In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
There's nothing like a well-crafted, creatively arranged song and considering the thousands of song that are probably written every day there are only a relative handful that ever enter the popular realm. The talent needed to write a truly great song seems to be given to a precious few but luckily many of these writers have been extremely prolific creating one great song after another. Here we offer a list of some of those great artists.
Displaying 1 - 41 of 41 items.
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, better known simply as Adele, is an English singer-songwriter and musician. Adele was offered a recording contract from XL Recordings after a friend posted her demo on Myspace in 2006. The next year she received the Brit Awards "Critics' Choice" award and won the BBC Sound of 2008. Her debut album, 19, was released in 2008 to much commercial and critical success. The album is certified four times platinum in the UK, and double platinum in the US. Her career in the US was boosted by a Saturday Night Live appearance in late 2008. At the 2009 Grammy Awards, Adele received the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Adele released her second album, 21, in early 2011. The album was well received critically and surpassed the success of her debut. 21 helped Adele earn six Grammy Awards in 2012 including Album of the Year, equalling the record for most Grammy Awards won by a female artist in one night. The album has also helped her receive numerous other awards, including two Brit Awards and three American Music Awards. The album has been certified 16 times platinum in the UK; in the US the album has held the top position longer than any other album since 1985.
Born in Newcastle, England in 1951, the son of a milkman, Gordon Matthew Sumner, grew up in the turmoil of the ship-building industry and wanted to become a musician very early. He played cruise ships, backing strippers in cabarets, and developed a love for the bass guitar. Having played in jazz/rock bands like "Last Exit" and other various groups, including a dixieland jazz group, where he got the name "Sting" from a yellow/black striped shirt, he settled down with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers for a decade-long tenure with the smashing rock trio, The Police. He then went on to record solo albums and holds a reputation as one of the most literate songwriters and talented musicians in the world. He has also delved into acting, having starred in such films as Quadrophenia (1979), Radio On (1980), Plenty (1985), Julia and Julia (1987) (aka Julia and Julia), Dune (1984), Bring on the Night (1985) (a documentary about the formation of his Blue Turtles jazz group), most recently, Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets (1995), where he plays a bisexual, conniving butler.
Harold Arlen was an American composer of popular music, having written over 500 songs, a number of which have become known worldwide. In addition to composing the songs for the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz (lyrics by E.Y. Harburg), including the classic "Over the Rainbow", Arlen is a highly regarded contributor to the Great American Songbook. "Over the Rainbow" was voted the twentieth century's No. 1 song by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Burt Bacharach is, quite simply, one of the most accomplished composers of the 20th Century. In the '60s and '70s, Bacharach was a dominant figure in popular music, writing a remarkable 52 Top 40 hits. In terms of musical sophistication, Bacharach's compositions differed from much of the pop music of the era. Bacharach songs typically boasted memorable melodies, unconventional and shifting time signatures, and unique chord changes. Combining elements of jazz, pop, Brazilian music and rock, Bacharach created a unique new sound that was as contemporary as it was popular. Lyricist Hal David, Bacharach's primary collaborator, infused Bacharach's music with tart, melodramatic lyrics worthy of the best Tin Pan Alley composers. David's bittersweet, unsentimental lyrics were often in striking contrast to Bacharach's soaring melodies. While in the late 1970s Bacharach's name became synonymous with elevator music (due in great part to its sheer familiarity), a closer listening suggests that his meticulously crafted, technically sophisticated compositions are anything but easy listening.
Meet the man who wrote "God Bless America". His name was Irving Berlin, one of the greatest American songwriters of his time. His life began in a foreign country, as one of eight children of Leah and Moses Baline. He grew up and greatly impacted society from the many famous songs and plays he wrote, while most of them are still very popular today. We are talking about the man who started out in a poor town in Russia, then came to the United States and made it big.
