With influences such as the late Beatles and Frank Zappa, 10cc was not your average middle-of-the-road band.
Similar to Supertramp, 10cc was prog/rock/pop with long instrumental sections and many styles mixed. Hits include Dreadlock Holiday and I’m Not In Love.
Norwegian 80s pop/new wave band A-ha had to re-record both their signature song and video before the world woke up to their smash hit.
Their best tunes include Hunting High and Low, The Sun Always Shines On TV, and of course, Take On Me.
Best known for singing power ballads in blockbuster movies and Summer Of 69, Canadian Bryan Adams released his debut in 1980.
Tunes include (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, Run To You, The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You, and When You’re Gone.
After finishing Brit School, Adele quickly acquired a record deal to release her own tunes and a late Bob Dylan cover.
Her best tunes include Rolling In The Deep, Hello, Skyfall, When We Were Young, Chasing Pavements, Someone Like You, and Set Fire To The Rain.
Formed in Boston in 1970, Aerosmith would have many ups and downs over their career, eventually becoming America’s best-selling hard rock band.
Their best tunes include Dream On, Walk This Way, Sweet Emotion, Love In An Elevator, Pink, and I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.
Not just known, but defined by his hit single Because I Got High, Afroman was the first artist to go viral as he launched himself on the file-sharing site Napster.
This led to a six-album deal with Universal Records, guess what Afroman did instead of writing more hits?
Starting out alongside Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake on the legendary TV show The Mickey Mouse Club, Christina Aguilera has reached worldwide fame.
Her biggest tunes include Beautiful, Genie In A Bottle, Candyman, What A Girl Wants, Moves Like Jagger, At Last, Car Wash, and Fever.
Using MySpace in 2005, Lily Allen managed to build a fanbase, attract the interest of a label and release her debut the following year.
Her best tunes include Smile, Not Fair, The Fear, and a cover of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know.
Named America so people wouldn’t think they put on a fake accent, the band formed in London during the late 60s.
Their best tunes include A Horse With No Name, Ventura Highway, and Sister Golden Hair.
Not just known for having written one of the world’s most famous beginner guitar songs, The Animals’ bass player also discovered Jimi Hendrix.
After seeing Jimi on tour with his band, he took him to England, introduced him to Eric Clapton, recorded Hey Joe, and changed the world.
After his first single Diana hit the charts back in 1958, Paul Anka has had an incredible career mainly based on his writing.
Credits include My Way, She’s A Lady, You Are My Destiny, Love Never Felt So Good, Put Your Head On My Shoulder, and Puppy Love.
An internet sensation in 2023, Oliver Anthony shot to fame overnight thanks to his protest song Rich Men North Of Richmond.
Performed on a Saturday for a radio station, it was uploaded the following Monday, and by Thursday it was a viral hit.
As the most hyped band of 2006, Arctic Monkeys released their debut album and played at the Glastonbury festival the following year.
Their best tunes include I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, Mardy Bum, Do I Wanna Know? and Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?
Harold Arlen wrote over four hundred songs. His 1938 song Over The Rainbow was voted the twentieth century’s #1 song by the RIAA.
Nobody has had more songs represented in the Great American Songbook than Harold Arlen.
Tim Bergling came from a family consisting of famous Swedish actors and singers, his stepdad being Tommy Körberg.
As Avicii, his first breakthrough came when he sampled Etta James and paired her vocal with House music.
One of the most important composers of the last century, Burt Bacharach‘s tunes have been recorded by over 1000 artists.
Unforgettable hits include Close To You, Walk On By, Arthur’s Theme, That’s What Friends Are For, What The World Needs Now, and I Say A Little Prayer.
Trumpeter, Chet Baker is most famous for singing My Funny Valentine and how his approach to jazz pioneered the style of Cool.
Chet recorded many jazz standards including Autumn Leaves, I Fall In Love Too Easy, Stella By Starlight, and A Foggy Day.
The duo of Danger Mouse and CeeLo Green released their debut album St. Elsewhere in 2006 under the name Gnarls Barkley.
The debut album contained the worldwide hit Crazy which made them famous overnight.
Fontella Bass spent a large amount of her life chasing a royalty check she never received for her million-selling smash hit Rescue Me.
It took her 28 years until she got paid, but it wasn’t in royalties for writing the song but for having it played on an ad.
The Beatles are the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed band in the history of popular music.
As the leaders of the so-called British Invasion, their catchy Rock n Roll infused pop songs took America by storm, creating hysteria everywhere they went.
Starting out in 1955 as the Rattlesnakes, Bee Gees would go on to become the Disco Kings and write Barbra Streisand’s best-selling album.
Their best tunes include Massachusetts, How Deep Is Your Love, Stayin’ Alive, Night Fever, Tragedy, Words, Jive Talkin’, and You Should Be Dancing.
With a career like no other, George Benson spent 1954-1976 mainly playing Jazz guitar before he signed for Warner and started singing.
Hits include This Masquerade, Breezin’, In Your Eyes, Give Me The Night, On Broadway, and an enormous amount of jazz standards.
The father of Rock n Roll, Chuck Berry came to prominence in the 50s as he would make Rhythm n Blues fun.
His best tunes include Maybellene, Johnny B. Goode, Sweet Little Sixteen, No Particular Place To Go, and You Never Can Tell.
Starting out with Destiny’s Child, Beyonce went on to launch a sensational solo career selling 260 million albums.
Her best tunes include Bug A Boo, Say My Name, Irreplaceable, Halo, Single Ladies, Deja Vu, Love On Top, Crazy In Love, and Bootylicious.
The Black Crowes
American The Black Crowes are best known for their own tune Remedy and their Otis Redding cover of Hard To Handle.
These two classics were released over two albums in the early 90s and made The Black Crowes famous worldwide.
Following in the commercially successful footsteps of Green Day, Blink-182 made the switch from indie rock skate punk to stadium punk pop.
With hits like All The Small Things and What’s My Age Again? The band took the world by storm using immature humor and outrageous music videos.
The 1980 Musical Blues Brothers tell the story of a band “on a mission from God” to raise money for an orphanage.
Tunes include Gimme Some Lovin’, Rawhide, Shake A Tailfeather, Think, Minnie The Moocher, Soul Man, and Jailhouse Rock.
As an integral part of 90s Britpop, Blur was adored by the fans and press hailed as the more sophisticated alternative to Manchester’s Oasis.
The band is best known for the tunes Parklife, Girls & Boys, Country House, Song 2, Tender, as well as Coffee & TV.
Booker T. & The M.G.’s
Led by piano and organ player Booker T. Jones, the Stax Records house band played behind numerous legendary artists.
Hits include Green Onions, Born Under A Bad Sign, Dock Of The Bay, Ain’t No Sunshine, Soul Man, Hold On I’m Coming, Knock On Wood, and Respect.
David Bowie was an English singer, songwriter, actor, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger, and audio engineer.
His biggest hits include (Is There) Life On Mars?, Starman, Ziggy Stardust, Let’s Dance, China Girl, and Heroes.
After his first album, which sonically sounded a lot like Sam Cooke, Leon Bridges released a future classic, Good Thing (2018).
His best tunes include Bad Bad News, Forgive You, Beyond, and If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be).
The hardest working man in show business, the Godfather of Soul, Michael Jackson’s biggest influence – Mr. James Brown!
Biggest tunes include I Feel Good, Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag, It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World, Super Bad, and Living In America.
Best known for her massive tune Somebody Else’s Guy, Jocelyn Brown is not just a great singer but also a songwriter and producer.
She has an impressive list of guest appearances on dance music recordings and is every vocal coach’s favorite.
Jackson Browne wrote his first big hit at 16 and had it covered by three artists before he released it himself.
