My 21 Favorite Musicians Of All Time

The Top 5 are in order of my absolute favorites. Spots 6 through 21 can pretty much be rearranged in any order depending on my mood or what song I've just listened to. I listed singular artists instead of bands because I wanted to acknowledge each person as an artist in their own right. For instance, John Lennon's solo career is absolutely phenomenal and I actually prefer many of his songs to most of the Beatles music.

Each of these artists is unique and brilliant in their own right. I've listed my absolute favorite tunes for each artist on the list as well. Most importantly, they all can write their own material! A good singer/songwriter combination beats a plain "singer" any day of the week. All of them have done cover songs, but all are most well known for their original material. These artists range from deeply emotional to spiritual to feel-good to completely breathtaking.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
John Lennon
John Winston (later Ono) Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England, to Julia (Stanley) and Alfred Lennon, a merchant seaman. He was of Irish, and some Welsh and English, ancestry. In the mid-1950s, he formed his first band, The Quarrymen (after Quarry Bank High School, which he attended) who, with the addition of Paul McCartney and George Harrison, later became The Beatles...
“ (Just Like) Starting Over, Beautiful Boy, Mind Games, Watching The Wheels, Woman, Gimme Some Truth, Imagine, Bring On The Lucie (Freda People), #9 Dream, Love ” - countbeefer
 
2.
George Harrison
A master musician, a film producer and actor, best known as the lead guitarist and occasionally lead vocalist of The Beatles, George Harrison was born February 25, 1943, in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. He was also the youngest of four children, born to Harold Harrison and Louise Harrison. Like his future band mates...
“ Awaiting On You All, I Live For You, Any Road, What Is Life, Rising Sun, Got My Mind Set On You, My Sweet Lord, That's What It Takes, Pisces Fish, Give Me Love (Give Me Peace) ” - countbeefer
 
3.
Paul McCartney
Music Department, A Hard Day's Night
Sir Paul McCartney is a key figure in contemporary culture as a singer, composer, poet, writer, artist, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and holder of more than 3 thousand copyrights. He is in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for most records sold, most #1s (shared), most covered song, "Yesterday," largest paid audience for a solo concert (350,000+ people...
“ Wanderlust, Junior's Farm, Jet, Band On The Run, Monkberry Moon Delight, Flaming Pie, Average Person, Another Day, No More Lonely Nights, Waterspout ” - countbeefer
 
4.
“ Peace Train, Tuesday's Dead, I've Got A Thing About Seeing My Grandson Grow Old, Changes IV, Drywood, Wild World, Jesus, King Of Trees, Ruins, Moonshadow ” - countbeefer
 
5.
“ Learning To Fly, Letting You Go, Flirting With Time, Free Fallin, Don't Do Me Like That, American Girl, Listen To Her Heart, You Don't Know How It Feels, Joe, Into The Great Wide Open ” - countbeefer
 
6.
John Denver
Soundtrack, Final Destination
His birth occurred on Friday, December 31st, 1943, as the son of an Air Force officer, Denver was constantly moved from state to state and country to country. It was in Tucson, Arizona, that his grandmother gave him his first acoustic guitar, a gift that would prove an icebreaker when meeting other students at the many new schools in which he was placed...
“ Sunshine On My Shoulders, Annie's Song, Leaving On A Jet Plane, Calypso, Rocky Mountain High ” - countbeefer
 
7.
Johnny Cash
Soundtrack, Django Unchained
Johnny Cash was born February 26,1932,in Kingsland,Arkansas,to Carrie Cash (Rivers) and Raymond Cash.He made his first single,"Hey Porter",for Sun Records in 1955.In 1958 he moved to Columbia Records.He had long periods of drug abuse during the 1960s,but later that decade he successfully fought his...
“ Hurt, Delia's Gone, Man In Black, Walk The Line, Ring Of Fire ” - countbeefer
 
8.
Bob Marley
Bob Marley was born on February 6, 1945, in Nine Miles, Saint Ann, Jamaica, to Norval Marley and Cedella Booker. His father was a Jamaican of English descent. His mother was a black teenager. The couple planned to get married but Norval left Kingston before this could happen. Norval died in 1955, seeing his son only once...
“ Redemption Song, Time Will Tell, So Much Trouble In The World, Buffalo Soldier, One Love/People Get Ready, Three Little Birds, Could You Be Loved, Iron Lion Zion, No Woman No Cry, Is This Love ” - countbeefer
 
9.
Phil Collins
Music Department, Tarzan
Phil Collins was born in Chiswick, London, England, to Winifred (Strange), a theatrical agent, Greville Philip Austin Collins, an insurance agent. He spent most of his early entertainment life as a young actor and model. He played the "Artful Dodger" in the West End production of "Oliver!" alongside the future movie screen "Artful Dodger," Jack Wild...
“ That's Just The Way It Is, Both Sides Of The Story, Invisible Touch, Another Day In Paradise, Something Happened On The Way To Heaven, Can't Stop Loving You, You'll Be In My Heart, On My Way, Land Of Confusion, That's What You Said, Doesn't Anybody Stay Together ” - countbeefer
 
