What makes a musician a star? Some say it is the genre, others vote for hard work and dedication. For a few it is about singing the people’s tune. But our list of top 10 musicians in the world feature artists who are poles apart. Some of them are pop artists; some are rock and roll stars, while others carved out their own genres. And the daring few brought a lesser known genre to the world stage. It is their individuality which makes them the best musicians of all time. Let us trace the journey of these top 10 musicians in the world.
Best Musicians of All Time
Know more about the best musicians of all time and how they influenced the world with their music.
1. Elvis Presley
Popularly known as the ‘King of rock and roll’, Elvis Aaron Presley is one of the top 10 musicians in the world. The 50s style icon is the only individual singer who has sold more than 500 million records. Elvis Presley greatly influenced the US politics and stunning outlook not just through his music but also his style and personality. The Mississippi born singer- actor was also widely acclaimed for his dance moves.
2. Bob Marley
There is not just one reason why Bob Marley is counted among the best musicians of all times. The Jamaican singer is the man responsible for bringing reggae to the world. People still wear Bob Marley tee shirts not just because he produced great music but also for the appeal he had with the masses. A great humanitarian and revolutionary, his lyrics transcended time and were so realistic. Born in extreme poverty, the late singer grew up to influence Jamaican politics so much so that once an attempt was made to assassinate him.
3. Michael Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson, often referred to as the King of Pop, holds the Guinness World Record of being the most successful entertainer of all times. One of the top 10 musicians in the world, MJ started his career in 1964 as a member of The Jackson 5. Since then he has won 13 Grammy Awards including the ‘Grammy Legend Award’ and the ‘Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award’. 13 of his singles have topped the charts in the US and the record still stands intact.
4. Ravi Shankar
One of the best musicians of all times, Pandit Ravi Shankar is the most renowned Indian contemporary Musician. The Sitar player is credited with bringing Indian classical music to the world stage. He is the receiver of 5 Grammy Awards, including the posthumous Life time Achievement Award in 2013. Shankar was also conferred with the highest civilian French honour, the Knight of the Legion of Honour and Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1992.
Madonna Louise Ciccone was born in Michigan in 1958. One of the top 10 musicians in the world, she has sold nearly 300 million records since the beginning of her career in 1979. Madonna is known for her diverse music and ability to retain autonomy in the mainstream music industry. She won Grammy for her albums Ray of Light (1998) and Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005), along with many of her tracks topping the charts, till date.
6. Bob Dylan
One of the top 10 musicians of all times, Bob Dylan is also a powerful singer blessed with a remarkable voice. Dylan draws his inspirations from the streets and is extremely creative writer. His songs are often a narration laced with honesty. The musician, untouched by the fame and stardom, has become a standard for measuring good work. Bob Dylan has a great influence on music and culture. Two of his songs ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ and ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’ became the anthems of the US Anti- War and Civil Rights Movements.
7. Whitney Houston
Born on August 19, 1963, Whitney Elizabeth Houston holds the Guinness World record of being the most awarded female artist of all times. Ranked seventh on our list of top 10 musicians in the world, she holds the distinction of topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 7 consecutive times. Whitney Houston is also widely acclaimed for her exceptional vocal talent, featuring in the Rolling stones list of 100 greatest singers of all times.
8. Elton John
Born as Reginald Kenneth Dwight, the rock singer- composer is ranked ninth among the top 10 musicians in the world. The occasional actor and a pianist, he was bestowed with six Grammy Awards during his four decade career. One of the best musicians of all time he has also been inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. He was also named the Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Elizabeth II in 1996.
9. Mariah Carey
Another one of the top 10 musicians in the world, Carey in her career of barely two decades; has sold more than 200 million records. Known for her five octave vocal range, she was named the ‘song bird supreme’ by the Guinness World Records. With 18 number one singles to her credit, she is one of the best musicians of all time. Most of Carey’s lyrics revolve around love, social alienation, racism, spirituality and world hunger.
10. James Brown
Often called ‘The Godfather of Soul’, James Joseph Brown Jr. is still one of the top 10 musicians of all times. The American artist is the founding father of the funk genre. Through his songs James has also voiced several social issues. His song ‘Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud’ became the anthem of the civil rights movement. But interestingly, he has never topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts but is credited with charting most singles on the list.