Along with the recent triumph of Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick, it’s another personal best from one of Hollywood’s most famous entertainment icons of all time. By definition, it is difficult to rank generations of top talent, especially when comparing all art forms, including music, television, film, comedy, dance, stage and the varied creative arts appealing to a wide range of humanity.
Most often, the first places in these ratings, no matter how subjective, are usually occupied by musicians, actors and actresses. At Ranker, fan pollsters offer rolling votes tallying their top joint findings on which artists deserve the highest consideration in the collective pop culture.
Note: Ranking lists are voted by fans, live and continue to accrue votes, so some rankings may have changed after this posting.
10 Aretha Franklin
Few lists of artist icons would be complete without the Queen of Soul ranking high in the ranks. Franklin was a songwriter, pianist, and singer whose albums had worldwide sales of over 75 million units. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her ninth (twice) in no less than two essays on the greatest artists of all time.
Her gospel roots have led her to have unparalleled vocal flexibility and perhaps the greatest mezzo-soprano voice in soul history, fully embodying the black American marriage between spiritual, rock and blues fusion. She has received numerous honorary doctorates from the highest accredited universities in the United States and her most famous tracks include Respect and A Natural Woman.
9 Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong is rightly considered one of jazz’s most influential creators, his career spanning five decades and several evolutionary eras of the much-vaunted genre. Born and raised in New Orleans, he laid the very foundation for what would become one of America’s most exported cultures, excelling in both trumpeting and singing, his deeply resonant, gravelly voice defining his iconic sound.
Armstrong is often credited with being the first black American to achieve huge popularity with white and international audiences. His scat singing and trumpet ballads have become an integral part of the American musical landscape.
Tom Hanks is, as they say, as American a staple as apple pie and baseball. Gaining his first notoriety in the now possibly defunct sitcom, Bosom Buddies, Hanks went on to star in many of Hollywood’s top films, such as Philadelphia, Saving Private Ryan, Castaway, A League of Their Own, the Toy Story films and Forrest Gump. .
He’s won two Academy Awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award, and was among the recipients of the 2014 Kennedy Center Honors. It’s safe to say that Hanks became both a baby -boomer and Gen X idol of the highest order and that his work will easily stand the test of time.
7 Frank Sinatra
Old Blue Eyes was a shoo-in to rank among the top 10 artists in American pop culture. The chairman of the board was the most popular artist in the world throughout the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and his sizable music catalog sold over 150 million records. He was unquestionably the all-time resident artist of Las Vegas and established himself as the bandleader of the Rat Pack.
Sinatra also entered the cinematic arts with relative ease, enjoying a successful film career and winning an Oscar for From Here To Eternity. He has won 11 Grammy Awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Time magazine has called him one of the most influential people of the 20th century.
6 Paul McCartney
Sir Paul is another ringer for a roster of artists of this magnitude. As co-singer, co-writer and bassist of The Beatles, one of the greatest rock bands in history, McCartney easily established himself as one of the greatest songwriters and performers of all time to have. never played on stage.
His musical talents are seemingly endless, with his melodic bass playing, versatile tenor vocal range, and explorations of diverse musical styles over the decades. He’s of course most infamous for his collaborations with John Lennon, but his solo career and Wings sting were equally impressive. McCartney has won an Academy Award, 18 Grammy Awards, and he earned a knighthood as well as two separate inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It’s impossible to imagine an American list of iconic artists and omit The Man with No Name. Clint Eastwood has been a constant presence in American cinema since his television series Rawhide and gained international fame via Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Dollars Western trilogy as well as his role as Harry Callahan’s much-loved anti-hero in the Dirty Harry series. .
Eastwood has also taken on roles behind the camera, earning Academy Top honors for his triple-threat work on Unforgiven as star, producer and director. It’s won four Oscars, four Golden Globes, three Cesar Awards, and an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, and has provided pop culture with an important lexicon of timeless quotes.
The world has certainly become a poorer place following the death of Robin Williams in 2014. Generally regarded as perhaps the greatest stand-up comedian of all time, consistently ranked among trailblazers like George Carlin and Richard Pryor, his quick wit and talent for improvisation were literally unmatched.
Robin Williams’ amazing talent and versatility translates pretty easily to the big screen, starring in classic Hollywood projects like Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets’ Society, Good Morning Vietnam, The Fisher King and The Birdcage. Williams has been nominated for four Academy Awards and received two Emmy Awards, six Golden Globes, two Screen Actor’s Guild Awards and five Grammys.
3 Elvis Presley
The king will always be the king. Elvis Presley continues to hold the highest regard among virtually all fans of all genres of music long after his death in 1977. He is one of the most significant influences in 20th century pop culture, with his signature, unique in its kind. – genre fusion of rockabilly, rhythm and blues and country.
He is often recognized as integral to transformative race relations, crossing old cultural boundaries that few white artists would have crossed before him. He has sold over 500 million records worldwide and has the most RIAA-certified gold and platinum records of all time for a musical artist. He also had a successful movie career, starring in classics like Jailhouse Rock and Viva Las Vegas. His popularity with Ranker fans right now is also, no doubt, tied to the recently released Baz Luhrmann biopic that surrounds the artist’s life.
2 Freddie Mercury
Some less musically inclined people might find Mercury’s mercurial presence at the top of the list in these ranks surprising, but that’s probably because they’ve never walked into a dive karaoke bar in practically the most remote places. of the planet. Queen’s worldwide popularity was largely due to Mercury’s status as one of rock’s greatest front men, wielding a memorable and flamboyant stage persona in addition to wielding perhaps rock’s most lyrical voice. of the history of the medium.
There are too many Queen songs to count in terms of widespread appeal, but their best-known anthem is of course Bohemian Rhapsody, which was also the title of one of the best rock biopics in recent memory, which has perhaps be also contributed to the success of the performer. popularity with young Ranker fans.
1 Michael Jackson
For all the controversy and circus-level media antics surrounding his later career, MJ wins top honors on most of the Greatest Artists of All Time charts, not just with Ranker voters. Sentimentality goes a long way with the later generations of 20th century pop culture, and the songs of Michael Jackson have literally provided the soundtrack to the lives of almost everyone born before the millennium.
The King of Pop’s career spanned four decades and set a number of unrivaled records, including over 400 million albums sold, 15 Grammy Awards and 39 Guinness World Records. His dance moves defined emulation styles for generations to come and his seminal album, Thriller, is considered the greatest pop record of all time.
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