Musicians With the Most Successful Music Careers

ryanrimmel

The Top Ten

1 Michael Jackson Michael Jackson Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, dancer, and songwriter born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana and passed away on June 25, 2009. He donated (at least) a remarkable 500,000,000 dollars to charity. Michael is also known as The King of Pop (a title given to him by Elizabeth Taylor) or under ...read more.

The most ICONIC, inspiring and a legendary singer at all time. He's dance moves are giftedly with creative, talented and very entertaining. Michael Jackson may not be an actor, but he is very good at acting. Michael Jackson is very BEAUTIFUL, sweet, down to Earth, wise, fatherly and my all time favorite celebrity crush.
#International Icon
#King of Pop
#The BEST daddy in the world to his 3 beloved kids

-He was in a band with his brothers as a little kid, The Jackson 5
-He then had an extremely successful solo career until his death in 2009.
-He was given the title, The King of Pop - ryanrimmel

2 Paul McCartney Paul McCartney Sir James Paul McCartney is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer . With John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, he gained worldwide fame with the rock band the Beatles, one of the most popular and influential groups in the history of pop and rock music .

-He was in a Blues band called The Quarrymen from 1957-1960
-He was the bassist and a singer for the pioneering Rock band, The Beatles from 1960-1970
-He then created a new Rock Band called Paul McCartney & The Wings from 1970-1981
-He has had a successful solo career from 1981-present and is still releasing great music today! - ryanrimmel

Second highest grossing musician of all time, behind Andrew Lloyd Webber. - ignoble

Seeing as he's the best seling songwriter of all time, it's kind of hard to vote for someone else. - PetSounds

3 Ozzy Osbourne Ozzy Osbourne John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne was born on December 3, 1948. He is also known as ''The Prince of Darkness''. Ozzy is an English singer, songwriter, and television personality. He rose to prominence in the early 1970s as the lead vocalist of the band Black Sabbath. Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath ...read more.

He's the Prince of Darkness/Godfather of Heavy Metal. Enough said.

-He was the frontman of the first Heavy Metal band of all time, Black Sabbath from 1968-1979
-He then had an extremely successful solo career from 1979- present
-He reunited with Black Sabbath and released an album with them in 2013 and has another one coming out in 2015.
-He started an annual touring music festival known as Ozzfest
-He has been given titles such as The Prince of Darkness and The Godfather of Heavy Metal. - ryanrimmel

4 John Lennon John Lennon John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE was an English singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. He was assassinated by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980 at age 40.

-He was in The Quarrymen with Paul McCartney, 1957-1960
-Became the singer and guitarist for The Beatles from 1960-1970
-Had a very successful solo career until his murder in 1980. - ryanrimmel

5 Dave Grohl Dave Grohl David Eric "Dave" Grohl is an American rock musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer and film director. He is best known as the former drummer of the hugely popular 90s grunge band Nirvana and the vocalist/guitarist for the alternative rock band Foo Fighters. He has sat behind the ...read more.

At first I thought Dave Grohl was Ringo, and was just happy to be along for the ride.
Later I thought he must be George, just soaking up all the excess genius that was flying around the room, and putting it to very good use.
Now I realize he is Paul, and none of it would have happened without him.

-He was in a Hardcore Punk band called Scream from 1986-1990
-He became the drummer of the first Grunge band, Nirvana from 1990-1994
-He then created one of the most successful modern rock bands, The Foo Fighters, 1994-present.
-He became the drummer of a supergroup called Them Crooked Vultures with Josh Homme (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin)
-He has produced albums and performed studio drums for many successful acts, such as Ghost, Zac Brown Band, and Verbena
-He has appeared with many other bands such as Queens of the Stone Age and Tenacious D. - ryanrimmel

6 Robert Plant Robert Plant Robert Anthony Plant is an English musician, singer, and songwriter best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the rock band Led Zeppelin.

-He was the lead singer of pioneering hard rock band Led Zeppelin from 1968-1980
-He has had a successful solo career from 1982-present - ryanrimmel

7 Elvis Presley Elvis Presley Elvis Presley was an American musician and actor. Known as "The King" He was mostly known for his number 1 singles including "Heartbreak Hotel" "Hound Dog" "Jailhouse Rock" "Love me Tender" Elvis debuted in the movie "Love me Tender" and focused less on his music and continued that way. ...read more.

He was given the title "The King of Rock and Roll", or just "The King".

Second-biggest seller of all time, only the Beatles have sold more.

