films, such as the 1942 British biographical film The Great Mr. Handel.

 4 David McCallum

David McCallum
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

David McCallum is a Scottish musician and actor who gained recognition for portraying Illya Kuryakin in the popular spy fiction TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He gained international recognition for playing Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the action police procedural TV series NCIS. David McCallum has also contributed as a writer, publishing a novel titled Once a Crooked Man.

 5 Roger Waters

Roger Waters
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Famous As: Composer, Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Screenwriter, Singer, Pianist, Record producer
Birthdate: September 6, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Surrey

Co-founder of the rock band, Pink Floyd, Roger Waters is celebrated singer, songwriter and composer. Beginning his career with rhythm guitar, he initially served solely as a bassist in Pink Floyd before emerging as their lyricist, co-lead vocalist, and conceptual leader. Later he left the group due to creative difference and embarked on his solo career, releasing numerous albums and singles

 6 Damon Albarn

Damon Albarn
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Famous As: Guitarist, Singer, Musician, Composer, Songwriter
Birthdate: March 23, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Whitechapel

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.

 7 Christopher Guest

Christopher Guest
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Famous As: Screenwriter, Director
Birthdate: February 5, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Screenwriter, composer, musician, and director Christopher Guest is a multifaceted man. He is known for writing and directing a series of comedy films shot in mock-documentary (mockumentary) style. He has also starred in many of his films, often playing comedic characters. Despite his penchant for portraying comedic characters onscreen, he is known to be a serious person in real life.

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 8 Brian Eno

Brian Eno
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Famous As: Musician, Record producer
Birthdate: May 15, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Melton, Suffolk, England
Brian Eno created "The Microsoft Sound" for Windows 95 and co-developed the card-based creativity-improving technique Oblique Strategies. His ambient music album Reflection was nominated for a Grammy, and his visual installations have been projected on structures such as the Sydney Opera House. He also co-founded the Long Now Foundation.

 9 Dudley Moore

Dudley Moore
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 19, 1935
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Charing Cross, London, England
Died: March 27, 2002
Dudley Moore was a prominent figure of the 1960s’ British satire boom. He is best known for writing the stage revue Beyond the Fringe and was also part of the sketch comedy Not Only... But Also. He delivered an Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning performance in the comedy film Arthur

 10 David Gilmour

David Gilmour
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Famous As: Guitarist, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Multi-instrumentalist, Record producer
Birthdate: March 6, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cambridge ,England

Pink Floyd guitarist/singer David Gilmour helped the band become one of the best-selling acts ever. One of Rolling Stone magazine’s greatest guitarists of all time, he has also been an advocate of animal rights and other causes. He once auctioned off 120 guitars, including his iconic Black Strat, for charity.

 11 Marc Bolan

Marc Bolan
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Famous As: English singer-songwriter known for his acoustic guitar-based songs.
Birthdate: September 30, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 16, 1977

Marc Bolan was a British singer, songwriter, poet, musician, and record producer. Best remembered for his association with the rock band T. Rex, Bolan is often counted among the pioneers of the glam rock movement. Bolan is also credited with founding the band Tyrannosaurus Rex. In 2020, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 12 Terry Jones

Terry Jones
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales
Died: January 21, 2020
Starting his career as a comedy writer, actor-director Terry Jones later soared to fame as part of the Monty Python comedy team. An avid historian, too, he wrote several books and presented TV documentaries on the topic. In his later years, the BAFTA Cymru award winner struggled with dementia. 

 13 Donovan

Donovan
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Composer, Autobiographer, Writer, Poet, Record producer, Film score composer
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.

 14 Petula Clark

Petula Clark
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 15, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ewell, Surrey, England

Petula Clark is an English singer, composer, and actress. She achieved immense popularity in the USA, for which she is often referred to as the First Lady of the British Invasion. Over the years, Petula Clark has sold over 68 million records worldwide. Some of her best known songs include Downtown, I Couldn't Live Without Your Love, and My Love.

 15 Tony Iommi

Tony Iommi
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Famous As: Guitarist, Composer, Musician, Songwriter
Birthdate: February 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Birmingham

Black Sabbath lead guitarist Tony Iommi was named one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Known for his signature black leather jacket and silver cross neckpiece, he is fond of playing dark guitar tones. While he successfully beat lymphoma, the cancer was in remission later.

 16 PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Composer, Artist, Singer, Guitarist
Birthdate: October 9, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bridport

Tinged with themes of female sexuality, the lyrics of PJ Harvey have redefined the place women occupy in rock music. While she was initially part of a musical trio named after herself, she later charted her own path as a solo musician. She is only artist to have earned the Mercury Prize twice.

 17 Dave Gahan

Dave Gahan
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Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: May 9, 1962
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Epping

 18 George Martin

George Martin
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Famous As: Record producer
Birthdate: January 3, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Highbury
Died: March 8, 2016

George Martin was an English composer, conductor, arranger, record producer, and audio engineer. Due to his involvement on each of the Beatles' albums, Martin was often referred to as the Fifth Beatle. In 1996, George Martin was made a Knight Bachelor for his contribution to the music industry. Apart from being a musician, Martin also contributed to several charitable causes.

 19 Nick Drake

Nick Drake
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Guitarist, Composer
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.

 20 Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: August 2, 1994
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: North London, England

 21 Nick Mason

Nick Mason
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Famous As: Drummer
Birthdate: January 27, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Edgbaston, Birmingham, England

Born to a documentary film maker, drummer Nick Mason was no stranger to art and entertainment as a child. He formed his first band while studying architecture. He was the only original member of the iconic rock band Pink Floyd member to have been part of the band since its inception.

