Heroes


A guide to some of the greatest songwriters of all-time

Whether you want to find out more about an artist you’ve only just discovered, watch videos showing legendary performers in action, learn from the careers of your own songwriting heroes or – in many cases – be inspired by their struggles, this is the place to head. Click on the names to learn more about each one…

Alex Turner

Born: Alexander David Turner, 6 January, 1986 in Sheffield, UK Website: www.arcticmonkeys.com Associated acts: Arctic Monkeys, The Last Shadow Puppets,…

Amy Winehouse

Born: Amy Jane Winehouse, 14 September, 1983 in Southgate, London Died: 23 July 2011 Website: www.amywinehouse.com Associated acts: Mark Ronson,…

Bee Gees

Born: Barry Alan Crompton Gibb, 1 September 1946, in the Isle Of Man Robin Hugh Gibb, 22 December 1949, in…

Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus

Born: Göran Bror Andersson, December 16, 1946 in Stockholm, Sweden Björn Kristian Ulvaeus, April 25, 1945 in Gothenburg, Sweden Website:…

Bill Withers

Born: William Harrison Withers, Jr, 4 July 1938, Slab Fork, West Virginia Website: www.billwithersmusic.com Associated acts: Bill Withers, Grover Washington…

Billy Bragg

Born: Stephen William Bragg, 20 December 1957 in Barking, Essex, UK Website: www.billybragg.co.uk Associated acts: The Blokes, Riff Raff, Wilco…

Bjork

Born: Björk Guðmundsdóttir, 21 November 1965 in, Reykjavík, Iceland Website: bjork.com Associated acts: The Sugarcubes, Thom Yorke, Tappi Tíkarrass, KUKL,…

Bob Dylan

Born: Robert Allen Zimmerman, 24 May 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota, USA Website: www.bobdylan.com Associated acts: Joan Baez, The Band, The…

Bob Marley

Born: Robert Nesta Marley, 6 February 1945 in Nine Mile, Saint Ann, Jamaica Died: 11 May 1981 in Miami, Florida,…

Bono

Born: Paul David Hewson, May 10, 1960 in Dublin, Eire Website: www.u2.com Associated acts: U2, Passengers Years active: 1958-present Bono…

Brian Wilson

Born: Brian Douglas Wilson, 20 June 1942 in Inglewood, California, USA Website: www.brianwilson.com Associated acts: The Beach Boys, Van Dyke…

Bruce Springsteen

Born: Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen, September 23, 1949 in Long Branch, New Jersey Website: www.brucespringsteen.com Associated acts: Bruce Springsteen, The…

Bryan Ferry

Born: Bryan Ferry, 26 September 1945, Tyne & Wear, England Website: www.bryanferry.com Associated acts: Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno…

Burt Bacharach

Born: Burt F. Bacharach, 12 May 1928 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA Associated acts: Hal David, Elvis Costello, Dionne Warwick,…

Carole King

Born: Carol Klein, 9 February 1942 in New York City, USA Website: www.caroleking.com Associated acts: James Taylor, The City, Danny…

Cat Stevens

Born: Steven Demetre Georgiou, 21 July 1948, London Website: www.yusufislam.com Associated acts: Cat Stevens, Yusuf Islam Years active: 1966-1980 (as…

Cathy Dennis

Born: Catherine Roseanne Dennis, 25 March 1969 in Norwich, UK Associated acts: D Mob, Spice Girls, S Club 7, Will…

Chris Difford & Glenn Tilbrook

Born: Christopher Henry Difford, November 4, 1954 in Greenwich, London Glenn Martin Tilbrook, August 31, 1957 in Woolwich, London Website: …

Chris Martin

Born: Christopher Anthony John Martin, 2 March 1977, in Exeter, Devon, UK Website: www.coldplay.com Associated acts: Coldplay Years active: 1996-present…

Chuck Berry

Born: Charles Edward Anderson Berry, October 18, 1926 in St Louis, Missouri Website: www.chuckberry.com Associated acts: Chuck Berry Years active: …

Cole Porter

Born: Cole Albert Porter, 9 June 1891 in Peru, Indiana, USA Died: 15 October 1964 in Santa Monica, California, USA…

Damon Albarn

Born: Damon Albarn, 23 March 1968 in Whitechapel, London, UK Associated acts: Blur, Gorillaz, The Good, the Bad & the…

Dave Grohl

Born: David Eric Grohl, 14 January 1969, in Warren, Ohio Website: foofighters.com Associated acts: Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Scream, Dain Bramage,…

