Music
21.7k voters

The Greatest Women in Music, 1980s to Today

Updated March 18, 2020 250.3k votes 21.7k voters 435.6k views188 items

List RulesFemale artist who have had major impact in the 1980s, 1990s, and/or, the 2000s.

The greatest female artist since the 1980s are ranked and voted on through this countdown. In 1998, VH1 ranked the greatest women in rock, from the beginning of music all the way to the 1990s as voted on by fellow female artists. On this list, we ask music fans to rank the greatest female singers and artists who have made music and were active for the last thirty years. These women were chosen not only for their talent, but for their popularity and cultural impact on music. Among these women are 80s female singers like Madonna, who changed the landscape and format of pop music forever, as well as pop stars like Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Cher, Tina Turner, Joan Jett, and Stevie Nicks, who were recognized for their amazing contributions to their respective genres.

See also: the best current female singers and female singers you wish you could sing like

Fans, remember to only view each artist for their work made since the 1980s. Anything before that is completely irrelevant. The music scene began to shift in the '80s, and since then, video and imagery played a part in how people viewed or recognized music. The impact of 80s girl singers on pop culture was not only musical, but aesthetic as well. Some have had major impact because of their videos. Others because of their vocal ability. Many for their everlasting popularity. Either way, these famous artists will never be forgotten for the lasting impression they made on the music world. And this list salutes these particular 80s women and those to come after, so feel free to vote, music fans, to see which female artist left the biggest mark in music history.

Photo:
...more
  • 1
    3,118
    2,867

    More Whitney Houston 

    The Best Whitney Houston Albums of All Time#964 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time

  • 2
    3,778
    3,910

    More Madonna 

    The Best Madonna Albums of All Time#387 of 739 The Best Singers Of All Time

  • 3
    2,641
    2,721

    More Tina Turner 

    The Best Tina Turner Songs#12 of 22 People Are Tweeting Stories About The Nicest Celebrity They Ever Met And It Is Incredibly Wholesome

  • 4
    2,052
    2,157

    More Stevie Nicks 

    Fascinating Stories From Stevie Nicks’s Love Life#36 of 216 The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time

  • 5
    2,382
    2,370

    More Celine Dion 

    The Best Celine Dion Songs#11 of 64 The Best Eurovision Song Contest Winners, Ranked

  • 6

    More Christina Aguilera 

    The Best Christina Aguilera Albums of All Time#39 of 109 The Greatest '90s Teen Stars

  • 7
    1,667
    1,387

    More Aretha Franklin 

    The Best Aretha Franklin Albums of All Time#55 of 162 1970s Christian Pop Artists

  • 8
    2,915
    3,470

    More Mariah Carey 

    The Best Mariah Carey Albums of All Time#187 of 489 The Best Rock Vocalists

  • 9
    1,786
    2,190

    More P!nk 

    P!nk Quotes That Prove She's Even More Amazing Than You Already Knew17 Reasons P!nk Is The Coolest Pop Star In Hollywood

  • 10
    1,404
    1,750

    More Pat Benatar 

    The Best Pat Benatar Albums of All Time#697 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021

  • 11
    2,121
    2,701

    More Adele 

    The Best Adele Albums, Ranked#329 of 357 The Most Beautiful Women Of 2021, Ranked

  • 12
    1,791
    2,081

    More Cher 

    The Best Cher Albums of All Time#243 of 349 The Best Actresses In Film History

  • 13
    1,863
    2,397

    More Cyndi Lauper 

    The Best Cyndi Lauper Songs#95 of 362 The Greatest Entertainers Of All Time

  • 14
    1,610
    2,152

    More Annie Lennox 

    The Best Annie Lennox Albums of All Time#31 of 178 The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band

  • 15
    840
    1,051

    More Diana Ross 

    #181 of 186 The Greatest Actresses Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)#21 of 100 The Greatest Motown Artists Of All Time

  • 16
    1,102
    1,117

    More Dolly Parton 

    26 Weird And Charming Facts About Dolly PartonStories We Learned About Dolly Parton That Made Us Say, 'Really??'

  • 17
    1,321
    1,585
    Queen of disco

    More Donna Summer 

    The Best Donna Summer Albums of All Time#217 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

  • 18
    1,469
    2,059

    More Amy Winehouse 

    ‘Amy’ Is A Deeply Upsetting Documentary That Forced Us To Re-Examine Her Tragedy#2 of 29 Members of The 27 Club

  • 19
    2,047
    2,916

    More Britney Spears 

    The Most Cringeworthy Moments Revealed In The 'Framing Britney Spears' DocumentaryThe Britney Spears Fake Singing Conspiracy, Explained

  • 20
    1,587
    2,311

    More Lady Gaga 

    Glamorous Lady Gaga Interviews That Remind Us Why She's Our Favorite 'AHS' Cast Member#183 of 244 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities In The World

  • 21
    1,352
    1,973

    More Debbie Harry 

    #30 of 298 The Best Frontmen in Rock#17 of 17 The Most Infamous Rock and Roll Urban Legends

  • 22

    More Kylie Minogue 

    The Best Kylie Minogue Albums of All Time#947 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

  • 23

    More Jackie Evancho 

    #29 of 198 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years#11 of 90 The Greatest Sopranos of All Time

  • 24
    1,053
    1,520

    More Sade Adu 

    #211 of 465 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s#334 of 359 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

  • 25
    1,263
    1,840

    More Shania Twain 

    The Best Shania Twain Songs#92 of 227 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters