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
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.
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.
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.
7 Lou Reed
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.
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.
10 Rick Rubin
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.
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.
14 Fats Domino
15 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.
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.
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.
20 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.
One half of the popular musical duo The Carpenters, Karen Carpenter was an American drummer and singer. Her death at age 32 and life-long struggles with eating disorders led to increased awareness of conditions like anorexia and body dysmorphia, which were little-known at the time. In 2010, Carpenter was named on Rolling Stone's 100 greatest singers of all time list.
24 Desi Arnaz
Desi Arnaz was born wealthy but lost everything in the 1933 Cuban Revolution. He paired up with his first wife, Lucille Ball, in I Love Lucy, thus inventing the modern sitcom/syndicated show format, with live audiences. He owned a production company and was the bandleader of the Desi Arnaz Orchestra.
25 Tony Iommi
Black Sabbath lead guitarist Tony Iommi was named one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Known for his signature black leather jacket and silver cross neckpiece, he is fond of playing dark guitar tones. While he successfully beat lymphoma, the cancer was in remission later.
26 Bad Bunny
27 Jimmy Iovine
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.
29 Jack Harlow
30 Josh Groban
Josh Groban is an American actor, singer-songwriter, and record producer. Groban had a major impact on the music industry right after making his debut. He has sold over 20 million albums inside a decade, with his first four solo albums receiving multi-platinum certifications. Also a well-known philanthropist, Groban has performed for several charity events.
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 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.
34 Bow Wow
36 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.
38 Max Martin
39 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.
40 Sly Stone
42 Robin Thicke
The son of late actor, Alan Thicke, and actress, Gloria Loring, Robin Thicke followed in the footsteps of his parents to become a popular singer-songwriter, actor, dancer, record producer, and musician. Over the years, Robin Thicke has played a significant role in contributing to the success of artists like Christina Aguilera, Nicki Minaj, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, and Mary J. Blige.
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.
45 Benji Madden
Along with his identical twin brother, Joel Madden, Benji Madden has been one of the greatest musical duos as far as twin siblings are concerned. A huge fan of tattoos, Benji Madden has several tattoos, including one of Benjamin Franklin, which is so big that it covers his entire back!
47 Alan Thicke
Best known for his star role in the television sitcom Growing Pains, Alan Thicke was a Canadian actor, songwriter and television host, who began his career as a series regular in It's Our Stuff, eventually appearing in numerous films and television productions. Also a popular game and talk show host, he patronized many NGOs including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
48 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.
50 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.