David Bowie

Born: David Robert Jones, 8 January 1947 in London, UK Website: www.davidbowie.com Associated acts: The Riot Squad, Arnold Corns, Tin…

David Byrne

Born: David Byrne, May 14, 1952 in Dumbarton, Scotland Website: http://journal.davidbyrne.com/ Associated acts: Talking Heads, Tina Weymouth, Brian Eno, Arcade…

David Gilmour

Born: David John Gilmour, March 6, 1946, USA Website: www.davidgilmour.com Associated acts: Pink Floyd, David Gilmour Years active: 1963-present David…

Diane Warren

Born: Diane Eve Warren, September 7, 1956 in Van Nuys California Website: www.realsongs.com Associated acts: Laura Branigan, Aerosmith, Toni Braxton,…

Dolly Parton

Born: Dolly Rebecca Parton, January 19, 1946 in Seierville, Tennessee, USA Website: www.dollyparton.com Associated acts: Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, Whitney…

Don Henley

Born: Donald Hugh Henley, 22 July 1947 in Gilmer, Texas, USA Website: www.donhenley.com Associated acts: Eagles, Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt,…

Donovan

Born: Donovan Phillips Leitch, 10 May 1946 in Glasgow, Scotland Website: www.donovan.ie Associated acts: Bob Dylan, The Beatles Years active: …

Elton John

Born: Reginald Kenneth Dwight, 25 March 1947 in Pinner, Middlesex, UK Website: www.eltonjohn.com Associated acts: Bernie Taupin, Tim Rice, Kiki…

Elvis Costello

Born: Declan Patrick MacManus, 25 August 25, 1954 in London Website: www.elviscostello.com Associated acts: Elvis Costello, The Attractions, The Imposter,…

Eminem

Born: Marshall Bruce Mathers III, October 17, 1972 in St Joseph, Missouri, USA Website: www.eminem.com Associated acts: D12, Bad Meets…

Gary Barlow

Born: Gary Barlow, January 20, 1971 in Frodsham, Cheshire Website: www.garybarlow.com Associated acts: Take That, Gary Barlow, Charlotte Church, Shirley…

George Michael

Born: Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou , 25 June, 1963 in East Finchley, North London Website: www.georgemichael.com Associated acts: Wham!, George Michael,…

Gil Scott-Heron

Born: Gilbert Scott-Heron, 1 April 1949 in Chicago, Illinois Died: 27 May 2011 in New York City Website: http://gilscottheron.net Associated…

Holland-Dozier-Holland

Born: Lamont Herbert Dozier, June 16, 1941 in Detroit Michigan Brian Holland, February 15, 1941 in Detroit, Michigan Edward Holland…

Ian Curtis

Born: 16 July, 1956 in Manchester, England Died: 18 May, 1980 in Macclesfield, England Website: www.neworderonline.com Associated acts: Warsaw, Joy…

Jack White

Born: John Anthony Gillis, 9 July 1975 in Detroit, Michigan, USA Website: www.jackwhiteiii.com Associated acts: The White Stripes, The Raconteurs,…

James Hetfield

Born: James Alan Hetfield, 3 August, 1963 in Downey, California Website: www.metallica.com Associated acts: Metallica, Spastik Children, Leather Charm Years…

Janis Joplin

Born: Janis Lyn Joplin, January 19, 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas, USA Died: 4 October 1970 in Los Angeles, California,…

Jeff Lynne

Born: Jeffrey Lynne, 30 December 1947 in Shard End, Birmingham, UK Website: www.elo.biz Associated acts: Electric Light Orchestra, Traveling Wilburys,…

Jerry Dammers

Born: Jeremy David Hounsell Dammers, 22 May, 1955 in Ootacamund, India Website: www.jerrydammers.com, www.thespecials.com Associated acts: The Specials, The Special…

Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller

Born: Jerome Leiber, 25 April 1933 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA Mike Stoller, 13 March 1933 in New York City, New…

Jim Morrison

Born: James Douglas Morrison, 8 December 1943 in Melbourne, Florida, USA Died: 3 July 1971 in Paris, France Website: www.thedoors.com…

Jimi Hendrix

Born: Johnny Allen Hendrix, 27 November 1942 in Seattle, Washington, USA Died: 18 September 1970 in London, UK Website: www.jimihendrix.com…

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant

Born: James Patrick Page, January 9, 1944 in Heston, Middlesex Robert Anthony Plant, 20 August 1948 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire…

Jimmy Webb

Born: Jimmy Webb, August 15, 1946 in Elk City, Oklahoma, US Website: www.jimmywebb.com Associated acts: The Supremes, Frank Sinatra, Glen…