10.
“ Caroline, Not That Funny, Wrong, I Must Go, Family Man, What Makes You Think You're The One, Second Hand News, Tusk, Eyes Of The World, Empire State, Can't Go Back, Doing What I Can, Illumination, The Right Place To Fade ” - countbeefer
 
11.
Stevie Nicks
Soundtrack, School of Rock
Stevie Nicks was born in Phoenix, Arizona. From an early age, she showed a love and aptitude for music, singing country and western duets with her grandfather when she was 4 years old. After moving to San Francisco, she began songwriting and performing at Menlo-Atherton High School, where she met her future long-time companion...
“ Sorcerer, Landslide, Dreams, Paper Doll, Edge Of Seventeen, Sometime It's A Bitch, Talk To Me, If Anyone Falls, I Can't Wait, Rooms On Fire ” - countbeefer
 
12.
“ You Got It, The Only One, Lana, Crying, Pretty Woman, Only The Lonely, End Of The Line, Not Alone Any More, Careless Heart, We'll Take The Night, Coming Home, Life Fades Away ” - countbeefer
 
13.
Michael Jackson
Thanks, This Is It
Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana on August 29, 1958, and entertained audiences nearly his entire life. His father, Joe Jackson, had been a guitarist, but was forced to give up his musical ambitions following his marriage to Katherine Jackson (née Katherine Esther Scruse). Together...
“ Earth Song, Black Or White, Man In The Mirror, Smooth Criminal, Bad, Remember The Time, Human Nature, They Don't Care About Us, You Rock My World, Beat It ” - countbeefer
 
14.
Paul Simon
Soundtrack, Forrest Gump
Born on October 13, 1941 in Newark New Jersey, Paul Simon is one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever. In 1957, he and high school pal, Art Garfunkel, wrote and recorded the single, "Hey Schoolgirl", under the name "Tom and Jerry". After some failures, they broke up. Simon still wrote and recorded music as "Tico and The Triumps" and "Jerry Landis"...
“ Cecelia, Homeward Bound, Fakin' It, At The Zoo, Mrs. Robinson, The Only Living Boy In New York, The Sound Of Silence, 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy), El Condor Pasa (If I Could) ” - countbeefer
 
15.
“ Bridge Over Troubled Water, I Am A Rock, Slip Slidin' Away, Why Don't You Write Me, Old Friends ” - countbeefer
 
16.
Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr is a British musician, actor, director, writer, and artist best known as the drummer of The Beatles who also coined the title 'A Hard day's Night' for The Beatles' first movie. He was born Richard Starkey on July 7, 1940, in a small two-storey house in the working class area of Liverpool...
“ Simple Love Song, Photograph, Puppet, It Don't Come Easy, Goodnight Vienna, No No Song, Hey Baby, I Keep Forgettin', Sunshine Life For Me (Sail Away Raymond), Never Without You

Fading In, Fading Out ” - countbeefer
 
17.
“ Calling America, Shine A Little Love, Send It, Strange Magic, Tightrope, Telephone Line, Surrender, Mission (A World Record), Rockaria, Livin' Thing ” - countbeefer
 
18.
Enya
Eithne, the fourth youngest of nine children, comes from the small village of Dore (Dobhar in Irish) in the Gweedore (Gaoth Dobhair) region of County Donegal in the northwest of the Republic of Ireland. She now lives in Killiney, a coastal district on the southern outskirts of Dublin The family is very musical and her parents played in a family dance band before settling down...
“ Aníron, Amarantine, As Baile, Ebudae, The Celts, My! My! Time Flies!, Stars And Midnight Blue, Exile, May It Be ” - countbeefer
 
19.
“ Love Is A Stranger, Into The West, Here Come That Sinking Feeling, Walking On Broken Glass, Why, Little Bird, Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four), For The Love Of Big Brother, Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves, Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) ” - countbeefer
 
20.
Bob Dylan
Soundtrack, Forrest Gump
Robert Allen Zimmerman was born 24 May 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota; his father Abe worked for the Standard Oil Co. Six years later the family moved to Hibbing, often the coldest place in the US, where he taught himself piano and guitar and formed several high school rock bands. In 1959 he entered the University of Minnesota and began performing as Bob Dylan at clubs in Minneapolis and St...
“ Hurricane, Gotta Serve Somebody, Things Have Changed, Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Blowin' In The Wind, Congratulations, Tweeter And The Monkey Man, The Times They Are A-Changin', Mr. Tambourine Man ” - countbeefer
 
21.
Carly Simon
The daughter of Richard Simon, co-founder of the Simon and Schuster publishing company, Carly got her start in music singing in coffee houses with her sister Lucy in the early 60s. After an unsuccessful attempt to launch a solo career, Carly burst onto the music scene in 1971 with her first Top 10 hit...
“ With A Few Good Friends, You're So Vain, Nobody Does It Better, Coming Around Again, Let The River Run ” - countbeefer