Famous singers can come from any category. Whether it’s rock, pop, soul, folk or country, a musical composition is nothing without a memorable vocal performance. The most famous singers put their own stamp on the music, creating a unique piece of art.
- Michael Jackson As a famous singer, dancer and songwriter, Jackson was the whole package. Along with his brothers, he got his start during the 1960s in the group The Jackson 5. The group’s first single, “I Want You Back,” hit number one on the charts in 1970, setting in motion a career that would become the stuff of legend.
- Janis Joplin With her powerful, bluesy vocal tone, this famous singer set the standard for women in rock music. She produced some timeless recordings with her band Big Brother and the Holding Company, most notably 1968’s “Cheap Thrills.” This album contained Joplin’s famous hit “Piece of My Heart.”
- Elton John Known for his flamboyant style and flashy performances, Elton John makes other famous singers look tame. His first American hit came in 1970 with the introspective ballad “Your Song.” Building on that momentum with the help of his writing partner Bernie Taupin, John unleashed a string of smash hits during the latter part of the 20th century.
- Elvis Presley As the famous singer who brought mainstream popularity to rock music, Elvis is one of the most important figures in music history. His first single, “That’s All Right” in 1954, gave a hint to what he would become. From there he became one of the most recognizable singers ever, parlaying his success into movies and TV appearances.
- Robert Plant In 1968, this famous singer hooked up with the other three members of his equally famous band, Led Zeppelin. “Led Zeppelin II” was the band’s first taste of triumph, with the single “Whole Lotta Love” reaching number four on the pop charts. The raw strength of Plant’s vocals was a major reason for the band’s ensuing success, as evidenced in timeless rock classics like “Stairway to Heaven.”
- Kenny Rogers One of the most famous singers to emerge from the 1970s, Rogers scored an initial hit with the 1977 ballad “Lucille.” Capitalizing on the success of that song, he released the album “The Gambler” in 1978. The title track is still one of Rogers’ most well-known songs, earning him a Grammy Award.
- Mick Jagger Known as much for his energetic stage presence as he is for being a singer, Jagger brings a perpetual youth to The Rolling Stones. The band stormed America in 1964 with their first hit, “That Girl Belongs to Yesterday.” Soon after, Jagger and the gang cemented their fame with the chart-toppers “Satisfaction” and “Paint It Black.”
- Bob Dylan A key figure in the folk-rock movement of the 1960s, this famous singer is as influential as they come. “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” gave him his first taste of fame and adoration. That album contained one of Dylan’s best-known songs, the politically charged “Blowin’ in the Wind.”
- John Lennon As a driving force in what’s perhaps the most famous band of all time, this singer earned a place in the hearts of millions even before going solo. With The Beatles, Lennon’s initial hit was “Love Me Do” in 1962. After a handful of hits and an appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964, Lennon and the gang began the British invasion that would change American rock music forever.
- Aretha Franklin This famous singer’s initial success in the early 1960s was only a taste of what was to come. With the release of the smash hit “Respect” in 1967, Franklin earned her first two Grammy Awards. That song opened the floodgates for a string of hits, including “Chain of Fools” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”