Joe Strummer

Born: John Graham Mellor, 21 August 1952 in Ankara, Turkey Died: 22 December 2002 in Broomfield, Somerset Website: www.strummerville.com Associated…

John Lennon

Born: John Winston Lennon, 9 October 1940 in Liverpool, UK Died: 8 December 1980 in New York, USA Website: www.johnlennon.com…

John Lydon

Born: John Joseph Lydon, 31 January, 1956 in Holloway, London Website: www.johnlydon.com Associated acts: Sex Pistols, PiL, Afrika Bambaataa, Jah…

Joni Mitchell

Born: Roberta Joan Anderson, November 7, 1945 in Alberta, Canada Website: www.jonimitchell.com Associated acts: James Taylor, The City, Neil Sedaka…

Kate Bush

Born: Catherine Bush, 30 July, 1958 in Bexley Heath, London Website: www.katebush.com Associated acts: Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel Years active: …

Kurt Cobain

Born: Kurt Donald Cobain, February 20, 1967 in Aberdeen, Washington, USA Died: 8 April 1994 in Seattle, Washington, USA Website: …

Laura Marling

Born: Laura Beatrice Marling, 1 February, 1990 in Hampshire, UK Website: www.lauramarling.com Associated acts: Laura Marling, Noah and the Whale,…

Leonard Cohen

Born: Leonard Norman Cohen, 21 September 1934 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada Website: www.leonardcohen.com Associated acts: Sharon Robinson, Jennifer Warnes, Phil…

Lou Reed

Born: Lewis Allan Reed, 2 March, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York Died: 27 October, 2013 in Long Island, New York…

Mark Knopfler

Born: Mark Freuder Knopfler, August 12, 1949 in Glasgow, Scotland Website: www.markknopfler.com Associated acts: Dire Straits, The Notting Hillbillies Years…

Michael Jackson

Born: Michael Joseph Jackson, August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana Died: June 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California Website: www.michaeljackson.com…

Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

Born: Keith Richards, 18 December 1943 in Dartford, Kent, UK / Michael Philip Jagger, 26 July 1943 in Dartford, Kent,…

Morrissey

Born: Steven Patrick Morrissey, 22 May 1959 in Davyhulme, Lancashire, UK Website: www.itsmorrisseysworld.com Associated acts: The Smiths, The Nosebleeds, Slaughter…

Neil Finn

Born: Neil Mullane Finn, 27 May 1958 in Te Awamutu, New Zealand Website: www.neilfinn.com Associated acts: Crowded House, After Hours,…

Neil Young

Born: Neil Percival Young, November 12, 1945 in Toronto, Canada Website: www.neilyoung.com Associated acts: Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills,…

Nick Cave

Born: September 22, 1957 in Victoria, Australia Website: www.nickcaveandthebadseeds.com Associated acts: Boys Next Door, The Birthday Party, Nick Cave, Grinderman,…

Nick Drake

Born: Nicholas Rodney Drake, June 19, 1948 in Rangoon, Burma Died: 25 November 1974 in Tanworth-in-Arden, Warwickshire Website: www.brytermusic.com Associated…

Nicky Wire & Richey Edwards

Born: Nicholas Allen Jones, 20 January 1969 in Blackwood, Wales Richard James Edwards, 22 December 1967 in Blackwood, Wales Died:…

Noel Coward

Born: Noël Peirce Coward, December 16, 1899 in Teddington, Middlesex Died: March 26, 1973 Website: www.noelcoward.net Associated acts: Noel Coward,…

Noel Gallagher

Born: Noel Thomas David Gallagher, 29 May 1967 in Manchester, U.K. Website: www.noelgallagher.com Associated acts: Oasis, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying…

Paul McCartney

Born: James Paul McCartney, 18 June 1942 in Liverpool, UK Website: www.paulmccartney.com Associated acts: The Quarrymen, The Beatles, Wings, The…

Paul Simon

Born: Paul Frederic Simon, 13 October 1941 in Newark, New Jersey, USA Website: www.paulsimon.com Associated acts: Simon & Garfunkel Years…

Paul Weller

Born: John William Weller, May 25, 1958 in Sheerwater, Surrey Website: www.paulweller.com Associated acts: The Jam, The Style Council, Ocean…

Pete Seeger

Born: Peter Seeger, 3 May 1919 in New York, USA Died: 27 January 2014 in New York, USA Associated acts: …