His best-known tunes include Doctor My Eyes, Running On Empty, Somebody’s Baby, and Take It Easy.
Growing up in California under a different name and playing in bands, Jeff Buckley moved to New York at the age of 24 to pursue a solo career.
His best-known tunes all came from his only studio album Grace, most notably a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
Best known for their tunes Word Up and Candy, Cameo formed in 1974 and became one of the best funk bands around.
Candy has managed to remain relevant by having the dance routine The Electric Slide performed to it. Personally, I’m more into the sax solo by Michael Brecker.
In the early 60s, Glen Campbell became a session guitarist for the Wrecking Crew, as well as starting to release tunes in his own name.
His best tunes include Rhinestone Cowboy, Wichita Lineman, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Galveston, and I Wanna Live.
Siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter started out in music early on. Richard on the Piano and Karen on Lead Vocals/Drums.
During Carpenters short and troubled career, they became the biggest act of the 70s, topping even The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel at Award ceremonies.
Johnny Cash recording career started in 1955 on Sun Records (the same label as Elvis) and ended in 2002 with a masterpiece produced by Rick Rubin.
His best tunes include Ring of Fire, A Boy Named Sue, Hurt, Man in Black, Folsom Prison Blues, Get Rhythm, Personal Jesus, and I Walk The Line.
Mama Cass spent most of her time and had the most success with the band The Mamas & The Papas, a hugely successful vocal group between 1965 and 1968.
During this short period of time, the band became world-famous by getting eleven top 40 singles from five albums.
Eva Cassidy was an American guitar player and vocalist who didn’t reach fame until after she passed away on November 2nd ’96.
Four years later, an amateur recording of Eva playing Over The Rainbow in her local pub was played on Top of the Pops 2, a TV show in the U.K.
Tracy Chapman is an American singer-songwriter, best known for her sensational singles Fast Car, Talking About A Revolution, and Baby Can I Hold You from her self-titled debut album.
Amazingly, these three songs were on the debut’s A-side.
Ray Charles, nicknamed The Genius, sang songs he wrote himself, tunes other people wrote for him as well as covers.
Best known for Mess Around, I Got A Woman, Georgia On My Mind, Hit The Road Jack, and You Don’t Know Me.
The Charlie Daniels Band
Starting out releasing albums in the early ’70s, The Charlie Daniels Band recorded and toured for half a century.
They are best known for the tunes Uneasy Rider, The Devil Went Down To Georgia, and Simple Man.
Swedish Eagle-Eye Cherry went to acting school in New York with Jennifer Aniston in the early 90s.
His acting skills were capitalized on as he played all characters in the music video for his hit Save Tonight.
Nile Rodgers’ Chic has many well-known Disco hits, but it’s perhaps his work as a producer and writer that he is best known for.
Producing Madonna, Sister Sledge, David Bowie, Diana Ross, Daft Punk, Duran Duran, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Nile is a legend in the business.
As well as a member of bands like Derek & The Dominos, The Yardbirds, and Cream, Eric Clapton has successfully played sessions for more stars than any other guitar player.
His long career earned him three inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.
Punk rock legends The Clash formed in the late 70s and released their debut album within a year.
Their best tunes include I Fought The Law, London Calling, Should I Stay Or Should I Go, and Rock The Casbah.
Fusing classical with dance music, Clean Bandit had great success with Rather Be, before the first album was even released.
Other big tunes include Mozart’s House, How Will I Know, Grace Kelly, Rockabye, and Symphony.
Following a career as a novelist and poet for over a decade, Leonard Cohen released his debut album in 1967.
His best tunes include Suzanne, Bird on the Wire, Famous Blue Raincoat, Chelsea Hotel #2, Hallelujah, Dance Me To The End Of Love, and So Long, Marianne.
With influences such as Irish U2 and American R.E.M, Coldplay‘s songs were set for Stadium greatness.
Starting out in 96, with the first album released in 2000, the band has spent more than two decades playing stadiums to adoring fans.
Nat King Cole
With a work ethic like few, Nat King Cole recorded over 1000 songs for 130 albums, 621 singles, and EPs.
His biggest hits include The Christmas Song, L-O-V-E, Autumn Leaves, Unforgettable, Smile, and Mona Lisa.
The Contours had a worldwide hit with Do You Love, written by Berry Gordy in the early 60s and still played by bands and DJs today.
In 1987, the tune again became a hit thanks to the film Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze.
Sam Cooke has been called The King Of Soul. His legacy is extensive and his impact on soul music is undeniable.
Between 1957 and 1963, Sam Cooke managed twenty-nine top 40 hits including You Send Me, Chain Gang, A Change Is Gonna Come, and Wonderful World.
The 60s British super-group that Eric Clapton joined after his time with John Mayhall and The Bluesbreakers was Cream.
Cream’s sound could be described as a hybrid of blues, pop, and psychedelic rock. Hits include Crossroads, Sunshine Of Your Love, Strange Brew, and White Room.
Creedence Clearwater Revival
One of the best ways to create contrast in songs is to use opposite messages in the music and lyrics.
John Fogerty, the lead singer, and songwriter of Creedence Clearwater Revival is a master of this technique, perhaps the perfect example is Bad Moon Rising.
Christopher Cross wrote Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do) for the movie Arthur which starred Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli.
Managing the seemingly impossible, the song tells the story of the film in less than four minutes.
Billy Ray Cyrus
Best known for being Miley’s dad, both on screen and in real life, Billy Ray Cyrus became famous in the early ’90s.
His best-known tunes include Achy Breaky Heart, Could’ve Been Me, She’s Not Cryin’ Anymore, and Old Town Road (Remix) with Lil Nas X.
French Dance duo Daft Punk formed in 1992 under the name Darlin’. They started to wear helmets after they had their first hits in order to gain anonymity.
Tunes include Get Lucky, Around The World, Da Funk, One More Time, and Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.
Having achieved success as a big band singer, film actress, recording artist, and radio and television performer, Doris Day became one of America’s best-loved entertainers of the 50s.
Hits include Dream A Little Dream Of Me, Que Sera, Sera, and Over The Rainbow.
Country legend John Denver had his golden years during the late 60s and early 70s as he was recording other people’s tunes and writing his own.
His best work includes Leaving, on A Jet Plane, Take Me Home, Country Roads, Annie’s Song, and Thank God I’m a Country Boy.
Deep Blue Something
Best known for their smash hit Breakfast at Tiffany’s, one-hit wonders Deep Blue Something wrote a song that’s been attempted by most beginners.
Initially named Leper Messiah (a Metallica song) they had to fight off metal fans during their early gigs.
Exposed to music from an early age with his parents being professional musicians, Matt Dennis took to the piano, singing and arranging like a fish to water.
Performing with his family from an early age in the Vaudeville tradition, Matt got to know American showbiz before he even learned to read or write.
Neil Diamond dropped out of college to go work for Tin Pan Aley as a songwriter as a teenager.
His best tunes include Solitary Man, Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon, I’m A Believer, Red Red Wine, Sweet Caroline, and You Don’t Bring Me Flower.
Jonas Brothers’ lead singer and his live backing band formed DNCE in 2015, releasing an EP named Sway and their self-titled debut album the following year.
Best known for their debut single Cake By The Ocean, the band gained instant recognition overnight.
With over 60 singers passing through the vocal group, they are amazingly still going, seven decades after the group was formed!
The Drifters‘ biggest tunes include Under The Boardwalk, Save The Last Dance For Me, Money Honey, Sweets For My Sweet, and On Broadway.
With her debut album Rockferry, Duffy took the world by storm, charting in the top 10 in 23 countries before she mysteriously disappeared.
