100 Top Male Singers Of The '50s, '60s, And '70s Who Changed Music

By | February 11, 2019

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Jim Croce performing live on 'In Concert' in 1973. (Photo by ABC via Getty Images)

Musical tastes change, but influence lasts forever. A list of the top 100 male singers of the '50s, '60s and '70s that shaped music history pulls in artists known for natural talent and endlessly-cultivated craftsmanship. In our lifetime, we've seen both flourish, and we've seen popular music evolve from a corporate product to a more personal statement of self. In the '50s, we had singers and songwriters, but singer-songwriters were few and far between. Bob Dylan and the Beatles popularized the practice of releasing entire albums composed of original material. And in a related movement, the artist as an individual -- an Elvis, a Sinatra, an Otis Redding -- ceded ground on the charts to rock groups. The Rolling Stones had Mick Jagger, the Doors had Jim Morrison, Led Zeppelin had Robert Plant -- these vocalists were all frontmen who commanded the crowd's attention, but their names weren't on the album covers. Soul music made us shuffle our feet while enjoying immortal voices -- James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield. Country music gave us memorable traditionalists like Ray Price and Faron Young, then saw an outlaw rebellion, with Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings leading the charge.

These are the artists that we can’t get enough of and leave us with their lyrics rattling around in our heads. They are also the greats that seem to embrace the era with their attitudes, lyrics, and music, bringing it all together to define the times. Like the top female singers of the era, the top 100 male vocalists of the '50s, '60s, and '70s are an eclectic bunch. We've compiled this list to demonstrate just that -- some of the names here are bound to be your absolute favorites, and there will be others you don't care for. It was a tumultuous three decades, with popular music expanding -- exploding -- in many directions at once. 

All Hail The King

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Elvis Presley. Source: (ldsliving.com)

Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, was responsible for introducing and establishing rock and roll to mainstream music. He didn't invent rock 'n roll -- in fact, his genius was his ability to absorb and combine numerous styles, including black rhythm & blues, country music, and gospel. It's all there in his '50s hits -- "Don't Be Cruel," "All Shook Up," "Jailhouse Rock," and so many more you know. Elvis did so much with his voice, his presence, and of course his hips, that he established the model that influenced every male vocalist who followed -- though many might not admit it.

The ‘50s kicked off the age of rock 'n roll, a new kind of music was headed down the pike and growing in popularity, primarily with teenagers. But it wasn't kid stuff -- if it was, we'd have outgrown it. Rock and roll was here to stay, or so we were told by Danny And The Juniors, and there was no denying the excitement for what was to come. After rock and roll took off, it opened the door for artists in genres from country and western to jazz music to let their hair down and get creative.

It would be almost impossible to name every influential music artist and give the credit due, but below are some of the most notable and successful male, pop music artists of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. Following is a list, in no particular order, of the unforgettable and influential male music legends, in varying genres, that personified their songs and will go down in pop music history for the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s.