Across different genres, the great art of music has witnessed the presence of a wide range of talented singers who have made a mark and are still making astounding feats in the world, increasing their popularity and fame. Here, we’ve got a list of the ten most sought-after singers of all time. While these might be accurate to some, they might seem otherwise to a different audience. However, the singers recognized here have earned their place based on their fame as you would see.
1. Michael Jackson
Taking the lead on this list is the world’s biggest entertainer who is also one of the most famous people of all time. Jackson’s legendary music career and global influence which began in the 70s transcended beyond the regular feats attained by any other artist. Starting out as a promising member of “The Jackson 5”, Michael Jackson went far above the usual expectations of a talented singer. To date, the prominent artist holds unbeatable and highly coveted records which he set during his career and lifetime, challenging the status quo in music and wielding a revisionary dynamism in music visuals, dance, and more cultural influences which can only be modeled by any other artist. Today, Michael Jackson remains the most awarded artist in history, leading the list of Forbes Highest-Paid Dead Celebrities as of 2023. Jackson was a gifted Craftsman and entertainer, second to none, and would almost be one of the most notable and relevant artists in the world.
2. Elvis Presley
Now, while you might know that Elvis Presley is one of the most popular singers of all time, the fact that he goes by the title, ‘The King of Rock ‘n Roll’ might not be common knowledge to you. Although this genre of music has been around for a while before Presley came by in the mid-1950s, his presence in Rock ‘n Roll birthed a new dimension and revolutionary influence on American music and culture. Throughout the decades of his life and music career, the ingenious singer made and broke multiple records which increasingly shot him up to the level of global fame. For an artist who has sold more than a billion records, complemented by multiple No. 1 hits and numerous exclusive awards and accolades in recognition of his global impact on music culture, one shouldn’t wonder why Elvis Presley is regarded as one of the greatest singers of all time.
3. Freddie Mercury
Originally named Farrokh Bulsara, Freddie Mercury’s music career is deeply affiliated with his remarkable exploits and influence as the lead singer of one of the world’s most popular and successful bands, Queen. Coupled with Freddie Mercury’s charismatic leadership was his iconic four-octave voice range which registered him as an exceptional vocalist. Inclusive was his impressive songwriting skills which were extensively used during his years with the Queen band, where he single-handedly wrote more than 60 songs which included 10 of the 17 songs on the band’s all-time best-selling album, Greatest Hits. Although his solo career was not as big as he had it with Queen, the British singer maintained a good chart-topping career with his solo hit songs. With over 300 million albums sold worldwide by the Queen band, you can attest to Billboard’s reference of Mercury as one of the greatest lead singers in rock music.
4. Aretha Franklin
Going way back to the musical icons of the 1960s, we have the ‘Queen of Soul’, the sensational Aretha Franklin. Switching to secular music from her gospel singing, Aretha Franklin made her entry into pop in 1960 and released her Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo debut album in 1961. The singer gained minimal success before her transition to Atlantic records where Aretha’s musical artistry became more distinguishable, skyrocketing her from the regular chart appearances to releasing hit soundtracks and gaining more global recognition, all during her early 20s. She made even more impact in the history of music for female artists as the singer of the first album by a solo female artist to lead the R&B charts with her popular Respect, being one of the numerous accolades she received while her career lasted. At 45, Aretha Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 1987, paving way for more female entries in the future.
5. Elton John
Elton John is another big music figure of all time whose music gained global recognition in the 70s and is still very relevant in the present generation. Initially named Reginald Kenneth Dwight, the English singer changed to being called Elton John in 1967, stage name. Throughout his four-decade career and still counting, Elton has wielded considerable influence on popular music, with a record of over 400 songs which includes several chart-topping hits, right from his first hit single, “Your Song”, which made top 10 in the United Kingdom and the United States and has also been listed among ‘the 500 Greatest songs of all time’ by Rolling Stone. Surpassing 300 million records, Elton John is popular for being one of the best-selling music acts of all time, making him one of the richest and influential musicians in the world.
6. Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney is one of the world’s living legends, from The Beatles, the No.1 best-selling music act of all time. Through the 10-year long presence of the group on the music scene, McCartney was a strong driving force behind the success the members recorded, with more than 60 written songs to his credit. His unique skills were transferred to his solo career after the band separated in 1970, releasing his debut solo album McCartney, making it to US Billboard’s No. 1, and followed by successful releases of singles and albums which made more than 100 million in sales. With more chart appearances, Paul McCartney has also been a recipient of numerous accolades including 18 Grammy Awards, eight BRIT awards, two American Music Awards, as well as his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Even in his old age, the musician is still making moves especially with his best-selling album, McCartney III in December 2023.
7. John Lennon
Ever thought about who originally founded the renowned British Rock group, ‘The Beatles’? Meet the star man, John Lennon, the British singer and songwriter who alongside members of his band, inspired a major transformation in music to what the world now knows it to be. John Lennon had co-written many of the big hits by the group in collaboration with McCartney. As his songwriting partner did, John Lennon focused on his solo career when the group disbanded in 1970. Taking the reins and armed with his excellent writing gift, John Lennon had a considerably successful solo career, with more than 14 million units of his records sold.
8. Whitney Housten
The woman with the power voice, Whitney Houston, goes down in history as one of the few female singers who had a legendary record-breaking career, earning the epithet “The Voice” for the powerful and extraordinary five-octave vocal range that she possessed. Her presence on the pop scene became recognized right from the period she stepped in as she went straight for Billboard 200’s No.1 with her very first album, a success which was replicated with her sophomore album, Whitney, with five singles from the album hitting top 10 on Billboard Hot 100. The singer has sold around 200 million records, giving her a leading space among the best-selling artists of all time. You can tell Whitney’s musical success went beyond her exceptional voice, as her artistic excellence was proven repeatedly with the feats that she attained as an artist. Resulting from her range of prestigious Grammy awards, Billboard awards, Emmy awards, World Music Awards, and American Music Awards among others, Whitney Houston is recorded as one of the most awarded artists of all time.
9. Frank Sinatra
The American music maestro with one of the greatest singing voices, Frank Sinatra was one of the influential artists who made music for the millennial worthwhile. Getting into music as a band member for groups like the Hoboken Four, the James band, and Tommy Dorsey’s band, where he made several hit records and earned him increased recognition before officially going solo with Columbia records. The highly talented musician was widely recognized for his distinctive style of singing and overall vocal techniques. With more than 50 albums produced and more than 1000 songs recorded leading to his huge commercial sales surpassing 150 million records. Frank Sinatra’s music career which spanned over half a decade was massively successful with great influence that is still popular in the present generation.
10. David Bowie
Who would not be fascinated by the ever-dynamic music style of David Bowie? Popular for his impact in different genres of music, this Englishman started out on a quite interesting note, having affiliations with a number of music bands before venturing into his solo career. Moving on, David Bowie became one of the early artists that inspired the rise of new sounds into music, from glam rock to punk rock, ushering in more sophistication into rock music. In acknowledgment of his immense contributions to the expansion of music in the 20th century, Bowie had four of his records added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll, as well as several awards which he won in his name, including six Grammies. If you ever get to visit Buckinghamshire, you should stop by to see the statue put up for the iconic singer at the market square in Aylesbury.