100 Greatest English and Celtic
Folk Recording Artists

Background: In order to be eligible an artist must have either clearly performed in an English or Celtic folk style or must have been part of the English or Celtic folk scene. Artists from non-folk styles were considered if their music includes obvious folk influences but pure folk artists were given priority. Genres considered for this list include: folk rock, folk pop, folk baroque, celtic rock, celtic pop, celtic new age, folk punk, folk metal, alternative folk, progressive folk, psychedelic folk, freak folk, indie folk, neofolk, folktronica and folk-influenced singer/songwriter styles. The list is comprised of English, (Northern) Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Breton folk artists. It only includes artists who recorded from the second British folk revival onwards (i.e. post-World War II artists).

Criteria: The artists were ranked according to their influence and acclaim within English and Celtic folk circles. Influence and acclaim on other musical genres and mainstream popularity were also considered to a lesser degree.

Last Updated: 2014-01-05
Newly added names are in Red
100 Greatest English and Celtic Folk Recording Artists
  1. Ewan MacColl
  2. The Chieftains
  3. Davy Graham
  4. Shirley (& Dolly) Collins
  5. Fairport Convention
  6. A.L. Lloyd
  7. The Clancy Brothers (& Tommy Makem)
  8. The Watersons
  9. Martin Carthy
10. The Dubliners
11. Bert Jansch
12. Steeleye Span
13. Nick Drake
14. Clannad
15. The Pogues
16. The Copper Family
17. Hamish Henderson
18. Donovan
19. Anne Briggs
20. Billy Bragg
21. Séamus Ennis
22. Richard (& Linda) Thompson
23. John Martyn
24. Planxty
25. Wizz Jones
26. Archie Fisher
27. The Corries
28. The Incredible String Band
29. Alan Stivell
30. Dick Gaughan
31. The Pentangle
32. The Ian Campbell Folk Group
33. Van Morrison
34. Seán Ó Riada/Ceoltóirí Chualann
35. John Renbourn
36. Hamish Imlach
37. The Boys of the Lough
38. Sweeney's Men
39. Ralph McTell
40. Jethro Tull
41. Jeannie Robertson
42. Peggy Seeger
43. The Battlefield Band
44. Horslips
45. Sandy Denny
46. Cyril Tawney
47. June Tabor
48. Christy Moore
49. Harry Cox
50. Loreena McKennitt
51. The Waterboys
52. Ian Matthews/Southern Comfort
53. Strawbs
54. Frankie Armstrong
55. David Gray
56. Damien Rice
57. Alex Campbell
58. The Albion Band
59. Silly Wizard
60. Mary O'Hara
61. Mary Black
62. Eliza Carthy (& the Kings of Calicutt)
63. Jackson C. Frank
64. The Bothy Band
65. Peter Bellamy/The Young Tradition
66. Eddie & Finbar Furey/The Fureys
67. Roy Harper
68. Lindisfarne
69. Nic Jones
70. The Men They Couldn't Hang
71. Dan Ar Braz
72. Eric Bogle
73. The Tannahill Weavers
74. Frances Black
75. Leon Rosselson
76. Renaissance
77. Levellers
78. Louis Killen
79. Al Stewart
80. Dafydd Iwan
81. The McCalmans
82. The Irish Rovers
83. Enya
84. Sam Larner
85. Jean Redpath
86. Mumford & Sons
87. Comus
88. Vashti Bunyan
89. De Danann
90. Oysterband
91. Martin Simpson
92. Laura Marling
93. Moving Hearts
94. Mike Harding
95. Capercaillie
96. The Corrs
97. Altan
98. (Robin &) Barry Dransfield
99. The Clutha
100. Fotheringay

Ewan MacColl and The Chieftains

Honorable Mentions
These artists didn't fit into the Top 100 but deserve at least a mention. They include pure folk artists of marginal importance, well-known pop/rock artists with only slight traces of folk in their music and important band and session musicians.
Afro Celt Sound System
Amazing Blondel
Alistair Anderson/The High Level Ranters
Steve Ashley
Badly Drawn Boy
Barclay James Harvest
Syd Barrett
The Beatles
Big Country
Blackmore's Night
Luka Bloom
Paul Brady
Duncan Browne
Michael Chapman
Dave Cousins
The Cranberries
Current 93
Dando Shaft
Death in June
Four Tet
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly
Gordon Giltrap
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
Clive Gregson & Christine Collister
John Wesley Harding
Mary Hopkin
Hothouse Flowers
Alan Hull
Ashley Hutchings
Andy Irvine
Jan Dukes de Grey
John Kirkpatrick
Led Zeppelin
Jez Lowe (& the Bad Pennies)
Dougie MacLean
Magna Carta
Matt McGinn
Mellow Candle
Matt Molloy
Morris On
Noah and the Whale
Sinéad O'Connor
Beth Orton
Walter Pardon
Patrick Street
(Tim Hart &) Maddy Prior
The Proclaimers
Gerry Rafferty
Eddi Reader
Kate Rusby
The Sallyangie
The Sands Family
Peter Sarstedt
The Saw Doctors
Mick Softley
Bridget St John
Stealers Wheel
Cat Stevens
Meic Stevens
String Driven Thing
Dave Swarbrick
Thin Lizzy
Third Ear Band
Steve Tilston & Maggie Boyle
Tyrannosaurus Rex
Robin Williamson
Brenda Wootton
The Wurzels
The Greatest Collectors of English and Celtic Folk Songs
(from the 19th century onwards)
Cecil Sharp
Francis James Child
Lucy Broadwood
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Sabine Baring-Gould
Alan Lomax
A.L. Lloyd
William Chappell
Séamus Ennis
Edward Bunting
Hamish Henderson
Percy Grainger
Frank Kidson
Breandán Breathnach
William B. Sandys
Peter Douglas Kennedy
Meredydd Evans
Ernest John Moeran
Théodore Hersart de la Villemarqué
George Petrie

More Music Lists