My Top of the Charts: Legends of Music

by Gwendylan | created - 27 Jun 2015 | updated - 29 Sep 2015 | Public

Those, sung and unsung, songwriters, singers, and composers, whom I think are of the utmost genius calibre.

1. Rosemary Clooney

Actress | White Christmas

Rosemary Clooney was born in Maysville, Kentucky, to Marie Frances (Guilfoyle) and Andrew Joseph Clooney. She was one of five children. Her father was of Irish and German descent, and her mother was of Irish and English ancestry. She grew up in Maysville, where she and her sister Betty Clooney used...

2. John Lennon

Actor | A Hard Day's Night

John Winston (later Ono) Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England, to Julia Lennon (née Stanley) and Alfred Lennon, a merchant seaman. He was raised by his mother's older sister Mimi Smith. In the mid-1950s, he formed his first band, The Quarrymen (after Quarry Bank High School, ...

3. Paul McCartney

Actor | A Hard Day's Night

Sir Paul McCartney is a key figure in contemporary culture as a singer, composer, poet, writer, artist, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and holder of more than 3 thousand copyrights. He is in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for most records sold, most #1s (shared), most covered song, "Yesterday," ...

4. George Harrison

Actor | A Hard Day's Night

A master musician, a film producer and actor, best known as the lead guitarist and occasionally lead vocalist of The Beatles, George Harrison was born February 25, 1943, in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. He was also the youngest of four children, born to Harold Harrison and Louise Harrison.

Like ...

5. Ringo Starr

Actor | A Hard Day's Night

Ringo Starr is a British musician, actor, director, writer, and artist best known as the drummer of The Beatles who also coined the title 'A Hard day's Night' for The Beatles' first movie.

He was born Richard Starkey on July 7, 1940, in a small two-storey house in the working class area of Liverpool...

6. James Taylor

Actor | Two-Lane Blacktop

James Taylor was born on March 12, 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA as James Vernon Taylor. He has been married to Caroline "Kim" Smedvig since February 18, 2001. They have two children. He was previously married to Kathryn Walker and Carly Simon.

7. Carole King

Soundtrack | You've Got Mail

Carole King is an American composer and singer-songwriter. She is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century in the USA, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1955 and 1999. King also wrote 61 hits that charted in the UK, making...

8. Carly Simon

Soundtrack | All Good Things

Carly Elisabeth Simon was born in New York City, and was raised in its Riverdale neighborhood, with two sisters and a brother. Her father, Richard L. Simon, co-founded the Simon and Schuster publishing company, and played Chopin and Beethoven on the piano. Her mother, Andrea Louise (Heinemann), was...

9. Judy Collins

Actress | Junior

Judy Collins was born on May 1, 1939 in Seattle, Washington, USA as Judith Marjorie Collins. She has been married to Louis Nelson since April 16, 1996. She was previously married to Peter A. Taylor.

10. Bob Dylan

Soundtrack | Renaldo and Clara

Robert Allen Zimmerman was born 24 May 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota; his father Abe worked for the Standard Oil Co. Six years later the family moved to Hibbing, often the coldest place in the US, where he taught himself piano and guitar and formed several high school rock bands. In 1959 he entered the...

11. Peter Yarrow

Soundtrack | Good Morning, Vietnam

Peter Yarrow was born on May 31, 1938 in New York City, New York, USA.

12. N. Paul Stookey

Soundtrack | About Schmidt

N. Paul Stookey was born on December 30, 1937 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA as Noel Paul Stookey. He has been married to Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Bannard since September 4, 1963. They have three children.

13. Mary Allin Travers

Writer | Mary: Rhymes and Reasons

Mary Allin Travers was born on November 7, 1936 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. She was a writer, known for Mary: Rhymes and Reasons (1972), Engelbert with the Young Generation (1972) and The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time (1981). She was married to Ethan Robbins, Gerald L. Taylor, Barry Feinstein and ...