Her best tunes on the debut include Mercy, Warwick Avenue, Syrup & Honey, and Stepping Stone.
Widely regarded as the most influential artist in popular culture, Bob Dylan has been covered and copied by almost everyone who ever attempted to write a song. His famous tunes are so many it’s impossible to pick just a few.
Some say, Dylan invented modern songwriting.
Formed in Los Angeles, the Eagles released their debut album in 1972. They spent the next seven years becoming one of the biggest bands in the world.
Their best tunes include Take It Easy, Hotel California, Lyin’ Eyes, Life In The Fast Lane, One Of These Nights, and Take It To The Limit.
Earth, Wind & Fire
As one of the biggest bands in the world, Earth, Wind & Fire sold 90 million albums and came to define the Disco era alongside Nile Rodgers and Bee Gees.
Hits include Let’s Groove, Boogie Wonderland, Got To Get You Into My Life, September, and Best Of My Love which they wrote for The Emotions.
When Sophie Ellis-Bextor left rock band theaudience, the entire music business lined up to work with her.
Her best-known tunes include Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) and Murder on the Dancefloor.
The sisters in vocal group The Emotions started out on Memphis record label Stax, with Isaac Hayes on their side. As Stax folded in 1975, they moved to Columbia.
Two years later they released Best Of My Love, written by the guys from Earth, Wind & Fire as they had now embraced Disco.
Hailing from the U.K., Estelle got discovered by introducing herself to Kanye West in a restaurant in L.A., asking to get introduced to John Legend.
This proved to be a smart move as she would eventually get signed by Legend, and write a song with Kanye West that made her famous worldwide.
The Everly Brothers
Starting out with their family as The Everly Family in the ’40s, The Everly Brothers were soon discovered by Chet Atkins.
Their best tunes include Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie, All I Have To Do Is Dream, and Cathy’s Clown.
George Ezra went to music college in 2011 to study songwriting, by 2013 he had signed to Columbia and started releasing his singles.
His best tunes include Shotgun, Budapest, Blame It On Me, Green Green Grass, and Hold My Girl.
As a daughter of an abstract expressionist university lecturer, Feist‘s artistic path was clearly laid out with interests in dance, painting, film, and music.
All these elements come together in the music video for 1234 which was very well shot in one take.
Formed in 1968 and named after the drummer and bass player, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, Fleetwood Mac had an extraordinary journey.
Tunes include Dreams, Albatross, Black Magic Woman, Everywhere, Little Lies, Rhiannon, Go Your Own Way, The Chain, Don’t Stop, and Gold Dust Woman.
Being a member of not one but two generation-defining bands, Dave Grohl must be considered our time’s greatest rock star.
Dave started writing what was to become Foo Fighters‘ first album already as he was touring with Nirvana.
Ella Fitzgerald released 61 studio albums and 25 live albums between 1936 and 1989. Crowned the First Lady Of Song, she is recognized for performing and recording most of the Great American Songbook.
Before this, she pioneered scat-singing in the 40s as a devoted Bebop singer.
Florence + the Machine
Teenage friends Florence and Isabella started what was to become Florence + the Machine under the name Florence Robot and Isabella Machine.
Their best-known tunes are Dog Days Are Over, You’ve Got The Love, Shake It Out, and Spectrum.
Eddie Floyd was signed to Stax as a writer and artist. Here he worked closely with the house band Booker T. & The M.G.’s.
The guitarist of the band, Steve Cropper, helped Eddie pen his signature song Knock On Wood.
With two worldwide hits, multi-ethnic The Foundations really were groundbreaking when they came into the limelight in the late 60s.
As a large ensemble that played American-sounding Soul music, they contributed to the cultural bond that was forming between the U.K., and the U.S. in the 60s.
Joining Motown as one of the first vocal groups, Four Tops stuck together, without changing any members, for 44 years.
Best tunes include I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch), Reach Out I’ll Be There, Bernadette, and Ain’t No Woman.
Aretha Franklin – The Queen of Soul, is considered by most critics and peers the greatest singer of all time.
Born in Detroit and looking for a record deal, Aretha seemed like the perfect match for Berry Gordy’s label Motown. However, Aretha’s father had other ideas.
The Fratellis shot to fame in late 2006, and mainly 2007 when they had three successful singles from their debut album Costello Music.
Since their debut, The Fratellis have continued to gather new fans around the UK with their blues-influenced pop songs.
English rockers Free was formed in 1968, in London by Paul Kossoff, Andy Fraser, Simon Kirke, and Pual Rodgers.
They had two main hits in Wishing Well and the widely known All Right Now, a tune that came to personify the genre of classic rock.
The Funk Brothers
Motown’s house band didn’t have an official name, only they knew they were The Funk Brothers.
The band played on pretty much everything Motown released until ’72 when they relocated to Los Angeles and the band found a note on the hit factory door.
Judy Garland shot to worldwide fame when she sang Over The Rainbow in the 1939 Blockbuster The Wizard of Oz at only sixteen years old.
Amazingly, she had made an astonishing twelve films prior to the release of The Wizard Of Oz.
Marvin Gaye helped shape the Motown sound as a drummer, session singer, writer, lead singer, and producer in the 60s and 70s.
Marvin’s hits include I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Can I Get A Witness, and politically fueled What’s Going On.
Starting out on the club circuit, Gloria Gaynor got signed in 1971 and started to release disco versions of famous songs in 1975.
Her best tunes include Never Can Say Goodbye, I Will Survive, You’re All I Need To Get By, and Stop in the Name of Love.
Being extremely active, Dizzy Gillespie worked with pretty much every famous player in the business, spreading his music worldwide.
His influence worldwide got so great he ended up earning the nickname the Ambassador of Jazz.
David Gilmour is an English musician, best known as the lead guitarist, primary singer, and one of the main songwriters in the band Pink Floyd.
Known for his melodic ability and fantastic tone, David Gilmour has always been considered one of the truly great British guitar players.
Berry Gordy is the man behind the hit factory that was Motown. The idea behind the label came from working in a car factory.
Housing the label, the studio, and a house band all in the same building proved to be a masterstroke as Berry set out to discover the greatest superstars of our time.
David Gray is an English singer-songwriter. After many years of struggling with unsuccessful releases on different labels, he ended up recording the album White Ladder in his bedroom.
Since the release of White Ladder, David has toured the world.
Al Green is an American gospel and soul singer who has enjoyed great popularity since the early 70s.
Best tunes include Let’s Stay Together and Take Me To The River and covers of A Change Is Gonna Come, Unchained Melody, Light My Fire, and My Girl.
CeeLo Green became world famous after teaming up with Danger Mouse to release Crazy in 2010 under the name Gnarls Barkley.
Following the success, he got a song from Bruno Mars called Forget You which came with a genius marketing campaign.
As the co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green had hits with the early version of the band playing blues.
These early recordings include Albatross and Need Your Love So Bad. They also covered Elmore James Shake Your Money Maker.
Green Day’s third album, Dookie (94), took the band to superstardom. With fifteen million copies sold, they became everyone’s favorite punk trio.
After a few more albums, Green Day released American Idiot (04). This firmly established them as one of the best-known bands in the world.
Ben Harper is an American roots musician who stretched his appeal around the globe by recording covers of Sexual Healing and The Drugs Don’t Work.
Harper’s first album, Welcome To The Cruel World (94), was followed by Fight For Your Mind only a year later.
Born to blind musicians, Bobby Hebb was destined for music, getting his first gig at the age of three playing spoons.
He is best known for his jazz standard, worldwide 1966 hit Sunny which he re-recorded in 1976 in a Disco style.
The world’s most famous guitarist, Jimi Hendrix had a short career spanning only 4 years and as many albums before he joined the 27 Club following misadventure.
