Top Legendary Singers: Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, John Lennon and Frank Sinatra

If you had to choose one legendary music icon, who would that be? Who had the biggest influence or the greatest talent, in your opinion? Who will never get old? Who will live forever through his music? Voting is open until next Thursday.

Please be aware that this isn’t about pitting one against the other, but about sharing your thoughts on the artist you appreciate the most.

Elvis Presley

Elvis, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, is the kind of artist who doesn’t need to have his surname mentioned in order to be recognized.

In November 1955, Elvis signed with RCA Records. Colonel Parker negotiated the sales of all the recordings made by the musician at Sun Studio for the huge sum (at the time) of $ 40,000, plus a $ 5,000 bonus for Presley.

The 5 singles were re-launched by RCA and Elvis became the most publicized new artist in the music industry. On January 10, 1956, Elvis was attending a recording session in Nashville’s RCA Studio with the backing vocals group Jordanaires, where he records Heartbreak Hotel, among other songs.

The single Heartbreak Hotel / I Was The One is promoted by RCA and sold over 300,000 copies during the first three weeks, being Elvis’ first single to be sold in over a million copies, becoming the performer’s first gold record.

In1956, his eponymous album quickly topped Billboard 200 and stayed there for ten weeks.

Elvis then signed a seven-year contract with Paramount Pictures, he appeared on The Steve Allen Show on NBC where he sang Hound Dog, he continued to give concerts throughout America, launched single after single and signed a contract for a series of three appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show for a record amount at that time – $ 50,000.
On September 26 1956, Elvis Presley Day is proclaimed in his hometown of Tupelo, and in mid-November his first film, Love Me Tender, appears in theaters.

The film was a huge success, and Elvis received positive reviews from critics. It was an extraordinary year for the child prodigy of America, as sales from Elvis’ name reached a total of $ 22 million, not to mention the momentum that his career took both in music and acting.

For 22 years, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll served music and film, as well as those around him. 31 movies and 2 documentaries, 64 studio or live albums, 149 singles and countless concerts are just some of the figures that can characterize a fantastic career, of which few accomplishments are missing.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson, or the King of Pop, made important contributions to music, dance and fashion. He is recognized as the most successful artist of all time according to Guinness World Records.

The seventh child of the Jackson family, Michael debuted in 1964 with his brothers in the band The Jackson 5, as the main vocalist, being the youngest member.

He began his solo career in 1971 while still a member of the band. The album Thriller (1982) remains the best-selling album of all time. Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995) are included among the top selling albums in history.

Through his performances and videos, Jackson popularized a number of physically complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and moonwalk. The vocal style, the quality of his voice and his choreography inspired many pop, rock, R & B and hip hop artists, breaking cultural and racial barriers between generations.

Michael Jackson is one of the few artists who have entered twice in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Other achievements include 13 Guinness records, including the record for “most successful entertainer of all time”, 14 Grammy awards, 26 awards American Music Awards, 12 World Music Awards, 17 number one singles in the United States (including 4 as a member of The Jackson 5), sales of over 800 million records and the title of one of the best-selling artists in history.

Freddie Mercury

Regarded as one of the best singers of all time, Freddie Mercury had a special and distinctive voice, including a 4-octave vocal range. While speaking on the tone of a baritone, he sang most songs as a tenor. Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé, with whom Mercury recorded an album, said that “the difference between Freddie and all the other rock singers is the voice.”

Mercury wrote ten of the seventeen songs on Queen’s album Greatest Hits: Seven Seas of Rhye, Killer Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, Somebody to Love, Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy, We Are the Champions, Bicycle Race, Don’t Stop Me Now, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Play the Game.

In the UK, Queen spent more weeks in the charts than any other band or singer, while their Greatest Hits album is the best selling album of all time in England. Although the figure isn’t official, the band’s worldwide sales are said to be about half a billion copies.

Two of the songs Mercury had written, We Are the Champions and Bohemian Rhapsody, have been voted as the best songs of all time in major polls supported by Sony Ericsson and Guinness World Records.

Singer Axl Rose has expressed admiration for Mercury’s talent as a songwriter: “If I didn’t have Freddie Mercury’s lyrics to hold on to as a kid, I don’t know where I would be. It taught me about all forms of music. It would open my mind. I never really had a bigger teacher in my whole life.”

John Lennon

Musician, singer, songwriter and highly influential English composer, John Lennon is known worldwide as the co-founders of The Beatles, one of the most successful music bands in history, having sold over 1.1 billion discs sold worldwide.

The Lennon-McCartney partnership is regarded as the most influential and successful of the 20th century.

As a performer, writer, and co-writer, Lennon had 28 singles in the U.S. top Hot 100.

Sales of his albums were recorded at about 14 million. Double Fantasy, which was launched shortly before his death, and the best post-Beatles album, had sold three million copies in the US and in 1981 it won a Grammy for album of the year.

The following year, the BRIT Award for outstanding contribution to music went to Lennon. Participants in a 2002 BBC poll ranked him eighth in the top “100 Greatest Britons.”

Music historians Schwartz and Schinder, in writing about the transformation of musical styles that took place between 1950 and 1960, say that The Beatles’ influence can’t be exaggerated, as they revolutionized the sound, style and attitude of music and opened the door to rock and roll.

Liam Gallagher, who greatly admires the influence carried by The Beatles in the music industry, identifies Lennon as a hero, and even gave the name of his first child, Lennon Gallagher, as a tribute to the artist.

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra was a musician, crooner and American actor, winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in 1954 for his role in the film On the Waterfront. Sinatra had mild success as a musician during the 40s and became the idol of “bobby soxers”.

He signed a contract with Capitol Records and released several critically acclaimed albums (In The Wee Small Hours, Songs for Swingin ‘Lovers, Come Fly With Me, Only the Lonely and Nice’ n ‘Easy).

Sinatra left Capitol to form his own label – Reprise Records (having success with albums like Ring-A-Ding-Ding, Sinatra at the Sands and Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim), he toured the world and fraternized with celebrities and statesmen, including President John F. Kennedy in the early 60’s.

In 1941, Sinatra became one of the most respected singers in the Billboard and Downbeat magazine polls. That same year, Sinatra recorded 29 songs and was named “Male Vocalist of the Year” by Billboard magazine.”Sinatra-mania” is official.

Between 1940 and 1943 he recorded no less than 23 Top 10 songs and become known as The Voice.

Sinatra was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors in 1983 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan in 1985 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1997. Sinatra also won eleven Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Trustees Award, Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

What exactly is it that makes them so genuine? Is talent enough to help make a legend or are there other factors that are vital?

Tell us who is your favorite all-time music legend and why you admire him, how has his music influenced you and what you think makes them unique.

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