Musical Geniuses

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1.
David Bowie
Actor, Labyrinth
David Bowie is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of pop music. Born David Jones, he changed his name to Bowie in the 1960s, to avoid confusion with the then well-known Davy Jones (lead singer of The Monkees). The 1960s were not a happy period for Bowie, who remained a struggling artist...
 
2.
Trent Reznor
Trent Reznor is an American songwriter/musician/producer and sole member of multi-platinum act Nine Inch Nails, and now an Academy Award winning film composer. He began creating music as a child in Western Pennsylvania, first on piano and then taking up other instruments. He eventually moved to Cleveland...
 
3.
Tom Waits
Soundtrack, Fight Club
Thomas Alan Waits was born in Pomona, California, to schoolteachers Alma Fern (Johnson) and Jesse Frank Waits. Described as one of the last beatniks of the contemporary music, Waits in fact has two separate careers. From 1973 (LP "Closing Time") to 1983 ("One From The Heart" soundtrack), he recorded nine LPs for Asylum Records...
 
4.
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...
 
5.
Prince
Soundtrack, Batman
Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Mattie Shaw, a jazz singer and social worker, and John L. Nelson, a lyricist and pianist. His father's stage name was "Prince Rogers". His parents were both from African-American families from Louisiana. They separated during his youth...
 
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Sly Stone
Soundtrack, Zodiac
 
8.
Brian Eno
Soundtrack, Shutter Island
Regarded as one of the best producers and musicians in rock history, Eno started his career in 1971 with Roxy Music. The band released two albums, "Roxy Music" and "For Your Pleasure", with the two Brians in the lineup (the other one was, of course, lead singer Bryan Ferry); a conflict between the two Brians forced Eno to leave Roxy Music in 1973...
 
9.
Nick Cave
Composer, Lawless
Nick Cave is a man of many talents. Musician. Songwriter. Screenwriter. Novelist. Actor. The Australian was born in Warracknabeal, Victoria in 1957, and would go onto form the alternative rock band Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, who have since successfully released a string of hit albums. In film, Nick has starred in two films with Brad Pitt: Johnny Suede by Tom DiCillo and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford...
 
11.
John Paul Jones
Soundtrack, Argo
 
12.
Freddie Mercury
Soundtrack, Metropolis
Freddie Mercury was born on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. His parents, Bomi and Jer Bulsara, sent him off to a private school in India, from 1955 til 1963. In 1964 Freddie and his family flew to England. Freddie was very delighted to come to England. In 1966 he started his education at the Ealing College of Art...
 
13.
Neil Young
Soundtrack, Philadelphia
Neil Young is one of the most respected and prolific rock/folk guitarists of the late 20th century. Raised in Canada, he first became well-known as a guitarist and occasional vocalist for the band Buffalo Springfield. After the band's breakup, Young became a solo performer. However, he also has spent more than 30 years performing with the super-group Crosby Stills Nash & Young...
 
15.
Link Wray
Soundtrack, Pulp Fiction
Rock'n'roll musician Link Wray reigns supreme as one of the best, most important, influential, and innovative guitarists to emerge from the 1950's. Wray was the creator of the power-chord and was one of the first musicians to experiment with both distortion and the burning fuzz-tone guitar sound in his instrumental recordings; his harsh and raw...
 
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Nick Zinner
Music Department, Mad Max: Fury Road
 
19.
Jack White
Soundtrack, Quantum of Solace
Jack White was born John Anthony Gillis on 9th July 1975 into a musical, catholic family of 10 children in Detroit. He learned to play the guitar, drums and piano. He played in many bands growing up including The Go, Two Star Tabernacle. At 17 he was offered an apprenticeship at Muldoon Studio-an upholstery shop...
 
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Fiona Apple
Soundtrack, Bridesmaids
Daughter of former singer Diane McAfee and actor Brandon Maggart. She was classically trained as a pianist as a child and began composing songs when she was eight years old. She crafted a demo tape while in Los Angeles finishing High School. When she returned home to New York for Christmas one of the tapes found its way to a friend who supervised the care of a music industry executive's children...
 
22.
Regina Spektor
Regina Spektor was born in Moscow, USSR to a musical Jewish family. Her father, Ilya Spektor, is a photographer and violinist. Her mother, Bella Spektor, was a music professor in a Russian college of music and now teaches at a public elementary school in New York. Spektor learned how to play piano by practicing on a Petrof upright that was given to her mother by her grandfather...
 
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Robert Smith
Soundtrack, American Psycho
Robert James Smith was born 21 April 1959 in Blackpool Lancashire, England to Alex and Rita Smith. He was the third of four children (Richard, 12 July 1946, Margaret, 27 February 1950, and Janet, 30 August 1960). Robert lived in Blackpool until he was three and then his family moved to Horley, Surrey...
 
26.
New Order
Soundtrack, The Beach
 
27.
Philip Glass
Music Department, The Truman Show
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Glass worked in his father's radio store and discovered music listening to the offbeat Western classical records customers didn't seem to want. He studied the violin and flute, and obtained early admission to the University of Chicago. After graduating in mathematics and philosophy...
 
28.
Jackson Browne
Soundtrack, Forrest Gump
Jackson Browne was born in Germany. His father, Clyde Jack Browne, worked for the US Army. His mother's name is Beatrice Amanda Dahl. Jackson's musical career began in the late 1960s. He played with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band before they released their first album, played with Tim Buckley, who introduced him to Nico...
 
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Jimi Hendrix
Soundtrack, Almost Famous
Jimi Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942 in Seattle, Washington, to African-American parents Lucille (Jeter) and James Allen Hendrix. His mother named him John Allen Hendrix and raised him alone while his father, Al Hendrix, was off fighting in World War II. When his mother became sick from alcoholism...
 
33.
Jim Morrison
Soundtrack, Cast Away
Jim Morrison was born on December 8, 1943 in Melbourne, Florida, to Clara Virginia (Clarke) and George Stephen Morrison, a U.S. Naval Officer who fought in World War II. Jim eventually became so estranged from his parents that he would later claim that they were dead. Not much is known about his early years...
 
34.
Eric Clapton
Soundtrack, Back to the Future
Eric Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey, England, on March 30, 1945. His real father was a Canadian pilot but he didn't find that out until he was 53. When he was 2 his mother felt she was unable to look after him, so Eric then went to live with his grandparents. When he was 14 he took up the guitar...
 
35.
Damon Albarn
Soundtrack, Trainspotting
Damon Albarn was born in Whitechapel Hospital, London. He was the son of Keith (a former luminary of England's late-1960s psychedelic rock scene that yielded Soft Machine and others) and Hazel (a stage designer for Joan Littlewood's theatre company). Arriving in Colchester, Essex in the late '70s, the young Damon began studying music (the piano) and drama...
 
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39.
Brian Wilson
Soundtrack, Forrest Gump
Brian Douglas Wilson was born on June 20th 1942 and has gone on to become one of, if not the greatest, musical geniuses in the world. It was while growing up, while being physically and psychologically abused by his father, that he discovered music as a way of shutting out all hurt and pain that he was feeling at home...
 
40.
Phil Spector
Soundtrack, Goodfellas