Popular Opinion The Best Singers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
1.8M votes 247.3k voters 1.4M views 1,251 items

List Rules Individual singers in any genre. Not bands

Editor's Note: Voting and Reranking have been closed.

Who are the best singers of all time? That's a tough question to ask. This list includes many of the greatest vocalists ever, from all genres of music. 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? 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 voting closed

1
39,997 28,461
Ranker Video
Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly Freddie Mercury was a British singer, songwriter and producer, best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Queen. As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona ...more

2
27,366 25,824
Ranker Video
Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor. Called the King of Pop, his contributions to music and dance, along with his publicized personal ...more

3
21,582 23,515
Ranker Video
Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B Whitney Elizabeth Houston was an American singer, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston is one of pop ...more

4
18,735 22,240
Ranker Video
Christian music, Pop music, Rock music Elvis Aaron Presley was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as "the King of Rock and ...more

5
15,888 18,595
Ranker Video
Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer, actor, director, and producer. Beginning his musical career in the swing era as a boy singer with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, ...more

6
12,570 16,945
Ranker Video
Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues Aretha Louise Franklin was an American singer and songwriter. She began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father, C. L. Franklin, was ...more

7
14,886 19,805
Ranker Video
Southern soul, Neo soul, Rock music Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, MBE is a British singer and songwriter. Adele was given a recording contract by XL Recordings after a friend posted her demo on Myspace in 2006. In 2007, she received ...more

8
9,748 15,988
Ranker Video
Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music Stevland Hardaway Morris, known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. A child prodigy, he has become one of ...more

9
10,018 17,133
Ranker Video
Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music John Winston Ono Lennon MBE was an English singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the band the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of ...more

10
9,305 17,271
Ranker Video
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock Sir James Paul McCartney MBE is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. With John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, he gained worldwide fame as a member of the ...more

11
11,289 14,121
Ranker Video
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music Celine Dion is a Canadian Singer born on March 30, 1968. She entered the music industry at an early age. She has won a lot of awards over the last two decades and is one of the most famous ...more

12
9,500 14,847
Ranker Video
Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music David Bowie is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, and actor. He is also a painter and collector of fine art. Bowie has been a major figure in the ...more

13
9,173 14,136
Ranker Video
Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock Sir Elton Hercules John CBE is an English singer, songwriter, composer, pianist, record producer, and occasional actor. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriter partner since ...more

14
7,653 13,005
Ranker Video
Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music Marvin Gaye was an American singer, songwriter and musician. Gaye helped to shape the sound of Motown Records, first as an in house session player in the 1960s and later as a solo artist with a ...more

15
8,005 14,323
Ranker Video
Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock Robert Anthony Plant, CBE is an English musician, singer, and songwriter best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Led Zeppelin. Possessing a powerful and wide vocal range he ...more

16
10,622 15,243
Ranker Video
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B Mariah Carey is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and occasional actress. She rose to prominence after releasing her self-titled debut studio album Mariah Carey in 1990; it went ...more

17
6,999 11,839
Ranker Video
Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music Ella Jane Fitzgerald was an American jazz singer often referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and ...more

18
7,320 12,988
Ranker Video
Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana John R. "Johnny" Cash was a singer-songwriter, actor, and author, widely considered one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century. Although primarily remembered as ...more

19
9,738 11,862
Ranker Video
Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, widely known by his stage name George Michael, is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. Michael rose to superstardom during the ...more

20
6,535 11,748
Ranker Video
Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music Ray Charles Robinson, professionally known as Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician and composer, who is sometimes referred to as "The Genius". He pioneered the ...more

21
5,955 10,275
Ranker Video
Jump blues, Swing music, Traditional pop music Nathaniel Adams Coles, known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American singer who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. He was widely noted for his soft, baritone voice, ...more

22
7,083 12,316
Ranker Video
Adult contemporary music, Show tune, Traditional pop music Barbra Joan Streisand is an American singer, songwrighter, actress, director, writer, composer, producer, designer, author, photographer, and activist. During a career spanning six decades, she ...more

23
8,492 13,626
Ranker Video
Hip hop music, Bubblegum pop, Rock music Christina María Aguilera is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Born in Staten Island, New York and raised in Rochester and Wexford, Pennsylvania, she appeared on the television ...more

24
6,055 8,521
Ranker Video
Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave Prince Roger Nelson, known by his mononym Prince, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actor. A major figure in popular music for over three decades, Prince is renowned ...more

25
6,331 8,259
Ranker Video
mwahahahaha added Opera Luciano Pavarotti, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was an Italian operatic tenor who also crossed over into popular music, eventually becoming one of the most commercially successful tenors of all ...more

26
5,589 9,460
Ranker Video
Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues Anna Mae Bullock, known by her stage name Tina Turner, is a singer, dancer, actress, and author, whose career has spanned more than half a century, earning her widespread recognition and ...more