Irving Berlin was born under the name Israel Isidore Baline on May 11, 1888 in Mogilyov, Russia. He came to America with his family at age five to escape the pogroms in Russia. The family settled in New York City, where Israel and his brothers sold cheap newspapers on the street to support their family after the death of his father. Not long after, he became a singing waiter, which started him off in the singing business. Israel began composing songs. He couldn't read music, but taught himself to play piano enough so he could write his own music.
Sammy Cahn was an American lyricist, songwriter and musician. He is best known for his romantic lyrics to films and Broadway songs, as well as stand-alone songs premiered by recording companies in the Greater Los Angeles Area. He and his collaborators had a series of hit recordings with Frank Sinatra during the singer's tenure at Capitol Records, but also enjoyed hits with Dean Martin, Doris Day and many others. He played the piano and violin. He won the Academy Award four times for his songs, including the popular song "Three Coins in the Fountain".
Among his most enduring songs is "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!", cowritten with Jule Styne in 1945.
"I wore my hat on the back of my head and no tie, with a cigarette drooping from my lips, and I lazied through the entire performance," Hoagy said, describing his historic, record-breaking performance at the London Palladium in 1951. That was the image Hoagy created and the world embraced. Behind it, invisible, was someone else--the passionate and poetic young man he'd once been, the poor kid from Indiana with a fierce ache to succeed.
While other major artists trudge painfully through a handful of over promoted releases each decade; this drummer/actor/singer/producer has been constantly active in all manner of contradictory and unlikely projects. His history with Genesis is well documented from their art-house beginnings to multi-platinum status as the band grew up, lost Steve Hackett and then Peter Gabriel and ended up making videos with tongues firmly in their cheeks. Collins launched his solo career twenty nine years ago with "Face Value" ('81), followed by "Hello, I Must Be Going" ('82), "No Jacket Required" ('85), "...But Seriously" ('89), "Both Sides" ('93), "Dance Into The Light" ('96) and "Testify" ('02) picking up numerous awards including 7 Grammy's, 2 Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe for "Two Hearts". After leaving Genesis in 1996 he released a "Hits" album in 1998. Between Phil's solo and Genesis recordings and excluding his other activities, Phil has sold over 200 million records.
Born 29 April 1899 in Washington DC, composer, bandleader, and pianist Edward Kennedy ("Duke") Ellington was recognized in his lifetime as one of the greatest jazz composers and performers. Nicknamed "Duke" by a boyhood friend who admired his regal air, the name stuck and became indelibly associated with the finest creations in big band and vocal jazz. A genius for instrumental combinations, improvisation, and jazz arranging brought the world the unique "Ellington" sound that found consummate expression in works like "Mood Indigo," "Sophisticated Lady," and the symphonic suites Black, Brown, and Beige (which he subtitled "a Tone Parallel to the History of the Negro in America") and Harlem ("a Tone Parallel to Harlem").
George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 - July 11, 1937) was an American composer and pianist.Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known. Among his best known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928), as well as the opera, Porgy and Bess (1935).
He wrote most of his vocal and theatrical works, including more than a dozen Broadway shows, in collaboration with his elder brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin.
George Gershwin composed music for both Broadway and the classical concert hall, as well as popular songs that brought his work to an even wider public. His compositions have been used in numerous films and on television, and many became jazz standards recorded in numerous variations. Countless singers and musicians have recorded Gershwin songs.
His grandfather, Oscar Hammerstein I, was an opera impresario, and his uncle was a successful Broadway producer. While a college student, the younger Hammerstein wrote and performed in several varsity shows at Columbia University. His first musical, Always You, for which he wrote the book and lyrics, opened on Broadway in 1921. He was co-writer of the popular Rudolf Friml operetta Rose-Marie, and then began a successful collaboration with composer Jerome Kern on Sunny, which was a great hit. Their most successful collaboration, though was the 1927 musical Show Boat, which is considered to be one of the masterpieces of the American musical theatre. Hammerstein continued to work with Kern and operetta composer Sigmund Romberg, among others, over the next several years on shows such as Sweet Adeline, Music in the Air, and Very Warm for May, a critical failure which nevertheless contained one of Kern and Hammerstein's loveliest songs, 'All the Things You Are.'
