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 Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury
30
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
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.  

 2 Elton John

Elton John
17
Famous As: Singer, Composer
Birthdate: March 25, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
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 Harrison

George Harrison
10
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: February 25, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British
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 Amy Jade Winehouse

Amy Jade Winehouse
20
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 14, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
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.

 5 Slash

Slash
2
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 23, 1965
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British, American

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.

 6 Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page
2
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: January 9, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British

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.

 7 Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi
8
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 7, 1996
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British, Scottish

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.

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 8 Seal

Seal
6
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 19, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British

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.

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 9 David Bowie

David Bowie
11
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British
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.

 10 John Lennon

John Lennon
20
Famous As: Co-founder of 'The Beatles'
Birthdate: October 9, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
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.

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 11 Jessie J

Jessie J
2
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: March 27, 1988
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
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.

 12 Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney
9
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British

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.

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 13 Idris Elba

Idris Elba
11
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British

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.

 14 Keith Richards

Keith Richards
6
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: December 18, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British

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 Andy Gibb

Andy Gibb
0
Famous As: Singer, Musician, Songwriter
Birthdate: March 5, 1958
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British
Died: March 10, 1988

 16 Sade Adu

Sade Adu
4
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: January 16, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Nigerian, British
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 17 Mark Ronson

Mark Ronson
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: September 4, 1975
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
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.

 18 Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson
0
Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: October 5, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British

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.

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 19 Billy Idol

Billy Idol
2
Birthdate: November 30, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
Billy Idol is a British musician. He is credited with forming the popular punk rock band Generation X, which reached the peak of its success in the 1970s. In 2020, he appeared in Billy Never Idles, a public service campaign aimed at educating people about the harmful effects of unnecessary idling of automobile engines in New York City, New York.

 20 Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton
6
Birthdate: March 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British

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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 21 Phil Collins

Phil Collins
19
Famous As: Drummer
Birthdate: January 30, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British

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.

 22 Brian May

Brian May
4
Birthdate: July 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British

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.

 23 Brian Jones

Brian Jones
0
Famous As: Founder of the Rolling Stones
Birthdate: February 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British
Died: July 3, 1969

Brian Jones was an English musician credited with founding the world-renowned rock band, The Rolling Stones. He was also considered the original leader of the band before his fellow band members, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, took over the musical direction of the band. Jones became the first member of the infamous 27 Club, when he died at age 27.

 24 Van Morrison

Van Morrison
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British, Northern Irish

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.

 25 David Gilmour

David Gilmour
0
Famous As: Guitarist, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Multi-instrumentalist, Record producer
Birthdate: March 6, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British

 26 Charli XCX

Charli XCX
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 2, 1992
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
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.

 27 Chris Martin

Chris Martin
0
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: March 2, 1977
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British

Chris Martin is the lead singer of the rock band, Coldplay, which he has co-founded. The band gained fame after they released the song Yellow in 2000. They have sold over 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the world's best-selling music artists. Martin has also worked in solo collaborations with other artists and written songs for various projects.

 28 Rag’n’Bone Man

Rag’n’Bone Man
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 29, 1985
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British

 29 John Deacon

John Deacon
2
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: August 19, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
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.

 30 Mark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Record producer, Film score composer
Birthdate: August 12, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British

 31 Lemmy

Lemmy
2
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 24, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British
Died: December 28, 2015

 32 Gavin Rossdale

Gavin Rossdale
0
Birthdate: October 30, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British

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.

 33 Syd Barrett

Syd Barrett
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 6, 1946
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British
Died: July 7, 2006
Pink Floyd co-founder and frontman Syd Barrett was known for his contribution to psychedelic rock and experiments with studio effects such as echo and distortion. He was removed from the band due to his drug addiction, following which he began a solo career. His final years were spent in privacy.

 34 Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens
7
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British

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.

 35 Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor
2
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 26, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
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.

 36 Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber
0
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 22, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
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.

 37 Sid Vicious

Sid Vicious
0
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: May 10, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
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. 

 38 Roger Waters

Roger Waters
0
Famous As: Composer, Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Screenwriter, Singer, Pianist, Record producer
Birthdate: September 6, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British

 39 Lily Allen

Lily Allen
0
Famous As: Singer, Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 2, 1985
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British

 40 Bernie Taupin

Bernie Taupin
0
Famous As: Lyricist & Singer
Birthdate: May 22, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British

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.

 41 George Michael

George Michael
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 25, 1963
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British
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.

 42 John Bonham

John Bonham
0
Famous As: Drummer of Rock Band Led Zeppelin
Birthdate: May 31, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
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.

 43 Bruce Dickinson

Bruce Dickinson
0
Birthdate: August 7, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British

Bruce Dickinson is an English singer-songwriter best known for his association with the heavy metal band, Iron Maiden. An important member and lead singer of the band since 1981, Dickinson is famous for his energetic stage presence and wide-ranging operatic vocal style. Also an aircraft enthusiast, Dickinson is credited with creating Cardiff Aviation, a pilot training and aircraft maintenance company.

 44 Amelia Warner

Amelia Warner
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 4, 1982
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British

 45 Laurence Fox

Laurence Fox
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 26, 1978
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British

 46 Emma Bunton

Emma Bunton
0
Famous As: Actor, Television presenter, Singer-songwriter, Singer, Model, Karateka
Birthdate: January 21, 1976
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British

 47 Jess Glynne

Jess Glynne
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 20, 1989
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
Jess Glynne, named one of Forbes’s Most Influential People Under 30 in 2019, initially rose to fame as a featured artist on tracks such as Rather Be and My Love. She became the first British female solo singer with seven number one UK Singles Chart tracks.

 48 Damon Albarn

Damon Albarn
0
Famous As: Guitarist, Singer, Musician, Composer, Songwriter
Birthdate: March 23, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British

 49 Julian Lennon

Julian Lennon
0
Birthdate: April 8, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British

John Lennon’s son Julian Lennon, who spent his childhood in oblivion, inspired Beatles tracks such as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. He has dabbled in photography, won a Grammy for his album Valotte, written a best-selling trilogy, produced documentaries, and founded a charity for environmental and humanitarian causes.

 50 Mick Fleetwood

Mick Fleetwood
0
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: June 24, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British