27
5,846 9,682
Ranker Video
Coolza added Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul Amy Jade Winehouse was an English singer and songwriter known for her deep vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul, rhythm and blues, jazz and reggae. Winehouse's 2003 ...more

28
4,870 9,671
Ranker Video
Country pop, Pop music, Rock music Roy Kelton Orbison, also known by his nickname The Big O, was an American singer-songwriter, best known for his trademark sunglasses, distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions, and dark ...more

29
4,655 9,979
Ranker Video
Blues-rock, Rock music, Acid rock James Douglas "Jim" Morrison was an American singer, poet and songwriter best remembered as the lead vocalist of the Doors. Due to his songwriting, baritone voice, wild personality and ...more

30
5,353 9,789
Ranker Video
Pop music, Soft rock Karen Anne Carpenter was an American singer and drummer. She and her brother, Richard, formed the 1970s duo Carpenters. Although her skills as a drummer earned admiration from drumming ...more

31
3,669 6,098
Ranker Video
Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner CBE, known on stage as Sting, is an English musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, activist, actor and philanthropist. He was principal songwriter, lead ...more

32
4,796 8,127
Ranker Video
Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music William Martin "Billy" Joel is an American pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer. Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man", in 1973, Joel has become the sixth ...more

33
5,311 8,539
Ranker Video
Swing music, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz Dean Martin was an American singer, actor, comedian, and film producer. One of the most popular and enduring American entertainers of the mid-20th century, Martin was nicknamed the "King of ...more

34
4,405 7,570
Ranker Video
Reggae Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley OM was a Jamaican reggae singer-songwriter, musician, and guitarist who achieved international fame and acclaim. Starting out in 1963 with the group the ...more

35
4,564 8,876
Ranker Video
Blue-eyed soul, New Wave, Pop music Annie Lennox, OBE, born Ann Lennox, is a Scottish singer, songwriter, political activist and philanthropist. After achieving moderate success in the late 1970s as part of the new wave band The ...more

36
4,197 8,868
Ranker Video
Torch song, Ballad, Swing music Billie Holiday was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing. ...more

37
4,428 7,147
Ranker Video
Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock Stephen Ray "Steve" Perry is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and musician, best known as the lead vocalist of rock band Journey during their most commercially ...more

38
3,338 4,998
Ranker Video
SarahBrignell added Swing music, Traditional pop music, Jazz Louis Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter, singer, and an influential figure in jazz music. Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an "inventive" trumpet ...more

39
3,362 5,439
Ranker Video
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul Alicia Augello Cook, known by the pseudonym Alicia Keys, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. Keys released her debut album with J Records, having had previous record ...more

40
4,301 8,999
Ranker Video
Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music Janis Lyn Joplin was an American singer-songwriter who first rose to fame in the late 1960s as the lead singer of the acid rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company, and later as a solo ...more

41
3,536 5,259
Ranker Video
Bobikov1007 added Pop music, Rock music, Electronic music Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American singer and songwriter. She initially performed in theater, appearing in high school plays, and ...more

42
3,595 7,147
Ranker Video
Southern soul, Soul blues, Rock music Otis Ray Redding, Jr. was an American singer-songwriter, record producer, arranger and talent scout. He is considered one of the greatest singers in the history of American popular music and a ...more

43
3,164 4,593
Ranker Video
tygreg1996 added Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock Paul Frederic Simon is an American musician, actor and singer-songwriter. Simon's fame, influence, and commercial success began as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, formed in 1964 with ...more

44
2,696 4,163
Ranker Video
utsavshrestha added Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she performed in various singing and dancing competitions as a child, and ...more

45
4,164 8,750
Ranker Video
Coolza added Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music Philip David Charles "Phil" Collins, LVO, is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, music producer and actor. He gained fame as both the drummer and lead singer for the ...more

46
4,256 8,077
Ranker Video
Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music Stephanie Lynn "Stevie" Nicks is an American singer-songwriter, best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac and an extensive solo career, which collectively have produced over forty Top ...more

47
3,055 6,061
Ranker Video
Blues-rock, Rock music, Dance-rock Sir Michael Philip Jagger, better known as Mick Jagger, is an English singer, songwriter and one time actor, best known as the lead singer and a founder member of The Rolling Stones. Jagger's ...more

48
3,376 6,535
Ranker Video
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz Samuel "Sam" Cooke was an American recording artist and singer-songwriter, generally considered among the greatest of all time. Influential as both a singer and composer, he is ...more

49
2,030 2,576
Ranker Video
alvaro-rivas added Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Opera Andrea Bocelli, OMRI, OMDSM is an Italian classical tenor, recording artist and singer-songwriter. Born with poor eyesight, he became blind at the age of 12. Bocelli has recorded fourteen solo ...more

50
5,583 9,391
Ranker Video
malmrphy added Pop music, Rock music, Electronic music Madonna Louise Ciccone is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. She achieved popularity by pushing the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream popular music and imagery ...more