Lorenz Milton Hart was the lyricist half of the Broadway songwriting team Rodgers and Hart. Some of his more famous lyrics include "Blue Moon," "Mountain Greenery," "The Lady Is a Tramp," "Manhattan," "Where or When," "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered," "Falling in Love with Love," "My Funny Valentine," "I Could Write a Book", "This Can't Be Love", "With a Song in My Heart", "It Never Entered My Mind", and "Isn't It Romantic?". Hart was born in Harlem, the elder of two sons, to Jewish immigrant parents, Max M. and Frieda (Isenberg) Hart, of German background. His father, a business promoter, sent Hart and his brother to private schools
Joel recorded many popular hit songs and albums from 1973 (beginning with the single "Piano Man") to his retirement from recording pop music in 1993. He is one of the very few rock or even pop artists to have Top 10 hits in the '70s, '80s, and '90s. A six-time Grammy Award winner, he has sold in excess of 100 million records worldwide and is the sixth best selling artist in the United States, according to the RIAA. Joel's induction into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame (Class of 1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Class of 1999), and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (Class of 2006) has further solidified his status as one of America's leading music icons. He has continued to tour occasionally (sometimes with Elton John) in addition to writing and recording classical music.
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 (unsuccessfully) as lead singer for the progressive rock bands King Crimson and Gentle Giant. Dwight teamed up with lyricist Bernie Taupin and changed his name to Elton John (merging the names of saxophonist Elton Dean and Long John Baldry). The duo wrote songs for Lulu and Roger Cook. In the early 1970s, he recorded the concept album "Tumbleweed Connection." He became the most successful pop artist of the 1970s, and he has survived many different pop fads including punk, the New Romantics and Britpop to remain one of Britain's most internationally acclaimed musicians.
Elton John announced he was a bisexual in 1976, and in 1984, he married Renate Blauel. The marriage lasted four years before he finally came to terms with the fact that he was actually homosexual. In the 1970s and 1980s, he suffered from drug and alcohol addiction and bulimia but came through it. He is well known as a campaigner for AIDS research and he keeps his finger on the pulse of modern music, enjoying artists such as Eminem, Radiohead, Coldplay and Robbie Williams. He was knighted in 1997.
Jerome David Kern was born in 1885. He began his stage career grafting American songs (for which he wrote the music) into imported European operettas. His breakthrough came with the song "They Didn't Believe Me", written (with lyrics by Edward Laska) for a show called "The Girl from Utah". It established him as a major American composer in 1914. Married to a Englishwoman, Kern became an Anglophile, and teamed up with British writers Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse to write the so-called "Princess Theatre musicals"--shows like "Very Good, Eddie" and "Leave It To Jane", which were unusual not so much for their silly storylines but for the fact that the characters were everyday people rather than the exotic characters of operetta, and also for the fact that these shows had few sets and small casts. He later wrote shows like "Sally" and "Sunny", both loaded with song hits, star casts and spectacular sets but silly plots.
King's career began in the 1960s when she, along with her then husband Gerry Goffin, wrote more than two dozen chart hits for numerous artists, many of which have become standards. She has continued writing for other artists since then. King's success as a performer in her own right did not come until the 1970s, when she sang her own songs, accompanying herself on the piano, in a series of albums and concerts. After experiencing commercial disappointment with her debut album Writer, King scored her breakthrough with the album Tapestry, which topped the U.S. album chart for 15 weeks in 1971 and remained on the charts for more than six years.
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. With fellow member Paul McCartney, he formed a celebrated songwriting partnership.
