READ List of Famous Bandleaders

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List of famous bandleaders, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top bandleaders in the world? This includes the most prominent bandleaders, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable bandleaders is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic bandleaders were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned bandleaders.

These people, like James Brown and Ray Charles include images when available.

From reputable, prominent, and well known bandleaders to the lesser known bandleaders of today, these are some of the best professionals in the bandleader field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous bandleaders ever?" and "What are the names of famous bandleaders?" then you're in the right place. (629 items)

James Brown is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer-songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer and bandleader. A progenitor of funk music and a major figure of ...more

Emmylou Harris is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Emmylou Harris is an American singer and songwriter. She has released many popular albums and singles over the course of her career, and as of 2015 she has won 13 Grammys as well as numerous ...more

Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Paul Frederic Simon is an American musician, actor and singer-songwriter. Simon's fame, influence, and commercial success began as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, formed in 1964 with ...more

Count Basie is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
William James "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. His mother taught him to play the piano and he started performing in his teens. Dropping ...more

Duke Ellington is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist and bandleader of jazz orchestras. He led his orchestra from 1923, his career spanning over 50 years. Born in ...more

Lawrence Welk is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Lawrence Welk was an American musician, accordionist, bandleader, and television impresario, who hosted The Lawrence Welk Show from 1951 to 1982. His style came to be known to his large number ...more

Chrissie Hynde is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Christine Ellen "Chrissie" Hynde is an American singer, songwriter, and musician best known as the lead singer of the rock band The Pretenders. She has been the only constant member of ...more

Wynton Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Wynton Marsalis is a nominee of 2013 News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Feature Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast.

Lionel Hampton is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Lionel Leo Hampton was an American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, bandleader and actor. Hampton worked with jazz musicians from Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and Buddy Rich to ...more

Herbie Hancock is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer. Starting his career with jazz legend Donald Byrd, he shortly thereafter joined the Miles ...more

Miles Davis is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, together ...more

Little Richard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Richard Wayne Penniman, known by his stage name Little Richard, is an American recording artist, songwriter, and musician. He has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more ...more

Glenn Miller is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Alton Glenn Miller was an American big band musician, arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era. He was the best-selling recording artist from 1939 to 1943, leading one of the best ...more

Jeff Tweedy is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Jeffrey Scot "Jeff" Tweedy is an American songwriter, musician, record producer best known as the leader of the bands Wilco, Tweedy, Golden Smog, Loose Fur, and Uncle Tupelo.

Rick James is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Rick James was an American musician and composer. Influenced by singers such as Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson, James started singing in doo-wop and R&B groups as a teenager in his hometown ...more

Charles Mingus is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Charles Mingus Jr. was a highly influential American jazz double bassist, composer and bandleader. Mingus's compositions retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop and drew heavily from black ...more

John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
John William Coltrane, also known as "Trane", was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the ...more

George Clinton is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
George Clinton is an American singer, songwriter, bandleader, and music producer. He was the principal architect of P-Funk, the mastermind of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic during the 1970s ...more

Paul Shaffer is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Paul Allen Wood Shaffer, CM is a Canadian-American musician, actor, voice actor, author, comedian, and composer who has been David Letterman's musical director, band leader and sidekick since

Bill Wyman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Bill Wyman is an English musician, record producer, songwriter and singer best known as the bassist for the English rock and roll band the Rolling Stones from 1962 until 1993. Since 1997, he has ...more

Benny Goodman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Benjamin David "Benny" Goodman was an American jazz and swing musician, clarinetist and bandleader, known as the "King of Swing". In the mid-1930s, Benny Goodman led one of ...more

Tommy Dorsey is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Thomas Francis "Tommy" Dorsey, Jr. was an American jazz trombonist, trumpeter, composer, and bandleader of the Big Band era. He was known as "The Sentimental Gentleman of ...more

Ricky Skaggs is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Ricky Lee Skaggs is an American country and bluegrass singer, musician, producer, and composer. He primarily plays mandolin; however, he also plays fiddle, guitar, mandocaster and banjo.

Sun Ra is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Sun Ra was an American jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, poet and philosopher known for his "cosmic philosophy," prolific musical output, and performances. He ...more

Ben Folds is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list List of Famous Bandleaders
Benjamin Scott "Ben" Folds is an American singer-songwriter and record producer. From 1995 to 2000, Folds was the frontman and pianist of the alternative rock band Ben Folds Five. ...more