His best tunes include Hey Joe, All Along The Watchtower, Little Wing, Foxy Lady, Purple Haze, Crosstown Traffic, The Wind Cries Mary, and Voodoo Chile.
As the first female jazz singer to record in the 30s, Billie Holiday is up there with the greats who defined the genre of Jazz.
Her hits include Summertime, Blue Moon, Solitude, Pennies From Heaven, and the controversial Strange Fruit.
Holland-Dozier-Holland was Motown’s main songwriting team in the hit factory during the 60s.
Their hits are so many and their influence is so great it is a mystery how their names are not more widely known.
Over her twenty-five-year career, Whitney Houston became known as The Voice, voted the 2nd best female singer of all time.
Her biggest tunes include I Wanna Dance With Somebody, How Will I Know, Greatest Love Of All, Higher Love, and I Will Always Love You.
The King of Pop became world-famous before he was even a teenager as he signed to Motown with his brothers as The Jackson 5.
After many hits, Michael Jackson embarked on a crazy solo career that would see him become as big as Elvis and The Beatles.
Formed by Paul Weller and his classmates in 1972, The Jam was a Mod/punk/rock band that released albums between 1975-1982.
Their best tunes include Town Called Malice, Down in the Tube Station at Midnight, Going Underground, and That’s Entertainment.
Jamesetta had a brutal childhood as the daughter of a 14-year-old mother and an unknown father, she was regularly beaten by foster parents and even her choir leader.
After touring with Little Richard in her teens, Etta James signed with Chess Records, releasing her first single, At Last, only 22 years old.
Back in the late 60s and 70s, some people were actually employed as songwriters, working for publishing companies.
One of the most successful was Mark James who wrote for Elvis Presley, including Suspicious Minds and Always On My Mind.
Janis Joplin’s short career of just 4 years started in 1967 with the band Big Brother & The Holding Company.
Her best tunes include Move Over, Piece Of My Heart, Summertime, Mercedes Benz, To Love Somebody, and Me and Bobby McGee.
Australian rock n’ rollers Jet released Are You Gonna Be My Girl as the first single off their debut album Get Born.
It took a while for the world to catch on but once they did, Jet toured and shared festival stages with the biggest bands in the business for a good decade.
Norah Jones released her incredibly successful album Come Away With Me on the legendary label Blue Note at the age of 23.
The album won her 8 Grammy Awards and sold over 20 million copies. No wonder everyone in the business wanted to appear on the follow-up!
Best known for their worldwide hit Don’t Stop Believin’, Journey started out as a backup band formed by session musicians.
Their biggest hit was written by the keyboard player that joined them before they made their 7th studio album.
Following the tradition of great Australian one-hit wonder bands, Vance Joy became world-famous in 2013.
His worldwide hit Riptide stayed in the top 100 for over 100 weeks. In ten years, the video has been played over 500 million times on YouTube.
Gary Jules is an American singer-songwriter, best known for his cover of Mad World by Tears For Fears. It became the UK Christmas number one single in ’03.
Following the worldwide success, Gary Jules kept selling his own CDs on CD Baby as well as being released through a label.
Formed in 1997, the band had two name changes, a record deal, and an album before releasing their debut in 2005 as Kaiser Chiefs.
Their best-known tunes include Ruby, Everyday I Love You Less And Less, and I Predict A Riot.
Katrina And The Waves
Starting out as a covers band with half-American, half-English members, Katrina And The Waves was an ’80s New Wave band.
Their best tunes include Going Down To Liverpool, Walking On Sunshine, Sun Street, and Love Shine A Light.
Alicia Keys had instant success with her debut album Songs In Am, mainly down to its single Fallin’.
Following this, she has firmly established herself with hits such as If I Ain’t Got You, This Girl Is On Fire, and Empire State Of Mind.
With 22 Grammy nominations and 10 wins to her name, Chaka Khan earned her nickname The Queen Of Funk.
Collaborations include Stevie Wonder, Prince, Ray Charles, Steve Winwood, Robert Palmer, Ry Cooder, De La Soul, and Mary J Blidge.
Formed in Las Vegas in early 2001, The Killers released a debut single that would become every cover band’s encore for years to come.
The band is best known for the tunes Mr. Brightside, Somebody Told Me, When You Were Young, Bones, and Human.
With his upside-down Flying V, huge bends, and imposing nature, Albert King is a legend among legends.
Most great blues guitar players cite the “Velvet Bulldozer” as one of their main influences.
The King Of The Blues, B.B. King is easily the most famous blues artist around. He earned his nickname and reputation through constant touring.
With hits like The Thrill Is Gone and Paying The Cost To Be The Boss, B.B. will forever be known as one of the original blues giants.
Ben E. King
Starting out with The Drifters, Ben E. King soon embarked on a solo career where his first two singles would become his best-known tunes.
Hits include There Goes My Baby, This Magic Moment, Save The Last Dance For Me, Spanish Harlem, and Stand By Me.
Perhaps the least known of the three kings, Freddie King is most known for his instrumentals Hide Away and The Stumble.
Not just a great guitar player, Freddie could sing his heart out and did so as he covered many classics.
King Harvest is best known for their 1973 hit Dancing In The Moonlight, a tune one of their band members had already released.
Formed in Paris by American musicians, they recorded their hit, broke up, then reunited when it started getting airplay.
Kings Of Leon
Hailing from Nashville, members of the Followill family formed Kings Of Leon and released their debut in 2003.
Their best tunes include Holy Roller Novocaine, Molly’s Chambers, Sex On Fire, Use Somebody, Radioactive, and Pyro.
Categorized as a British invasion band, along with the other members of the so-called Big Four, The Kinks changed popular music forever.
Among their hits, you find Lola, Sunny Afternoon and You Really Got Me, which fourteen years later would be covered by Van Halen, using a much louder amp.
Formed during the late 70s in Los Angeles, The Knack burst onto the scene with their debut single My Sharona.
When they couldn’t follow it up and simultaneously were accused of ripping off The Beatles, the band called it a day in the early 80s.
Starting out singing at her cousin’s bar, Jean Knight soon attracted interest from bands, producers, and eventually the record label Stax.
Knight’s best-known tune is her signature song Mr. Big Stuff but the album has some other cool tunes as well worth checking out.
Kool & The Gang
Kool & The Gang started out in 1964 and had their first hit almost ten years later with Jungle Boogie.
After recruiting a singer, they’d go on to release a string of hits in Celebration, Get Down On It, and Ladies Night.
Growing up around the world’s finest jazz musicians, learning how to play most instruments, and being friends with Slash set Lenny Kravitz up for greatness.
Hits include Are You Gonna Go My Way, Fly Away, It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over, Always On The Run, as well as songs for Madonna and Vanessa Paradise.
Starting out as The Bluebelles in 1962, LaBelle changed their name after one of the members left to join The Supremes.
Their best tunes include Lady Marmalade and covers of Wild Horses and Over The Rainbow.
When Cyndi Lauper released her debut album in 1983, she became the first female artist with a debut album that had four top 5 singles.
She followed this up with more hits such as True Colors, I Drove All Night, and Broadway musical Kinky Boots.
Peggy Lee was a very successful American jazz and traditional pop singer, songwriter, and actress.
Her most famous performances include Black Coffee, Big Spender, Fever, and Why Don’t You Do Right?
Starting out as a pianist for Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, and Alicia Keys, John Legend eventually got signed by Kanye West.
Fast forward a couple of decades and John had lived up to his name by winning the EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony).
Jerry Lee Lewis
After having almost instant success with Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On and Great Balls Of Fire, Jerry Lee Lewis made some poor decisions.
