The real kings and queens of the charts

These songwriters may not be household names, but their music is everywhere

Barring catastrophe, Adele's 21 will rack up its 11th straight week at the top of the UK album chart this evening, shattering records for the most weeks at No 1 by a British female artist.

While the numbers are remarkable, there is nothing extraordinary about the reasons for her success. A savvy record company plan and timing have helped but, more than anything else, collaboration with mostly British songwriters who are among the best in the world.

Adele has worked with a heavyweight list that includes Eg White, formerly of Eg and Alice, Florence and the Machine producer Paul Epworth, Ryan Tedder, Semisonic singer Dan Wilson and producer Fraser T Smith. Although they are not are household names, they dominate the charts.

Smith explained that Adele has pulled off the tricky mix of working with several different songwriters without losing her own identity. "She can experiment and work with different people but she is such a strong character than she can put her own personality on each song," he said.

"She knows what she wants to do," White added. "Sometimes I get the impression that I am putting words in people's mouths when writing. I have never had that with her."

Her record company has also played an important role. In 2007, Adele signed to the indie label XL, which gave her time to mature at her own pace. She chooses whom she wants to work with and what singles to release.

None of this would matter without the songs. Here we reveal some of the unsung heroes whose creations dominate the charts.

The author is the news editor of 'Music Week'

Alison Moira Clarkson

The Londoner formerly known as Betty Boo had success as a solo artist in the early 1990s with hits including "Doin' the Do".

Has written for Girls Aloud, Louise Nurding and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

Memorable songs "Pure and Simple" by Hear'Say.

Claim to fame "Pure and Simple", initially rejected by A&R man Simon Cowell, went on to be a record-breaking hit.

Guy Chambers

He worked on soundtracks including Bridget Jones's Diary, Finding Nemo and Love Actually. Also worked with Queen on "We Are the Champions".

Has written for INXS, Kylie Minogue and Melanie C.

Memorable songs "Rock DJ", "Feel", "Millennium", "Let Me Entertain You", and "Angels", all by Robbie Williams.

Claim to fame Williams missed Chambers' input so much he eventually went back to Take That.

Ryan Tedder

Best known as the frontman of the pop-rock band OneRepublic, he has achieved success as an independent songwriter and producer.

Has written for Beyoncé, Far East Movement, Jordin Sparks, Leona Lewis, Adele and Paul Oakenfold.

Memorable songs "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis.

Claim to fame Eight Grammy nominations, three for Beyoncé's "Halo".

Brian Higgins

The production group he leads is called Xenomania, which he shares with Miranda Cooper. They are credited as one of the most influential creators in Noughties pop.

Has written for Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Gabriella Cilmi, Kylie Minogue and Alesha Dixon.

Memorable songs "All I Wanna Do" and "Believe" by Cher.

Claim to fame The go-to guy for everyone from Pet Shop Boys via Kylie to St Etienne.

Fraser T Smith

Smith went to Reading Blue Coat School, where he played with Chemical Brothers' Tom Rowlands and future television presenter Matt Allwright.

Has written for Keane, Adele, Kylie Minogue.

Memorable songs James Morrison's "Broken Strings" and Tinchy Stryder's "Number 1", "Take Me Back" and "Never Leave You".

Claim to fame Has songs on two of the top three albums in the current US chart.

Cathy Dennis

After a relatively successful solo career, Dennis did better by writing other people's songs.

Has written for S Club 7 and Jonas Brothers, among many others.

Memorable songs "Toxic" by Britney Spears and "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry.

Claim to fame Eight UK number ones and five Ivor Novello awards.

Eg White

In 1990 he formed a band with London model and BMX champion Alice Temple called Eg and Alice.

Has written for Duffy, Adele, James Morrison, Joss Stone, Will Young, Pink, Kylie Minogue.

Memorable songs "Once" by Diana Vickers, "Warwick Avenue" by Duffy, "Leave Right Now" by Will Young, "Dirty Business" by Sara Jorge and "Chasing Pavements" by Adele.

Claim to fame Won two Ivor Novello awards and nominated for one Grammy.

Rob Davis

Davis was the guitarist of the 1970s glam band Mud, who had the UK's biggest selling No 1 record of 1974 with "Tiger Feet".

Has written for Spiller, Coco Star, Brooke Hogan and Mika.

Memorable songs "Can't Get You Out of My Head" by Kylie Minogue.

Claim to fame Shared a Grammy with Philip Larsen and Minogue for single "Come into My World".

Dan Wilson

Lead singer of Semisonic, for which he wrote the hits "Secret Smile", "Closing Time" and "Chemistry".

Has written for Dixies Chicks, Nicole Atkins and Adele.

Memorable songs "Someone Like You", by Adele, UK No 1 for the past 10 weeks.

Claim to fame Won a Grammy in 2007 for "Not Ready to Make Nice" by Dixie Chicks.

Amanda Ghost

The British/Indian guitarist had a short solo career and recorded two albums.

Has written for James Blunt, Beyoncé, Jordin Sparks and Daniel Merriweather.

Memorable songs Blunt's "You're Beautiful" and "Beautiful Liar" by Beyoncé and Shakira.

Claim to fame Until recently she was president of Epic Records.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Transformers: Age of Extinction was the most searched for movie in the UK in 2014

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson has had two UK number two singles but never a number one...yet

Arts and Entertainment
Clara Amfo will take over from Jameela Jamil on 25 January

Arts and Entertainment
This is New England: Ken Cheeseman, Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

The most magnificently miserable show on television in a long timeTV
Arts and Entertainment
Andrea Faustini looks triumphant after hearing he has not made it through to Sunday's live final

Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Shenaz Treasurywala
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
    DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
    Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

    How we met

    Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

    Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

    Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month