Famous British Lyricists & Songwriters

What is it that links John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Van Morrison David Bowie, Kate Bush and Noel Coward? Except for the fact that they all are songwriters and lyricists, each of them have their roots well laid in Britain. Avant-garde style, warm tenor, sophisticated wordplay and fiery idealism define British lyricists and songwriters. They have streamed through the time and tides and came up with some of the most complex to the most simple but elegant musical confections. Revolutionary artists, British lyricists have travelled far and beyond and came up with some of the most scintillating lyrics that have reverberated through the waves of sound. Their wordplay is distinctive yet witty, emotional yet politically invective and bristling with human passion and emotions. It is through their lyrics that they create true imagery within the words that they write. There is a sense of poetry, innovation, allusion and beauty in what they write. It is due to these that songs by British lyricists do not just rank among top in the world charts but are legendary in their true sense of worth. Go through this write-up and check out the life and works of British lyricists and songwriters – their lyrics are heart-breaking, vulnerable and powerful.

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

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 1 David Bowie

David Bowie.
6
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 10, 2016

English singer-songwriter and actor David Bowie is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Dubbed "The Greatest Rock Star Ever" by Rolling Stone magazine, he rose to international prominence in the 1970s with his innovative style of music. Deeply dedicated to his profession, he remained musically active until his death in 2016.

 2 John Lennon

John Lennon.
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: October 9, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: December 8, 1980

John Lennon was part of the hugely successful and popular music band, Beatles. It became the first British band to break out big in the US. However, they eventually broke up. Subsequently, Lennon went solo, with 1971 album, Imagine, being his most successful and acclaimed post-Beatles efforts. Sadly he was shot dead by a deranged fan in New York.

 3 Elton John

Elton John.
6
Famous As: Singer, Composer
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.

 4 Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney.
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: June 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Liverpool, England

English singer-songwriter and musician, Paul McCartney, is one of the most successful composers and performers of all time. He gained worldwide fame as co-lead vocalist and bassist for the rock band, the Beatles. He also enjoyed a successful solo career. Besides music, he has been actively involved in humanitarian causes and animal rights issues.

 5 George Harrison

George Harrison.
5
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: February 25, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: November 29, 2001

Gaining fame as the lead guitarist of the rock band, the Beatles, English musician, George Harrison, helped broaden the scope of popular music in the Western world. He was also successful as a solo performer and released many best-selling albums. He was named in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time

 6 Amy Jade Winehouse

Amy Jade Winehouse.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 14, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Enfield, London, England
Died: July 23, 2011
Soul and jazz singer Amy Winehouse is best remembered for her tracks Stronger Than Me and Rehab. She was the first British female to win five Grammys. Following her death due to alcohol poisoning at age 27, her album Back to Black became U.K.’s best-selling album of the 21st century.

 7 Robin Gibb

Robin Gibb.
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 22, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Douglas, Isle of Man
Died: May 20, 2012
Robin Gibb was part of the Bee Gees, an iconic pop/rock/disco band of the 1960s and the 1970s and makers of hits such as Stayin' Alive. Robin, a Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee and a CBE-awardee, also had a successful solo career and was the president of the Heritage Foundation.
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 8 Rita Ora

Rita Ora.
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 26, 1990
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia

Rita Ora is a popular singer and actress who became the first British female solo artist to release 13 top ten songs in the UK. Also a well-known philanthropist, Rita Ora was appointed as one of the ambassadors for UNICEF UK in 2019. She performs quite frequently in charity concerts and supports several charity organizations.

 9 Brian May

Brian May.
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hampton, London, England

Queen guitarist and singer-songwriter Brian May is also a PhD in astrophysics. One of Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time and Guitar World’s second-greatest guitarist, he received a CBE. He was a Chancellor of Liverpool at John Moores University, has worked with NASA, and fights for animal rights.

 10 Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne.
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Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: December 3, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Aston, Birmingham, England

The lead vocalist of the hard rock band, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne is an iconic hard rock star. His successful stint with the band was followed by an equally successful solo career with albums like No More Tears. However, the Godfather of Metal has also attracted media glare owing to his alcohol and drug abuse issues and crazy public behaviour.

