17 Of The Greatest And Most Famous Male British Singers

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What do David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, and Elton John have in common? Apart from being some of the most famous singers on the planet, they all share the same birthplace of Britain!

But, it’s not just them, as the UK has been producing some of the biggest male music stars on the planet. Whether you’re a fan of rock ‘n’ roll, glam rock, or classic pop, there’s no denying the huge impact that British male vocalists have had on the music world.

And in this post, we’re going to be taking a look at the lives and careers of some of the greatest and most famous male British singers of all time. Let’s get started.

1. David Bowie

Up first, David Bowie was an English singer, songwriter, and actor. He got his musical start in the 1960s as a rock singer and later became known for his innovative and eclectic style.  

He sang lots of different genres of music but especially rock, glam rock, soul, and funk.

He was one of the most influential musicians of his era and has been cited as a significant influence by many subsequent artists. 

He sold over 140 million records worldwide and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

2. Elton John

Next, we have Elton John who is an English singer, pianist, and songwriter. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin since 1967, composing more than 30 albums. Worldwide, Elton has sold over 300 million records and is one of the world’s best-selling music artists. 

He has won five Grammy Awards, four Brit Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and an Academy Award. John is also a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and a Knight Bachelor. 

In 1994, Elton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He married German recording engineer Renate Blauel in 1984, but the two divorced in 1988. 

He later married Australian producer and singer/songwriter David Furnish on December 21, 2005. The two have sons named Zachary and Elijah.

3. Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury was a British singer, songwriter, and actor. He was the massive driving force of the rock band Queen.

Mercury has released five solo studio albums and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Queen. 

He is also one of the most commercially successful singers globally, with over 300 million records sold worldwide. Freddie’s character and stage presence made him one of the most beloved singers of all time. 

He was also known for his flamboyant style and outrageous performances. Mercury died from complications due to AIDS in 1991.

4. Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard is an English singer, actor, and producer. To date, he has worldwide sales of more than 250 million records worldwide. Richard is known as one of the most successful musicians of all time because he has had more than 130 singles enter the UK Singles Chart. 

Not to mention, he is the only artist to have had a number one single in every decade between the 1950s to the 1990s. In 1995, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. 

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted him in 1998.

5. Sting

Sting is an English actor, musician, singer, and songwriter. He was a significant force and primary songwriter, lead singer, and bassist for the rock band The Police from 1977 to 1986. 

After The Police disbanded, Sting launched a successful solo career and has released seventeen albums.

He has won sixteen Grammy Awards (including Song of the Year and Record of the Year), three Brit Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award.

6. Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney is an English singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He is the co-founder of the Beatles and was the primary songwriter for the band. 

After the Beatles disbanded, McCartney launched a successful solo career. He has released twenty-four solo albums and has been inducted into both the Songwriters and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

McCartney is a successful composer, with more than 2,200 songs to his credit. Paul has made history, with over 100 million records sold worldwide.

7. Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart is a British singer-songwriter and actor. He has been a member of the bands The Jeff Beck Group, Faces, and The Rolling Stones. 

Stewart has released twenty-eight solo studio albums and has sold over 100 million records worldwide. Rod has produced soft rock, rock, blues rock, and soul music. 

He has won two Grammy Awards, one Brit Award, and one American Music Award. Steward was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2006. 

8. Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams is an English singer-songwriter and actor. He is a member of the pop group Take That. After leaving Take That in 1995, Williams launched a successful solo career. 

Williams released an impressive eleven solo studio albums and has been nominated for eight Brit Awards (winning one). Williams is one of the best-selling British solo artists, with over 75 million worldwide records sold. 

Robbie has received 18 Brit Awards nominations, more than any other artist.

9. Harry Styles

Harry Styles is an English songwriter and singer. He achieved his rise to fame as a member of the boy band One Direction. The band later went on hiatus in 2016. Styles released his debut solo album, which debuted at number one in two countries (UK and USA). 

Harry Styles has been nominated for two Grammy Awards. Harry has earned two Brit Awards as well as a Grammy and Ivor Novello Award. He is recognized because of his taste in fashion. 

One notable accomplishment is being the first man to appear on the front cover of Vogue magazine.

10. John Lennon

John Lennon was an English singer-songwriter, musician, and activist who was a co-founder of the Beatles. He was also the chief songwriter for the band. He was always known for his rebellious attitude and lyrics. 

