Singers The Best Singers of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
1.8M votes 247.9k voters 1.6M views 1,242 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 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 ordered by

40,263 28,550
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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

27,515 25,920
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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

21,682 23,605
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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

18,825 22,334
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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

15,977 18,645
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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

12,640 17,002
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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

14,965 19,887
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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

9,808 16,044
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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

10,070 17,201
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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

9,349 17,337
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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

11,350 14,177
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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

9,548 14,901
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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

9,235 14,179
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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

7,689 13,045
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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

8,039 14,367
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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

10,676 15,298
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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

7,026 11,868
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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

7,357 13,025
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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

6,563 11,780
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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

5,989 10,299
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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

9,772 11,901
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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

7,103 12,357
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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

8,528 13,667
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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

6,098 8,550
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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

6,369 8,279
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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