After marrying his 13-year-old cousin, the world turned against Jerry Lee, still, a few years later he was back on track.
Peter Doherty and Carl Barât formed The Libertines whilst at University in London during the late 90s.
In between partying, arguing, and general shenanigans, they managed to write the hit Don’t Look Back Into The Sun.
Dua Lipa’s first album had singles from it between 2015-2018. After 8 singles she released the tune that took her to superstardom.
Her best-known hits include One Kiss, Don’t Start Now, Levitating, and a cover of Elton John’s Cold Heart.
It would take several albums and singles before the world woke up and accepted Lizzo for who she was and her all-inclusive, body-positive message.
Her best tunes include Juice, About Damn Time, Truth Hurts, Boys, Tempo, as well as covers of Stayin’ Alive and A Change Is Gonna Come.
Following a successful folk duo in the ’70s, Kenny Loggins started writing soundtracks with great success in the ’80s.
His best tunes include Danny’s Song, Your Mama Don’t Dance, This Is It, Footloose, and Danger Zone.
Most famous for singing Cry Me A River, starring in Westerns and in the TV series Emergency! Julie London also recorded many Jazz standards.
Tunes include Fly Me To The Moon, Dream A Little Dream Of Me, Bye Bye Blackbird, A Taste Of Honey, and Why Don’t You Do Right?
After spending almost a decade honing their craft, Lynyrd Skynyrd released their debut album in 1973.
Their two best-known tunes are the epic Free Bird and the party band classic Sweet Home Alabama.
Madness was alongside The Specials, pioneers, and leaders of the two-tone movement in the U.K.
Their best-known tunes include One Step Beyond, My Girl, Baggy Trousers, It Must Be Love, House Of Fun, and Our House.
Bob Marley was a Jamaican singer, songwriter, guitarist, and activist. Few artists have had such widespread recognition.
As the most widely known performer of reggae music, Bob Marley is also regarded by many as a prophet of the Rastafarian religion.
Before streaming took over, Maroon 5 was selling millions of singles from every album they released.
Their best tunes include Harder To Breathe, This Love, She Will Be Loved, Moves Like Jagger, Payphone, One More Night, Sugar, and Memories.
The best-selling male artist since 2010, Bruno Mars has a string of hits to his name, as well as being the writer for other famous artists like CeeLo Green.
Bruno’s smash hits include Locked Out Of Heaven, Forget You, Uptown Funk, Leave The Door Open, Treasure, and Marry You.
Martha and the Vandellas
Martha met her Vandellas as she was a secretary at Motown’s hit factory where her soon-to-be backing singers sang for Marvin Gaye.
Together they had seven years of hits including Jimmy Mack, Nowhere To Run, and perhaps Motown’s biggest hit of them all, Dancing In The Street.
Consisting of two sisters, Mary Mary is a Gospel duo that started out as backing singers and writing songs for Yolanda Adams.
After meeting producer Warren Campbell in the late 90s, they had a Gospel crossover hit with Shackles (Praise You) in 2000.
Launching himself to the world in 2001 with the acoustic smash hit Your Body Is A Wonderland, John Mayer didn’t just stick to the acoustic for long.
In 2006, he teamed up with Steve Jordan and Pino Palladino and presented his electric side to the world with hits like Vultures and Belief.
McFadden & Whitehead
Growing tired of being the producers behind the curtain, watching acts like The O’Jays get all the glory, McFadden & Whitehead decided to write a song about it.
Luckily for them, their words got mistaken for being about fighting racial inequality, and Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now became part of a movement.
Don McLean is an American singer-songwriter most famous for his ’71 songs American Pie and Vincent.
When McLean’s indie label Media Arts was sold to United Artists, he got an unexpected chance to make his second album for a major label.
Men At Work
Men At Work composed the hilarious Down Under which managed to become a #1 single and album in the U.S. No other Australian artist or band has managed this before or since.
Down Under has even gone on to become Australia’s signature song.
Australian Daniel Merriweather first started working with Mark Ronson in ’03, appearing on Here Comes The Fuzz.
After a few more collaborations with Ronson, they finally made a solo album for Merriweather that was released in ’09.
As one of the pioneers of Funk, The Meters formed as early as 1965. They would come to back many artists as well as release their own instrumental tunes.
Their most famous instrumentals include Just Kissed My Baby and Cissy Strut, which has become a standard among working musicians.
As one of the most popular singers in Britain, George Michael‘s first success came with the duo Wham!
Following many hits with the duo, he set his sights on an even more lucrative solo career.
Roger Miller started out as a songwriter in the 50s and released his own tunes in the 60s. In the 70s, he went back to being a songwriter again, now for Disney.
His best-known tunes include Billy Bayou, Oo-De-Lally, Dang Me, England Swings, and his signature song King Of The Road.
Steve Miller Band
Steve had his first success with a Blues band in Chicago but soon moved to San Fransico to set up what was to become the Steve Miller Band.
Their best-known tunes include The Joker, Abracadabra, Take the Money and Run, Fly Like An Eagle, and Rock’n Me.
Formed for a TV show launched in 1966, The Monkees creator Bob Rafelson effectively manufactured the first successful boy band.
Their best tunes include I’m A Believer, Last Train To Clarksville, (Theme from) The Monkees, and Daydream Believer.
One of the greatest, and definitely loudest British blues guitar players of all time, Mr. Gary Moore.
Having appeared on more than 40 records, Gary Moore has recorded with Phil Lynott, Albert King, George Harrison, and Albert Collins.
Starting out in his native Northern Ireland with the band Them, Van Morrison’s solo career began with one of the worst record deals in the history of the business.
His best-known tunes include Gloria, Brown Eyed Girl, Moondance, Crazy Love, Into The Mystic, and Have I Told You Lately.
Jason Mraz second album was released in 2005. He promoted it by touring with Alanis Morrisette, Tracy Chapman, and James Blunt the world over.
It was as if the stage was set for Jason to finally release the smash hit everyone knew he’d already written.
Mumford & Sons
Formed in 2007, Mumford & Sons released their debut album to critical acclaim in 2009, with an equally well-received follow-up in 2012.
Their biggest tunes include Sigh No More, The Cave, Little Lion Man, and their signature song, I Will Wait.
Willie Nelson first had success as a writer for other artists, once he started releasing his own solo albums, it took him over a decade to break through.
His best tunes include On The Road Again, Crazy, Always On My Mind, Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, and Touch Me.
Paolo Nutini’s career started when an artist was late to perform at his school, Paolo was asked by the music teacher to go up and sing a song.
The reaction from the crowd to Paolo’s naturally stunning voice caught the attention of his (soon-to-be) manager who happened to be in the crowd.
Formed in 1958 under the name The Mascots, The O’Jays are amazingly still together, over six decades later.
Their best-known tunes include Back Stabbers, Now That We’ve Found Love, For The Love Of Money, and their signature song Love Train.
Oasis was an English rock band led by two brothers, Noel, and Liam Gallagher.
With 8 #1 singles, 15 NME Awards, 9 Q Awards, 4 MTV Europe awards, and 5 Brit awards. The Guinness Book Of Hit Singles And Albums declared Oasis the Most Successful Act of the 90s.
Ocean Colour Scene
Ocean Colour Scene (OCS) is an English rock band from Birmingham. The band had the most success with their 1996 album Moseley Shoals.
The album contained the band’s three biggest hits The Riverboat Song, The Day We Caught The Train, and You’ve Got It Bad.
Roy Orbison signed to Sam Phillips’s label Sun Records the same year Elvis moved on to get better radio play.
His best tunes include Only The Lonely, In Dreams, Oh, Pretty Woman, You Got It, and End Of The Line.