Born and raised in Liverpool, Lennon became involved in the skiffle craze as a teenager; his first band, the Quarrymen, evolved into the Beatles in 1960. When the group disbanded in 1970, Lennon embarked on a solo career that produced the critically acclaimed albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and iconic songs such as "Give Peace a Chance", "Working Class Hero", and "Imagine". After his marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969, he changed his name to John Ono Lennon. Lennon disengaged himself from the music business in 1975 to raise his infant son Sean, but re-emerged with Ono in 1980 with the new album Double Fantasy. He was murdered three weeks after its release.
(born Aug. 31, 1918, New York, N.Y., U.S. - died June 14, 1986, New York City) U.S. librettist and lyricist. Born to a prosperous retailing family, he studied at Juilliard and Harvard. He wrote more than 500 radio scripts between 1940 and 1942, the year he met the composer Frederick Loewe. The two began collaborating, and their first Broadway success came with Brigadoon (1947; film, 1954). It was followed by Paint Your Wagon (1951; film, 1969). My Fair Lady (1956) was an unprecedented triumph, setting a record for the longest original run of any musical; the film version (1964) won seven Academy Awards. Their film musical Gigi (1958) received nine Academy Awards. Camelot followed in 1960 (film, 1967). Lerner also collaborated with Kurt Weill (Love Life, 1948) and Burton Lane (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, 1965; film, 1970), among others. His film scripts include An American in Paris (1951, Academy Award).
Frank Loesser has been called the most versatile of all Broadway composers. His five Broadway musicals, each a unique contribution to the art of the American musical theater, were as different from each other as they were from the theater of their day: Where's Charley?, Guys And Dolls, The Most Happy Fella, Greenwillow and How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Long before he wrote Where's Charley?, he was already known to America from the dozens of songs that had become enormous popular hits from his Hollywood career. He had supplied lyrics to the music of such greats as Jule Styne, Hoagy Carmichael, Burton Lane and Arthur Schwartz, among others, penning such standards as "On a Slow Boat to China," "Two Sleepy People," "Heart and Soul," "I Don't Want to Walk Without You," "Spring Will Be a Little Late this Year," "(See What) The Boys in the Backroom (Will Have)," "They're Either Too Young or Too Old" and his 1948 Academy Award winner, "Baby, It's Cold Outside."
Frederick Loewe was born on June 10, 1901 in Berlin to Viennese parents, Edmond and Rosa. His father, Edmond Loewe, was a very famous musical star who traveled considerably, including North and South America, and much of Europe. Fritz grew up in Berlin and attended a Prussian cadet school from the age of five until he was thirteen. He hated the school because his parents would leave him there while they toured worldwide. One of Fritz's most bitter memories was spending even the Christmas holidays at school with two or three other boys. He never cared for Christmas very much because of that experience.
By the age of seven or eight, Fritz learned by ear and played on piano, every new song his father rehearsed for a new musical in which he was appearing. He was able to play the entire score and help his father in rehearsals. This impressed his father greatly, and Edmond suggested giving Fritz music lessons. His mother, however, was never moved by Fritz's talent, saying; "Oh, they all do that!"
Fritz eventually did attend a famous conservatory in Berlin, one year behind the virtuoso Claudio Arrau. Both won the coveted Hollander Medal, awarded by the school, and Fritz gave performances as a concert pianist while still in Germany.
Enrico Nicola "Henry" Mancini was an American composer, conductor and arranger, who is best remembered for his film and television scores. Often cited as one of the greatest composers in the history of film, he won four Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and twenty Grammy Awards, plus a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.
His best known works include the jazz-idiom theme to The Pink Panther film series ("The Pink Panther Theme"), his "Moon River" to Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the theme to the Peter Gunn television series. The Peter Gunn theme won the first Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Mancini also had a long collaboration on film scores with the film director Blake Edwards
Mancini was nominated for an unprecedented 72 Grammys, winning 20. Additionally he was nominated for 18 Academy Awards, winning four) He also won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for two Emmys.
Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. With John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, he gained worldwide fame as the bassist of the rock band the Beatles, one of the most popular and influential groups in the history of pop music; his songwriting partnership with Lennon is one of the most celebrated of the 20th century. After the band's break-up, he pursued a solo career and formed Wings with his first wife, Linda, and Denny Laine.
McCartney has been recognised as one of the most successful composers and performers of all time.(2) More than 2,200 artists have covered his Beatles song "Yesterday", more than any other copyrighted song in history. Wings' 1977 release "Mull of Kintyre" is one of the all-time best-selling singles in the UK. A two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of the Beatles in 1988, and as a solo artist in 1999),(3) and a 21-time Grammy Award winner (having won both individually and with the Beatles), McCartney has written, or co-written, 32 songs that have reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and as of 2009 he has 25.5 million RIAA-certified units in the United States. McCartney, Lennon, Harrison and Starr received MBEs in 1965, and in 1997, McCartney was knighted for his services to music.
On the 11th of March, 1950, Bobby McFerrin was born. His parents were classical singers and he began to study music theory early on in his life. His family then moved to Los Angeles. During high school and then in College, UCSC, he focused on the piano. Once he finished college, Bobby McFerrin toured with numerous bands including the Ice Follies.
However, it was only in 1977 that Bobby McFerrin decide to become a singer. At one point he met Bill Cosby who arranged for him take part in the 1980 Playboy Jazz Festival. It was only two years later where he released his firm album called "Bobby McFerrin" in 1982. It was in 1983, that Bobby McFerrin started converting without a band. This eventually led him to make a solo tour in Germany. It was in Germany that he recorded his album "The Voice". From that point on, he continued to make solo tours in the most prestigious locations. It is also important to realize that Bobby McFerrin worked with several important people like Garrison Keillor, Jack Nicholson, and Joe Zawinul. On "Another Night in Tunisia", Bobby McFerrin won two Grammies.
Sarah McLachlan was adopted in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As a child, she took voice lessons, along with studies in classical piano and guitar. When she was 17 years old, and still a student at Queen Elizabeth High School, she fronted a short-lived rock band called The October Game. One of the band's songs, "Grind", credited as a group composition, can be found on the independent Flamingo Records release 'Out of the Fog' and the CD Out of the Fog Too. It has yet to be released elsewhere. Her high school yearbook predicted that she was "destined to become a famous rock star."
Following The October Game's first concert at Dalhousie University opening for Moev, McLachlan was offered a recording contract with Vancouver-based independent record label Nettwerk by Moev's Mark Jowett. McLachlan's parents insisted she finish high school and complete one year of studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design before moving to Vancouver and embarking on a new life as a recording artist, and McLachlan finally signed to Nettwerk two years later before having written a single song.
Alan Irwin Menken is an American musical theatre and film composer and pianist. Menken is best known for his scores for films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. His scores for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Pocahontas have each won him two Academy Awards. He also composed the scores for Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Newsies (1992), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Hercules (1997), Enchanted (2007) and Tangled (2010), among others. He is also known for his work on musical theatre works for Broadway and elsewhere. Some of these are based on his Disney films, but other stage hits include Little Shop of Horrors (1982), A Christmas Carol (1994) and Sister Act (2009).
Menken has collaborated with such lyricists as Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, Glenn Slater, Stephen Schwartz and David Zippel. With eight Academy Award wins (four each for Best Score and Best Original Song), Menken is the second most prolific Oscar winner in the music categories after Alfred Newman, who has nine Oscars. He has also won eleven Grammy Awards, a Tony Award and other honors.
John Herndon "Johnny" Mercer was an American lyricist, songwriter and singer. He was also the founder of Capitol Records.
He is best known as a lyricist, but he also composed music. He was also a popular singer who recorded his own songs as well as those written by others. From the mid-1930s through the mid-1950s, many of the songs Mercer wrote and performed were among the most popular hits of the time. He wrote the lyrics to more than fifteen hundred songs, including compositions for movies and Broadway shows. He received nineteen Academy Award nominations, and won four Best Original Song Oscars.
Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara) was a British singer, songwriter and record producer, known as the lead vocalist and co-principal songwriter of the rock band Queen. He also became known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave vocal range.(3)(4)(5) Mercury wrote and composed numerous hits for Queen ("Bohemian Rhapsody," "Killer Queen," "Somebody to Love," "Don't Stop Me Now," "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," and "We Are the Champions."); occasionally served as a producer and guest musician (piano or vocals) for other artists; and concurrently led a solo career while performing with Queen.
Mercury was born of Parsi descent in the Sultanate of Zanzibar and grew up there and in India until his mid-teens, before moving with his family to Middlesex, England - ultimately forming the band Queen in 1970 with Brian May and Roger Taylor. Mercury died in 1991 at age 45 from complications from AIDS, having acknowledged the day before his death that he'd contracted the disease.
Randy Newman's pop songs of the 1970s earned him a reputation as a songwriter's songwriter, but he's famous to most audiences for his songs and scores for popular movies such as Toy Story (1995), Bug's Life (1998) and Monsters, Inc. (2001). Randy Newman began writing songs at an early age, and in 1968 released his first album, Randy Newman Creates Something New Under the Sun. During the 1970s he released several albums that received critical praise and won over loyal fans, even if they didn't make Newman into rock star celebrity. He had a top 40 hit with "Sail Away" (1972), but it was his 1977 song "Short People," a controversial parody about bigotry, that became his biggest hit. Since the 1980s he has concentrated on writing film scores, including Ragtime (1981), The Natural (1984, starring Robert Redford), James and the Giant Peach (1996) and the sequels Toy Story 2 (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010).
Dolly Rebecca Parton is an American singer-songwriter, actress, author, businesswoman, and humanitarian, known primarily for her work in country music.
Parton is the most honored female country performer of all time. Achieving 25 RIAA certified gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards, she has had 25 songs reach No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts, a record for a female artist. She has 41 career top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and she has 110 career charted singles over the past 40 years. All-inclusive sales of singles, albums, hits collections, and digital downloads during her career have topped 100 million worldwide. She has garnered eight Grammy Awards, two Academy Award nominations, ten Country Music Association Awards, seven Academy of Country Music Awards, three American Music Awards, and is one of only seven female artists to win the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year Award. Parton has received 46 Grammy nominations, tying her with Bruce Springsteen for the most Grammy nominations and placing her in tenth place overall.
The only child of Samuel Fenwick, a druggist, and Kate Cole, Cole Porter, born in Peru, Indiana on June 9th, 1891, was given a lot of attention. His parents offered him opportunities to study music, acting, or anything else he wanted, but he opted to study violin and piano. Starting at an early age, Porter had completed his first song, "Song of the Birds," by the age of ten. A few years later, his mother had his piece, "The Bobolink Waltz," published. A few years later, his parents decided to send him to a private boarding school called Worcester Academy, in Massachusettes, which was said to have a strong music department. He entered Yale a few years later. The large size of the university allowed him to find many musical opportunities, from writing two of Yale's best known football songs ("Bull Dog" and "Bingo Eh Yale") to accompanying vocal groups and musical productions. Porter graduated with a "Most Entertaining," award.
Sir Timothy Miles Bindon "Tim" Rice is an English lyricist and author. An Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Tony Award and Grammy Award-winning lyricist, Rice is best known for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber, with whom he wrote Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, with Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA, with whom he wrote Chess, and for additional songs for the 2011 West End revival of The Wizard of Oz, and for his work for Walt Disney Studios with Alan Menken (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, King David), Elton John (The Lion King, Aida, The Road to El Dorado) and Ennio Morricone.
Rice was knighted by Elizabeth II for services to music. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is an inductee into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, is a Disney Legend recipient, and is a fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.
