Popular Opinion The Best Singers of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
1.8M votes 247.4k voters 1.6M 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

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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

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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

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21,585 23,521
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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

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18,735 22,242
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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

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15,889 18,597
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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

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12,571 16,946
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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

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14,887 19,806
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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

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9,750 15,988
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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

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10,019 17,133
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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

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9,306 17,271
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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

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9,501 14,847
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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

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11,290 14,121
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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

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9,174 14,136
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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

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7,654 13,005
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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

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8,006 14,323
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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

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10,623 15,243
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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

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7,000 11,839
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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

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7,321 12,989
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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

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6,536 11,749
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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

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5,956 10,276
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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

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9,739 11,864
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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

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7,084 12,317
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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

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8,493 13,623
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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

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6,056 8,518
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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

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6,332 8,261
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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

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5,590 9,462
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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

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5,847 9,683
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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

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4,871 9,672
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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

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4,656 9,980
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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

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5,354 9,790
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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

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3,669 6,095
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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

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4,797 8,124
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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

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5,311 8,536
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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

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4,406 7,567
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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

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4,198 8,865
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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

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4,564 8,877
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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

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4,428 7,144
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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

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3,338 4,995
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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

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4,302 8,996
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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

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3,362 5,437
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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

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3,595 7,144
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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

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3,536 5,255
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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

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3,164 4,588
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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

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4,165 8,750
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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

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2,696 4,160
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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

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3,055 6,057
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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

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3,377 6,532
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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

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4,257 8,077
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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

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5,583 9,388
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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

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3,396 5,683
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Rock music, Swing music, Rockabilly Virginia Patterson Hensley, known professionally as Patsy Cline, was an American singer. Part of the early 1960s Nashville sound, Cline successfully "crossed over" to pop music. She ...more