Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer, musician, and actor. One of the most significant cultural iconsof the 20th century, he is often referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll”, or simply, “the King”.
Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley and his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee when he was 13 years old. His music career began there in 1954, when he started to work with Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records. Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who was to manage the singer for more than two decades. Presley’s first RCA single, “Heartbreak Hotel“, released in January 1956, was a number-one hit in the US. He became the leading figure of rock and roll after a series of network television appearances and chart-topping records. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines that coincided with the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, made him enormously popular—and controversial.
In November 1956, he made his film debut in Love Me Tender. In 1958, he was drafted into military service: He resumed his recording career two years later, producing some of his most commercially successful work before devoting much of the 1960s to making Hollywood movies and their accompanying soundtrack albums, most of which were critically derided. In 1968, following a seven-year break from live performances, he returned to the stage in the acclaimed televised comeback special, Elvis, which led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of highly profitable tours. In 1973, Presley was featured in the first globally broadcast concert via satellite, Aloha from Hawaii. Several years of prescription drug abuse severely deteriorated his health, and he died in 1977 at the age of 42.
Presley is one of the most celebrated musicians of 20th-century. Commercially successful in many genres, including pop, blues and gospel, he is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music. He was nominated for 14 Grammys and won three, receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. He has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame.
Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer-songwriter, dancer, businessman and philanthropist. Often referred to by the honorific nickname “King of Pop”, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time byGuinness World Records. His contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.
The eighth child of the Jackson family, he debuted on the professional music scene along with his brothers as a member of The Jackson 5 in 1964, and began his solo career in 1971. In the early 1980s, Jackson became the dominant figure in popular music. The music videos for his songs, including those of “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” and “Thriller,” were credited with breaking down racial barriers and transforming the medium into an art form and promotional tool. The popularity of these videos helped to bring the then relatively new television channel MTV to fame. With videos such as “Black or White” and “Scream” he continued to innovate the medium throughout the 1990s, as well as forging a reputation as a touring solo artist. Through stage and video performances, Jackson popularized a number of complicated dance techniques, such as the robot, and the moonwalk, to which he gave the name. His distinctive sound and style has influenced numerous hip hop, post-disco, contemporary R&B, pop, and rock artists.
Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time. His other records, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), andHIStory (1995), also rank among the world’s best-selling. Jackson is one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fametwice. He was also inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame as the first and only dancer from pop and rock music. Some of his other achievementsinclude multiple Guinness World Records; 13 Grammy Awards as well as the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award; 26 American Music Awards, more than any other artist, including the “Artist of the Century” and “Artist of the 1980s”; 13 number-one singles in the United States in his solo career, more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era; and the estimated sale of over 400 million records worldwide. Jackson has won hundreds of awards, making him the most-awarded recording artist in the history of popular music. In what would have been Jackson’s 52nd birthday on August 29, 2010, he became the most downloaded artist of all time. Jackson constantly traveled the world attending events honoring his humanitarianism and the 2000 Guinness Book of Records recognized him for supporting 39 charities.
Aspects of Jackson’s personal life, including his changing appearance, personal relationships, and behavior, generated controversy. In the mid-1990s, he was accused of child sexual abuse, but the case was settled out of court for about $25 million and no formal charges were brought. In 2005, he was tried and acquitted of further child sexual abuse allegations and several other charges after the jury found him not guilty on all counts. While preparing for his comeback concert series titled This Is It, Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication on June 25, 2009, after suffering from cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles County Coroner ruled his death a homicide, and his personal physician was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Jackson’s death triggered a global outpouring of grief and a live broadcast of his public memorial service was viewed around the world.
In the UK, he has had six consecutive number one albums, and his tally of 62 hit singles include 31 that reached the top 10, six of which gained the number one position. He has had 16 top ten singles in the U.S, with four of these reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
With his distinctive raspy singing voice, Stewart came to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s with The Jeff Beck Group and then with theFaces. He launched his solo career in 1969 with his début album An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down (US: The Rod Stewart Album). His early albums were a fusion of rock, folk music, soul music and R&B. His aggressive blues work with The Jeff Beck Group and the Faces influenced heavy metal genres. From the late 1970s through the 1990s, Stewart’s music often took on a New Wave or soft rock/MOR quality, and in the early 2000s he released a series of successful albums interpreting the Great American Songbook.
In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked him the 17th most successful artist on the “The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists“. A Grammy and Brit Award recipient, he was voted at No. 33 in Q Magazine‘s list of the top 100 Greatest Singers of all time, and No. 59 on Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Singers of all time. As a solo artist, Stewart was inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2006 and was inducted a second time into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of Faces, in 2012.
Westlife were an Irish boy band, formed in July 1998 and disbanded in June 2012. Originally signed by Simon Cowell and managed by Louis Walsh, the group’s final line-up consisted of Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Mark Feehily and Shane Filan. Brian McFadden was a member from 1998 until his departure in 2004.
