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
7
Famous As: One of the Most Influential Musicians of the 20th Century
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
11
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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 George Harrison

George Harrison
9
Famous As: Achieved Fame As the Lead Guitarist of the Beatles
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

 4 Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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.  

 5 Adele

Adele
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 5, 1988
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tottenham, London, England

Adele is one of the most successful female music artists from England. She is one of the best-selling music artists in the world, having sold over 120 million records. The recipient of numerous awards, Adele also holds several Guinness World Records. In 2012 and 2016, she was named in Time magazine's list of most influential people in the world.

 6 Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa
4
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: August 22, 1995
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

At fourteen, singer Dua Lipa began her career by posting covers of famous songs on YouTube. She soon signed a contract with Warner Music Group and shot into fame with the release of her eponymous chart topping debut album. Since then, she has released her critically acclaimed second album, bagged two Grammys and created history at 2018 BRIT Awards.

 7 Harry Styles

Harry Styles
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 1, 1994
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Redditch, Worcestershire, England

With a career that began on the stage of The X Factor to being named Billboard’s Artist of the Year in 2014, Harry Styles is a name to be reckoned with in the music industry. He is a member of the internationally successful pop band, One Direction, and is known for his flamboyance and versatility.   

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 8 George Michael

George Michael
5
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: June 25, 1963
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: East Finchley, London, England
Died: December 25, 2016

George Michael is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He rose to fame as a member of the music duo Wham and later went solo. His first solo single Careless Whisper reached number one in over 20 countries. He came out as gay in 1998. He was often in news for his personal life and legal troubles.

 9 Amy Jade Winehouse

Amy Jade Winehouse
11
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.

 10 Elton John

Elton John
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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.

 11 Brian May

Brian May
4
Famous As: Lead Guitarist of the Rock Band 'Queen'
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.

 12 Robin Gibb

Robin Gibb
5
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.

 13 Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 26, 1948
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cambridge, England

A singer, actress, businesswoman and activist, Olivia Newton-John is an DBE honouree who has donned on many hats and shined in all of them. Her five Billboard No.1 singles and two Billboard No.1 albums made her a household name. Turning her personal pain into a global mission for cancer awareness, this four-time Grammy winner is truly a symbol of resilience.

 14 Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger
4
Famous As: Founding Member of the 'Rolling Stones', 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 Robert Plant

Robert Plant
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: August 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Bromwich, England

Regarded as one of the most influential music artists of all time, Robert Anthony Plant was the lead singer and song writer of the extremely successful rock group Led Zeppelin. After the band disbanded, the Grammy award winning artist, with his powerful and wide vocal range, established a successful solo career. He has also collaborated with other artists and bands.

 16 Bernie Taupin

Bernie Taupin
6
Famous As: Songwriter
Birthdate: May 22, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England

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.

 17 Van Morrison

Van Morrison
6
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.

 18 Seal

Seal
7
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.

 19 Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor
5
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 26, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: King's Lynn, Norfolk, England
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.

 20 Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page
4
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.

 21 Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 13, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England

Robbie Williams is one of the most popular and successful English singer-songwriters of his generation. Having sold 75 million records, Williams is one of the best-selling music artists ever. His lasting impact on British culture earned him the 2017 Brits Icon Award. Also a well-known philanthropist, Williams has established a charity organization called Give It Sum in his home town.

 22 Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart
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Famous As: One of the Best-Selling Music Artists of All Time
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.

 23 Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England

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.

 24 Mel B

Mel B
10
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.

 25 Morrissey

Morrissey
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 22, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Davyhulme, Urmston, England
Morrissey, frontman of the 1980s’ rock band The Smiths, is known for his anti-establishment lyrics and themes such as isolation. He has dabbled in music journalism and has had a successful solo career, too. A cultural icon, he is an animal rights activist and has a huge gay fan base.

 26 Jessie J

Jessie J
5
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: March 27, 1988
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Seven Kings, Ilford, 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.

 27 Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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.

 28 Charli XCX

Charli XCX
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: August 2, 1992
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cambridge, England
Charli XCX began her career by posting songs on Myspace. She then began performing at parties, eventually gaining fame with collaborations such as I Love It, with Icona Pop, and Fancy, with Iggy Azalea. She released Billboard charters such as Boom Clap and co-wrote the Shawn Mendes-Camila Cabello hit Señorita.

 29 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. 

 30 Ian Curtis

Ian Curtis
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 15, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stretford
Died: May 18, 1980

 31 Christine McVie

Christine McVie
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 12, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bouth, Lancashire, England

 32 Joe Strummer

Joe Strummer
4
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.

 33 Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello
5
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.

 34 Liam Payne

Liam Payne
11
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: August 29, 1993
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England

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.

 35 Andy Gibb

Andy Gibb
6
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Actor
Birthdate: March 5, 1958
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Manchester, England
Died: March 10, 1988

 36 Kate Bush

Kate Bush
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 30, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Welling, Southeast London, England
Kate Bush is best known for her UK Singles Chart-topper debut single Wuthering Heights. She has released 25 UK Top 40 singles, such as Babooshka and Running Up That Hill. She is known for her literary themes and drew inspiration from James Joyce’s Ulysses. She was also awarded the CBE.

 37 Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Guitarist
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.

 38 Jeff Lynne

Jeff Lynne
5
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.

 39 Marc Bolan

Marc Bolan
4
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.

 40 James Blunt

James Blunt
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 22, 1974
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tidworth, Hampshire, England
Five-time Grammy nominee James Blunt topped international charts with his single You're Beautiful. His album Back to Bedlam recorded the highest sales in the U.K. in the 2000s. He is also concerned about climate change and is known for screening the environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth before his concerts.

 41 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.

 42 Brian Johnson

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

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.

 43 Roger Daltrey

Roger Daltrey
5
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.

 44 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.

 45 Rag’n’Bone Man

Rag’n’Bone Man
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 29, 1985
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Uckfield, East Sussex. England

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.

 46 Natalie Imbruglia

Natalie Imbruglia
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 4, 1975
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia

Australian singer-songwriter, model, and actress Natalie Imbruglia aspired for a career in the show business since her youth. Beginning her career with minor roles in commercials, she worked hard to make a name for herself in the entertainment industry. She has acted in many hit films and is also active as a singer with many records to her credit.

 47 George Ezra

George Ezra
4
Famous As: Guitarist
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.

 48 Boy George

Boy George
8
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.

 49 Gavin Rossdale

Gavin Rossdale
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: October 30, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Marylebone, London, England

Gavin Rossdale is a British singer-songwriter. He is credited with co-founding the popular rock band Bush. In 2013, he was honored with the Ivor Novello Award for his contribution to music. Although he identifies himself as heterosexual, Gavin Rossdale admitted to having a liaison with Marilyn and called it experimentation and part of growing up.

 50 Brian Eno

Brian Eno
5
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.