Hip-hop duo Outcast (Andre 3000 and Big Boi) is best known for their tunes Ms. Jackson and Hey Ya!
These two songs became two of the world’s most popular in the decade 2000-2010, Hey Ya! made it onto most cover bands’ repertoire.
Charlie Parker is easily the most famous saxophone player that ever lived fast, played hard, and died young.
Most famous for inventing Bebop and his legendary practice routine that has been adopted by most serious Jazz musicians since.
With 44 top-ten country albums and 110 chartered singles, Dolly Parton is the most famous country singer in the world.
Hits include I Will Always Love You, Jolene, 9 To 5, and almost 4 decades after her first release, Creepin’ In with Norah Jones.
The best bass player in the world, Jaco Pastorius started out with co-tutor Pat Matheny, releasing genre-defining albums in 1976.
His best-known tunes include The Chicken, Coyote, Bright Size Life, Birdland, and Donna Lee.
Freda Payne is the older sister of Scherrie, who sang in The Supremes during the 70s after Diana had gone solo.
Freda wasn’t just a singer with a #1 in Band Of Gold, she also acted in films, on Broadway, and even hosted her own TV show.
Ann Peebles is an internationally acclaimed singer and songwriter, best known for her popular Memphis soul albums of the 70s on Hi Records.
Two of her better-known tunes are I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down and I Can’t Stand The Rain.
Most people know CeCe Peniston for her dance anthem Finally, which sold 3 million copies worldwide.
Some people believe she also wrote Somebody Else’s Guy, a Jocelyn Brown tune released 14 years earlier.
Pop princess Katy Perry came to prominence in 2008 with her debut single I Kissed A Girl and follow up Hot n Cold.
Katy continued the hit parade with Firework, California Gurls, Last Friday Night, Teenage Dream, and Roar.
Best known for worldwide hit What’s Up with her band 4 Non Blondes, singer-songwriter Linda Perry has plenty more strings to her bow.
As a writer and producer, she also penned Beautiful for Christina Aguilera and Get The Party Started for P!nk.
Tom Petty released most of his albums with his band The Heartbreakers although some solo material appeared as well.
His best-known tunes include American Girl, Free Fallin’, Learning To Fly, Into The Great Wide Open, Don’t Come Around Here No More, and I Won’t Back Down.
Madeleine Peyroux is an American jazz singer, songwriter, and guitarist who learned her trade on the streets of Paris.
Often compared to Billie Holiday for her vocal similarities, Peyroux’s second solo album only had one original tune on it, Don’t Wait Too Long.
Even though Wilson Pickett was signed to Atlantic, he collaborated with Stax and their house band Booker T. & the M.G.’s during his most successful spell.
His best-known tunes include In The Midnight Hour, Mustang Sally, 634-5789 (Soulsville U.S.A), Land of 1,000 Dances, and Everybody Needs Somebody To Love.
Pink Floyd is an English rock band that sold an estimated seventy-five million albums in the United States alone.
With their laid-back blues-influenced psychedelic rock, they had hits like Another Brick In The Wall, Comfortably Numb, Money, and Wish You Were Here.
Plain White T’s
Plain White T’s is an American rock band that had great success with their song Hey There Delilah, charting at #1 in many countries in 2007.
Using a very persistent marketing technique, Hey There Delilah was pushed for over two years before it was finally #1.
The Pointer Sisters
Formed in the late ’60s The Pointer Sisters would have all four sisters in the band before one of them left for a solo career.
Their best tunes include Fairytale, You Gotta Believe, I’m So Excited, I Feel For You, Jump (For My Love), and Neutron Dance.
The Police was a New Wave band from England comprising Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland.
Unusually, it was Stewart’s father, Miles Copeland III who managed the band and later, Sting’s solo career.
Elvis Presley didn’t just change music by popularising Rock n Roll and becoming the world’s first superstar, he changed the world.
Hits include Jailhouse Rock, Heartbreak Hotel, Don’t Be Cruel, Blue Suede Shoes, In The Ghetto, Suspicious Minds, and (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear.
Prince released his debut in 1978 and followed it up with a new studio album almost every year until 2015.
His best tunes include Kiss, Purple Rain, I Feel For You, 1999, Let’s Go Crazy, Little Red Corvette, Cream, Sign o’ The Times, and Alphabet St.
Formed in 1983, Scottish twins The Proclaimers had their debut album, This Is the Story by 1987.
Best-known tunes include Letter from America, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), and covers of Get Ready and These Arms Of Mine.
Formed in 1970 in London when Freddie Mercury added himself to the band Smile, Queen was destined for greatness, eventually selling 300 million albums.
Their impressive catalogue includes Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are The Champions, We Will Rock You, Don’t Stop Me Now, and Crazy Little Thing Called Love.
Formed in the mid-80s as the members met in a boarding school, Radiohead went on to become the most credible band from the U.K. in the 90s.
Their best tunes include Creep, Fake Plastic Trees, High and Dry, No Surprises, Karma Police, Paranoid Android, and Everything In Its Right Place.
Rage Against The Machine
Formed in 1991, Rage Against The Machine enjoyed almost instant success with their debut album.
When the singer left ten years later, the rest of the band formed Audioslave with Chris Cornell and did it all over again.
Dubbed the King Of Soul, Otis Redding was an American singer-songwriter who wrote some of the most famous tunes of all time.
His career was tragically cut short only five years after his first studio album was released as he tragically died in a plane crash in 1967.
Rednex debut album, Sex & Violins opened up with their signature song, setting the benchmark for what they were all about: Country crossed with Techno.
Their best tunes include Cotton Eye Joe, The Devil Went Down To Georgia, Old Pop in an Oak, Wish You Were Here, and The Spirit of the Hawk.
Originally, Rice was a member of Juniper but on the evening of recording their first full album, he changed his mind and left the band.
After walking out, Damien Rice fled to Italy to start afresh, writing songs and busking his way around Europe.
Starting out with Commodores, Lionel Richie had several worldwide smash-hits in Easy, Brick House, and Three Times A Lady.
As a solo artist, he released Hello, All Night Long, and Dancing On The Ceiling, firmly establishing himself as one of the all-time greats.
The Righteous Brothers
Releasing their first album in 1963, The Righteous Brothers became one of the world’s best-known duos.
Hits include You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ and Unchained Melody, and later, Bill Medley’s (I’ve Had The) Time Of My Life.
Smokey Robinson was a huge part of Motown’s success with his band The Miracles, but also wrote and produced a big part of Motown’s legendary catalog.
Robinson’s hits include Shop Around, You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me, The Tears of a Clown, My Guy, My Girl, and Get Ready.
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones is an English band that became popular in the early 60s. Incredibly, the band has stuck together ever since.
They’ve had great success with tunes like Start Me Up, Satisfaction, Wild Horses, Angie, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, and Honky Tonk Women.
Starting out already in the 50s, Kenny Rogers became one of the most beloved country storytellers, by mainly singing covers.
His best tunes include The Gambler, Islands In The Stream, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), and She Rides Wild Horses.
The Ronettes are the 60s vocal group behind one of Phil Spector’s biggest wall of sound hits, Be My Baby.
The lead singer, Veronica Bennett, later known as Ronnie Spector, eventually married the eccentric producer who locked her up in his mansion.
Mark Ronson‘s destiny seemed written in the stars as his stepdad was the guitarist of the well-known rock band Foreigner.
After a few solo album attempts, as well as working as a DJ, Mark found his calling in producing some of his time’s greatest artists.
After her success with The Supremes in the 60s, Diana Ross launched a solo career that kept her in the public consciousness for the next two decades.
Her best-known tunes include I’m Coming Out, Upside Down, Endless Love, and Chain Reaction.