14. Jim Croce

Soundtrack | Django Unchained

Jim Croce was born on Sunday, January 10th, 1943 in a working-class section of Philadelphia, in an Italian-American family. While a teenager, he began playing the accordion, and then learning to play an acoustic guitar when he was 18. After a short stint in the U.S. Army, where he supposedly met ...

NO PiCTURE for JiM CROCE?!?! =-S

15. Freddie Mercury

Soundtrack | Metropolis

Freddie Mercury was born on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. His parents, Bomi and Jer Bulsara, sent him off to a private school in India, from 1955 til 1963. In 1964, he and his family flew to England. In 1966 he started his education at the Ealing College of Art, where he graduated in 1969. He ...

16. Brian May

Soundtrack | Flash Gordon

Brian May is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential, innovative, technically gifted and recognisable guitarists in the history of rock. He is also a prolific songwriter, responsible for writing or co-writing many international hits with Queen. He was educated at Hampton Grammar School ...

17. John Deacon

Soundtrack | Flash Gordon

John Deacon was born on August 19, 1951 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England as John Richard Deacon. He has been married to Veronica Tetzlaff since January 18, 1975. They have six children.

18. Roger Taylor

Soundtrack | Flash Gordon

Roger Meddows Taylor (born 26 July 1949) is an English musician who performs as a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. He is best known as the drummer of the rock band Queen, but has also served as songwriter and occasional lead vocalist.

As a songwriter, Taylor contributed songs to Queen's...

19. Joe Cocker

Soundtrack | Across the Universe

Joe Cocker was born on May 20, 1944 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England as John Robert Cocker. He was married to Pam Baker. He died on December 22, 2014 in Crawford, Colorado, USA.

20. Billy Joel

Soundtrack | Oliver & Company

Billy Joel was born on May 9, 1949 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA as William Martin Joel. He has been married to Alexis Roderick since July 4, 2015. They have two children. He was previously married to Katie Lee, Christie Brinkley and Elizabeth Weber.

21. Elton John

Soundtrack | Rocketman

Sir Elton John is one of pop music's great survivors. Born 25 March, 1947, as Reginald Kenneth Dwight, he started to play the piano at the early age of four. At the age of 11, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. His first band was called Bluesology. He later auditioned (...

22. Stevie Wonder

Soundtrack | Wild Wild West

Born Stevland Hardaway Judkins in Saginaw, Michigan, United States, to Calvin Judkins and Lula Mae Hardaway. Due to being born six weeks premature, Stevie Wonder was born with a condition called retinopathy of prematurity, which made him blind. Stevie Wonder, even with this disability, made his ...

23. José Feliciano

Soundtrack | Moulin Rouge!

José Feliciano was born on September 10, 1945 in Lares, Puerto Rico as José Montserrate Feliciano García. He has been married to Susan Omillian since August 2, 1982. They have three children. He was previously married to Hilda Perez.

24. Sammy Davis Jr.

Actor | The Cannonball Run

Sammy Davis Jr. was often billed as the "greatest living entertainer in the world".

He was born in Harlem, Manhattan, the son of dancer Elvera Davis (née Sanchez) and vaudeville star Sammy Davis Sr.. His father was African-American and his mother was of Cuban and African-American ancestry. Davis Jr....

25. Duke Ellington

Composer | Anatomy of a Murder

Composer ("It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing", "Sophisticated Lady", "Mood Indigo", "Solitude", "In a Mellotone", "Satin Doll"), pianist and conductor, holder of an honorary music degree from Wilberforce University and an LHD from Milton College, Duke Ellington led his own orchestra ...

26. Eubie Blake

Soundtrack | My Girl

Songwriter ("I'm Just Wild About Harry", "You Were Meant For Me", "Memories of You"), pianist and arranger, Eubie Blake was educated at New York University. He studied the Schillinger System, and studied with Margaret Marshall and Llewellyn Wilson. He was a pianist and organist in cafés and in ...

27. Earl 'Fatha' Hines

Soundtrack | The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

Pianist, composer ("Everything Depends on You"), conductor and author educated at Schenley High School and in private piano study. He accompanied singers and was pianist for several instrumental groups, eventually forming his own band in Chicago in 1928, which he conducted into 1948 when he joined ...

