Music

The Best Singers of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated April 24, 2020 2.3M votes 278.7k voters 1.9M views 1,043 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
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

More Freddie Mercury 

All About Mary Austin, The Love Of Freddie Mercury's Life #1 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists #926 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

2
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Michael Jackson 

The Best Michael Jackson Songs of All Time The Most Bizarre Things At Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch #15 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

3
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Whitney Houston 

The Best Whitney Houston Albums of All Time #66 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #1 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

4
Frank Sinatra is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Frank Sinatra 

Smooth Facts You Didn't Know About Frank Sinatra The Best Frank Sinatra Songs of All Time #40 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

5
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Elvis Presley 

The Best Elvis Presley Songs of All Time #19 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists #141 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

6
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Aretha Franklin 

You Will R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Aretha Franklin Even More When You Hear About Her Remarkable Life The Best Aretha Franklin Albums of All Time #441 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

7
Adele is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Adele 

Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Adele #73 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #1 of 218 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years

8
Celine Dion is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Celine Dion 

The Best Celine Dion Songs #144 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #179 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

9
Luciano Pavarotti is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
mwahahahaha added
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

More Luciano Pavarotti 

#136 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #241 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #95 of 146 The Greatest Opera Singers of All Time

10
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Elton John 

The Best Elton John Albums of All Time #4 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #94 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

11
Prince is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Prince 

The Best Prince Songs of All Time #9 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists #279 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

12
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Mariah Carey 

The Best Mariah Carey Songs of All Time #235 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists #421 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

13
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More George Michael 

#66 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists #114 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #149 of 398 The Best Frontmen in Rock

14
Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Dolly Parton 

Dolly Parton's Humble Roots Explain Her Down-Home Charm #28 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #4 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

15
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Ella Fitzgerald 

The Best Ella Fitzgerald Albums of All Time How Marilyn Monroe And Ella Fitzgerald's Friendship Gave Them Both Their Careers #217 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

16
Lady Gaga is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Bobikov1007 added
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

More Lady Gaga 

Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Lady Gaga #159 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #2 of 218 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years

17
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More John Fogerty 

The Best John Fogerty Albums of All Time #81 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #22 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists

18
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More David Bowie 

The Behind-The-Scenes Rivalry And Making Of 'Under Pressure' #6 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists #84 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

19
Andrea Bocelli is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
alvaro-rivas added
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

More Andrea Bocelli 

The Greatest Andrea Bocelli Duets Ever #912 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #142 of 146 The Greatest Opera Singers of All Time

20
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Stevie Wonder 

The Best Stevie Wonder Albums of All Time #102 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #9 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

21
Bruno Mars is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
jozokatzzo added
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

More Bruno Mars 

The Best Bruno Mars Albums, Ranked The Best Songs Ft. Bruno Mars #360 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

22
Louis Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
SarahBrignell added
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

More Louis Armstrong 

The Best Louis Armstrong Albums of All Time #19 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #38 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive

23
Nat King Cole is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Nat King Cole 

The Best Nat King Cole Albums of All Time #281 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #106 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive

24
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
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

More Diana Ross 

#109 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists #1,020 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #30 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

25
Jon Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Singers of All Time
Coolza added
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

More Jon Bon Jovi 

#40 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #25 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists #557 of 2,205 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time