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Best Male Singers of All Time

Updated on December 7, 2016

Michael Joseph Jackson born August 29,1958 was an American global pop cultural icon who set boundaries never seen before. His iconic unique voice, dancing and style once made him the most famous and celebrated person on earth. Jackson first rose to fame as a member of the iconic pop soul group the Jackson 5. He scored his first solo number 1 hit in 1971 with the song "Ben".

Jackson would go on to embark on a solo career in 1972 with four successful childhood albums. His adult solo career took off in 1979, with release of his mega hit album "Off The Wall" which became the first solo studio album to generate four top ten hits in the United States. His next studio effort "Thriller" would turn Jackson into a global icon ten times the world over. To date, Thriller still holds the Guinness World Record for the most successful solo studio album of all time with sales surpassing 110 million. Jackson total solo album sales has recently surpassed 400 million making him one of the most successful male solo artist of all time. The King of pop has won more awards than any other musical performer in history. Jackson has also been inducted into more than 12 musical halls of fame including The Rock N Roll, Songwriters and Dance halls of fame respectively. Jackson's high tenor voice, unique beautiful tone and artistry is second to none. It is why I am naming him the greatest male singer of all time.

Elvis Aaron Presley born January 8, 1935 was an American cultural icon. Presley first rose to fame in 1954. He was an early pioneer of rockabilly an uptempo fusion of country and rhythm and blues music. Elvis is regarded as one of the most important artist of the 20th century. He has been dubbed the King of Rock n Roll or simply the King. He has a laundry list of hit records some of which were covers of African American artists of his time and era. His many hits include "Heartbreak Hotel," "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Anyway You Want Me" just to name a few. Elvis album sales to date is said to have surpassed 600 million. His powerful voice and showmanship makes him truly one of a kind. It is why I am naming him my second pick for best male voice in music.

Sam Cooke was an American rhythm and blues singer. His is commonly known as the king of soul and is consider one of the greatest artist of all time.. His amazing vocal ability continues to inspire a generation of musical artists. Cooke's many hits include "You Send Me," "A Change is Gonna Come" and "Chain Gang". Cooke has been inducted into several music halls of fame including the Rock n Roll, Grammy's and Songwriters Halls of Fame respectively.

Stevie Wonder is an american iconic singer and songwriter. He first rose to fame as a child prodigy. Wonder has gone on to sell more than 100 million records worldwide making him one of the greatest artist of all time. Stevie wonder have inspired numerous contemporary artists in today's music world such as Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Prince and countless others. Wonder still holds the record for the most Grammy's won by a solo artist with 25. He has also won numerous other awards in his more than four decades long career. His many hits include "Superstition", "Part-Time-Lover" and Ribbon in the Sky" just to name a few.

Philip David Charles better known by his stage name Phil Collins is a British singer and songwriter. He first rose to fame as the lead vocalist of the rock group Genesis. His many hits include "In the Air Tonight", "Against all Odds" and "Another Day in Paradise". In his long career Phil Collins has won numerous awards which include seven Grammy's Awards, six Brit Awards, an Academy Award and two Golden Globe Awards. Collins album sales to date has surpassed 150 million. His voice is truly one for the ages.

Farrokh Bulsara better known as Freddie Mercury was an British musician and songwriter. He was also the lead vocalist of the rock group Queen. Known for his amazing four octave voice and flamboyant style, he became a global icon. With the rock group queen, he sold more than 300 million records. He died of Aids in 1991 but will forever be known as one of the greatest rock front men in history. His many hits include "Killer Queen", "Somebody to Love" and "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Marvin Gaye was an American musician and songwriter who shaped the sound of Motown records in the 1960s. His powerful voice redefined an age. He is best known for hits such as "I Heard it Through the Grapevine", "Sexual Healing" and "What's Going On" just to name a few of his best records. Gaye music later influenced several R&B sub genres such as quite storm and neo soul. He has been cited among many of today's music artists as major influence in their young careers. Marvin Gaye was murdered April 2, 1984.

Buddy Holly born Charles Hardin Holley was an American musician and songwriter. He was also one of the early pioneers of Rock n Roll. Holly was one of the first artist to write and produce his own records during the rock n roll area. Holly also became the first white artist to play at the Apollo Theater in New York city with his group the Crickets. He helped to bridge rockabilly and black rock n roll to both white and black audiences during a time of racial unrest in America. His success did not last long. He was killed in a plane crash a year after his career took off. His death is often referred to as the day music died. He was just 22 years old. Major musicians inspired by Holly's work include the Beatles, Hank Marvin, Elton John, Roy Orbison and Elvis Costello.

