It's vital that pop stars have a healthy ego, given that their job is to stand in front of a huge crowd and try to convince them they're about to have the time of their respective lives, in the company of someone who is sexier, wittier and more talented than anyone for miles. That's the sort of thing you need confidence for.

1. Kanye West

[LISTEN] Kanye West - "Rap is about overcoming hardships"

I am the No.1 most impactful artist of our generation. I am Shakespeare in the flesh

"I open the debate…" Kanye said on Twitter in 2013, "The 2nd verse of New Slaves is the best rap verse of all time… meaning… OF ALL TIME IN THE HISTORY OF RAP MUSIC, PERIOD." That's a relatively calm statement for a man who appears to be incapable of leaving any hyperbole unvaulted over (he's since deleted it).

For example, during a 2009 episode of the VH1 show Storytellers, he starts with a relatively humble thought, then completes it with some superb mirror-kissing: "God chose me. He made a path for me...I am God's vessel. But my greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live."

And while there's no shortage of further examples of his colossal confidence, the full essence of his self-regard in flight is apparent in this excitable claim to Sway on Sirius XM, in 2013: "I am Warhol. I am the No.1 most impactful artist of our generation. I am Shakespeare in the flesh. Walt Disney. Nike. Google."

I am the No.1 most impactful artist of our generation. I am Shakespeare in the flesh

2. Madonna

[LISTEN] Jo Whiley talks to Madonna

I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art

It's easy to be cocky when you're just getting started. So when Madonna was asked on American Bandstand in 1983 what her ambitions might be, she replied, "To rule the world." The remarkable thing is that she succeeded, and on her own terms. In 1991, during the period where she was unassailably the Queen of Pop, she told Vanity Fair: "I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art." And by the time the dust had settled on her peak provocations, like 1992's SEX book, she remained defiant, telling Spin magazine, "Better to live one year as a tiger, than a hundred as sheep."

And in 2007 there was this, a quote given to Sirius XM that borders on the Alan Partridge, but if anyone can style it out, it's Madonna: "For me the best thing in the world is to see something or hear something and go 'damn, I wish I did that, damn, I wish I could do that. That's inspiring'. I want to be like Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, and John Lennon... but I want to stay alive."

I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art

3. Simon Le Bon, Duran Duran

[LISTEN] Simon Le Bon and John Taylor talk to Steve Wright

Everyone who did not arrive on a private jet put your hands in the air

Duran Duran were never a band to suffer doubt and insecurity. And as their fearless lead singer, Simon Le Bon epitomised their bullish confidence and foppish swagger, able to walk up to any microphone in his new romantic finery and own it.

At the band's first gig, he told the audience "We’re Duran Duran, and we want to be the band to dance to when the bomb drops," and he was also the man who asked this question of the ecologically conscious crowd at the 2007 Live Earth concert: "Everyone who did not arrive on a private jet put your hands in the air."

Never apologetic about his band's party lifestyle - telling New York Newsday, "I feel sorry for the 90s, because it was never able to be anything much more than the hangover to the party that was the 80s" - he's also blessed with a Noel Gallagher-style turn of phrase, if this deathless moment of pure cockiness from Rolling Stone is any measure: "I'm not a snob. Ask anybody - well, anybody who matters."

BBC Four - Duran Duran: A Night In

Everyone who did not arrive on a private jet put your hands in the air

4. John Lennon

[LISTEN] Lennon: The Wenner Tapes

If there's such a thing as genius - I am one. And if there isn't, I don't care

The best lead singers undercut the arrogance needed in order to do the job with a tiny smidge of self-effacing humour, just to prove they have their feet on the ground some of the time. John Lennon had more reason than most to consider himself a cut above, and one of the ways he got this across - just like his fellow Beatles - was to remain unsentimental about everything, even claiming - in a 1980 Playboy interview - "I am only interested in what I am doing now".

He added: "I'm not judging whether I Am The Walrus is better or worse than Imagine. It is for others to judge. I am doing it. I do. I don't stand back and judge - I do."

In an infamously scathing interview with Rolling Stone in 1970, he delivered what appears to be a fairly definitive - and very characterful - mission statement on his right to create and perform: "When I was about twelve, I used to think I must be a genius, but nobody's noticed. Either I'm a genius or I'm mad, which is it? 'No,' I said, 'I can't be mad because nobody's put me away; therefore I'm a genius.' Genius is a form of madness and we're all that way. But I used to be coy about it, like me guitar playing. But if there's such a thing as genius — I am one. And if there isn't, I don't care."

If there's such a thing as genius - I am one. And if there isn't, I don't care

5. Lady Gaga

[LISTEN] Lady Gaga on comparisons with Madonna

Some people are just born stars, you either have it or you haven’t, and I was definitely born one

If any pop performer of the last decade has defined the idea that pop stars have to put up a cocky front like a suit of armour before they even leave the house, it's Lady Gaga. From the start she entranced interviewers with cocksure claims like this, in the Sun: "Some people are just born stars, you either have it or you haven’t, and I was definitely born one."And she continued, to the News of the World: "Even as a kid I always had eyes on me, like bees on honey. I was always outrageous and I was always very smart."

She even claimed to have developed exceptional mind powers as part of her drama training, telling New York Magazine: "I don’t know if this is too much…but I can actually mentally give myself an orgasm."

She also told New York that this sense of certainly came from her surroundings and the city that formed her character: "The Lower East Side has an arrogance, a stench. We walk and talk and live and breathe who we are with such an incredible stench that eventually the stench becomes a reality. Our vanity is a positive thing. It’s made me the woman I am today."

