The Beatles were an English rock band, formed in Liverpool in 1960, that comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. They are regarded as the most influential band of all time and were integral to the development of 1960s counterculture and popular music's recognition as an art form. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock 'n' roll, their sound incorporated elements of classical music and traditional pop in innovative ways; the band also explored music styles ranging from folk and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock. As pioneers in recording, songwriting and artistic presentation, the Beatles revolutionised many aspects of the music industry and were often publicised as leaders of the era's youth and sociocultural movements.
Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, and philanthropist. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century. Over a four-decade career, his contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture. Jackson influenced artists across many music genres; through stage and video performances, he popularized complicated dance moves such as the moonwalk, to which he gave the name, as well as the robot. He is the most awarded musician in history.
The eighth child of the Jackson family, Jackson made his public debut in 1964 with his older brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon as a member of the Jackson 5 (later known as the Jacksons). Jackson began his solo career in 1971 while at Motown Records. He became a solo star with his 1979 album Off the Wall. His music videos, including those for "Beat It", "Billie Jean", and "Thriller" from his 1982 album Thriller, are credited with breaking racial barriers and transforming the medium into an artform and promotional tool. He helped propel the success of MTV and continued to innovate with videos for the albums Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995), and Invincible (2001). Thriller became the best-selling album of all time, while Bad was the first album to produce five US Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles.
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1970 by Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals) and Roger Taylor (drums, vocals), later joined by John Deacon (bass). Their earliest works were influenced by progressive rock, hard rock and heavy metal, but the band gradually ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works by incorporating further styles, such as arena rock and pop rock.
Before forming Queen, May and Taylor had played together in the band Smile. Mercury was a fan of Smile and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage and recording techniques. He joined in 1970 and suggested the name "Queen". Deacon was recruited in February 1971, before the band released their eponymous debut album in 1973. Queen first charted in the UK with their second album, Queen II, in 1974. Sheer Heart Attack later that year and A Night at the Opera in 1975 brought them international success. The latter featured "Bohemian Rhapsody", which stayed at number one in the UK for nine weeks and helped popularise the music video format.
Coldplay are a British rock band formed in London in 1997. They consist of vocalist and pianist Chris Martin, guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman, drummer Will Champion and creative director Phil Harvey. They met at University College London and began playing music together from 1997 to 1998, initially calling themselves Starfish.
The Doors were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1965, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore. They were among the most influential and controversial rock acts of the 1960s, partly due to Morrison's lyrics and voice, along with his erratic stage persona. The group is widely regarded as an important figure of the era's counterculture.
Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1982, comprising vocalist Anthony Kiedis, bassist Flea, drummer Chad Smith, and guitarist John Frusciante. Their music incorporates elements of alternative rock, funk, punk rock, hard rock, hip hop, and psychedelic rock. Their eclectic range has influenced genres such as funk metal, rap metal, rap rock, and nu metal. With over 120 million records sold worldwide, Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the best-selling bands of all time. They hold the records for most number-one singles (14), most cumulative weeks at number one (85) and most top-ten songs (25) on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. They have won six Grammy Awards, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, and in 2022 received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Jerrod Bettis is an American music producer, composer, and musician. Bettis has composed songs for Adele, The Lonely Island, Melissa Etheridge, KJ-52, and more. He has also produced work for artists including Hilary Duff, Gavin DeGraw, Needtobreathe, Birdy, Melissa Etheridge, and The Lonely Island.
David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie ( BOH-ee), was an English singer-songwriter and actor. A leading figure in the music industry, he is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Bowie was acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, and his music and stagecraft had a significant impact on popular music.
Bowie developed an interest in music from an early age. He studied art, music and design before embarking on a professional career as a musician in 1963. "Space Oddity", released in 1969, was his first top-five entry on the UK Singles Chart. After a period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with his flamboyant and androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The character was spearheaded by the success of Bowie's single "Starman" and album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which won him widespread popularity. In 1975, Bowie's style shifted towards a sound he characterised as "plastic soul", initially alienating many of his UK fans but garnering him his first major US crossover success with the number-one single "Fame" and the album Young Americans. In 1976, Bowie starred in the cult film The Man Who Fell to Earth and released Station to Station. In 1977, he again changed direction with the electronic-inflected album Low, the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno that came to be known as the "Berlin Trilogy". "Heroes" (1977) and Lodger (1979) followed; each album reached the UK top five and received lasting critical praise.