Richard Wayne Penniman better known by his stage name Little Richard is an American musician and songwriter. His dynamic showmanship and voice laid the foundation for Rock n Roll music in America. Many music historians consider him to be the king of Rock n Roll. His music also inspired other musical genres such as soul and funk. He influenced many musicians across a wide range of styles from rock to rap. He has been honored many times. His song "Tutti Frutti" was inducted into the Library of Congress for its cultural significance. Little Richard is a member of both The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Richard has also sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

James Brown was an American singer and songwriter who first rose to fame with his group the Famous Flames in the late 1950s. He went on to have an amazing solo career which spanned more than four decades. Brown is known as the God Father of Soul. His many hits include "Please, Please Please", "Try Me", "I Got You", "It's a Man's World" and "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag". Brown is a member of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was also ranked 7th Greatest singer by Rolling Stones magazine on their list of 100 Greatest Artist of All Time.

Michael Bolotin better known as Michael Bolton is an American singer and songwriter. He first rose to fame in the mid 1970s. Bolton has experimented with many musical genres throughout his long career including Heavy Metal, Hard Rock and Pop. He is best known for his powerful voice and amazing pop rock ballads. His many hits include "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You", A cover of Otis Redding "Sittin On) the Dock Of The Bay" and "Go the Distance" just to name a few. To date, Bolton have sold over 75 million albums worldwide making him of the greatest selling male solo artist of all time.

Prince Rogers Nelson better known as Prince is an American icon and recording artist. He began his career in 1979. He became a dominant figure in the early 1980s with hits such as "Little Red Corvette", "1999" and "Kiss". He went on to sell more than 100 million records worldwide and has won numerous awards. He is an inductee into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Prince has also launch the careers of other stars such as Carmen Electra, Time, Vanity 6 and Sheila E.

Michael Mcdonald born February 12, 1952 is an Irish American singer from St Louis Missouri. He first rose to fame as member of the Doobie Brothers. As the group lead vocalist, he recorded some of the band's best known hit records which include "What a Fool Believes", "Minute by Minute" and "Takin' It to the Streets" just to name a few. In 1982, he released his first solo studio album called If that's What it Takes which also made him an even bigger star. The album spanned many hit singles which include "I Keep Forgettin' (Every time You're Near) and "I Got to Try". Mcdonald went on to release other successful solo studio albums in his long career. He has won 5 Grammy's and numerous other awards. Michael Mcdonald voice defined a generation. His powerful soulful baritone voice is truly one of a kind.

Kurt Cobain was an American songwriter and lead vocalist of the grunge rock group Nirvana. He and his band made a name for themselves in 1989 when they became popular among the Seattle Washington music scene. They recorded their first studio album that year on the independent label Sub Pop. After scoring a major record deal in 1991, Kurt Cobain and his group quickly became house hold names.

With hits such as "Smells like Team Spirit", "Lithium" and "In Bloom", Cobain became the voice of a generation. His next studio Album Utero became a pop culture classic. Hits from this album include Rape Me" and "Heart Shaped Box". As the songwriter and lead vocalist, Cobain took his grunge band to new heights in the early 1990s. To date, Kurt Cobain and his group Nirvana has sold more than 75 million records worldwide. Kurt died tragically from a self in-flicked gun shotgun wound to the head. He was just 27 years old. In 2014, Kurt along with Nirvana was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame their first year of eligibility.

Sir Thomas Jones Woodward better known by his stage name Tom Jones is Welsh singer and songwriter. He is one of the most popular male vocalist of the 1960s era. Jones has thirty six top 40 hits in the United Kingdom and nineteen in the United States. Some of his biggest records include "She a Lady", "It's Not Unusual", "Sex Bomb" and "Kiss" just to name a few. For Jones prolific contribution to music he has received a Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth, several Grammy's, MTV Music Awards and other major awards. To date, Tom Jones has sold more than 100 million records making him one of the greatest male solo artists of all time.

Luther Vandross was an American singer and song writer who first started his career singing background vocals for major recording artists such as Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, David Bowie and Barbra Streisand just to name a few. He also was a member of a group called Change. His solo career began in 1981 with the release of his first studio album Never Too Much. He also has an hit record by the same name. His other major hits include "Here and Now", "Since I lost My Baby", and "Superstar" among numerous other successful singles. During his long career in music Luther has sold over 25 million records worldwide and has won 8 Grammy's. He is best known for his powerful voice.

