Who are the most popular male singers of all time? That’s a good question that is much easier to ask than answer. Hundreds of incredible male singers have left their mark on music over the decades. They come from a wide range of backgrounds and styles.
There are classically trained tenors such as Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo. Then you have rockers like Freddie Mercury and Mick Jagger. You can’t forget country and western crooners like Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash. And then you have your modern pop sensations like Ed Sheeran, Post Malone, and Justin Bieber.
In reality, there are too many to name from different genres which can be considered among the most popular male singers worldwide. It’s often a subjective choice, but we’ve decided to list 16 artists we believe are the most popular male singer to ever do it.
16 of the Most Popular Male Singers of All Time
How can you not love the King? Throughout the 50s and 60s, he was arguably the biggest solo singer in the world. After his first single Heartbreak Hotel went to the top of the charts in 1956, Presley’s journey to superstardom was set. Not only did Presley possess an incredibly wide range of vocal techniques, but the way he moved on stage added to his performance and got the ladies shaking at their knees.
Presley has sold over 500 million records worldwide and holds multiple sales records. He won three Grammy Awards during his lifetime and was even awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. The King of Rock n Roll released 23 albums during his lifetime along with a plethora of shit ingles, including chart-toppers Hound Dog, Love Me Tender, Jailhouse Rock, and Suspicious Minds.
Sadly his later years were plagued by weight issues and drug addiction, with Presley dying of a suspected heart attack while sitting on the toilet at the age of 41.
The less said about his personal life the better, but there is no denying Michael Jackson’s popularity. As a young boy, he was part of the Jackson 5 with his brothers before striking out on his own. While his 1979 debut Off the Wall was a mild success, it paled in comparison to his follow-up album Thriller.
Released in 1982, the album spawned the hits Beat It, Billie Jean, and Thriller, going on to become one of the most successful albums in music history. But the more famous Jackson got, the weirder he became. Possessed with a childlike innocence, Jackson’s skin color changed over time as stories began to emerge about his sleepovers with young boys.
Despite all this, he remained popular with his fans. After almost a decade without new music or shows, Jackson announced the “This Is It” tour in 2009, a final hurrah before he planned on pulling the plug on his career. Three weeks out from the first show Jackson passed from a heart attack related to drugs he was being administered. An estimated 2.5-3 billion people watched his memorial service, with Jackson’s music returning to the top of the charts in the weeks after his death.
The “Godfather of Soul” has somewhat of a troubled life. Dealing with addiction issues and several harassment charges over his life, Brown still managed to stay popular with his fans. Rising to fame in the 50s, Brown captured lightning in a bottle with hits Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine, Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, I Got You (I Feel Good), and It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.
The American singer’s Live at the Apollo album is generally considered one of the greatest live albums of all time. He released 17 number one Billboard R&B Chart hits throughout his lifetime. He passed peacefully on Christmas Day 2006 from congestive heart failure. He was73.
R&B legend Stevie Wonder is still getting it done at the ripe age of 72. Unbelievably the soul singer had his first chart success at 13, with his song Fingertips hitting the top of the Billboard Charts, making him the youngest number one artist in history. Since then Wonder has had several big hits, reaching his cultural peak in the 80s thanks to songs such as I Just Called to Say I Love You, Part-Time Lover, and the Michael Jackson duet Get It.
Although he hasn’t released an album since 2005s A Time to Love, Wonder often pops up on other artists’ tracks. He’s collaborated with the likes of Drake, Snoop Dogg, Elton John, Andrea Bocelli, and John Legend.
The first contemporary artist on this list, Bruno Mars is often described as the modern-day Michal Jackson. Although this is something we think Chris Brown might disagree with. Whatever your opinion on the comparisons, there is no doubting Mars’ popularity. The short-in-stature singer has released three incredibly successful albums that have spawned six number-one Billboard hits.
As well as his own music, Mars features with singer and drummer Anderson .Paak in the band Silk Sonic, with the duo having huge success with the single Leave the Door Open. A fantastic performer whose live shows are always high intensity, Mars is a worthy addition to this list of the most popular male singers.
It’s hard to split the two main Beatles vocalists, but you either lay in the Paul McCartney camp or the John Lennon camp. We love both of them here at but decided to include Lennon on this list. While McCartney’s popularity knows no bounds, the legacy Lennon left behind is immense.
Not only did he write some of the Beatles’ biggest tunes (Hey Jude, Here Comes the Sun, Let It Be, Eleanor Rigby, Don’t Let Me Down, and many more), but his solo work was just as successful. Give Peace a Chance, Instant Karma!, Imagine, and Happy Xmas (War Is Over) are all top ten hits. He was also involved in collaborations with Elton John (Whatever Gets You thru the Night) and David Bowie (Fame).
Sadly Lennon was shot and killed outside his apartment in New York in 1980 at the age of 40. Although taken so young, his legacy lives on through the amazing music he helped create.
Speaking of Elton John, the British singer is another popular artist who has made his mark on the music industry. A musician for 60 years, Elton has a career most would be jealous of. The piano player has released over 30 albums since 1969, selling over 300 million copies combined.
Some of his most notable hits include I’m Still Standing, Your Song, Tiny Dancer, Candle in the Wind, and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Currently coming towards the end of his retirement tour, Elton is still packing out stadiums around the world, a sign of how popular he is after all these years.
