British Musicians

Britain has a rich and varied musical history ranging from Church music to folk music to instrumentation. Classical music, one of the earliest forms of music in British history, was dominated by likes of composers such as Arthur Sullivan, Gustav Holst, Edward Elgar, Hubert Parry, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten in the early 20th century. The nation is also known for its legacy in folk music which was revived in the mid-20th century, keeping folk music an important sub-culture within society. British music has been influenced by the musical traditions of other European countries as well as by the distinct traditions brought by immigrants from countries like Jamaica and India. In the contemporary era, many forms of popular music, including folk music, jazz, rapping/hip hop, pop and rock music, have flourished in Britain. In fact the nation produced the band, The Beatles, with members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr who took the musical world by storm and went on to become the foremost and most influential act of the rock era. Adele, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, and George Ezra are popular in the contemporary era. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous British musicians.

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 
Elton John
(Singer, Pianist and Composer- One of the Best-Selling Artists of All Time)

Elton John
79
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.

 2 
David Bowie
(Regarded as One of the Most Influential Musicians of the 20th Century)

David Bowie
26
Birthdate: January 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
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.

 3 
John Lennon
(The Founder, Co-Songwriter, Co-Lead Vocalist & Rhythm Guitarist of 'The Beatles')

John Lennon
65
Birthdate: October 9, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
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.

 4 
George Harrison
(Achieved Fame As the Lead Guitarist of the Beatles)

George Harrison
44
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

 5 
Ringo Starr
(Musician)

Ringo Starr
34
Birthdate: July 7, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dingle, Liverpool, England

English musician, singer, and songwriter, Ringo Starr, gained international fame as the drummer for the rock band, the Beatles. Raised by a single mother, he had a difficult childhood. He sought solace in music and it became his vocation. After finding success with the Beatles, he embarked on a solo career as well.

 6 
Brian May
(Lead Guitarist of the Rock Band 'Queen')

Brian May
29
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.

 7 
Ozzy Osbourne
(Lead vocalist of the Heavy Metal Band 'Black Sabbathe')

Ozzy Osbourne
11
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.

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 8 
Eric Clapton
(One of the Greatest Guitarists of All Time)

Eric Clapton
29
Birthdate: March 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ripley, England

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.

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 9 
Mick Jagger
(Founding Member of the 'Rolling Stones', Singer-songwriter)

Mick Jagger
13
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.

 10 
Phil Collins
(Drummer & Lead Singer of the Rock Band 'Genesis')

Phil Collins
35
Birthdate: January 30, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chiswick, Middlesex, London, United Kingdom

Phil Collins is best known for his work with the popular rock band Genesis. Having sold more than 150 million copies worldwide, he is one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Phil is one of three recording artists who have sold more than 100 million records both as principal members of a band and as solo artists.

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 11 
Slash
(Musician)

Slash
24
Birthdate: July 23, 1965
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hampstead

Slash is an English-American songwriter, musician, and record producer. After achieving popularity as the lead guitarist of Guns N' Roses, Slash left the band to form Velvet Revolver, a hard rock supergroup. Widely regarded as one of the greatest guitar players in the history of rock, Slash is often named in lists, such as the Top Guitarists of All Time.

 12 
Jimmy Page
(Musician, Record Producer)

Jimmy Page
14
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.

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 13 
John Deacon
(Musician)

John Deacon
14
Birthdate: August 19, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Oadby, United Kingdom
Former Queen bass guitarist and songwriter John Deacon contributed to some of the most popular hits of the band, such as I Want to Break Free and Another One Bites the Dust. He was the last member to enter the band, and the “quietest.” He retired in 1997.

 14 
Keith Richards
(Musician)

Keith Richards
21
Birthdate: December 18, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dartford, Kent, England, United Kingdom

Keith Richards is a musician and songwriter. He is credited with co-founding one of the most popular rock bands ever, The Rolling Stones. Also a guitarist, he was ranked fourth on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 best guitarists list in 2011. Richards' look and characterization inspired the character of Captain Teague who appears in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series.

 15 
Freddie Mercury
(Singer-songwriter)

Freddie Mercury
57
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.  

 16 
Sting
(Musician & Singer)

Sting
15
Birthdate: October 2, 1951
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wallsend, England

Sting is an English singer-songwriter, musician, and actor. Credited with co-founding the popular rock band, The Police, Sting played an important role in the band's success from 1977 to 1984 during which he served as the band's bassist, lead singer, and principal songwriter. Also known for his work as an activist, Sting has shown interest in political and social issues.

 17 
Paul McCartney
(Singer-songwriter)

Paul McCartney
12
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.

 18 
Amy Jade Winehouse
(Singer-songwriter)

Amy Jade Winehouse
33
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.

 19 
John Bonham
(Drummer of Rock Band Led Zeppelin)

John Bonham
9
Birthdate: May 31, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Redditch, England, UK
Died: September 25, 1980

John Bonham was an English drummer and songwriter. Considered one of the most influential and greatest rock drummers in history, Bonham was part of the world-renowned rock band Led Zeppelin. He influenced several drummers like Joey Kramer, Dave Grohl, Ian Mosley, Neil Peart, and Tommy Lee among other famous drummers. Bonham is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

 20 
Dua Lipa
(Singer-Songwriter)

Dua Lipa
6
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.

