Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959), known professionally as Buddy Holly, was an American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll. Although his success lasted only a year and a half before his death in an airplane crash, Holly is described by critic Bruce Eder as "the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll.
Bill Haley (July 6, 1925 – February 9, 1981) was one of the first American rock and roll musicians. He is credited by many with first popularizing this form of music in the early 1950s with his group Bill Haley & His Comets and their hit song "Rock Around the Clock".
Bo Diddley (December 30, 1928 – June 2, 2008), is the stage name for Ellas Otha Bates, an American rock and roll vocalist, guitarist, songwriter, and inventor. He was known as "The Originator" because of his key role in the transition from the blues to rock & roll, influencing a host of legendary acts including Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton. He introduced more insistent, driving rhythms and a hard-edged guitar sound on a wide-ranging catalog of songs.
David Eric "Dave" Grohl (born January 14, 1969) is an American rock musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. Grohl began his music career in the 1980s as the drummer for several Washington, D.C. -area bands, including the hardcore punk band Scream. In 1990 he became the drummer for grunge group Nirvana. Following the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain in April 1994, Grohl formed Foo Fighters as frontman and songwriter.
Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American musician and actor. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King". Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley moved to Memphis, Tennessee, with his family at the age of 13.
Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, electric guitarist, record producer, and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, electronic, orchestral, and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. Zappa produced almost all of the more than 60 albums he released with the band Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist.
Jonathan Richman (born May 16, 1951) is a Jewish American singer, songwriter and guitarist. In 1970 he founded The Modern Lovers, an influential proto-punk band. Since the mid-1970s, Richman has worked either solo or with low-key, generally acoustic backing. He is known for his wide-eyed, unaffected and child-like outlook, and music that, while rooted in rock and roll, often draws on influences from around the world.
Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American singer, songwriter and music arranger. She rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company and later as a solo artist. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Joplin number 46 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and number 28 on its 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Robert James Ritchie (born January 17, 1971), known by his stage name Kid Rock, is an American singer-songwriter and rapper with five Grammy Award nominations. Kid Rock is known for music that incorporates elements of hip hop, rap metal, blues rock, southern rock, funk and country music.
Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988) was an American singer-songwriter and musician, well known for his distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions, and dark emotional ballads. Orbison grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly / country & western band in high school until he was signed by Sun Records in Memphis.
Simon & Garfunkel is an American singer-songwriter duo consisting of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. They formed the group Tom & Jerry in 1957, and had their first taste of success with the minor hit "Hey, Schoolgirl". As Simon & Garfunkel, the duo rose to fame in 1965, backed by the hit single "The Sounds of Silence". Their music was featured in the landmark film The Graduate, propelling them further into the public consciousness.
Sheryl Suzanne Crow (born February 11, 1962) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. Her music blends rock, country and pop into one mainstream sound, and she has won nine Grammy Awards. Crow is also a liberal political activist. She has performed with the Rolling Stones and has sung duets with Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, John Mellencamp and Kid Rock, among others, and appeared on backing vocals for Tina Turner.
Thomas Alan "Tom" Waits (born December 7, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer and actor. Waits has a distinctive voice, described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.
Tori Amos (born Myra Ellen Amos on August 22, 1963 in Newton, North Carolina) is an American pianist and singer-songwriter. She was at the forefront of a number of female singer-songwriters in the early 1990s and was noteworthy early in her career as one of the few alternative rock performers to use a piano as her primary instrument.
Stephanie Lynn "Stevie" Nicks (born May 26, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter, best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac and an extensive solo career, which collectively have produced over forty Top 50 hits and has sold nearly 120 million albums. She has been noted for her ethereal visual style and symbolic lyrics. Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975 along with her then boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham.
Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry (born October 18, 1926) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B.
John Christian Wozniak (born in Minnesota on January 19, 1971) is an American musician, best known as the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter of the band Marcy Playground. He is the son of a developmental psychologist dad and a free spirited Bohemian mother.
Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson; June 7, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. He has also been known under the unpronounceable symbol, which he used between 1993 and 2000. This name change invoked controversy and many referred to him as "the artist formerly known as Prince", often abbreviated to "TAFKAP", or simply "The Artist" during that period.
Fiona Apple McAfee Maggart (born September 13, 1977) is an American singer-songwriter. She gained popularity through her 1996 debut album Tidal, especially with the Grammy Award-winning single "Criminal" and its music video. Her music is influenced by everything from early jazz, pop, to alt-rock. It is also characterized by Apple's candid personal lyrics and imaginative productions, often featuring idiosyncratic arrangements with instruments as varied as the french horn and optigan.
Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed (born March 2, 1942) is an American rock musician best known as the guitarist, vocalist and principal songwriter of The Velvet Underground as well as a successful solo artist whose career has spanned several decades. The Velvet Underground gained little mainstream attention during their career, but became one of the most influential bands of their era.
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949), nicknamed "The Boss", is an American singer-songwriter. He records and tours with the E Street Band. Springsteen is widely known for his brand of heartland rock infused with pop hooks, poetic lyrics, and Americana sentiments centered on his native New Jersey. Springsteen's recordings have tended to alternate between commercially accessible rock albums and somber folk-oriented works.
Alanis Nadine Morissette (born 1 June 1974) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, record producer and actress. She has won 12 Juno Awards and seven Grammy Awards. Morissette began her career in Canada, and as a teenager recorded two dance-pop albums, Alanis and Now Is the Time, under MCA Records. Her debut album was the rock-influenced Jagged Little Pill, which remains the best-selling debut album by a female artist in the U.S.
Thurston Joseph Moore (born July 25, 1958 in Coral Gables, Florida) is an American musician best known as a singer, songwriter and guitarist of Sonic Youth. He has participated in many solo and group collaborations outside of Sonic Youth, as well as running Ecstatic Peace! records.
Kim Althea Gordon is an American musician, vocalist, artist, record producer, video director and actress. She sings and plays bass and guitar in the alternative rock band Sonic Youth, and in Free Kitten with Julia Cafritz. Gordon has collaborated with a number of musicians, including Ikue Mori, Kurt Cobain, DJ Olive, William Winant, Lydia Lunch, Courtney Love, Alan Licht and Chris Corsano.
Cher (born Cherilyn Sarkisian on May 20, 1946) is an American pop singer-songwriter, actress, director and record producer. She has won an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, three Golden Globe Awards and a People's Choice Award for her work in film, music and television. Cher began her career at the age of seventeen and came to prominence as one half of the pop rock duo Sonny & Cher with the success of their song "I Got You Babe" in 1965.