 11 Bernie Taupin

Bernie Taupin.
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Famous As: Lyricist & Singer
Birthdate: May 22, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sleaford

Lyricist Bernie Taupin is best known for his collaboration with Elton John for over 30 albums. Their works include the iconic hit Candle in the Wind. Taupin has also had a successful solo career and has performed with the band Farm Dogs. He has also exhibited his original artwork.

 12 Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Record Producer
Birthdate: September 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Stone Town, Tanzania
Died: November 24, 1991

Legendary singer, songwriter and lead vocalist of the British rock band, Queen, Frederick Bulsara adopted the name Freddie Mercury which aptly suits his on-stage vibrant and exuberant persona. A four-octave vocal range musician, Mercury owned every stage he set foot on as much with his vivid performance as with his superhuman voice modulation.  

 13 Van Morrison

Van Morrison.
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Famous As: Singer
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.

 14 Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger.
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Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: July 26, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dartford, England

Mick Jagger is widely regarded as one of the most influential frontmen in rock & roll history. Known for his energetic performances on-stage and multiple relationships off-stage, Mick is frequently portrayed as a countercultural figure. He is an inductee to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and UK Music Hall of Fame.

 15 Mel B

Mel B.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 29, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Harehills, West Yorkshire, England

Mel B is an English television personality and singer-songwriter. She gained international recognition as part of the popular pop girl group Spice Girls, which has sold more than 85 million records. Over the years, Mel B has been an important TV personality, appearing in several reality series as a participant as well as a judge.

 16 Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor.
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 26, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: King's Lynn, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Roger Taylor soared to fame as the drummer of the iconic rock band Queen. A Planet Rock poll named him the eighth-greatest classic rock drummer. Taylor also became known for his falsetto vocal range and co-wrote hits such as Innuendo and Under Pressure. He also appeared on Pop Quiz.

 17 Seal

Seal.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 19, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paddington, London, England

Seal is a British singer and songwriter. He has received several prestigious awards over the course of his career. Also known for his charity work, Seal has performed at several charity events in an attempt to help non-profit organizations, such as the Make It Right Foundation.

 18 Jessie J

Jessie J.
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Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: March 27, 1988
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Redbridge, London, England
Jessie J, the first U.K. female artist to score six Top-10 singles from the same album, is best known for her Billboard Hot 100-charting single Domino. She has been a coach on The Voice in the U.K. and Australia, and has also appeared in the Chinese singing contest Singer.

 19 Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 7, 1996
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland

Lewis Capaldi's success story is one of the greatest testimonies to the fact that magical things can happen when talent meets opportunity. From being just another aspiring singer, he quickly became a popular singer-songwriter in the UK and the US after Ryan Walter stumbled upon his iPhone recording on his SoundCloud account. Subsequently, he was signed to Universal Music Group.

 20 Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello.
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Birthdate: August 25, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paddington, London, England

Regarded as one of the greatest artists of all time, Elvis Costello is a British singer-songwriter. Often counted among British cultural icons, Costello is also known for his humanitarian efforts; a prominent member of the Jazz Foundation of America, Costello has played a crucial role in saving the lives of many elderly blues and jazz musicians in America.

 21 Christine McVie

Christine McVie
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 12, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bouth, England

 22 Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page.
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Famous As: Musician, Record Producer
Birthdate: January 9, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Heston, Middlesex, England

An English musician, songwriter, and record producer, Jimmy Page gained international recognition as the founder of the popular rock band Led Zeppelin. Widely regarded as one of the most influential and greatest guitarists of all time, Jimmy Page was ranked third in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Jimmy Page has influenced several popular guitarists.

 23 Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart.
7
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 10, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Highgate

British rock and pop singer and songwriter, Rod Stewart has sold over 250 million records worldwide and is counted among the best-selling music artists of all time. During his extensive career that spans almost six decades, he has won numerous awards and accolades. He was mentioned on the "Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists" list in 2008.