How can Elvis be so low in rank? Elvis is in the guiness record book multiple times ; Most hit singles on US charts ( 149 singles ), Most US number 1 albums ( 9 ), Most weeks on the UK singles chart ( 1,149 weeks with a total of 111 hits ), Most RIAA certificate units held by a individual artist ( 235 [ 132 gold, 70 platinum, 33 Multi-platinum ), Most charted artist in the UK ( 1,155 weeks ), Biggest selling individual artist ( The Beatles are the biggest selling band ) etc... If that's not a successful music career, what is? Many ranked higher on this list will never archieve during their whole life what Elvis archieved during his 23 years career.

The only musicians who are more successful than Elvis as far as long term popularity and sales are Lennon/McCartney [and technically Harrison/Starr].
Otherwise, nobody is close; not MJ, not Zep, not Madonna, nobody.
There is a pitched battle for third place behind the Beatles and Elvis, but those two stand alone.
Elvis has been dead for almost 40 years, and his estate still rakes in millions for the use of his image, let alone his music.

8 Roger Waters Roger Waters George Roger Waters, is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. He is mostly known for being the secondary lead vocalist and bassist of Pink Floyd.

-Co-founded Pink Floyd and remained the songwriter, singer, and guitarist from 1965-1985.
-He's had a successful solo career from 1985-present - ryanrimmel

9 Ronnie James Dio Ronnie James Dio Ronnie James Dio (born Ronald James Padavona; July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010) was an American heavy metal singer, songwriter and musician. He fronted and/or founded numerous groups including Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven & Hell. He is credited with popularizing the "metal horns" hand gesture ...read more.

-He was the lead singer and bassist of Hard Rock band Elf from 1967-1975
-He then became the lead singer of the Metal/Hard Rock band Rainbow from 1975-1979
-He then replaced Ozzy Osbourne as lead singer of Heavy Metal band Black Sabbath from 1979-1983
-He then started his own Heavy Metal band, Dio from 1983-2010
-He then reunited with former Black Sabbath members under a new band name called Heaven and Hell - ryanrimmel

10 Dave Mustaine Dave Mustaine David Scott "Dave" Mustaine (born September 13, 1961) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor and author. Mustaine is best known as a pioneer in Thrash Metal, being the former lead guitarist of Metallica before his dismissal in 1983, leading to finding and becoming the front man of his own ...read more.

-He was the lead guitarist of pioneering Thrash Metal band Metallica from 1981-1983
-He then founded Megadeth and has been the lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter from 1983-present - ryanrimmel

The Contenders

11 Freddie Mercury Freddie Mercury Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara, 5th September 1946 - 24th November 1991) was a Zanzibari-born British singer of Indian descent, songwriter and record producer, known as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the British rock band Queen. He also became known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave ...read more.

He was quite succesful if he is number one in nearly every list.

12 Bob Marley Bob Marley Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley was a Jamaican reggae singer, songwriter, musician, and guitarist who achieved international fame and acclaim.

-He was the very popular and beloved singer of Reggae band Bob Marley and the Wailers.
-He was an activist towards peace and marijuana legalization, which made him a beloved musician - ryanrimmel

13 Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, author, and artist who has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades.

Pretty sure he made a couple recordings, live appearance or 2. Probably even wrote a song. - Billyv

One of the most covered songwriters/artists.
. Innovator, experimenter, pioneer.
Acoustic & electric. Folk, country, Rock, blues, R&B, Tradiitonal, Christian, Disco,...
So much that defies genre or label or category... and now Sinatra ballads as well.

Never Ending Tour. Never ending creative mind. - Billyv

14 James Hetfield James Hetfield James Alan Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963. He is an American musician, singer and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica.
15 Eric Clapton Eric Clapton Eric Patrick Clapton is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream. He has also been a member of Derek and the Dominos.

The only person inducted into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame THREE times.

16 Cher Cher Cher is an American singer and actress. Described as embodying female autonomy in a male-dominated industry, she is known for her distinctive contralto singing voice and for having worked in numerous areas of entertainment, as well as adopting a variety of styles and appearances during her five-decade-long ...read more.
17 Neil Young Neil Young Neil Percival Young is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician, producer, director and screenwriter.

Was a staple in one of the greatest mid-60's Hall of Fame American rock bands, Buffalo Springfield.
Was a founder of the Hall of Fame band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Was the leader of the awesome group Crazy Horse.
Still leading an amazing solo career, with the occasional reunion gig with the above acts.
Seems like his sentimental favorite is Buffalo Springfield.

18 Elton John Elton John Sir Elton Hercules John CBE is an English singer, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date.

He's sold well over 300 million albums!

