Music

The Best Singers of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated March 18, 2020 2.3M votes 275.3k voters 1.8M views 1,042 items

List Rules Individual singers in any genre. Not bands

Who are the best singers of all time? That's a tough question to ask. This list includes many of the greatest, most famous vocalists ever, from all genres of music. From the old guard to new legends in the making, these talented singers are among the most popular in the world thanks to their commanding live performance and powerful singing voices. Whether it's the incomparable, late, great Whitney Houston with her extraordinary pop and R&B tones or rock icons like Freddie Mercury from Queen, Jim Morrison from The Doors or John Lennon and/or Paul McCartney from The Beatles, this list spans decades of incredible musicians. What singers do you feel are the greatest of all time? What are some of the greatest voices in music? Who's the best singer alive today? Which late powerhouse has cemented their place in history? Vote for your favorites, vote down any you don't like and feel free to rerank this list your way.

Vote: The Best Rock Vocalists

Putting together the top singers in music history is a tall order. Everyone has an opinion. Some might lean more toward rock vocalists as their personal favorite (think Ann Wilson, Stevie Nicks and Mick Jagger), while others might prefer excellent pop or R&B vocalists like the late Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, or even Stevie Wonder, James Brown or Aretha Franklin.

Rank: The Top Female Vocalists of the Last Decade

Country musicians could also easily be included on this list. Musicians like Johnny Cash and Keith Whitley gave new meaning to great vocals with outstanding country songs. Female country artists, including modern era vocalists like Carrie Underwood could also be included. If country's your thing, vote and add away! Now, help decide who are the greatest singers of all time.

list ordered by
1
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Rockabilly; Nationality: United Kingdom
Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991) was a British singer, songwriter, record producer, and lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. Regarded as one of the ...more
2
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Motown Sound, Rock music & Electronic music; Nationality: United States of America
Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is regarded as one of the most significant ...more
3
Frank Sinatra is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Swing music, Traditional pop music & Big band; Nationality: United States of America
Francis Albert Sinatra (; December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer, actor and producer who was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He is ...more
4
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Pop music, Dance-pop & Contemporary R&B; Nationality: United States of America
Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer and actress. She was cited as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records and ...more
5
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Christian music, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America
Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known mononymously as Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th ...more
6
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Rhythm and blues; Nationality: United States of America
Aretha Louise Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist. Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New ...more
7
Adele is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Pop, R&B & Soul; Nationality: England
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (born 5 May 1988) is an English singer-songwriter. After graduating from the BRIT School in 2006, Adele signed a recording contract with XL Recordings. In 2007, she ...more
8
Celine Dion is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Adult contemporary music, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: Canada
Céline Marie Claudette Dion (born 30 March 1968) is a Canadian singer. Born into a large family from Charlemagne, Quebec, she emerged as a teen star in her homeland with a series of ...more
9
Luciano Pavarotti is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
mwahahahaha added Genre: Opera; Nationality: Italy
Luciano Pavarotti (, also US: , Italian: [luˈtʃaːno pavaˈrɔtti]; 12 October 1935 – 6 September 2007) was an Italian operatic tenor who also crossed over into popular music, eventually becoming ...more
10
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Piano rock; Nationality: United Kingdom
Sir Elton Hercules John (born 25 March 1947) is an English singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 ...more
11
Prince is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Hip hop music, Synthpop & New Wave; Nationality: United States of America
Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, actor, and filmmaker. With a career spanning four decades, Prince was ...more
12
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Pop and Contemporary R&B; Nationality: United States of America
Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, record producer, and entrepreneur. Referred to as the "Songbird Supreme" by the Guinness World Records, ...more
13
Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Ballad, Country pop & Pop music; Nationality: United States of America
Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actress, author, businesswoman, and humanitarian, known primarily for her ...more
14
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Synthpop, New Wave & Dance-pop; Nationality: United Kingdom
George Michael (born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou; 25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016) was an English singer, songwriter, record producer, and philanthropist who rose to fame as a member of the ...more
15
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Americana, Blues-rock & Swamp pop; Nationality: United States of America
John Cameron Fogerty (born May 28, 1945) is an American musician, singer, and songwriter. Together with Doug Clifford, Stu Cook, and his brother Tom Fogerty, he founded the band Creedence ...more
16
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Ballad, Swing music & Traditional pop music; Nationality: United States of America
Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996) was an African-American jazz singer sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella. She was noted for her ...more
17
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Rock music, Psychedelic pop & Electronic music; Nationality: United Kingdom
David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie (, BOH-ee), was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry ...more
18
Lady Gaga is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Bobikov1007 added Genre: Pop, Dance & Electronic; Nationality: United States of America
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986), known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She is known for her unconventionality, provocative ...more
19
Bruno Mars is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
jozokatzzo added Genre: Pop, Contemporary R&B & Funk; Nationality: United States of America
Peter Gene Hernandez (born October 8, 1985), known professionally as Bruno Mars, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, multi-instrumentalist, and dancer. He is known for his stage ...more
20
Andrea Bocelli is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
alvaro-rivas added Genre: Adult contemporary music, Pop music & Opera; Nationality: Italy
Andrea Bocelli, OMRI, OMDSM (Italian pronunciation: [anˈdreːa boˈtʃɛlli]; born 22 September 1958) is an Italian opera singer, songwriter, and record producer. Celine Dion has said that "if ...more
21
Louis Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
SarahBrignell added Genre: Swing music, Traditional pop music & Jazz; Nationality: United States of America
Louis Daniel Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971), nicknamed Satchmo, Satch, and Pops, was an American trumpeter, composer, vocalist and occasional actor who was one of the most influential ...more
22
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Disco, Pop music & Dance music; Nationality: United States of America
Diana Ross (born March 26, 1944) is an American singer, actress, and record producer. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group the Supremes, ...more
23
Nat King Cole is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Jump blues, Swing music & Traditional pop music; Nationality: United States of America
Nathaniel Adams Coles (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965), known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American jazz pianist and vocalist. He recorded over one hundred songs that became hits ...more
24
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Genre: Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul & Pop music; Nationality: United States of America
Stevland Hardaway Morris (born May 13, 1950), better known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. A prominent figure in popular music, ...more
25
Jon Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Coolza added Genre: Glam metal, Classic rock & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America
John Francis Bongiovi Jr. (born March 2, 1962), known professionally as Jon Bon Jovi, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, philanthropist, and actor. Bon Jovi is best known as the ...more