Jackie Wison was an American singer and performer. Known as Mr. Excitement and a master showman, he is regarded as one of the most influential artist in the history of popular music. Jackie began his career as member of the R&B vocal group Billy Ward and His Dominoes. He began his solo career in 1957. Wilson recorded over 50 hit singles that spanned many genres which include Rock n Roll, Pop, R&B, doo-woop and easy listening. His many hits include "Lonely Tear Drops", "Baby Workout" and "Night" just to name a few. Mr Wilson is a member of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and also the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Richard Steven Valenzuela better known as Ritchie Valens was an American singer and songwriter who is considered an early pioneer of American Rock n Roll music and the forefather of the Chicano Rock movement. Known as one one the greatest artist of all time of Latin descent and the first Hispanic artist to successfully cross over to mainstream success, Valens career lasted only 8 months. Despite this tragic loss, he recorded some of the greatest records of the 20 century which include masterpieces such as "Oh Donna", La Bamba and "Come on Lets Go". He died tragically in a plane crash that also took the life of another early pioneer of Rock n Roll Buddy Holly. His Death is commonly referred to as the day music died. Valens has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is a member of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame

Justin Timberlake is an American singer, songwriter and actor. He first rose to fame as member of the All New Mickey Mouse Club as child. He later joined the Boyband Nsync and became one of it's lead vocalist. The group eventually became one of the greatest selling music acts of all time. Justin reached new heights in 2002 with the release of his first solo effort Justified. The album spawned several legendary hit singles such as "Cry Me A River" and "Rock Your Body". Justin continued to add to his amazing solo career with the release of his second studio album Future Sex/Love Sounds) The LP produced several #1 singles such as "Sexy Back, My Love" and "What Goes Around...Comes Around" just to name a few. The former teen idol continued to release several more successful albums and singles in recent years. He has become one of the most commercially successful singers of 2007-2012 decade having sold more than 20 million records worldwide as a solo artist and over 50 million as the lead singer and songwriter of the boy band Nsync. Justin work have earned him numerous awards including nine Grammy's and Four Emmy Awards. The music icon was named twice by Time Magazine as one of Its 100 most influential people in world in 2007 and 2013 respectively. It is why I am naming him the 19th best male singer of all time.

Usher Raymond IV is an American singer, songwriter, dancer and actor. He first rose to fame with the release of second album My Way which spanned several iconic singles such as "You Make Me Wanna", "My Way" and #1 hit "Nice and Slow". The album sold over seven million copies worldwide. His third album 8701 became an even bigger hit with songs such as "U Remind" and "U Got It Bad". Usher next studio effort Confessions push the R&B superstar to even further iconic success. This album sold more than 20 million copies and spanned several massive hit singles such as "Yeah", "Burn", "Confessions Part II" and "My Boo" just to name a few. The album is Usher's most critical acclaimed LP to date. Usher has continued to release numerous other successful singles and albums which has cemented his place in popular culture. As of 2015, Usher has sold more than 65 million records and has won numerous awards including eight Grammy's. He was also instrumental in launching the career of pop superstar Justin Bieber. Usher was named the second most successful artist of the 2000s decade by Billboard. It is why I am naming him my 20th and final pick for the top 20 best male singers of all time.

Which one of these guys would you crown the greatest male artist of all time?

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      Bella 16 months ago

      Where is Freddy Mercury on this list?? He and MJ should be #1

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      Bob Smith 21 months ago from Plymouth, MI

      Frank Sinatra should definitely be included on this list. Maybe you're not old enough to fully appreciate him - I know it took me awhile to really enjoy him. His work in the 1950s for Capitol Records is stunning; much better than his later work that is better known, like "New York New York" and "My Way."

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      Larry Wall 23 months ago

      You left out Nat King Cole--A singer's singer. Also, going way back in time there was Al Jolson, Tennessee Ernie Ford and others. Such lists ought to be confined to a specific time period. Then us old timers would not interfere so much.

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      Pearl Sepuya 23 months ago

      I have always been a massive MJ fan. Hes an all rounder. He sang beautifully, he played musical instruments, he produced, he danced like a machine and most importantly he was an exquisite lyricist. Just my opinion :) He trumps any and everyone. True musical genius. Just saying...

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      Xo 2 years ago

      This isnso fetch!!!!!!!

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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great hub and lots of worthy contenders. Most I agree with, a few I don't. A couple are good but I wouldn't call great though it depends on personal taste. Steve Wonder is hard to go past simply for the length of his career as is Tom Jones. Elvis's impact can't be denied. You could gave included the likes of Elton John, Bing Crosby, Jim Reeves, James Taylor or if you are judging on quality of voice, Ronan Keeting.