The UK is a music powerhouse that has produced a lot of the big names in the industry over the last several decades. Their unique characteristic is the ability to connect with an audience the world over. With such talent, it was quite a challenge to rank them, owing to the fact that all of them are stars in their own right, but a list of 20 has made it to our site read on!
Robert Peter Williams was born on February 13th, 1974. He is a singer, actor and a songwriter. He was a member of the group Take That between 1990 and 1995; he later re-joined the band from 2009 to 2012. He has enjoyed a very successful career as a solo artist also, with six album among the top 100 biggest selling albums in the UK. He has won 18 Brit awards among other successes.
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins
Born in 1988, Adele is a singer-songwriter. She started recording with XL Records in 2006 and won Brit Awards in 2007. Since the release of her debut album 19 in 2008, it has been non-stop success and Adele continues to dominate the top of the charts both in the UK and USA. She bags numerous awards due to her exemplary work and exceptional talent in music.
More commonly known as Mel B, Melanie has many accolades under her belt. She is a singer, TV host, actress, judge and an author. She was a member of the infamous girl band Spice Girls, who took the world by storm with their debut single Wannabe.
After the band split, she ventured into a moderately successful solo career, before moving on to bigger and better things in the world of television, judging on The X Factor, America’s Got Talent and RuPaul’s Drag Race, and co-hosting the UK version of Lip Sync Battle. The Spice Girls reunited in 2007 for a Greatest Hits album and world tour, and again in 2012 for the London Olympics.
John Lennon hailed from Liverpool and was one of the founding members of the rock band the Beatles. The legendary songwriter and musician achieved great fame and success worldwide as the band continued to entertain generations of music lovers. When the Beatles split, he went on to carve out a successful career as a solo artist besides politics and peace activism. Sadly, his life was cut short at the age of 40, when he was shot four times by a deranged gunman and later died in hospital.
David, a songwriter, and a singer was a popular brand for over 50 years due to his creativity and innovation in music. A versatile personality, he could paint, act and play various instruments. He was very much influenced by Elvis Presley and started to drift towards music at a young age. At the peak of his career, he was a distinguishable artist known for his flamboyancy and androgyny. He continued to entertain until he passed away in early 2016, following a secret battle with liver cancer, two days after his birthday and the release of his final album Black star.
Freddie found his love for music early on in his childhood years. He grew up to live his dream, becoming the irrepressible front-man of Queen, one of the most famous groups to have ever existed and one of the most sought-after bands of the 70s. Freddie knew how to entice crowds in his live performances and sang in over 700 live concerts. A flamboyant individual, to put it mildly, he left a mark to music lovers before succumbing to complications from AIDS aged 45.
Paul McCartney is a former member of legendary band the Beatles. He has won several Grammy awards and stands as one of the most successful performers and composers of all time. He was influenced by his father who was a trumpet player and introduced him to music. He is regarded as a legend and an icon of 20th-century English music. The Beatles were formed when he met John Lennon at church and was invited to join the band. George Harrison and Ringo Starr joined later to form the Beatles as we know them today. He is also a philanthropist and a social activist.
The quiet Beatle, as he’s popularly known in music circles, contributed a huge amount to the industry. He was a musician, singer-songwriter and producer, and a deeply spiritual person with a strong belief in Hinduism. He influenced a lot of the 1960s generation in music and Eastern religion. George enjoyed a hugely successful solo career after the Beatles split, right up until a year after his death from lung cancer in 2001.
A songwriter, singer and a guitarist, Eric is famed for his singles including Before You Accuse Me and Sunshine of Your Love. He has performed with the Roosters, Yard birds and the Blues breakers and held nicknames like Slow hand and God for reasons better known to him. He founded Blind Faith and is a 17-time Grammy award winner.
Sir Elton has carved himself a successful niche in the world of rock and pop. He has had a distinguished career in music which has culminated in sales of over 300 million records. His feats are seemingly limitless. When he sang a tribute to the late Princess Diana at her funeral in 1997, a rewritten version of his past hit Candle in the Wind, it sold more than 33 million copies worldwide. He’s also known for his acting, producing and composing.
Other notable figures in the UK music industry includes:
- Rod Stewart – Known for his song writing and famous in the US and UK.
- Olly Murs – Came second in UK TV talent contest The X Factor in 2009, now a popular songwriter, singer, television presenter and actor.
- Keith Richards – Member of The Rolling Stones, hero of rock ‘n’ roll and regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
- Ringo Starr – Known as the drummer of the Beatles, Ringo is a renowned songwriter, singer and a musician.
- Matthew Bellamy – The exceptionally-talented lead guitarist, pianist, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and main songwriter of the rock band Muse.
- Mick Jagger – Front-man of The Rolling Stones, a very influential figure in the history of rock ‘n’ roll.
- Charlie Watts – Drummer for The Rolling Stones and a successful solo artist.
- Chris Martin – A versatile musician who plays various instruments, co-founder of the alternative rock band Coldplay.
- Amy Winehouse – Extraordinarily talented artist who experimented with pop, jazz soul and R&B, and won five Grammy awards during her career. Amy sadly passed away from alcohol poisoning in 2011 after a long and highly-publicized battle with substance abuse.
- George Michael – Found fame as one half of pop phenomenon Wham! He was a record producer, songwriter, singer and a philanthropist. He sold 115 million records to his fans worldwide. He passed away on Christmas Day 2016 from heart problems at the age of 53.
So, there is our list of 20 of the most iconic UK artists that have utilized their talents in music to impact the hearts of the world’s music lovers. They never held anything back, and that is why we celebrate them.