Richard Rogers was one of the most successful and celebrated composers of the 20th century. His partnerships with lyricists Lorenz Hart (1895-1943) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960) resulted in dozens of hit musicals for the stage and screen, from Babes in Arms to The Sound of Music. A published songwriter by the age of 17, Rodgers and Hart began collaborating in the 1920s. Between 1920 and 1943 they wrote dozens of musicals for the New York stage and Hollywood movies, including The Boys of Syracuse and Pal Joey. In 1943 Rodgers teamed with Oscar Hammerstein II to write Oklahoma!, a box office smash and a landmark in the history of musical theater. Rodgers and Hammerstein went on to write and produce hit musicals such as Carousel, State Fair, The King and I and The Sound of Music, all of which were adapted for the movies. After Hammerstein's death in 1960, Rodgers continued composing, sometimes writing his own lyrics. Rodgers was known for his catchy melodies and ability to incorporate other musical styles into popular tunes. Some of his songs, such as "My Funny Valentine" and "The Lady is a Tramp" have become jazz standards.
Stephen Lawrence Schwartz is an American musical theatre lyricist and composer. In a career spanning over four decades, Schwartz has written such hit musicals as Godspell (1971), Pippin (1972) and Wicked (2003). He has contributed lyrics for a number of successful films, including Pocahontas (1995), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), The Prince of Egypt (1998; music and lyrics) and Enchanted (2007). Schwartz has won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics, three Grammy Awards, three Academy Awards and has been nominated for six Tony Awards. He received the 2015 Isabelle Stevenson Award, a special Tony Award, for his commitment to serving artists and fostering new talent.
During his distinguished career Paul Simon has been the recipient of many honors and awards including 12 Grammy Awards, three of which ("Bridge Over Troubled Water", "Still Crazy After All These Years" and "Graceland") were albums of the year. In 2003 he was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as half of the duo Simon and Garfunkel. He is a member of The Songwriters Hall of Fame, a recipient of their Johnny Mercer Award and is in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Simon and Garfunkel and as a solo artist. His song "Mrs. Robinson" from the motion picture "The Graduate" was named in the top ten of The American Film Institute's 100 Years 100 Songs. He was a recipient of The Kennedy Center Honors in 2002 and was named as one of Time Magazine's "100 People Who Shape Our World" in 2006. In 2007, Mr. Simon was awarded the first annual Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Named in honor of the legendary George and Ira Gershwin, this newly created award recognizes the profound and positive effect of popular music on the world's culture, and is given annually to a composer or performer whose lifetime contributions exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwin's.
Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist known for more than a half-century of contributions to musical theatre. Sondheim has received an Academy Award; eight Tony Awards (more than any other composer, including a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre); eight Grammy Awards; a Pulitzer Prize, the Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has been described by Frank Rich of The New York Times as "now the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theater." His best-known works as composer and lyricist include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods. He wrote the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy.
The composer was president of the Dramatists Guild from 1973 to 1981. To celebrate his 80th birthday, the former Henry Miller's Theatre was renamed the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on September 15, 2010, and the BBC Proms held a concert in his honor. Cameron Mackintosh has called Sondheim "possibly the greatest lyricist ever."
Singer, songwriter, musician. Born Taylor Alison Swift on December 13, 1989, in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Swift spent her early years on her family's Christmas tree farm. Her grandmother had been a professional opera singer, and Swift soon followed in her footsteps. By the age of 10, Swift was singing at a variety of local events, including fairs and contests. She sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a Philadelphia 76ers game at the age of 11, and began writing her own songs and learning guitar at 12 years old.
To pursue her music career, Swift often visited Nashville, Tennessee, the country music capital. There she co-wrote songs, and tried to land a recording contract. Noting her dedication, Swift and her family moved to nearby Hendersonville, Tennessee, in an attempt to further Swift's career.