After the Beatles disbanded, Lennon embarked on a successful solo career. He released five solo studio albums and is the most successful solo artist in Beatles history. 

He collaborated with various artists such as Yoko Ono, David Bowie, and Elton John. Lennon was also active in politics and was a vocal advocate for peace. He was assassinated in 1980.

11. Liam Payne

Liam Payne is another extraordinary English songwriter and singer. He got his musical start as a member of the boy band One Direction. Interestingly One Direction was created on the seventh series of The X Factor UK in 2010. 

In 2016 the band went on hiatus. Payne released his debut solo album, which debuted at number one in the United States and the United Kingdom. 

He is known as a supporter of Comic Relief and has raised over £1 million for the charity. Payne has also been involved in various other charitable endeavors. He has been nominated for two Grammy Awards.

12. George Michael

George Michael was an English singer, record producer, and songwriter. He was a member of the pop duo Wham! Michael has released six solo studio albums and has sold over 100 million records worldwide. 

After Wham disbanded, Michael embarked on a successful solo career. He was known for his soulful vocals and pop hooks. He was also active in philanthropy and helped raise money for various charities. 

He was a part of the Band-Aid project and co-wrote the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”. George struggled with depression and substance abuse for many years.

He also had internal struggles with his sexuality. In 2016, Michael died from a heart attack.

13. Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton is an English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer. One interesting thing about Eric is that he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times. He received induction as a member of the Yardbirds, as a member of Cream, and as a solo artist. 

Clapton has released twenty-one solo studio albums and has sold over 100 million records worldwide. Eric has performed alongside some of the most excellent musicians in history, including Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie, and friends, J J. Cale and B.B. King. 

He is also known for his marriage to Italian model Patti Boyd Harrison from 1979 to 1989 and has four children: Conor, Julie, Ella, and Ruth.

14. Thom Yorke

Though he may not be as universally recognized as some of the other singers on this list, there is no denying Thom Yorke’s impact on the British music scene.

Born in 1968 in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, Yorke is best known as the frontman of the alternative rock band Radiohead.

As the lead singer of Radiohead, Yorke has helped to define the sound of alternative rock for a generation. His deeply personal lyrics, distinctive vocal style, and innovative approach to songwriting have won him widespread acclaim.

His lyrics often deal with dark and personal themes, and his music has been described as “angular and unsettling.”

With Radiohead, he has won multiple Grammy Awards, sold over 30 million albums, and in 2008, he was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as the 66th greatest singer of all time.

15. Keith Richards

Keith Richards is an English singer-songwriter, musician, and producer. He is one of the founders of the Rolling Stones. Richards has released four solo studio albums and has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards (winning one).

Richards plays guitar and sings backup vocals for the Stones. He has worked alongside some of the most excellent musicians in history, including Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, and John Lennon. 

Richards is also known for his hard-partying lifestyle and struggles with addiction.

16. Robert Plant

Robert Plant is an English singer, songwriter, and musician. He is the lead vocalist and lyricist for the rock band Led Zeppelin. Plant has released six solo studio albums and has been nominated for fifteen Grammy Awards (winning one). 

Plant is known for his robust vocal style and eclectic influences, including blues, folk, and world music. He is also a successful solo artist. He has collaborated with Jimmy Page, Alison Krauss, and others. 

17. Shakin Stevens

Michael Barratt is known professionally as Shakin Stevens. He has had chart singles in every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s. Stevens has released thirty-two studio albums and has been nominated for six Brit Awards (winning one). 

Stevens has had many charted songs in the UK, including “This Ole House,” “Green Door,” and “A Rockin’ Good Way (To Mess Around and Fall in Love).” 

He is also known for his flamboyant stage persona and his covers of popular songs. In 2006, he was inducted into the Welsh Music Hall of Fame.

Summing Up Our List Of Famous Male British Vocalists

That’s it for our article on male British vocalists, we hope you enjoyed learning about all these singers.

They have achieved great success in the music industry, and many of them are also active in political and social activism.

But, this list is far from complete, and it barely scratches the surface of amazing British singers.

Who did we miss off? Let us know and we’ll add them in!

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Written by Laura Macmillan
Laura has over 12 years experience teaching both classical and jazz saxophone and clarinet. She now resides in California where she works as a session and live performer.