 24 Liam Payne

Liam Payne.
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Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: August 29, 1993
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wolverhampton

Liam Payne is a popular English singer-songwriter who is part of the world-renowned boy band One Direction. Also a well-known philanthropist, Liam Payne has supported Comic Relief and Unicef. In 2020, he helped raise over $10 million for charitable organizations fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to his charity work, he serves as an inspiration to many youngsters across the world.

 25 Mark Ronson

Mark Ronson.
5
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: September 4, 1975
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Seven-time Grammy-winning music producer and DJ Mark Ronson shot to fame with Amy Winehouse’s album Back to Black and single Rehab, and his own single Uptown Funk, featuring Bruno Mars. He won both the Grammy and the Golden Globe for co-writing Shallow. He supports disadvantaged children and budding artists.

 26 Ian Curtis

Ian Curtis
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 15, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stretford
Died: May 18, 1980

 27 Joe Strummer

Joe Strummer.
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Famous As: Singer, Guitarist
Birthdate: August 21, 1952
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ankara, Turkey
Died: December 22, 2002
Joe Strummer is remembered for his memorable performances with the punk rock band The Clash, with whom he delivered hits such as London Calling and Train in Vain. He was known for his rebellious and politically charged lyrics. He also experimented with acting and hosted on a BBC radio show.

 28 Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend.
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Famous As: Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer
Birthdate: May 19, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England

Pete Townshend is an English guitarist, composer, and singer. He is credited with co-founding and leading one of the most influential and important rock bands of the 20th century, The Who. Also an influential guitarist, Pete Townshend was ranked 10th in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 greatest guitarists of all time list published in 2011.

 29 Roger Daltrey

Roger Daltrey.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 1, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hammersmith Hospital, London, England

Roger Daltrey is an English actor, film producer, singer, and songwriter. He is credited with co-founding the popular rock band The Who. Renowned for his soulful voice, Daltrey was named in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 greatest singers of all-time list in 2010. Also known for his charity work, Daltrey has been a patron of the Children's Respite Trust since 2011.

 30 Jeff Lynne

Jeff Lynne.
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Record producer
Birthdate: December 30, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Shard End

Jeff Lynne is an English multi-instrumentalist, record producer, singer, and songwriter. He is credited with co-founding the popular rock band Electric Light Orchestra. He is also credited with popularizing the band with his leadership skills following the exit of co-founder Roy Wood in 1972. In the 2020 Birthday Honours, Lynne was appointed OBE for services to music.

 31 Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson.
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Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: October 5, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dunston

Brian Johnson is an English singer and songwriter. Johnson is credited with founding the popular rock band Geordie. Famous for his strong North East England accent and distinctive singing voice, he also played a major role in the success of the band AC/DC over the course of his career. Apart from music, Johnson supports the Yorkshire Dementia Charity.

 32 Rag’n’Bone Man

Rag’n’Bone Man.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 29, 1985
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Uckfield, East Sussex

Rag'n'Bone Man is an English musician, singer, and songwriter. Renowned for his baritone voice, Rag'n'Bone Man was named British Breakthrough Act at the 2017 Brit Awards where he also won the prestigious Critics' Choice Award. Over the years, he has also received several other awards like Echo Awards, NRJ Music Award, and an Ivor Novello Award.

 33 Maurice Gibb

Maurice Gibb.
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 22, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Douglas, Isle of Man
Died: January 12, 2003

Maurice Gibb was one of the three members of the Bee Gees, the iconic pop-rock band of the 1960s and the 1970s, which redefined disco music of that era and released hits such as Stayin’ Alive. He also went solo with the single Railroad, but his solo album remained unreleased. 

 34 Boy George

Boy George.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 14, 1961
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Barnehurst, Kent, England

Queer icon Boy George gained fame as the lead singer of the pop group Culture Club. He is known for his androgynous dressing style and for pioneering the New Romantic Movement of the 1970s and the 1980s. He has struggled with drug addiction and has written two bestselling memoirs.