A stellar performance at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville helped Swift get a contract with Scott Borchetta's Big Machine Records. She released her first single, "Tim McGraw," in 2006, and the song became a Top 10 hit on the country charts. It also appeared on her self-titled debut album in October of that same year, selling more than 2.5 million copies. More popular singles soon followed, including "Our Song," a No. 1 country music hit. "Teardrops on My Guitar," "Picture to Burn," and "Should've Said No" were also successful tracks.
James Vernon Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist born in Lenox, Massachusetts, and raised in Carrboro, North Carolina.(2) He owns a house in the Berkshire County town of Washington, Massachusetts. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
Taylor achieved his major breakthrough in 1970 with the #3 single "Fire and Rain" and had his first #1 hit the following year with "You've Got a Friend", a recording of Carole King's classic song. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million US copies. Following his 1977 album, JT, he has retained a large audience over the decades. His commercial achievements declined slightly until a big resurgence during the late 1990s and 2000s, when some of his best-selling and most-awarded albums (including Hourglass, October Road and Covers) were released.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is arguably the most successful composer of our time. He is best known for stage and film adaptations of his musicals Jesus Christ Superstar (1973), Cats (1994), Evita (1996), and The Phantom of the Opera (2004).
He was born on March 22, 1948, in South Kensington in London, England, the first of two sons of William Lloyd Webber, an organist and composer. His mother, Jean Johnstone, was a pianist and violinist. Young Andrew Lloyd Webber learned to play various musical instruments at home and began composing at an early age. He continued his music studies at Westminster School, where his father was an organist. At the age of 9, young Andrew was able to play the organ and assisted his father during performances. In 1964 he went to Oxford University as a Queens Scholar of history.
In 1965 he met lyricist Tim Rice and dropped out of school to compose musicals and pop songs. In 1968 he had his first success with the West End production of 'Joseph and the Amasing Techicolor Dreamcoat'. From the 1960s to 2000s Lloyd Webber has been constantly updating his style as an eclectic blend of musical genres ranging from classical to rock, pop, and jazz, and with inclusion of electro-acoustic music and choral-like numbers in his musicals.
Meredith Willson - musician, playwright and composer - was best known for the book, words, and music for The Music Man (1962). He wrote two other musical plays, including The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). Many of his songs are standards, including "You and I", "May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You", "It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas", "Seventy-six Trombones", and "Till There Was You", which was a surprising song choice for a hit record by The Beatles. Willson left Mason City, the setting for "The Music Man", in 1919 to attend Damrosch Institute (now Juilliard) in New York. He played flute and piccolo in John Philip Sousa's band from 1921 to 1923 and then joined the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1924 to 1929. In 1930 he got a job in radio in California. Radio was his primary source of income over the following twenty-five years. He also composed several orchestral works during the '30s and '40s, including symphonies for The Great Dictator (1940) and The Little Foxes (1941). In 1951 the stage producers Martin and Feuer proposed that Willson write a musical comedy about his Iowa boyhood. With his common touch, they said, it was sure to be a hit. After seven years, he finally got what turned out to be his masterpiece onto the stage. "The Music Man", which Willson said was "an Iowan's attempt to pay tribute to his home state", premiered on Broadway in 1957. Robert Preston recreated his most famous role and Willson's most famous character, that of Professor Harold Hill, in the film production of The Music Man (1962).
Brian Douglas Wilson is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer best known for being the multi-tasking leader and co-founder of the Beach Boys. After signing with Capitol Records in 1962, Wilson wrote or co-wrote more than two dozen Top 40 hits for the group. Because of his unorthodox approaches to song composition and arrangement and mastery of recording techniques, he is widely acknowledged as one of the most innovative and influential creative forces in popular music by critics and musicians alike.
Stevland Hardaway Morris (born Stevland Hardaway Judkins), known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. A child prodigy, he became one of the most creative and loved musical performers of the late 20th century. Wonder signed with Motown's Tamla label at the age of 11 and has continued to perform and record for Motown as of the early 2010s. He has been blind since shortly after birth.