After rising up through the ranks of male singers performing in dark clubs around Toronto, The Weekend is now one of the biggest stars on the planet. His brooding lyrics about sex and drugs and lo-fi beat choices brought him to the masses before he went full pop with his sophomore album Beauty Behind the Madness.
At just 32, The Weeknd has already won four Grammy Awards and sold over 75 million albums. He is always in the headlines and much loved by the young generation of music fans.
Listening to Johnny Cash is like delving into his soul, with the legendary singer laying his feelings bare through his introspective lyrics and gravelly baritone. The outlaw country singer lived a hard and fast life that came out in his songs. Nicknamed the “Man in Black” for his love of dressing in all black when on stage, Cash is a country music icon. His songs transcend the genre and are loved by music fans around the world.
I Walk the Line, Ring of Fire, Folsom Prison Blues, Get Rhythm, Boy Named Sue, and Get Porter are just some of his best-known works. As well as his solo material, Cash released music with his wife June and formed the country supergroup The Highwaymen with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson.
In his final years, Cash teamed with Rick Rubin for a series of albums where he covered famous songs by contemporary artists. The most well-received was his take on Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt.
Nobody had a voice like Barry White. His seductive baritone was perfect for the baby-making R&B he crafted. Throughout his career, he released 20 studio albums and close to 60 singles, with the peak of his career coming in the 70s when he released the one-two punch of Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe, and You’re The First, The Last, My Everything.
While the 80s and 90s weren’t as kind to him, White still managed to sell out tours and retain a large fan base. Collaborations with Quincy Jones and Tina Turner kept him in the minds of fans until his death in 2003.
Harry Styles is part of the new breed of singers taking the music industry by storm. Starting his career as a member of One Direction, Styles has easily had the most famous solo career of the group. All three of his albums have topped the US Billboard Charts while singles Sign of the Times, Adore You, Falling, Watermelon Sugar, Golden, and As It Was are all monsters. Selling out tours around the world and currently dating Olivia Wilde, Styles is living the dream.
24 years since he passed and Frank Sinatra still remains a favorite with music lovers across the globe. The Rat Pack member is one of the best-selling artists of all time who was influenced by the great Bing Crosby. Sinatra was one of the most popular entertainers during the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Not only did he release top-charting singles, but he starred in many popular movies and even had his own TV series, The Frank Sinatra Show.
Sinatra won 11 Grammy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, and even an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the movie From Here To Eternity. He also sang the hit song New York, New York, the theme tune to the Martin Scorcese film of the same name. While his ties to the mob meant the FBI kept tabs on him, Sinatra was never arrested. He performed sporadically during the 80s and 90s before passing away in 1998 at the age of 82.
Canadian singer Justin Bieber has gone from a cute YouTube star to selling over 150 million records in the space of 15 years. Discovered by mega record producer Scooter Braun, the Biebs signed with Usher at the 13 and the rest, as they say, is history. Aimed at teens, his debut album became a massive success and drove Bieber to superstardom.
While he experienced a few ups and downs that can be attributed to growing up in the spotlight as a millionaire kid, Bieber is on the straight and narrow these days. 2015 album Purpose is the record that showcases a more mature side to Bieber, and since then he’s delivered nothing but hits.
Jon Bon Jovi
Now he might not be the greatest singer in the world, but there is no doubting the popularity of Jon Bon Jovi. The New Jersey rocker is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and had tremendous success during the 80s as the lead singer of his band Bon Jovi. While their first couple of albums were moderately received, critics and fans went apeshit when Slippery When Wet was released in 1986.
The album is often considered one of the major rock releases of that time period and helped usher in the hair metal era. It contains three top ten Billboard hits, Livin’ on a Prayer, You Give Love a Bad Name, and Wanted Dead or Alive.
In the 90s Bon Jovi released two solo albums in between records with his group. Jon Bon Jovi continues to release albums (four in the past decade) and tour the globe and remains big with rock audiences.
Prince was the ultimate musician. Not only could he hold a tune, but he could play almost any instrument and had the dance moves to match. Possessed with a wide vocal range and a knack for writing huge pop tunes you can’t help but get up and dance along with, Prince will go down as one of the greats.
Although he sadly passed away at just 57, Prince left behind a catalog of music that is almost unmatched. Songs like 1999, Little Red Corvette, Kiss, Purple Rain, and Rasberry Beret are magic and still hold up today. Prince did things his way throughout his entire career and left a lasting legacy unlike any that have come before him.
While not everybody’s cup of tea, there is no doubting the popularity of the ginger one. Shape of You, I Don’t Care, Photograph, Thinking Out Loud, and Perfect are all major hits from Ed Sheeran. Despite only being 31 he already has a career many in the music industry envy.
Similar to Justin Bieber, Sheeran first came to people’s attention via YouTube. He released a couple of independent EPs that charted well in the UK and then played a free gig for over 1,000 fans in Camden Town. This quickly got him noticed by record labels and he soon signed to Asylum Records in 2011.
His career has only come along in leaps and bounds since then, with all of Sheeran’s five albums going straight to number in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Besides music, Sheeran loves Ipswich Football Club and is a supporter of many different charities.