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 21 
Adele
(Singer-songwriter)

Adele
6
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.

 22 
Thom Yorke
(Singer, Musician, Songwriter)

Thom Yorke
8
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.

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 23 

Andrew Lloyd Webber
5
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.

 24 
Morrissey
(Singer-songwriter)

Morrissey
6
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.
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 25 
Van Morrison
(Singer)

Van Morrison
8
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.

 26 
Keith Moon
(Drummer)

Keith Moon
8
Birthdate: August 23, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wembley, England
Died: September 7, 1978

Keith Moon was an English drummer whose drug addiction and self-destructive behavior overshadowed his contribution to the rock band The Who. His drumming continues to attract appreciation from critics. Several other drummers like Dave Grohl and Neil Peart have cited Moon's drumming style as an influence. In 1982, he was inducted posthumously into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.

 27 
Jeff Lynne
(Singer-songwriter, Record producer)

Jeff Lynne
7
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.

 28 
Mark Knopfler
(Former lead guitarist, singer and songwriter of the rock band Dire Straits)

Mark Knopfler
7
Birthdate: August 12, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Best known as the lead guitarist and singer of the popular rock band Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler is one of Britain’s most celebrated guitar icons. Known for hits such as Sultans of Swing, he and his band also released Brothers in Arms, one of the best-selling albums of all time.

 29 
Robin Gibb
(Member of the ‘Bee Gees’ Pop Group)

Robin Gibb
6
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.

 30 
Harry Styles
(Singer)

Harry Styles
6
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.   

Elvis Costello
6
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.

 32 
Lemmy
(Singer)

Lemmy
11
Birthdate: December 24, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Died: December 28, 2015

Lemmy was an English musician who founded the popular rock band Motörhead. The only continuous member of Motörhead, Lemmy served as the band's lead singer, primary songwriter, and bassist. Renowned for his gravelly voice, which was counted among the most recognizable voices in rock, Lemmy is also remembered for his military-influenced fashion sense and his signature friendly mutton chops.

 33 
Pete Townshend
(Co-Founder and Lead Vocalist of the Rock Band 'The Who')

Pete Townshend
7
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.

 34 
Robert Plant
(Singer-songwriter)

Robert Plant
5
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.

 35 
David Gilmour
(Guitarist, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Multi-instrumentalist, Record producer)

David Gilmour
5
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.

 36 
Bernie Taupin
(Songwriter)

Bernie Taupin
9
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.

 37 
Olivia Newton-John
(One of the Best-Selling Music Artists)

Olivia Newton-John
6
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.

 38 
Roger Taylor
(Best Known As The Drummer Of The Rock Band 'Queen')

Roger Taylor
10
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.

 39 
Sade Adu
(Singer-Songwriter)

Sade Adu
10
Birthdate: January 16, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ibadan, Nigeria

Nigerian-British singer Helen Folasade Adu, or Sade Adu, often blends Afro-Cuban tunes with soul and smooth jazz in her music. The Grammy Award winner had initially studied fashion designing and been a model. The founder of the band Sade, she has released iconic tracks such as No Ordinary Love.

 40 
Jessie J
(Singer-Songwriter)

Jessie J
10
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.

 41 
George Frideric Handel
(Baroque composer)

George Frideric Handel
9
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.

 42 
Seal
(Singer-songwriter)

Seal
18
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.

 43 
Ronnie Wood
(Musician & Songwriter)

Ronnie Wood
6
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.

 44 
Joe Strummer
(Singer, Guitarist)

Joe Strummer
5
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.

 45 
Idris Elba
(Actor)

Idris Elba
18
Birthdate: September 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

Idris Elba is a successful actor both on the small and the big screen and is mainly known for the television series The Wire and Luther and also for films, such as Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Beasts of No Nation. He has also acted in blockbuster films of Marvel Comics universe like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War.

 46 
Mick Fleetwood
(Musician)

Mick Fleetwood
7
Birthdate: June 24, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Redruth, Cornwall, England

 47 
Cat Stevens
(Singer-songwriter)

Cat Stevens
17
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.

 48 

Alan Walker
23
Birthdate: August 24, 1997
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Northampton, England
English-Norwegian music producer and DJ Alan Walker, also popular as “DJ Walkzz,” shot to fame with tracks such as The Spectre and Faded. His TikTok account has earned him a huge fan base. He is also known for his trademark hoodie and mask, which he wears while performing.

 49 
Charli XCX
(Singer-songwriter)

Charli XCX
7
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.

 50 
Sid Vicious
(Musician)

Sid Vicious
4
Birthdate: May 10, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lewisham, South London
Died: February 2, 1979
Punk rock legend Sid Vicious was the lead singer and bassist of the Sex Pistols. He had a tumultuous life and was also accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death. He eventually died of a heroin overdose. His unreleased solo singles were collated and released as a posthumous album.