(Achille) Claude Debussy (French: [aʃil klod dəbysi]; 22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously rejected the term. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Born to a family of modest means and little cultural involvement, Debussy showed enough musical talent to be admitted at the age of ten to France's leading music college, the Conservatoire de Paris. He originally studied the piano, but found his vocation in innovative composition, despite the disapproval of the Conservatoire's conservative professors. He took many years to develop his mature style, and was nearly 40 when he achieved international fame in 1902 with the only opera he completed, Pelléas et Mélisande.
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta ( (listen) STEF-ən-ee JUR-mə-NOT-ə; born March 28, 1986), known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She is known for her image reinventions and musical versatility. Gaga began performing as a teenager, singing at open mic nights and acting in school plays. She studied at Collaborative Arts Project 21, through the New York University Tisch School of the Arts, before dropping out to pursue a career in music. After Def Jam Recordings canceled her contract, she worked as a songwriter for Sony/ATV Music Publishing, where she signed a joint deal with Interscope Records and KonLive Distribution, in 2007. Gaga had her breakthrough the following year with her debut studio album, The Fame, and its chart-topping singles "Just Dance" and "Poker Face". The album was later reissued to include the extended play The Fame Monster (2009), which yielded the successful singles "Bad Romance", "Telephone", and "Alejandro".
Snow Patrol are a Scottish rock band formed in 1994 in Dundee, Scotland. They consist of Gary Lightbody, Nathan Connolly, Paul Wilson, Jonny Quinn (drums), and Johnny McDaid. Initially an indie rock band, Snow Patrol rose to prominence in the early– mid-2000s as part of the post-Britpop movement.
Keane are an English alternative rock band from East Sussex, formed in 1995. They met while at Tonbridge School together. The band currently comprises Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley, Richard Hughes, and Jesse Quin. Their original line-up included founder and guitarist Dominic Scott, who left in 2001.
The Fray is an American rock band from Denver, Colorado, formed in 2002 by schoolmates Isaac Slade and Joe King. Their debut album, How to Save a Life released in 2005, was certified double platinum by the RIAA and platinum in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Their first single, "Over My Head ", became a top ten hit in the United States. Their second single, "How to Save a Life", charted in the top three of the Billboard Hot 100 and was a top 5 single in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Muse are an English rock band from Teignmouth, Devon, formed in 1994. The band consists of Matt Bellamy (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), Chris Wolstenholme (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Dominic Howard (drums).
Muse released their debut album, Showbiz, in 1999, showcasing Bellamy's falsetto and a melancholic alternative rock style. Their second album, Origin of Symmetry (2001), incorporated wider instrumentation and romantic classical influences and earned them a reputation for energetic live performances. Absolution (2003) saw further classical influence, with strings on tracks such as "Butterflies and Hurricanes", and was the first of seven consecutive UK number-one albums.
The xx are an English indie rock band from Wandsworth, London, formed in 2005. The band consists of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim, Jamie Smith, also known as Jamie xx, and formerly Baria Qureshi. They are known for their distinct and minimalist sound that blends indie rock, indie electronic, indie pop, dream pop and electro-rock and the dual vocalist setup of both Croft and Sim. Their music employs soft, echoed guitar, prominent bass, light electronic beats and ambient soundscape backgrounds.
Sir Elton Hercules John is a British singer, pianist and composer. Collaborating with lyricist Bernie Taupin since 1967, John has sold over 300 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He is the most successful solo artist in the history of the U.S. Billboard charts. Acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his work during the 1970s and for his lasting impact on the music industry, his music and showmanship have had a significant impact on popular music. His songwriting partnership with Taupin is one of the most successful in history. John has more than fifty Top 40 hits in the UK Singles Chart and US Billboard Hot 100, including nine number ones in the UK and US, as well as seven consecutive number-one albums in the US. His tribute single to Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997", a rewritten version of his 1974 single, sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling chart single of all time. In 2021, he became the first solo artist with UK Top 10 singles across six decades.
John Winston Ono Lennon was an English singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist who achieved worldwide fame as founder, co-songwriter, co-lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the Beatles. Lennon's work was characterised by the rebellious nature and acerbic wit of his music, writing and drawings, on film, and in interviews. His songwriting partnership with Paul McCartney remains the most successful in history.