28. Kate Smith

Soundtrack | The Good Girl

She was dubbed "The Songbird of the South" and would be forever etched in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans as a true American symbol of World War II, especially after giving voice to Irving Berlin's classic song "God Bless America." Her inspiring rendition went on to sell millions of ...

29. Cass Elliot

Soundtrack | Repo Men

Cass Elliot was born Ellen Naomi Cohen on September 19, 1941, in Baltimore, Maryland. She grew up in the Washington D.C. environs and in her senior year of high school, performed in a summer stock production of "The Boyfriend" at the Owings Mills Playhouse, where she played the French nurse who ...

30. Minnie Riperton

Soundtrack | Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Minnie Riperton was born November 8, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois, to Thelma Inez (Matthews) and Daniel Webster Riperton, a Pullman porter. At a young age, Riperton, the youngest of eight children, began taking dancing and ballet. Once she reached high school, she began singing in the Hyde Park A ...

31. Roberta Flack

Soundtrack | X-Men: Days of Future Past

Roberta Flack was born February 10, 1937 (1939 according to some sources), in Black Mountain, North Carolina, a small town located about 10 miles (18 kilometers) from the city of Asheville, North Carolina. She is best known for her love ballad "Killing Me Softly With His Song", released in 1969. ...

32. Dionne Warwick

Soundtrack | Alive

Dionne Warwick was born on December 12, 1940 in East Orange, New Jersey, USA as Marie Dionne Warrick. She was previously married to William Elliott.

33. Barry White

Soundtrack | Baby Driver

Barry White first made his mark in the music business in the 1960s as a session musician, even serving for a spell as an A&R man for a small, independent Los Angeles record label. He first hit it big in 1973 with a series of albums and singles emphasizing lush orchestrations and elaborate ...

34. Aretha Franklin

Actress | The Blues Brothers

Grammy-winning Queen of Soul and the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Barbara Vernice (Siggers) and C. L. Franklin, a Baptist minister, who preached at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit for over thirty ...

35. Bill Withers

Soundtrack | Fallen

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Bill Withers was born on July 4, 1938 in the small coal-mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia and was raised in the nearby town of Beckley. He was the youngest of six children. His coal miner father died when Withers was only thirteen. Bill worked a series of odd ...

36. John Legend

Soundtrack | La La Land

John Legend was born on December 28, 1978 in Springfield, Ohio, USA as John Roger Stephens. He has been married to Chrissy Teigen since September 14, 2013. They have two children.

37. Ray Charles

Soundtrack | Ray

A tragic fate may have given this visionary a heightened sensitivity, perception, awareness, even expansion to his obvious musical gifts that he may have never touched upon had he not suffered from his physical affliction. Whatever it was, Ray Charles revolutionized American music and was ...

38. Otis Redding

Soundtrack | Top Gun

Otis Redding was born on September 9, 1941 in Dawson, Georgia, USA as Otis Ray Redding Jr. He was married to Zelma Atwood. He died on December 10, 1967 in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

39. Rod Stewart

Soundtrack | Innerspace

Rod Stewart was born on January 10, 1945 in Highgate, London, England as Roderick David Stewart. He has been married to Penny Lancaster since June 16, 2007. They have two children. He was previously married to Rachel Hunter and Alana Stewart.

40. Sting

Soundtrack | The Emperor's New Groove

Sting was born Gordon Matthew Sumner on 2 October, 1951 in Wallsend, North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear, England, the eldest of four children of Audrey (Cowell), a hairdresser, and Ernest Matthew Sumner, an engineer and milkman. He received his name from a striped sweater he wore which looked like a bee...

41. Bryan Adams

Soundtrack | Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Canadian singer-songwriter Bryan Adams rose to fame with the release of his third album, "Cuts Like a Knife" (1983). The album made him popular throughout the United States. However, it was his fourth album "Reckless" (1984), which is referred to as one of the best albums of the decade that made ...