One of Motown’s best producers, Norman Whitfield, created the band Rose Royce for his own label.
Norman wrote and produced Car Wash, Love Don’t Live Here Anymore, Do Your Dance, and Wishing On A Star for the band.
Darius Rucker is the lead singer of ’90s Heartland rockers Hootie & the Blowfish who in 2008 launched himself as a country artist.
His best tunes include Wagon Wheel, Alright, Only Wanna Be With You, and Let Her Cry.
Sam & Dave
Sam & Dave was a Soul duo that made their most successful recordings with Stax house band Booker T. and The M.G.’s.
When the film The Blues Brothers was released in the cinema, it gave their career one final boost. However, neither Sam nor Dave seemed happy about it.
Their 2004 debut album did well with three singles, although it was the album itself that climbed the highest in the charts.
Scissor Sisters’ best tunes include Take Your Mama, Mary, and their biggest hit, I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’.
A vocal and dance group that started out during the Disco era, Shalamar is famous for teaching Michael Jackson to Moonwalk.
Their biggest hit was, without a doubt A Night To Remember, incidentally the song where they showcased the moonwalk that got Michael’s attention.
Best known for his relentless work ethic and ability to get in with everyone in the business, Ed Sheeran has been one of the best-selling artists since 2011.
His best tunes include The A Team, Thinking Out Loud, Perfect, Bad Habits, Sing, and Shape of You.
Paul Simon is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, both as half of the folk-singing duo Simon & Garfunkel and also as a solo artist.
His many hits include Homeward Bound, Scarborough Fair, You Can Call Me Al, The Boxer, Cecilia, Mrs. Robinson, and Graceland.
Simon & Garfunkel
Simon & Garfunkel was a hugely successful American folk duo that started out as Tom & Jerry before they adopted their more obvious choice of stage name.
Their hits include Homeward Bound, Scarborough Fair, The Boxer, Mrs. Robinson, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and American Tune.
Frank Sinatra‘s legacy might best be summed up by Stephen Holden who wrote for the 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide:
“Frank Sinatra’s voice is pop music history. Like Presley and Dylan – Sinatra will last indefinitely. He virtually invented modern pop song phrasing.”
Best known for being Frank Sinatra’s daughter and as the poster child for the swinging ’60s, Nancy Sinatra had a few intense years in the late 60s.
Her best tunes include These Boots Are Made For Walking, Bang Band, Something Stupid, and You Only Live Twice.
Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards took some time off from their band Chic to create the best Disco album of all time for Sister Sledge in 1979.
This legendary album had classics such as We Are Family, He’s The Greatest Dancer, Lost In Music, and Thinking Of You on it.
Sixpence None The Richer
Sixpence None The Richer is a Christian rock band mainly known for their hit single Kiss Me. They also had some success along with covers of Don’t Dream It’s Over and There She Goes.
The band has gone through both breakups and reunions.
Björn Skifs is a Swedish singer, songwriter, actor, and entertainer best known for the #1 tune Hooked On A Feeling with his 70s band Blue Swede.
After leaving the band, he embarked on a solo career releasing studio albums as well as acting in film and TV.
Bessie Smith was an American blues singer who was nicknamed The Queen Of Blues and later upgraded to Empress.
Smith is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era (the 20s and 30s) and along with Louis Armstrong, a major influence on subsequent jazz vocalists.
Phil Spector is a guitarist, record producer, and songwriter who found fame working with The Crystals, The Ronettes, Tina Turner, and The Beatles.
His biggest hits include River Deep, Mountain High, Unchained Melody, Be My Baby, The Long And Winding Road, My Sweet Lord, Let It Be, and Imagine.
The Spencer Davis Group
Formed in 1962, The Spencer Davis Group was named after their guitarist, however, the real star of the show was Steve Winwood.
Their best tunes include Keep On Running, Georgia On My Mind, I’m a Man, and their signature song, Gimme Some Lovin’.
Dusty Springfield is the 60s and 70s singer from London U.K who was a big part of bringing American R&B and soul to the U.K
Her most famous songs include Son Of A Preacher Man, Spooky, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, and I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself.
Best known for either reworking classics or having tunes written for her, Candi Staton has released a remarkable 30 studio albums.
Her best tunes include Stand By Your Man, In the Ghetto, Young Hearts Run Free, Nights On Broadway, Suspicious Minds, and You Got The Love.
Scottish folk rockers Stealers Wheel only had one hit from their debut album, Stuck In The Middle With You.
After the band split a few years later, their main songwriter, Gerry Rafferty moved on to a solo career and wrote Baker Street.
Sting is an English musician who, prior to his solo career, had a band called The Police, with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers.
Formed in 1977, The Police reached worldwide success after releasing their first single Roxanne only a year after they formed the band.
Barrett Strong was the first artist on the Motown label to have a hit. The song was Money (That’s What I Want). Performed by Barrett, it was written by the president of the label and a sign of what was to come.
As well as his own solo career, Barrett also wrote many of Motown’s biggest hits.
The Strokes revived garage rock, mainly thanks to their worldwide smash hit Last Nite, the lead single from the debut album Is This It?
Their best tunes include The Adults Are Talking, Someday, Hard To Explain, and their signature song, Last Nite.
Starting out with One Direction on the talent show X Factor, Harry Styles launched a successful solo career on the back of the boyband’s success.
His best tunes include What Makes You Beautiful, Sign Of The Times, Watermelon Sugar, Lights Up, Adore You, and As It Was.
The Queen of Disco, Donna Summer sold 100 million records between 1975-1983 with her Italian producer and songwriter Giorgio Moroder.
Best-known tunes include On The Radio, Bad Girls, She Works Hard For The Money, Love To Love You Baby, I Feel Love, and Hot Stuff.
The Supremes are the most successful American vocal group of all time, at their peak, they were as big as The Beatles.
Led by Diana Ross, they had #1’s with Where Did Our Love Go, Baby Love, Stop! In the Name of Love, You Can’t Hurry Love, and You Keep Me Hangin’ On.
James Taylor got his first break when he was signed by The Beatles record label Apple to release his debut album.
Tunes include Fire and Rain, Sweet Baby James, You’ve Got A Friend, and How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).
Tears For Fears
Tears For Fears is an English pop band that has sold more than twenty-two million albums.
With hits like Mad World, Seeds Of Love and Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Tears For Fears was one of the biggest bands around in the ’80s.
The Temptations are a five-piece vocal group that has been active since 1960. After the original five members, another nineteen singers have come and gone.
Early hits like My Girl was produced by Smokey Robinson, later they ventured into a more psychedelic soul sound with Papa Was A Rolling Stone.
After a brief stint in James Brown’s band as a teenager, Tammi Terrell signed for Motown in 1965.
After a bright start with three major hits singing with Marvin Gaye, Tammi’s life took an extremely sad turn.
Robin Thicke was doing reasonably well with five albums released over ten years, starting in 2002, following a long time producing other artists.
In 2013 he got a taste of proper fame with scrutiny, hate mail, lawsuits, and controversy attached to his name as he released Blurred Lines.
Formed by bass player Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey in 1969, Irish Thin Lizzy would become world famous.
Their best-known tunes include Whiskey In The Jar, The Boys Are Back In Town, Jailbreak, Don’t Believe A Word, and Dancing In The Moonlight.
Starting out on Disney alongside Britney and Christina, Justin Timberlake moved on to NSYNC before he on the advice of Michael Jackson, launched a solo career.
His best tunes include Rock Your Body, Cry Me A River, Like I Love You, Senorita, Mirrors, and Can’t Stop The Feeling!
The Ting Tings
Katie and Jules formed the duo The Ting Tings after their first band, Dear Eskiimo was dropped by the record label.