Pete Shelley

Born: Peter Campbell McNeish, 17 April 1955 in Leigh, Lancashire Website: www.myspace.com/peteshelleysolo Associated acts: The Buzzcocks, Howard Devoto, Pete Shelley,…

Pete Townshend

Born: Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend, 19 May, 1945 in Chiswick, London Website: www.eelpie.com Associated acts: The Who, Pete Townshend Years…

PJ Harvey

Born: Polly Jean Harvey, October 9, 1969 in Bridport, Dorset Website: www.pjharvey.net
 Associated acts: PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, Tricky, Thom…

Prince

Born: Prince Rogers Nelson, June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota Associated acts: Prince, The Revolution, The New Power Generation, Wendy…

Randy Newman

Born: Randall Stuart Newman, November 28, 1943 in Los Angeles, California Website: www.randynewman.com Associated acts: Randy Newman, Disney/Pixar movies Years…

Ray Davies

Born: Raymond Douglas Davies, June 21, 1994 in London, England Website: www.raydavies.info Associated acts: The Kinks, Ray Davies, The Jam,…

REM

Born: John Michael Stipe, January 4, 1960 in Decatur, Georgia, USA Peter Lawrence Buck, December 6, 1956 in Berkeley, California,…

Robert Smith

Born: Robert James Smith, 21 April, 1959 in Blackpool, England Website: www.thecure.com Associated acts: The Cure, Siouxsie & The Banshees,…

Rod Temperton

Born: Rodney Lynn Temperton, 15 October 1947 in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, UK Associated acts: Michael Jackson, Heatwave, Quincy Jones Years active: …

Roger Waters

Born: George Roger Waters, September 6, 1943 in Surrey, England Website: www.roger-waters.com Associated acts: Pink Floyd, Roger Waters Years active: …

Rufus Wainwright

Born: Rufus McGarrigle Wainwright, 22 July, 1973 in Rhinebeck, New York Website: www.rufuswainwright.com Years active: 1993–present Associated acts: Rufus Wainwright,…

Shaun Ryder

Born: Shaun William George Ryder, 23 August 1962 in Salford, Greater Manchester Website: www.shaunryder.net Associated acts: Happy Mondays, Black Grape,…

Steve Marriott & Ronnie Lane

Born: Stephen Peter Mariott, January 30, 1947 in East Ham, London Ronald Frederick Lane, April 1, 1946 in Plaistow, London…

Steve Winwood

Born: Steven Lawrence Winwood, May 12, 1948 in Handsworth, Birmingham Website: www.stevewinwood.com Associated acts: Steve Winwood, Traffic, Spencer Davis Group,…

Stevie Wonder

Born: Stevland Hardaway Judkins, May 13, 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan Website: www.steviewonder.net Associated acts: Paul McCartney, Smokey Robinson & The…

Sting

Born: Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, October 2, 1951 in Wallsend, Newcastle Website: www.sting.com Associated acts: The Police, Sting Years active: …

Stock, Aitken, Waterman

Born: Michael Stock, 3 December 1951 in Margate, Kent Matthew James Aitken, 25 August 1956 in Coventry, West Midlands Peter…

Suzanne Vega

Born: Suzanne Nadine Vega, July 11, 1959 in Santa Monica, California Website: www.suzannevega.com Associated acts: Suzanne Vega, DNA, Philip Glass,…

Thom Yorke

Born: Thomas Edward Yorke, October 7, 1968 in Wellingborough, Norhamptonshire, UK Website: Radiohead.com Associated acts: Radiohead, Thom Yorke Years active: …

Tom Petty

Born: Thomas Earl Petty, October 20, 1950 in Gainesville, Florida Website: www.tompetty.com Associated acts: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Traveling…

Tom Waits

Born: Thomas Alan Waits, December 7, 1949 in Pomona, California Website: www.tomwaits.com Associated acts: Tom Waits, Rod Stewart, Bruce Springsteen,…

Tupac Shakur

Born: Tupac Amaru Shakur, 16 June, 1971, East Harlem, New York Died: 13 September, 1996 Website: www.2pac.com Associated acts: Thug…

Van Morrison

Born: George Ivan Morrison, August 31, 1945 in Belfast, Northern Ireland Website: www.vanmorrison.co.uk Associated acts: Van Morrison, Them Years active: …

Woody Guthrie

Born: Woodrow Wilson Guthrie, July 14, 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma Died: October 3, 1967 Website: www.woodyguthrie.org Associated acts: Arlo Guthrie,…

 

This section is constantly being updated, so if you think your personal favourite has been unfairly omitted, drop us a line and let us know!