 35 Thom Yorke

Thom Yorke.
4
Famous As: Singer, Musician, Songwriter
Birthdate: October 7, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wellingborough

English musician, Thom Yorke, is the main vocalist and songwriter of the rock band Radiohead. He is a multi-instrumentalist as well. Active in the music industry for over 35 years, he performs both as part of his band and as a solo artist. He is a human rights activist and also supports animal rights, environmental and anti-war causes.

 36 Robert Smith

Robert Smith.
3
Famous As: Singer, Guitarist, Lyricist
Birthdate: April 21, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Blackpool, England

English singer-songwriter and musician Robert Smith gained fame as a co-founder and member of the rock band, The Cure. He was also the lead guitarist for the band, Siouxsie and the Banshees, for a few years. He became an influential figure in the goth subculture in the 1980s and was later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 37 Bryan Ferry

Bryan Ferry
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 26, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Washington, England

 38 Ronnie Wood

Ronnie Wood.
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Famous As: Musician & Songwriter
Birthdate: June 1, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hillingdon, Middlesex, England

Ronnie Wood is a musician and songwriter. Over the years, Wood has been an important member of popular rock bands like the Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck Group, and Faces. He is one of the few musicians to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A cancer survivor, Wood serves as an inspiration to those fighting cancer.

 39 Charlotte Gainsbourg

Charlotte Gainsbourg.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 21, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England

Charlotte Gainsbourg, daughter of French singer Serge Gainsbourg and English actor Jane Birkin, made her singing debut at age 12. She is best known for her César Award-winning roles in La Bûche and An Impudent Girl. Her performance in Antichrist won her an award at the Cannes Film Festival.

 40 Melanie C

Melanie C
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 12, 1974
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Whiston, England

 41 Jorja Smith

Jorja Smith.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 11, 1997
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Walsall, West Midlands

Jorja Smith is an English singer-songwriter whose first studio album Lost & Found featured on the UK Albums Chart, peaking at third position. One of the youngest and most exciting talents in the music world, Smith is the recipient of the 2018 Brit Critics' Choice Award. In 2019, she won the Best British Female Artist award at the Brit Awards.

 42 Dido

Dido
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 25, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kensington, London, England

 43 Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer
4
Famous As: Snger
Birthdate: January 19, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Batley, England
Died: September 26, 2003

 44 Brian Eno

Brian Eno.
4
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.

 45 Joss Stone

Joss Stone.
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Famous As: Soul Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: April 11, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dover, Kent, England, UK

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.

 46 Florence Welch

Florence Welch.
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: August 28, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Camberwell, London
English singer, Florence Welch, is the lead vocalist and primary songwriter of the indie rock band Florence and the Machine. The band’s debut album was a massive hit and reached the top position on the UK Albums Chart. She is also a solo performer known for her Bohemian way of dressing. She is a vocal advocate for LGBTQA+ rights.

 47 Phil Lynott

Phil Lynott.
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 20, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England
Died: January 4, 1986
Phil Lynott was the frontman of the rock band Thin Lizzy, which delivered hits such as Whiskey in the Jar and Jailbreak. After the group disbanded, Phil had a successful solo career, published two poetry books, and led the band Grand Slam. He struggled with heroin addiction throughout his life.

 48 Charlie Watts

Charlie Watts.
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Famous As: Drummer
Birthdate: June 2, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kingsbury, London, England
Died: August 24, 2021

English drummer, Charlie Watts, was best known as a member of the band Rolling Stones. He was associated with the group for almost 60 years. He began his career as a graphic designer for an advertising company and played with bands in his leisure time. He eventually started drumming full time with Rolling Stones.

 49 Michaela Coel

Michaela Coel
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 1, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England

 50 Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Faithfull.
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 29, 1946
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hampstead

Marianne Faithfull is an English singer, actress, and songwriter. Faithfull emerged as one of the most prominent female music artists during the 1960s when the United States was happily embracing the British Invasion. However, her professional achievements were overshadowed by heroin addiction, homelessness, and an eating disorder in the 1970s. Nevertheless, Marianne Faithfull staged a comeback and became successful.