Westlife sold over 50 million records worldwide, a total that included studio albums, singles, video releases, and compilation albums. The group accumulated 14 number-one singles in the United Kingdom. They achieved a total of 26 top ten singles over their 14-year career. They are the first act to have their first 7 singles at number 1. By 2010, Westlife was listed in the Guinness World Records, as the UK’s top-selling album group of the 21st century. Westlife are the most frequent winner of The Record of the Year, winning four times, and in 2012, the Official Charts Companylisted Westlife 34th amongst the biggest-selling singles artists in British music history. Despite their success worldwide, Westlife never managed to break into the U.S. market, achieving only one hit single in 2000: “Swear It Again“.
In October 2011, they announced their intention to split in 2012, following their Greatest Hits Tour and the release of their Greatest Hits album. The boyband’s final concerts were held on 22 and 23 June 2012 at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin. The first farewell concert, offering 85,000 tickets, sold out in a record-breaking five minutes and the latter screened live in cinemas worldwide.
The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. Their best-known lineup, consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, became considered by many as the greatest and most influential act of the rock era. Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later utilised several genres, ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic rock, often incorporating classical elements in innovative ways. In the early 1960s, their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania“, but as their songwriting grew in sophistication, they came to be perceived by fans and cultural observers as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the era’s sociocultural revolutions.
Starting in 1960, the Beatles built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over a three-year period. Manager Brian Epstein moulded them into a professional act and producer George Martin enhanced their musical potential. They gained popularity in the United Kingdom after their first hit, “Love Me Do“, in late 1962. They acquired the nickname the “Fab Four” as Beatlemania grew in Britain over the following year, and by early 1964 they had become international stars, leading the “British Invasion” of the United States pop market. From 1965 on, the Beatles produced what many critics consider their finest material, including the innovative and widely influential albums Rubber Soul (1965), Revolver (1966), Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), The Beatles (1968), and Abbey Road (1969). After their break-up in 1970, they each enjoyed successful musical careers. Lennon was shot and killed in December 1980, and Harrison died of lung cancer in November 2001. McCartney and Starr remain musically active.
According to the RIAA, the Beatles are the best-selling band in the United States, with 177 million certified units. They have had more number-one albums on the British charts and sold more singles in the UK than any other act. In 2008, the group topped Billboard magazine’s list of the all-time most successful “Hot 100” artists. As of 2013, they hold the record for most number-one hits on the Hot 100 chart with 20. They have received 7Grammy Awards, an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score and 15 Ivor Novello Awards. Collectively included in Time magazine’s compilation of the 20th century’s 100 most influential people, the Beatles are the best-selling band in history, with EMI Records estimating sales of over one billion units. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the Beatles as the best artist of all-time.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American recording artist, singer, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston was one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 200 million records worldwide. She released six studio albums, one holiday album and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification. Houston’s crossover appeal on the popular music charts, as well as her prominence onMTV, starting with her video for “How Will I Know“, influenced several African American female artists to follow in her footsteps.
Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. She is the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly “Top Pop Album”) on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston’s 1985 debut album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was named Rolling Stone‘s best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Her second studio albumWhitney (1987) became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart
Houston’s first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film’s original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single “I Will Always Love You“, became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period under Nielsen SoundScan system. The album makes her the top female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher’s Wife (1996). The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history.
On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead in her guest room at The Beverly Hilton, in Beverly Hills, California. The official coroner’s report showed that she had accidentally drowned in the bathtub, with heart disease and cocaine use listed as contributing factors. News of her death coincided with the 2012 Grammy Awards and featured prominently in American and international media.
Philip David Charles “Phil” Collins, LVO (born 30 January 1951) is an English musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actor and writer, best known both as drummer and vocalist for English rock group Genesis and as a solo artist. He sang the lead vocals on dozens of hit albums and singles in the UK and the US between 1976 and 2010, either as a solo artist or with Genesis. His solo singles, sometimes dealing with lost love and often featuring his distinctive gated reverb drum sound, ranged from the atmospheric “In the Air Tonight“, dance pop of “Sussudio“, piano-driven power ballad “Against All Odds“, to the political statements of “Another Day in Paradise“.
Collins joined Genesis in 1970 as the group’s drummer and became their vocalist in 1975 following the departure of their original front man Peter Gabriel. His solo career, which was launched in 1981 and was heavily influenced by his personal life, brought both himself and Genesis greatercommercial success. Collins’s total worldwide sales as a solo artist are 150 million. Collins has won numerous music awards throughout his career, including seven Grammy Awards, six Brit Awards—winning Best British Male three times, three American Music Awards, an Academy Award, two Golden Globe Awards and a Disney Legend Award in 2002 for his solo work. He was inducted to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999, into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010.
Collins is one of only three recording artists (along with Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson) who have sold over 100 million albums worldwide both as solo artists and (separately) as principal members of a band. When his work with Genesis, his work with other artists, as well as his solo career is totalled, Collins had more top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the 1980s than any other artist. In 2008, Collins was ranked the 22nd most successful artist on the “The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists“.Although one of the world’s best-selling music artists, Collins has garnered significant criticism over the years; he was dubbed “the most hated man in rock” by the UK’s Daily Telegraph following the announcement of his retirement from music in 2011.