 22 Edward Elgar

Edward Elgar
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: June 2, 1857
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Broadheath, England
Died: February 23, 1934

 23 Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten
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Famous As: Composer, conductor and pianist
Birthdate: November 22, 1913
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lowestoft
Died: December 4, 1976

 24 Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 17, 1985
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London Borough of Harrow
Tom Fletcher, lead vocalist and guitarist of the band McFly, has also written for several artists and bands, such as Busted, One Direction, and The Vamps. A successful YouTube vlogger, too, he has documented and shared all three pregnancies of his wife, Giovanna. He has also written several children’s books.

 25 Rick Wakeman

Rick Wakeman
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Famous As: Composer, Musician, Keyboardist, Songwriter, Pianist, Film score composer, Radio personality
Birthdate: May 18, 1949
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Perivale

One of the most popular rock keyboardists of the progressive rock genre, Rick Wakeman soared to fame as part of the band Yes and later had an equally successful solo career. He had ditched his initial dream of becoming a pianist to start his career as a session musician.

 26 Fatboy Slim

Fatboy Slim
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Famous As: Disc Jockey
Birthdate: July 31, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bromley, Kent, England

 27 Richard Coles

Richard Coles
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Famous As: Journalist, Radio personality
Birthdate: March 26, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Northampton

 28 Mike Oldfield

Mike Oldfield
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Famous As: Composer, Guitarist, Songwriter
Birthdate: May 15, 1953
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Reading

Best known for his hit album-length conceptual piece Tubular Bells, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mike Oldfield experimented with a whole range of musical genres, such as progressive rock, folk, and new-age rock. His music was also featured in the cult horror film of the 1970s The Exorcist.

 29 Jack Bruce

Jack Bruce
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Famous As: Composer, Singer, Jazz musician, Diarist, Pianist, Songwriter
Birthdate: May 14, 1943
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bishopbriggs
Died: October 25, 2014

 30 Keith Emerson

Keith Emerson
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 2, 1944
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Todmorden, West Yorkshire, England, UK
Died: March 11, 2016

 31 Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck
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Famous As: Guitarist, Composer, Musician, Jazz guitarist, Songwriter
Birthdate: June 24, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: England

Jeff Beck is a British rock guitarist renowned for his association with popular rock bands like The Yardbirds, Beck, Bogert & Appice, and The Jeff Beck Group. Regarded as one of the greatest and most influential players in history, Beck has won several awards like the Grammy Awards. He has also appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine thrice.

 32 Henry Purcell

Henry Purcell
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: September 10, 1659
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Westminster
Died: November 21, 1695

 33 Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: October 12, 1872
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Down Ampney, England
Died: August 26, 1958

 34 Ian Anderson

Ian Anderson
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Famous As: Composer, Singer, Guitarist, Flautist, Songwriter
Birthdate: August 10, 1947
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dunfermline

 35 Max Richter

Max Richter
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 22, 1966
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hamelin, Germany

German-born British composer Max Richter is known for his experiments with classical music, which he often mingles with contemporary electronica. Apart from performing at sold-out concerts at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, he has also composed for shows such as Black Mirror and Taboo and films such as Hostiles.

 36 Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp
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Famous As: Guitarist, Composer, Motivational speaker, Record producer
Birthdate: May 16, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wimborne Minster

 37 Manfred Mann

Manfred Mann
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Famous As: jazz musician, pianist, record producer, composer
Birthdate: October 21, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Johannesburg

 38 Jonny Greenwood

Jonny Greenwood
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Famous As: Guitarist, Banjoist, Composer, Ondist, Multi-instrumentalist, Actor, Songwriter
Birthdate: November 5, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Oxford

 39 Labrinth

Labrinth
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 4, 1989
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London Borough of Hackney Hackney, London, England

 40 Thomas Tallis

Thomas Tallis
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Famous As: Composer, Organist
Birthdate: January 30, 1505
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kent, England
Died: November 23, 1585

 41 Ray Davies

Ray Davies
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Famous As: Guitarist, Composer, Singer, Songwriter, Record producer
Birthdate: June 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England

 42 Marianne Jean-Baptiste

Marianne Jean-Baptiste
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 26, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England, UK

 43 John Barry

John Barry
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Famous As: Composer, Musician, Songwriter, Film score composer
Birthdate: November 3, 1933
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: York
Died: January 30, 2011

 44 Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson
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Famous As: Singer, Composer
Birthdate: October 25, 1944
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Accrington

 45 Joe Elliott

Joe Elliott
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Musician
Birthdate: August 1, 1959
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sheffield, England

 46 Alan Parsons

Alan Parsons
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Famous As: Composer, Musician, Record producer
Birthdate: December 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London

Alan Parsons is an English musician, audio engineer, record producer, and songwriter. He is credited with forming a rock band named The Alan Parsons Project. Over the years, Parsons has won many prestigious awards including a Grammy Award for Best Immersive Audio Album. In the 2021, Parsons was made an OBE for services to music production and music.

 47 Roy Wood

Roy Wood
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Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: November 8, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Birmingham, England

 48 Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst
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Famous As: Was an English Composer
Birthdate: September 21, 1874
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Died: May 25, 1934

 49 Goldie

Goldie
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Famous As: Actor, Record producer, Club DJ, Musician, Composer
Birthdate: September 19, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Walsall

 50 Anohni

Anohni
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: October 24, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chichester, Sussex, England, nowrap United Kingdom