Alan Jay Lerner (August 31, 1918 – June 14, 1986) was an American lyricist and librettist. In collaboration with Frederick Loewe, he created some of the world's most popular and enduring works of musical theatre for both the stage and on film. He won three Tony Awards and three Academy Awards, among other honors.
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.
Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American singer-songwriter, author, multi-instrumentalist, actress and philanthropist, best-known for her work in country music. In the four-and-a-half decades since her national-chart début, she remains one of the most-successful female artists in the history of the country genre which garnered her the title of 'The Queen of Country Music', with twenty-five number-one singles, and a record forty-one top-10 country albums.
Donald McLean, Jr. (born October 2, 1945, New Rochelle, New York) is an American singer-songwriter. He is most famous for the 1971 album American Pie, containing the renowned songs "American Pie" and "Vincent". The McLean clan traces its roots to the island of Iona in the Scottish Hebrides. Both Don's grandfather and father were also named Donald McLean. The Buccis, the family of McLean's mother, Elizabeth, came from Abruzzo in central Italy.
Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE (born 30 March 1945) is an English blues-rock guitarist, singer, songwriter and composer. Clapton has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo performer, as a member of rock bands; the Yardbirds and Cream. He is the only person ever to be inducted three times.
Francis Scott Key (August 1, 1779 – January 11, 1843) was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, from Georgetown, who wrote the words to the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."
George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known. He wrote most of his vocal and theatrical works, including more than a dozen Broadway shows, in collaboration with his elder brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin.
Ira Gershwin (December 6, 1896 – August 17, 1983) was an American lyricist who collaborated with his younger brother, composer George Gershwin, to create some of the most memorable songs of the 20th century. With George he wrote more than a dozen Broadway shows, featuring songs such as "I Got Rhythm", "Embraceable You", "The Man I Love" and "Someone to Watch Over Me", and the opera Porgy and Bess.
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.
John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English rock musician, singer-songwriter, author, and peace activist who gained worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles. With Paul McCartney, Lennon formed one of the most influential and successful songwriting partnerships of the 20th century and "wrote some of the most popular music in rock and roll history".
Jerome Kern (January 27, 1885 – November 11, 1945) was an American composer of popular music. He wrote around 700 songs, including such classics as "Ol' Man River", "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man", "A Fine Romance", "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "All the Things You Are", "The Way You Look Tonight", "Long Ago (and Far Away)" and "Who?", a 6-week number 1 hit for George Olsen & his Orchestra in 1925. His career spanned dozens of Broadway musicals and Hollywood films from 1902 until his death.
Joni Mitchell, CC (born Roberta Joan Anderson; November 7, 1943) is a Canadian musician, songwriter, and painter. Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her native Western Canada and then busking on the streets of Toronto. In the mid-1960s she left for New York City and its rich folk music scene, recording her debut album in 1968 and achieving fame first as a songwriter and then as a singer in her own right.
Jule Styne (December 31, 1905 – September 20, 1994) was a British-born American songwriter especially famous for a series of Broadway musicals, which included several very well known and frequently revived shows.
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.
Max Steiner (May 10, 1888 – December 28, 1971) was an Vienna-born American composer of music for theatre productions and films. He probably is known best for the score he composed for Gone with the Wind and for the score and theme song for the film A Summer Place. Steiner was born as Maximilian Raoul Steiner in Vienna, Austria-Hungary.
Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein II (July 12, 1895 – August 23, 1960) was an American writer, theatrical producer, and (usually uncredited) theatre director of musicals for almost forty years. Hammerstein won eight Tony Awards and was twice awarded an Academy Award for "Best Original Song", and much of his work is part of the unofficial Great American Songbook. He wrote 850 songs. Hammerstein was the lyricist and playwright in his partnerships; his collaborators wrote the music.
Peggy Lee (May 26, 1920 – January 21, 2002) was an American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer and actress. From her beginnings as a vocalist on local radio, to singing with Benny Goodman's big band, to forging her own sophisticated persona, Lee evolved into a multi-faceted artist and performer, writing music for films, acting, creating conceptual record albums encompassing poetry, jazz, chamber pop, art songs, and other genres in a career that spanned nearly seven decades.
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.
Scott Joplin (between July 1867 and January 1868 – April 1, 1917) was an African American composer and pianist, born near Texarkana, Texas, into the first post-slavery generation. He achieved fame for his unique ragtime compositions, and was dubbed the "King of Ragtime. " During his brief career, Joplin wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas.
Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) is best known as an American singer-songwriter and folk musician, whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his guitar. His best-known song is "This Land Is Your Land", which is regularly sung in American schools.
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Duke Ellington became one of the most influential artists in the history of recorded music, and is largely recognized as one of the greatest figures in the history of jazz, though his music stretched into various other genres, including blues, gospel, movie soundtracks, popular, and classical.
Queenare a British rock band that formed in 1970. The band originally consisted of lead vocalist Freddie Mercury, guitarist Brian May, bassist John Deacon, and drummer Roger Taylor. Queen have been described as giving the greatest live performance ever, producing the greatest single in history, and being the best British band of all time. They have released 15 studio albums, five live albums and numerous compilation albums.
Leonard Bernstein was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim. He was probably best known to the public as the longtime music director of the New York Philharmonic, for conducting concerts by many of the world's leading orchestras, and for writing the music for West Side Story, Candide, Wonderful Town, and On the Town.
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.
Irving Berlin (May 11, 1888 – September 22, 1989) was an American composer and lyricist widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in history. His first hit song, "Alexander's Ragtime Band", became world famous. The song sparked an international dance craze in places as far away as Russia, which also "flung itself into the ragtime beat with an abandon bordering on mania.