Simon & Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They were one of the best-selling music groups of the 1960s, and their biggest hits—including "The Sound of Silence" (1965), "Mrs. Robinson" (1968), "The Boxer" (1969), and "Bridge over Troubled Water" (1970)—reached number one on singles charts worldwide.
Simon and Garfunkel met in elementary school in Queens, New York, in 1953, where they learned to harmonize and began writing songs. As teenagers, under the name Tom & Jerry, they had minor success with "Hey Schoolgirl" (1957), a song imitating their idols, the Everly Brothers. In 1963, aware of a growing public interest in folk music, they regrouped and were signed to Columbia Records as Simon & Garfunkel. Their debut, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., sold poorly; Simon returned to a solo career, this time in England. In June 1965, a new version of "The Sound of Silence" overdubbed with electric guitar and drums became a US AM radio hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The duo reunited to release a second studio album, Sounds of Silence, and tour colleges nationwide. On their third release, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966), they assumed more creative control. Their music was featured in the 1967 film The Graduate, giving them further exposure. Their next album Bookends (1968) topped the Billboard 200 chart and included the number-one single "Mrs. Robinson" from the film.
George Harrison was an English musician and singer-songwriter who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles. Sometimes called "the quiet Beatle", Harrison embraced Indian culture and helped broaden the scope of popular music through his incorporation of Indian instrumentation and Hindu-aligned spirituality in the Beatles' work. Although the majority of the band's songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, most Beatles albums from 1965 onwards contained at least two Harrison compositions. His songs for the group include "Taxman", "Within You Without You", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something". Harrison's earliest musical influences included George Formby and Django Reinhardt; subsequent influences were Carl Perkins, Chet Atkins and Chuck Berry.
Elena Jane Goulding is an English singer and songwriter. Her career began when she met record producers Starsmith and Frankmusik, and she was later spotted by Jamie Lillywhite, who became her manager and A&R. After signing to Polydor Records in July 2009, Goulding released her debut extended play, An Introduction to Ellie Goulding, later that year.
Nineteen Eighty-Four is a dystopian social science fiction novel and cautionary tale by English writer George Orwell. It was published on 8 June 1949 by Secker & Warburg as Orwell's ninth and final book completed in his lifetime. Thematically, it centres on the consequences of totalitarianism, mass surveillance and repressive regimentation of people and behaviours within society. Orwell, a democratic socialist, modelled the authoritarian state in the novel on Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany. More broadly, the novel examines the role of truth and facts within societies and the ways in which they can be manipulated.
The Time Machine is a science fiction novella by H. G. Wells, published in 1895 and written as a frame narrative. The work is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle or device to travel purposely and selectively forward or backward through time. The term "time machine", coined by Wells, is now almost universally used to refer to such a vehicle or device.
The Time Machine has been adapted into three feature films of the same name, as well as two television versions and many comic book adaptations. It has also indirectly inspired many more works of fiction in many media productions.
Wells had considered the notion of time travel before, in a short story titled "The Chronic Argonauts" (1888). This work, published in his college newspaper, was the foundation for The Time Machine.
The Old Man and the Sea is a novella written by the American author Ernest Hemingway in 1951 in Cayo Blanco (Cuba), and published in 1952. It was the last major work of fiction written by Hemingway that was published during his lifetime. One of his most famous works, it tells the story of Santiago, an aging Cuban fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Cuba.
Madame Bovary, originally published as Madame Bovary: Provincial Manners, is a novel by French writer Gustave Flaubert, published in 1856. The eponymous character lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life.
We is a dystopian novel by Russian writer Yevgeny Zamyatin, written 1920–1921. It was first published as an English translation by Gregory Zilboorg in 1924 by E. P. Dutton in New York, with the original Russian text first published in 1952. The novel describes a world of harmony and conformity within a united totalitarian state. It influenced the emergence of dystopia as a literary genre. George Orwell said that Aldous Huxley's 1931 Brave New World must be partly derived from We, although Huxley denied this.
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a 1886 Gothic novella by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. It follows Gabriel John Utterson, a London-based legal practitioner who investigates a series of strange occurrences between his old friend Dr. Henry Jekyll and a murderous criminal named Edward Hyde.