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24 September 2014
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The One And Only...


The musical superstars


The men

 

Elton John

 

Multiple Grammy and Academy Award-winning singer, songwriter and pianist, Sir Elton John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in 1947.

 

A former student of the Royal Academy of Music in London, Elton began his career with the band Bluesology. Taking his stage name from saxophonist Elton Dean and front man Long John Baldry, Elton went on to form a fruitful partnership with co-writer Bernie Taupin and make an astonishing 14 albums between 1970 and 1976.

 

Elton was the biggest selling pop act of the Seventies and has sold more albums in the UK and US than any other British male singer. He is also the only British act to enter the US singles chart at number one and to have recorded the first two albums to enter the US chart at number one.

 

Did You Know? Elton is the only act to have charted in the UK and US every year between 1971 and 1999. Elton received a knighthood from Her Majesty The Queen in 1998. In 1994, Elton collaborated with Tim Rice to compose music for Disney's The Lion King.

 

Frank Sinatra

 

Ol' Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra was perhaps the most iconic American entertainer of the 20th Century. Born in 1915 in New Jersey, it was Frank's mother who pushed him to join a band called the Hoboken Four.

 

His first US number one was in 1940 with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in a career that spanned 58 years in all. By the time of his death in 1998, Frank had amassed 34 US gold albums. The first teen idol, Frank enjoyed seven UK number ones and has scored more US Top Ten LPs than any other soloist to date.

 

The peak of Frank's career was the Fifties when he toured internationally and was one of the infamous Rat Pack. As well as being a singer, Frank was an award-winning actor, and the first recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

Did You Know? The phrase "the best is yet to come" is on Frank Sinatra's tombstone.

 

Lionel Richie

 

Singer, composer and producer Lionel Richie began his career as lead singer and saxophonist of the popular soul group The Commodores.

 

After 12 years with the group, Lionel embarked on a solo career and in the process became one of the most successful US songwriters of the Eighties, with at least one US chart-topper per year for a record nine successive years.

 

His 1983 album Can't Slow Down gave the international superstar two Grammy awards. In 1986, Lionel won an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for Say You, Say Me.

 

Did You Know? Lionel won a tennis scholarship at university. His adopted daughter is The Simple Life star Nicole Richie.

 

Robbie Williams

 

Teen idol and multi-award winning vocalist and songwriter Robbie started his career when he auditioned for a new boy band called Take That.

 

Formed in 1990, the band sold nine million albums and generated Beatles-type hysteria from fans. When he went solo, Robbie's career went stratospheric. In 2002, it was reported that Robbie had secured a record-breaking deal with EMI worth £80million. And when he performed three concerts at Knebworth in 2003 he attracted over 375,000 fans, setting a record for attendance at the venue.

 

The feisty Stoke-on-Trent lad has sold more albums in the UK than any other British solo artist in history, has won more BRITs than any other artist to date, and was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004.

 

Did You Know? Robbie has his own football team – LA Vale – which started off as a kick-about with mates in the back garden of his Los Angeles home.

 

Rod Stewart

 

World-renowned rock and roller Rod Stewart has one of the most distinctive, husky voices in rock history. His career has endured for over 30 years to date, from recognition as part of The Faces through to his solo success.

 

In the UK, Rod has scored 28 Top Ten LPs, including seven number ones. In the US, he is one of the top-selling UK artists of all time. Rod famously dated actress Britt Ekland, was once married to model Rachel Hunter and is now married to model Penny Lancaster.

 

Did You Know? Rod Stewart has seven children. Rod has won an Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award in the UK as well as a Grammy Living Legend Award in the US.

 

The women

 

Cher

 

Since her debut in 1965, Cher has established herself as an enduring pop icon and one of the most successful female artists in music history.

 

At 16, as an aspiring actress, Cher met her future husband Sonny in a coffee shop and became one half of the most successful husband and wife duo in music history.

 

In 1965, Sonny and Cher released their album Look At Us, which contained the smash hit I Got You Babe and reached number one on the US Billboard chart. Sonny and Cher also enjoyed TV stardom with their own show featuring guest appearances from The Jackson Five and Ronald Reagan, among others.

 

At 41, Cher revived her pop career with her hit If I Could Turn Back Time and at 52 became the oldest female solo singer to top the singles chart with her best-selling single Believe. Cher has also forged a career as a successful actress, winning an Academy Award for her role in Moonstruck.

 

Did You Know? Some networks considered not airing Cher's video for If I Could Turn Back Time because of the revealing one-piece risqué outfit that she wears in it.

 

Diana Ross

 

Diana Ross is the perennially popular ex-member of The Supremes, one of the most successful girl groups of all time.

 

Born in Detroit in 1944, Diane Earle, along with fellow Supremes Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, amassed a dozen US number ones and they became the first female trio to top the UK singles chart.

 

Diana went solo in 1970 and continued to sing lead on at least one hit every year for a record 33 years. She has had more albums in the UK chart than any other American female artist.

 

Did You Know? Diana has enjoyed a staggering 22 US Top Five entries during her career.

 

Dusty Springfield

 

With a career that spanned four decades, Dusty Springfield (or Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien) was one of Britain's leading female vocalists of the Sixties. Her career began with the vocal group The Lana Sisters and then pop-folk band, The Springfields.

 

In 1963, Dusty released her first single I Only Want to Be With You and reached the UK Top Ten, just three weeks after The Springfields had disbanded. Her solo success continued with numerous transatlantic hits including I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself and Son Of A Preacher Man.

 

Did You Know? During the Sixties, Dusty was regularly voted the UK's Top Female Singer.

 

Kylie Minogue

 

Pop princess Kylie Minogue began her musical career whilst still playing tomboy car mechanic Charlene in the popular Australian soap Neighbours in 1987.

 

Her first single, I Should Be So Lucky, was the UK's biggest hit of 1988 and gave Kylie her first top 40 hit in the US.

 

The album Kylie reached the number one position both in the UK and Australia, and gave Kylie several chart-topping singles. Never before had an artist reached such chart heights in both countries.

 

Following that album, Kylie had 13 successive Top Ten entries and has enjoyed the longest span of UK number one singles of any female solo artist. Her single Can't Get You Out Of My Head is her best-selling to date, having spent a massive 25 weeks in the UK charts alone.

 

With 29 Top Ten singles, Kylie is the second most successful woman in the British singles charts after Madonna. Following her recent recovery from breast cancer, Kylie is back to her best and is performing again. The fact that tickets for her 2008 UK dates sold out in 30 minutes is a testament to her popularity.

 

Did You Know? Kylie won a Grammy in 2004 for Come Into My World. The award-winner also has a Welsh heritage as her mum is from Wales.

 

Madonna

 

Singer, actress, fashion icon, song and film producer, multiple Grammy and Golden Globe award-winner, a founder member of the UK Music Hall of Fame... the accolades are endless!

 

Madonna is the most successful female chart artist in the UK and the US, and has enjoyed more UK number one singles than any other female solo artist.

 

She remains unrivalled with her record of over 30 consecutive Top Ten hits. The 28 US dates of her Drowned World Tour grossed £40million – the highest figure for a female performer in 2001.

 

The Queen of Pop has never been afraid to court controversy, whether in her music videos or the use of political, sexual and religious themes in her work.

 

Did You Know? As an actress, Madonna has starred in over 20 films, including Dick Tracy, Desperately Seeking Susan and the James Bond film Die Another Day.

 


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