42. Bette Midler

Soundtrack | The First Wives Club

Multi Grammy Award-winning singer/comedienne/author Bette Midler has also proven herself to be a very capable actress in a string of both dramatic and comedic roles. Midler was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on December 1, 1945. She is the daughter of Ruth (Schindel), a seamstress, and Fred Midler, a ...

43. Barry Manilow

Soundtrack | Thumbelina

Barry Manilow was born on June 17, 1943 in New York City, New York, USA as Barry Alan Pincus. He has been married to Garry Kief since April 2014. He was previously married to Susan Deixler.

44. Paul Simon

Music_department | The Graduate

Born on October 13, 1941 in Newark New Jersey, Paul Simon is one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever. In 1957, he and high school pal, Art Garfunkel, wrote and recorded the single, "Hey Schoolgirl", under the name "Tom and Jerry". After some failures, they broke up. Simon still wrote and ...

45. Art Garfunkel

Actor | Carnal Knowledge

Art Garfunkel was born on November 5, 1941 in Forest Hills, New York, USA as Arthur Ira Garfunkel. He is known for his work on Carnal Knowledge (1971), The Rebound (2009) and Catch-22 (1970). He has been married to Kim Garfunkel since September 18, 1988. They have two children. He was previously ...

46. Liza Minnelli

Soundtrack | Cabaret

Liza Minnelli was born on March 12, 1946, the daughter of Judy Garland and movie director Vincente Minnelli. She was practically raised at MGM studios while her parents worked long hours there and she made her film debut at fourteen months of age in the movie In the Good Old Summertime (1949). Her ...

47. Judy Garland

Actress | The Wizard of Oz

One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals.

She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on 10 June 1922 in ...

48. Édith Piaf

Soundtrack | A Star Is Born

When one thinks of Edith Piaf, one thinks of love, sorrow and music. One did not breathe without the other two. Born in Paris practically on the streets on December 19, 1915, she struggled from day one, the daughter of street performers. The mother, a singer, eventually abandoned both Edith and her...

49. Petula Clark

Soundtrack | Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Petula Clark was a star at the age of 11. She starred in British concert halls and on BBC radio singing for the troops during WWII. She was a child star in a series of British films from the end of WWII through to the early 1950s,and by 1954 was having hit records. After a move to France in 1960, ...

50. Lulu

Soundtrack | To Sir, with Love

Born in Glasgow in 1948. As a teenager, she toured the northern clubs with her band, "the Luvvers". After her initial success with a cover of "Shout" reaching #7 in 1964, Lulu went on to establish herself as one of the biggest-selling British female singers of the 1960s. She made her film début in ...

51. Lynn Redgrave

Actress | Gods and Monsters

Actress of both the English and American stage and screen, Lynn Redgrave was born in Marylebone, London, England, into one of the world's most famous acting dynasties. As the daughter of Rachel Kempson and Sir Michael Redgrave, sister of Vanessa Redgrave and Corin Redgrave, and granddaughter of Roy...

52. Vicki Lawrence

Actress | The Carol Burnett Show

Famed actress, comedian, singer, and dancer Vicki Lawrence has appeared in television shows, and in nightclubs. Her career included shows with such popular actors as Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, and Tim Conway.

Lawrence was born Vicki Ann Axelrad in Inglewood, California, to Ann Alene (Loyd) and ...

53. Kermit the Frog

Actor | The Muppet Christmas Carol

Kermit the Frog is an actor, known for The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), Paul Williams Still Alive (2011) and Happy Birthday, Bob! (1983).

54. George Burns

Actor | Oh, God!

George Burns was born on January 20, 1896 in New York City, New York, USA as Nathan Birnbaum. He was an actor and producer, known for Oh, God! (1977), Going in Style (1979) and The Sunshine Boys (1975). He was married to Gracie Allen and Hannah Siegel. He died on March 9, 1996 in Beverly Hills, Los...

55. Jimmy Durante

Actor | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

First wife Jeanne died in 1943. Wed second wife, Marjorie Little after 16 year courtship when she was 39 and he 67 Marjorie Little had been the hatcheck girl at the Copacabana. Durante and his second wife adopted a baby girl, Cecelia Alicia on Christmas day 1961. Durante doted on "CeCe" until his ...