19 Paul Simon Paul Simon Paul Frederic Simon is an American musician, singer-songwriter and actor. Simon's fame, influence, and commercial success began as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, formed in 1964 with musical partner Art Garfunkel.
20 Zayn Malik Zayn Malik Zain Javadd Malik, born on 12 January 1993, who records mononymously as ZAYN, is a British singer and songwriter. Born and raised in Bradford, ZAYN aspired to pursue a career in music from a young age leading him to audition as a solo artist for the British reality television music competition The X ...read more.

Just to clear things up. Zayn Malik is not a musician. He is in a boy band that will be forgotten in 5 years. It is completely stupid to compare him to Elvis, McCartney, or anyone else on this list.

~UPDATE
HAHAA well he has left this terrible boy band, one less terrible singer for "1D" - ryanrimmel

21 Bon Jovi Bon Jovi Bon Jovi is a hard rock band formed in 1983, which had a streak of successful albums in the late 1980s. The band originally consisted of lead vocalist Jon Bon Jovi, guitarist Ritchie Sambora (left in 2013), bassist Alec John Such (left in 1994), keyboard David Bryan, and drummer Tico Torres. The band's ...read more.
22 Andrew Lloyd Webber

Since we're talking musicians here, not rock singers, we have to include the highest grossing musician of all time... by a large margin. 50% more than McCartney, twice as much as Bono. Webber is the only billionaire musician. - ignoble

23 Dr. Dre Dr. Dre Andre Romelle Young, better known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur born on February 18, 1965 in Compton, CA. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics.
24 David Bowie David Bowie David Robert Jones (January 8, 1947 - January 10, 2016) was an English singer born in London, the son of a fundraiser and a waitress. He is credited for his experimental and creative musical discography which has won praise and accolades for many critics and fans. ...read more.
25 Kurt Cobain Kurt Cobain Kurt Cobain was born February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. In 1987, he started the grunge band Nirvana, which became one of the most successful bands ever. He was a talented yet troubled grunge performer. Kurt Cobain became a rock legend in the 1990s with his band. He committed suicide at his ...read more.
26 Alice Cooper Alice Cooper Alice Cooper is an American singer, songwriter, musician and occasional actor whose career spans over five decades.
27 Ariana Grande Ariana Grande Ariana Grande-Butera, known professionally as Ariana Grande, is an American singer and actress. She was born on June 26th 1993 in Boca Raton, Florida to Joan Grande and Edward Butera. She is best known for her role as Cat Valentine on the Nickelodeon sitcom Victorious and its spin-off show Sam & Cat. ...read more.
28 Rihanna Rihanna Robyn Rihanna Fenty is a Barbadian-American pop singer. Born in Saint Michael and raised in Bridgetown, she first entered the music industry by recording demo tapes under the direction of record producer Evan Rogers in 2003. She ultimately signed a recording contract with Def Jam Recordings after auditioning ...read more.
29 Taylor Swift Taylor Swift Taylor Alison Swift is an American singer-songwriter. She was born on December 13, 1989 in Reading, Pennsylvania. She is best known for writing break up songs and for having more than 5 Grammys. She became interested in country music when she was around 9 years old and after watching a documentary about ...read more.
30 Madonna Madonna Madonna Louise Ciccone is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. She influenced a lot of singers such as: Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Beyonce Knowles and Britney Spears . She is known as Queen of Pop and at modern pop culture specifically in 2012 "Madge" or MDNA . She has ...read more.
31 Janet Jackson Janet Jackson Janet Jackson is a singer and dancer who is well known for her sexually graphic records, iconic performances, and slightly weak voice. She is regarded as a sex symbol through her songs and videos.
32 Katy Perry Katy Perry Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, professionally known by her stage name Katy Perry, was born on October 25, 1984 in Santa Barbara, California. She is a singer, songwriter, actress and an ambassador on one of the most popular companies of now, UNICEF. ...read more.
33 Lady GaGa Lady GaGa Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. ...read more.
34 Beyoncé Beyoncé Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, is an American singer and actress, who started out in the popular pop/r&b girl group Destiny's Child. They had multiple top 5 hits such as "No, No, No", "Say My Name", "Bills, Bills, Bills", "Survivor", "Independent Women", "Bootylicious", and "Jumpin', Jumpin" from ...read more.
35 Mariah Carey Mariah Carey Mariah Carey, born March 27, 1970, is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She is one of the biggest best-selling women in the music industry, with 18 number 1 records to her name. She is regarded as a sex symbol through her songs and music videos, and she is "well known" for her over-the-top ...read more.
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