Some people are just born stars, you either have it or you haven’t, and I was definitely born one

6. Morrissey

[WATCH] Morrissey at 6 Music Live in 30 Seconds

I wanted not to be ordinary. I wanted to be considered to be a bit peculiar

Morrissey takes a peculiarly self-effacing tack in the lead singer stakes. While absolutely assured of his own worth and abilities - he corrected Russell Brand in a 2006 TV interview, who'd made a reference to performance, saying "I don't perform. Seals perform" - any public comment on his impact on the world is masked by waspish commentary on the uselessness of most other pop performers and a need to stand out.

In the 2003 documentary The Importance of Being Morrissey he said: "I left my fingerprints somewhere - that's good enough. I am my own person - that's good enough. I stand my ground - that's good enough."

A year later, he told the NME: "I think when I was a child, more than anything else I wanted not to be ordinary. And I wanted to be considered to be a bit peculiar. When I was at school I wanted to be peculiar and I was delighted when I was at secondary school and I was actually thought to be peculiar. It was fantastically good for me because I looked around me and I thought, 'Well, however you are I don't want to be like you, so if you think I'm unbalanced then I'm delighted.' That really stayed with me."

I wanted not to be ordinary. I wanted to be considered to be a bit peculiar

7. Grace Jones

One boyfriend told me that I loved myself too much... You can’t love yourself too much

“I’m not fashion, I’m style," is one of the pithiest (and most correct) things ever to fall out of a pop star's mouth. Grace Jones said that to Vogue Italia, and it's one of many stern missives she has directed at the wider world, all of which insist that this is someone who is not to be trifled with.

Her autobiography is even called I'll Never Write My Memoirs, and it is chockfull of cocky wisdom of the sort that belongs on fridge magnets, such as, "If you are lonely when you are alone, you’re in bad company" and “One boyfriend told me that I loved myself too much. I thought, Well, you can love a boyfriend too much, but you can’t love yourself too much. Sometimes you have to love yourself to keep yourself whole.”

Then there's this, the moment she revealed to Joan Rivers in 1984 that she's actually a different species: "I’ve always thought maybe I was a cat. I sort of have cat eyes. They don’t really go with my face. That’s what they used to tell me when I started modeling... So I figured I must have been some kind of cat."

One boyfriend told me that I loved myself too much... You can’t love yourself too much

8. Noel Gallagher

[LISTEN] Noel Gallagher: "There's no place in my music for angst"

Look, I was a superhero in the 90s. I said so at the time

"I talk the talk," Noel Gallagher recently told Mike on Much podcast, "and I only talk the talk because I knew I could back it up... and people'd say 'these f****** arrogant f*****s' and I'd say, 'Yeah, I've just written a song called Champagne Supernova, so..."

Which, if anything, underplays the extent to which Noel talked the talk. He told the Observer in 1995 Oasis were on a mission: "All I ever wanted to do was make a record. Here's what you do: you pick up your guitar, you rip a few people's tunes off, you swap them round a bit, get your brother in the band, punch his head in every now and again and it sells."

And he's more than happy to let everyone know he achieved his aim. In 2006 he told the Guardian: "Look. I was a superhero in the 90s. I said so at the time. McCartney, Weller, Townshend, Richards, my first album's better than all their first albums. Even they'd admit that.”

Look, I was a superhero in the 90s. I said so at the time

9. Prince

[LISTEN] How Prince was responsible for Parental Advisory stickers on records

I had a massive ego. But that’s not such a bad thing... You consider yourself great because you want to be great

Prince didn't give a huge amount of interviews, preferring to let his music do the talking, but the ones he did give illuminated the degree of self-belief he amassed in order to be the performer he was. Reflecting on his early years in 1996, he told NME: "I had a massive ego. Massive. But that’s not such a bad thing. Because at least you’re aspiring to be something, you consider yourself great because you want to be great."

He also had a decent stab at being self-deprecating, but it didn't really work, especially for someone as extravagantly gifted as he was: "I’m no different to anyone. Yes, I have fame and wealth and talent, but I certainly don’t consider myself any better than anyone who has no fame, wealth or talent."

But perhaps the finest example of Prince's Herculean levels of self-belief occurred on the set of Michael Jackson's Bad video. Prince was originally slated to appear as the leader of a rival gang to Michael's, but he walked away for one very specific reason, as he explained in a TV interview with comedian Chris Rock: "You know that Wesley Snipes character? That would've been me. Now you run that video in your mind. The first line in that song is 'your butt is mine'. Now I said to Michael, who's gonna sing that to whom? 'Cause you sure ain't singing it to me and I sure ain't singing it to you so right there we got a problem."

I had a massive ego. But that’s not such a bad thing... You consider yourself great because you want to be great

10. Gene Simmons

[LISTEN] Gene Simmons: "We wear more makeup and high heels than your mummy ever did"

Kiss had become culture, had become iconic... Nobody takes Bono's face and tattoos it on their ass

KISS have a lot going for them - the iconic image, some superb songs, a show which is all explosions and glitter and all the better for it. But to hear bass player and demon Gene Simmons talk, you'd think they were the reason music was first invented. He has strong views on the band's cultural impact, telling the Guardian "There are a lot of famous bands. Kiss had become culture, had become iconic. There were holidays when people dressed like us. Nobody takes Bono's face and tattoos it on their ass."

And telling Time magazine he's not concerned about the haters: “KISS has never looked over its shoulder to see who liked us and who doesn’t. Not everyone liked Jesus, either.”

But perhaps the ultimate Gene Simmons quote is one of the shortest, from an NPR radio interview. Its brevity makes it handy for motivational posters and Facebook memes: "Life is too short to have anything but delusional notions about yourself."

Kiss had become culture, had become iconic... Nobody takes Bono's face and tattoos it on their ass

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