56. Bing Crosby

Actor | White Christmas

Bing Crosby was born Harry Lillis Crosby, Jr. in Tacoma, Washington, the fourth of seven children of Catherine Helen "Kate" (Harrigan) and Harry Lowe Crosby, a brewery bookkeeper. He was of English and Irish descent. Crosby studied law at Gonzaga University in Spokane but was more interested in ...

57. Moms Mabley

Actress | Boarding House Blues

One the most successful entertainers of the Black vaudeville stage, also known as the Chitlin Circuit, was Jackie "Moms" Mabley, born Loretta Mary Aiken in 1894. At the apex of her long career, she was earning $10,000 a week at Harlem's Apollo Theatre. Mabley focused on conventional topics such as ...

58. Tracy Chapman

Soundtrack | One Day

Tracy Chapman was born on March 30, 1964 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

59. Ella Fitzgerald

Soundtrack | When Harry Met Sally...

On Saturday, June 15th, 1996, an era in jazz singing came to an end, with the death of Ella Fitzgerald at her home in California. She was the last of four great female jazz singers (including Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Carmen McRae) who defined one of the most prolific eras in jazz vocal ...

60. Mahalia Jackson

Soundtrack | Glory Road

Mahalia Jackson was born on October 26, 1911 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. She was married to Minters Sigmund Galloway and Isaac Lanes Grey Hockenhull. She died on January 27, 1972 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

61. Loretta Lynn

Soundtrack | High Crimes

Loretta Lynn was born on April 14, 1932 in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, USA as Loretta Webb. She was previously married to Oliver Lynn.

62. Dolly Parton

Soundtrack | The Porter Wagoner Show

Dolly Rebecca Parton was born on January 19, 1946, one of 12 children of Avie Lee (née Owens) and tobacco farmer Robert Lee Parton, and grew up on a rundown farm in Locust Ridge, Tennessee. At 12 she was appearing on Knoxville TV and at 13 she was already recording on a small label and appearing at...

63. Tammy Wynette

Soundtrack | Sordid Lives

Tammy once said: "I spent 15 minutes writing ["Stand by Your Man"], and a lifetime defending it". She was born Virginia Wynette Pugh on May 5, 1942, on her grandfather's cotton farm in Itawamba County, Mississippi. Tammy picked cotton as a child, and as a young woman worked as a waitress, a ...

64. Patsy Cline

Soundtrack | Assassin's Creed

Patsy Cline was born Virginia Patterson Hensley on September 8, 1932 in Winchester, Virginia. Her brush with show business came at age four when she won a prize in an amateur tap dancing contest. By the time she entered grade school, her family was fully aware of her musical talent. On her eighth ...

65. Mark Knopfler

Soundtrack | Wag the Dog

Mark Knopfler recorded his first single at age 16, but it was never released, He started the band Dire Straits in 1977, they were signed to Vertigo Records in 1978 and recorded the album "Dire Straits", which featured their first major hit single, "Sultans of Swing". Their follow-up albums include ...

66. Michael Jackson

Soundtrack | Michael Jackson: Thriller

Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana, and entertained audiences nearly his entire life. His father, Joe Jackson (no relation to Joe Jackson, also a musician), had been a guitarist, but was forced to give up his musical ambitions following his marriage to Michael's ...

67. Boy George

Soundtrack | The Crying Game

Boy George was born on June 14, 1961 in Eltham, Kent, England as George Alan O'Dowd.

68. Mike Post

Composer | Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Mike Post was born in San Fernando, California. He became a musician for acts as varied as Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Kenny Rogers, Sonny Bono and Cher, playing guitar on the latter team's 1965 hit "I Got You, Babe". Two years later, Post won his first Grammy award for producing and arranging ...

69. Cher

Actress | Moonstruck

The beat goes on ... and on ... and as strong as ever for this superstar entertainer who has well surpassed the four-decade mark while improbably transforming herself from an artificial, glossy "flashionplate" singer into a serious, Oscar-worthy, dramatic actress ... and back again! With more ups ...



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