Gaining fame as a member of the rock band Nirvana, singer-songwriter and musician Kurt Cobain was often heralded as a spokesman of Generation X. He is considered to be one of the most influential musicians in the history of alternative rock. He enjoyed tremendous professional success, but his personal life was troubled. He died of suicide at just 27.
Johnny Cash, the American singer, songwriter and actor, was known for sorrow, moral suffering and redemption themes in his music. His genre was country, rock and roll, blues, folk and gospel sounds and he is one of the best-selling artists of all time. Cash had issues with drinking and drug abuse. Later he was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease.
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
Known as the iconic founder of the popular rock band Bon Jovi, Jon Bon Jovi is a record producer and singer-songwriter. In 2012, he was named in Billboard magazine's The Most Powerful and Influential People In The Music Business list. Also a well-known philanthropist, he founded the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation in an attempt to eradicate poverty and homelessness.
Regarded as one of the most popular and influential jazz musicians of the previous century, Quincy Jones is known for his work with other legendary artists like Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra. As the first African-American to find success at the Academy Awards ceremony, Quincy has influenced a host of black musicians and songwriters.
Romantic Era virtuoso pianist and composer Frédéric Chopin, nicknamed The Poet of the Piano, is remembered as the inventor of the instrumental ballade. The legendary composer mostly created solo piano masterpieces but also experimented with piano concertos and chamber pieces. He was influenced by Bach, Mozart, and Polish folk music.
Five-time Grammy Award-winning folk singer James Taylor is best known for his hits You've Got a Friend and Fire and Rain. One of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, he has sold over 100 million records worldwide and has also won the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
8 Lou Reed
A record producer, Rick Rubin is the former co-president of Columbia Records and a co-founder of Def Jam Recordings. By promoting the musical groups Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, and Public Enemy, he helped popularize hip hop music. He has been named on Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Singer, songwriter, and record producer, Smokey Robinson, first gained fame as the founder and frontman of the vocal group, The Miracles, in the 1950s. He embarked on an equally successful solo career after leaving the group. He is the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.
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.
Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, and teacher, Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, is regarded as one of the greatest Baroque composers. He was extremely popular during his lifetime and composed many instrumental concertos and operas. He was also a Roman Catholic priest and worked at a home for abandoned children. Even though he died in 1741, his music continues to be popular.
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.
Timbaland is an American rapper, DJ, singer, songwriter, record producer, and record executive. He is credited with founding a record label named 'Mosley Music Group' (MMG) and has since received appreciation for his production style. He is also credited with pioneering a technique to create a distinctive sound using breakbeats, which was influential in the rise of UK garage.
15 Fats Domino
17 Mike Love
Mike Love is an American singer-songwriter. He is credited with co-founding the popular rock band, The Beach Boys. Over the years, Love has contributed to the success of the band as one of their main vocalists and lyricists. Although his lyrics reflected the youth culture throughout the 1960s, they started accommodating themes like meditation after he started practicing Transcendental Meditation.
Queen Latifah is an American musician and actress whose song U.N.I.T.Y. played a major role in raising awareness about women's rights worldwide. Dubbed Queen of Jazz-Rap, Latifah has influenced several soul, R&B, and hip-hop artists like Remy Ma, Lil' Kim, Ivy Queen, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, and Eve among other artists. As an actress, Latifah has won several prestigious awards.
19 Jimmy Iovine
20 Max Martin
23 Nina Simone
Widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Nina Simone was a pioneering recording artist whose career was characterized by improvisational genius and fits of outrage. Nina continues to be an important musician and has influenced several artists like Elton John, Adele, David Bowie, Madonna, and Aretha Franklin. She was also a civil rights activist.
Kesha is an American singer-songwriter. Having sold more than 134 million records, Kesha is one of the best-selling singers of her generation. As a songwriter, she has contributed to the success of songs recorded by artists like Britney Spears, Miranda Cosgrove, Miley Cyrus, and Ariana Grande. As an openly bisexual musician, she serves as an inspiration to the LGBT community.
26 Tony Iommi
28 Bow Wow
29 Emily Osment
Emily Osment is an American actress and singer-songwriter. After starting her career as a child artist, Osment went on to establish herself as a successful adult actress. Apart from being an actor and singer, Osment has had an impact as a philanthropist over the years; she works with organizations that educate children about the importance of caring for the environment.
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.
31 Brian Jones
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.
33 Luke Combs
Luke Combs is an American singer-songwriter. The two studio albums, which he has released so far, have produced nine number-one songs on Billboard's Country Airplay chart. In his relatively short country music career so far, Luke Combs has had a major impact by winning prestigious awards, such as Country Music Association Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards.
34 Jack Harlow
36 Chaz Bono
Born to famous entertainers, Sonny and Cher Bono, actor Chaz Bono made his first television appearance in his parents’ show. Later, he pursued a musical career with a band named Ceremony. A lesbian, he underwent a female-to-male gender transition and created a documentary Becoming Chaz about his experience. He has also authored books and featured in films and television projects.
37 Method Man
Method Man is part of the hip-hop duo Method Man & Redman and Wu-Tang Clan. His collaborative single with Mary J. Blige, I'll Be There for You, won a Grammy. He has also appeared on the show Method & Red, in HBO series such as Oz, and in several films.
39 Trace Cyrus
The son of Billy Ray Cyrus and the oldest of the famous Cyrus siblings, Trace Cyrus is an American musician. In 2010, he formed a band named Ashland HIGH, which has released a couple of albums. Trace Cyrus is known for his eccentric style and multiple tattoos that cover his entire upper body.
Gioachino Rossini was an Italian composer best remembered for composing 39 operas before retiring at the peak of his popularity when he was still in his 30s. Such is his influence on modern-day virtuosi that many of them have created piano fantasies or transcriptions based on Gioachino Rossini's melodies.
42 Jason Aldean
Jason Aldean is an American singer and songwriter known for his work in the country music genre. One of the most decorated male country music singers of his generation, Aldean has many platinum-certified albums under his belt. Also a philanthropist, Aldean has raised nearly $4 million for cancer research and continues to work towards raising awareness about breast cancer research.
44 Alan Thicke
46 Andy Gibb
Jonathan Cain is a singer-songwriter and musician. He is a keyboardist for the rock band Journey. Interested in music from a young age, he attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music. He began his professional music career in the mid-1970s and played with numerous bands before joining Journey. He is also a solo artist and owns a recording studio.