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.
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.
James Brown (born James Joseph Brown, Jr. ) (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer and entertainer. Referred to as "The Godfather of Soul", Brown is recognized as one of the most influential figures in the 20th century popular music and was renowned for his vocals and feverish dancing. He was also called "the hardest working man in show business". As a prolific singer, songwriter, dancer and bandleader, Brown was a pivotal force in the music industry.
Huddie William Ledbetter(January 1888 – December 6, 1949) was an iconic American folk and blues musician, notable for his strong vocals, his virtuosity on the 12-string guitar, and the songbook of folk standards he introduced. He is best known as Leadbelly or Lead Belly. Though many releases list him as "Leadbelly," he himself spelled it "Lead Belly. " This is also the usage on his tombstone, as well as of the Lead Belly Foundation.
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.
Lindsey Adams Buckingham (born October 3, 1949) is an American guitarist, singer, composer and producer, most notable for being the guitarist and male lead singer of the musical group Fleetwood Mac. Aside from his tenure with Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham has also released five solo albums and a live album. He is married to photographer Kristen Messner and has three children. As a member of Fleetwood Mac, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Rahsaan Roland Kirk (August 7, 1935 – December 5, 1977) was a blind American jazz multi-instrumentalist who played tenor saxophone, flute and many other instruments. He was renowned for his onstage vitality, during which virtuoso improvisation was accompanied by comic banter, political ranting, and the ability to play several instruments simultaneously.
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.
Eric Allan Dolphy (June 20, 1928 – June 29, 1964) was an American jazz alto saxophonist, flautist, and bass clarinetist. Dolphy was one of several groundbreaking jazz alto players to rise to prominence in the 1960s. He was also the first important bass clarinet soloist in jazz, and among the earliest significant flute soloists.
Billie Joe Armstrong (born February 17, 1972) is the lead vocalist, chief songwriter and guitarist for the rock band Green Day. He is also a guitarist and vocalist for the rock band Pinhead Gunpowder and sings for garage rock band Foxboro Hot Tubs.
Stephen Carpenter is the co-founder and lead guitarist of the American rock band Deftones. His guitar technique makes use of both ringing open strings and dissonant chord voicings, as well as stock power chords in polyrythms.
Michael Trent Reznor (born May 17, 1965) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, producer and multi-instrumentalist. Founder of the industrial rock musical project known as Nine Inch Nails, he was previously associated with the bands Option 30, Exotic Birds, and Tapeworm, among others. Reznor left Interscope Records in 2007, and is now an independent, unsigned musician.
Stevie Wonder(born Stevland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950; name later changed to Stevland Hardaway Morris) is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. Blind from birth, Wonder signed with Tamla Records at the age of eleven and continues to perform and record for the label. He has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and won twenty-two Grammy Awards, the most ever won by a male solo artist. On December 1, 2009, he was named a UN Messenger of Peace.
Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. (April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984), better known by his stage name Marvin Gaye, was an American singer-songwriter and instrumentalist with a three-octave vocal range. Starting as a member of the doo-wop group The Moonglows in the late fifties, he ventured into a solo career after the group disbanded in 1960 signing with the Tamla subsidiary of Motown Records. After starting off as a session drummer, Gaye ranked as the label's top-selling solo artist during the sixties.
Curtis Lee Mayfield (June 3, 1942 – December 26, 1999) was an American soul, rhythm and blues, and funk singer, songwriter, and record producer best known for his anthemic music with The Impressions and composing the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film Super Fly. From these works and others, he is highly regarded as a pioneer of funk and of politically conscious African-American music. He was also a multi-instrumentalist who played the guitar, bass, piano, saxophone, and drums.
Leonard Albert "Lenny" Kravitz (born May 26, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and arranger whose "retro" style incorporates elements of rock, soul, funk, reggae, hard rock, psychedelic, folk and ballads. In addition to singing lead and backing vocals, Kravitz often plays all the guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and percussion himself when recording. He is known for his elaborate stage performances and music videos.
Norah Jones (born March 30, 1979) is an American singer-songwriter, pianist, keyboardist, guitarist, and actress. She is the daughter of sitarist Ravi Shankar, and the half-sister of Anoushka Shankar. Her career began with her 2002 debut album Come Away with Me, an adult contemporary vocal jazz album with a soul/folk/country tinge, that received five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist.
Marcus Miller (born June 14, 1959) is an American jazz musician, composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. Miller is best known as a bassist, working with trumpeter Miles Davis, singer Luther Vandross, and saxophonist David Sanborn as well as maintaining a prolific solo career. Miller is classically trained as a clarinetist and also plays keyboards, saxophone and guitar.
Dr. Yusef Lateef (born William Emanuel Huddleston, October 9, 1920) is an American jazz multi-instrumentalist, composer and educator and a renowned spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community after his conversion to Islam in 1950. Although Lateef's main instruments are the tenor saxophone and flute, he is known for his innovative blending of jazz with 'Eastern' music.
Stewart Armstrong Copeland (born July 16, 1952) is an American musician, best known as the drummer for the band The Police. During the group's extended hiatus from the mid-1980s to 2007, he played in other bands and composed soundtracks.
Shuggie Otis (born Johnny Alexander Veliotes on November 30, 1953) is an American R&B, soul, rock, blues, and funk singer-songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. His composition "Strawberry Letter 23", covered by The Brothers Johnson, topped the Billboard R&B chart and reached the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977. His 1975 single "Inspiration Information" reached number fifty-six on the R&B chart.
Kathleen Hanna (born November 12, 1968) is an American musician, feminist activist, and zine writer. In the early- to mid-1990s she was the lead singer of the punk band Bikini Kill, before fronting the dance-punk band Le Tigre in the late '90s and early 2000s. In 1998, Hanna released a solo album under the name Julie Ruin.