30 Best American Male Singers

From crooners and songwriters to pioneers and alt-rock icons, the U.S. has been home to many great male singers through the decades.

In this guide, we look back at some of the most influential, skilled, notorious, and prolific singers to come out of the U.S.

Here are the best American male singers.

Elvis Presley

Elvis “The King” Presley rose to become the quintessential baritone finding widespread popularity in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Presley is one of the most iconic figures in rock and roll and one of the all-time best-selling artists.

In the wake of his popularity, many others sprouted forth – Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Johny Cash, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and the Everly Brothers, to name a few.

“Jailhouse Rock,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “Hound Dog,” “All Shook Up,” and “Burning Love” are but a few classics from his impressive body of work.

The King’s legacy has been so influential that it has spawned innumerable copycats and impersonators, and the inevitable rumors that he is still somehow alive.

Elvis Presley

Michael Jackson

Michael “King of Pop” Jackson is a rare talent that lived up to the term “legendary.”  Originally finding success as a youngster alongside his older brothers in Jackson 5, Jackson would begin his solo career a few short years later.

It would take time for Jackson to develop into the moonwalking cultural phenomenon that he ultimately became, but it seems as though he was destined for greatness, and with 1979’s Off the Wall, he would officially become a solo star.

1982’s Thriller would prove a colossal hit and would be more than enough to establish Jackson as a culturally significant figure. Of course, his career didn’t end there, as his contributions to music, dance, style, and culture would outlive his untimely death in June 2009.

Michael Jackson

Frank Sinatra

Frank “Ol’ Blue Eyes” Sinatra is one of the most notable figures in entertainment in the mid-20th century. As one of the best-selling artists of all time, Sinatra took inspiration from the laid-back singing vibes of Bing Crosby and signed with Columbia Records in 1943.

His debut album, The Voice of Frank Sinatra, would not be released until 1946. This would not prove his ticket to fame, but he would ultimately find success after signing to Capitol Records.

Some of his most iconic hits include “Fly Me to the Moon,” “That’s Life,” “The Best is Yet to Come,” “My Way,” and of course, “New York, New York.”

Frank Sinatra

Prince

While other male singers were trying to figure out how to imitate Robert Plant or the rising blonde frontman of Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Prince was busy carving out his own niche as an androgynous, flamboyant funk, R&B, and soul singer.

His third, fourth, and fifth albums, Dirty Mind, Controversy, and 1999 would bring his sound to the masses, and he would follow them up with the legendary exclamation point, Purple Rain.

Not much more needs to be said about his vast contributions to music, whether as an artist, songwriter, or producer. But it’s fair to say that the trail he blazed didn’t end at Purple Rain.

Besides being a capable singer with a wide range, Prince was a spectacular guitarist. But over the long haul, he grew adept at just about any instrument you could hand him – bass, keyboards, drums, etc.

Prince

Johnny Cash

Johnny “Man in Black” Cash would find his stride in the mid-1950s amid the growing rockabilly scene of Memphis, Tennessee.

His discography, which propelled him to become one of the best-selling artists of all time, is impressive enough. But Cash would also have the opportunity to cozy up next to Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis in an impromptu session (that was fortunately captured) with the supergroup, Million Dollar Quartet.

Cash would become known for songs like “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Ring of Fire,” and “I Walk the Line,” among many others.

Johnny Cash

Kurt Cobain

It would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that most musicians growing up in the late 80s and early to mid-90s were influenced by Nirvana singer, guitarist, and songwriter Kurt Cobain in some way, shape, or form.

As one of the most influential figures in alternative rock and grunge history, Cobain is most frequently praised for his abilities as a songwriter. His voice isn’t exactly easy to imitate, either, though, especially when he goes into full growl. Singers like Puddle of Mudd’s Wes Scantlin have tried and failed.

Cobain’s career may have been cut short due to (alleged) suicide, but the impact he made on alternative music alone makes him deserving of a place in this guide.

Kurt Cobain

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is one of the most important figures in soul, R&B, pop, and funk. At 13, he became the youngest artist ever to reach the top of the charts. It’s almost as if he were pre-destined for success.

Wonder is still active today, but he will probably end up being remembered best for his contributions to music in the 70s, with Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Inversions, Fulfillingness’ First Finale, and Songs in the Key of Life.

Wonder is best known for tunes like “Superstition,” “Lately,” and “Isn’t She Lovely.”

Stevie Wonder

Billy Joel

Since the 1970s, Billy “Piano Man” Joel has maintained a successful solo career. But to call it “successful” is probably an understatement. Joel has had 33 songs of his own chart in the Top 40, and he is one of the best-selling artists across the world and in the top four in the United States.

Some of his most notable moments include “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” and “Tell Her About It.”

Billy Joel

Ray Charles

Ray Charles is easily one of the most successful and influential artists of all time. As a pioneer of soul music, Charles would draw from a range of influences – gospel, blues, jazz, R&B, and more. He also played a significant role in the integration of pop, R&B, and country music in the 1960s.

Billy Joel even called Ray Charles’ contribution to music more significant than Elvis’.

Some of Charles’ most notable tracks include “Hit the Road Jack,” “Mess Around,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “Unchain My Heart,” and “I’ve Got A Woman,” among many others.

Ray Charles

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix was a better singer than he ever gave himself credit for. That still doesn’t mean he possessed the most spectacular voice ever heard. Rather, he was the voice of a generation, the voice of many a memorable music festival, and the voice of a man who wielded the guitar like no other until that point.

As a member of the so-called “27 Club,” Hendrix’ career was tragically cut short due to a drug overdose. But the influence he would have, especially on a new generation of guitarists, would prove nothing short of enduring.

For a trip down memory lane, check out “Hey Joe,” “Purple Haze,” “Foxey Lady,” “All Along the Watchtower,” and “Little Wing.”

Jimi Hendrix

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