Inspired by the way they had been treated, they wrote That’s Not My Name and ended up having the last laugh.
Toploader is best known for covering Dancing In The Moonlight (1999). The idea came from their producer Dave Eringa.
Recording their debut album when the music industry was full of cash, they spent time in both London and Los Angeles studios.
Formed in 1977 by session musicians in L.A. Toto released their own albums as well as became Michael Jackson’s backing band.
Under their own name, they had great success with Hold The Line, Rosanna, Africa, Stop Loving You, and Georgy Porgy.
Best known for their smash hit Disco Inferno which featured in the film Saturday Night Fever, The Trammps did have more tunes.
Most notably Hold Back the Night, That’s Where the Happy People Go, and The Night the Lights Went Out.
Tina Turner was discovered by Ike, joined his band, and even married him. Together they achieved great success with many hits.
Off stage, Ike was an abusive husband. After they divorced, Tina would embark on a remarkable solo career and Ike would end up the most hated man in America.
Shania Twain‘s career took off when she on her second album hooked up with her future husband and famed producer Mutt Lange.
Her best tunes include Man! I Feel Like A Woman, That Don‘t Impress Me Much, You’re Still The One, and Any Man Of Mine.
Irish rockers U2 released their debut album in the early 80s. A decade later they were one of the biggest bands in the world.
Tunes include Pride, One, Mysterious Ways, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Stay, and With Or Without You.
Formed during the 70s in Northern Ireland, The Undertones surprisingly ignored the turmoil and sang about girls instead of politics.
They are best known for their hit Teenage Kicks and an intense relationship with BBC DJ John Peel.
Franki Valli and the Four Seasons
The hugely successful musical Jersey Boys is based on the tunes by Franki Valli and the Four Seasons.
Hits include Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Silence Is Golden, Working My Way Back, December, 63 (Oh What a Night!), and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.
Starting out as a backing vocalist in the 70s, Luther Vandross embarked on a solo career in the 80s before he ended up singing duets in the 80s and 90s.
His best tunes include covers of Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now, duets like Endless Love, and of course, his very own smash hit Never Too Much.
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Launching himself in 1983 to the world with his debut album Texas Flood and simultaneously appearing on David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, SRV was an instant hit.
Following this up with Couldn’t Stand The Weather, Pride & Joy, and Mary Had A Little Lamb, he firmly established himself as one of the greats.
The Verve is a British rock band formed in 1989, in Wigan. Among their bigger hits, you’ll find Bitter Sweet Symphony and The Drugs Don’t Work.
Since their first debut album, A Storm In Heaven, critics have always favored The Verve as one of the best 90s British rock acts.
Walk The Moon
After releasing their debut album independently, Walk The Moon soon gathered interest from major labels and signed to RCA in 2011.
Their best tunes include Anna Sun, One Foot, Shut Up and Dance, and a Talking Heads cover of Burning Down The House.
This is it, the root, the granddaddy, the first electric guitar soloist, and most early blues guitar players’ biggest hero: T-Bone Walker.
It was as early as 1929 when T-bone started to record, but as he says: “I’ve been doing it for a long time before that came around”.
Jennifer Warnes was in the cast for the musical Hair, sang BV’s for Leonard Cohen, and duets with Joe Cocker and Bill Medley.
Her best tunes include Famous Blue Raincoat, (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, Up Where We Belong, and First We Take Manhattan.
The Weeknd’s debut album came out in 2015 but his big break came with Earned It, the soundtrack for the controversial movie 50 Shades Of Grey.
His best-known tunes include Earned It, Can’t Feel My Face, Starboy, Die For You, Blinding Lights, and Save Your Tears.
Mary Wells was a female superstar for early Motown and an important part of the label’s success. Smokey Robinson and Motown’s main songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland all wrote for her.
Things started to go sour when Berry Gordy started prioritizing other singers.
Hip Hop producer and songwriter Kanye West divides opinion. Most people don’t get past the argument about if he’s a genius or crazy.
Known for hit singles Gold Digger, American Boy, Stronger, as well as his own shoe design, Kanye decided it was a good idea to run for President in 2020.
Brendan B. Brown grew up playing Iron Maiden and AC/DC tunes, contemplating the hardship of Western white male teenage years firsthand.
As Wheatus‘ guitarist, singer, and songwriter he managed to sum this up perfectly in his massive tune Teenage Dirtbag.
Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Jack White formed The White Stripes in 1997 and The Raconteurs in 2006.
His best tunes include Fell In Love With The Girl, I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself, Seven Nation Army, and Steady, As She Goes.
It took Rob Parissi two versions of his band Wild Cherry before he came up with a tune that would make them world-famous.
Wild Cherry is best known for their tune Play That Funky Music which they came up with after having the audience demand dance music from their rock band.
Forming Black Eyed Pease back in 1995, will.i.am eventually got success with Where Is The Love in 2003.
After a few more hits with his band, he started collaborating with other artists, eventually becoming a regular judge/coach on the TV show The Voice alongside Tom Jones.
Clarence Williams was an American jazz pianist, composer, promoter, vocalist, theatrical producer, and publisher.
Touring and recording with some of the most legendary blues artists of his time, Clarence Williams spent time with W.C Hardy, Bessie Smith, and Louis Armstrong.
As Kelis, Nsync, Justin Timberlake, Nelly, CeeLo Green, and Snoop Dog’s producer and co-writer, Pharrell Williams is a big deal in the business.
In 2013 he released three of the most well-known songs of our time, Get Lucky, Happy, and Blurred Lines.
Robbie Williams is a fifteen-time BRIT Award-winning English pop singer. Williams’ career started as a member of the pop band Take That in 1990.
When Robbie left Take That in 1995 to pursue a solo career, he had sold twenty-five million records with the group.
Mr. Excitement, Jackie Wilson was an energetic performer that launched his career with a worldwide hit in Reet Petite in 1957.
26 studio albums later he had two more smash hits (You’re Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher as well as I Get The Sweetest Feeling.
Spanky Wilson is an American vocalist best known for her version of Sunshine Of Your Love, by Cream.
Wilson has shared the stage alongside many Soul and Jazz legends, including Marvin Gaye, Sammy Davis Jr., Jimmy McGriff, and Jimmy Smith.
Amy Winehouse only released two albums, Frank, and Back to Black before she joined the 27 Club.
Her best tunes include Rehab, You Know I’m No Good, Back to Black, Tears Dry On Their Own, Love Is A Losing Game, and Valerie.
Bill Withers was an American singer-songwriter who performed and recorded from the late 60s until the mid-80s.
Some of his best-known songs include Ain’t No Sunshine, Use Me, Lovely Day, Lean on Me, Grandma’s Hands, and Just The Two Of Us.
Stevie Wonder is the legend whom most practicing musicians come across that has a life-changing impact on them.
Stevie’s natural groove and ability to purely express music are untouched. His vocal phrasing and songwriting are second to none.
John Paul Young
One-hit wonder John Paul Young released three albums between 1975-77 but despite plenty of help from the media, he had little success outside his homeland.
This all changed when he dropped Love Is In the Air in 1978, all of a sudden the Australian media was proved right, John Paul was destined for success.
Neil Young started out with Buffalo Springfield, briefly joined Crosby, Stills & Nash, and collaborated with Pearl Jam but is best known for his solo career.
His best tunes include Harvest Moon, Heart Of Gold, Old Man, The Needle And The Damage Done, My My, Hey Hey, and Like A Hurricane.
Zac Brown Band
After self-releasing an album in 2005, the Zac Brown Band gathered interest from record label Atlantic.
Their best tunes include Chicken Fried, Knee Deep, Toes, Homegrown, Colder Weather, and a cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.