149.2k voters

The Best Female Vocalists Ever

Updated November 6, 2020 1.8m votes 149.2k voters 2.0m views497 items

List RulesVote up the singers who can bring the best music to your ears with their voices.

List of the best female singers of all time, ranked by music fans and casual critics like you. Who are the greatest female vocalists ever? This list includes all the famous female singers from Aretha Franklin to Stevie Nicks to Christina Perri – those great women in music who have topped the charts for decades, and perhaps landed them a Rolling Stone cover or two. Both solo singers and famous frontwomen in bands are among those on this list, as it is their voices to focus on here, not just their careers. From the celebrated divas of the old guard, to the most popular artists of today, this list aims to celebrate the women whose powerful songs and strong live presence have earned them their spot in history. 

Vote: The Greatest Women in Music, 1980s to Today

This list of the top female singers are both living, like Adele and Madonna, and long gone, like Nico and Amy Winehouse, though their albums and singles continue to sell to loyal and new audiences, be they American or located elsewhere in the world. Vote up those great female voices you think should be at the top of the list, and vote down those who you think come in a bit flat. Click "rerank" to make a list of your own!

Rank: The Best Singers of All Time

  • 1

    Whitney Houston

    Pop music, Dance-pop

    See: The Best Albums Of Whitney Houston

    More Whitney Houston 

    The Best Whitney Houston Albums of All Time#43 of 272 The Sexiest Musical Artists of All Time

  • 2

    Aretha Franklin

    Pop music, Rock music

    See: The Best Albums Of Aretha Franklin

    More Aretha Franklin 

    The Best Aretha Franklin Albums of All Time#55 of 162 1970s Christian Pop Artists

  • 3

    Karen Carpenter

    Pop music, Soft rock

    See: The Best Carpenters Albums of All Time

    More Karen Carpenter 

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  • 4

    Celine Dion

    Adult contemporary music, Pop music

    See: The Best Songs Of Celine Dion

    More Celine Dion 

    The Best Celine Dion Songs#10 of 65 The Best Eurovision Song Contest Winners, Ranked

  • 5

    Mariah Carey

    Pop, Contemporary R&B

    See: The Best Mariah Carey Songs

    More Mariah Carey 

    The Best Mariah Carey Songs of All Time#329 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

  • 6

    Ella Fitzgerald

    Ballad, Swing music

    See: The Best Albums Of Ella Fitzgerald

    More Ella Fitzgerald 

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  • 7


    Pop, R&B

    See: The Best Adele Music Videos 

    More Adele 

    The Best Adele Albums, Ranked#2 of 132 Current Singers You Most Wish You Could Sound Like

  • 8

    Billie Holiday

    Torch song, Ballad

    See: The Best Songs Of Billie Holiday

    More Billie Holiday 

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  • 9

    Linda Ronstadt

    New Wave, Rock music

    See: The Best Albums Of Linda Ronstadt

    More Linda Ronstadt 

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  • 10

    Gladys Knight

    Rhythm and blues, Soul music

    More Gladys Knight 

    #9 of 74 Mormon Celebrities#98 of 489 The Best Rock Vocalists

  • 11

    Dolly Parton

    Ballad, Country pop

    See: The Best Songs of Dolly Parton

    More Dolly Parton 

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  • 12

    Nina Simone

    Folk music, Rhythm and blues

    See: The Best Albums of Nina Simone

    More Nina Simone 

    The Best Nina Simone Albums of All Time#42 of 225 The Best Blues Artists of All Time

  • 13

    Ann Wilson

    Rock music, Folk rock

    More Ann Wilson 

    #16 of 298 The Best Frontmen in Rock#77 of 216 The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time

  • 14

    Christina Aguilera

    Hip hop music, Bubblegum pop

    See: The Best Songs Of Christina Aguilera

    More Christina Aguilera 

    The Best Christina Aguilera Albums of All Time#160 of 230 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

  • 15

    More Judy Garland 

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  • 16

    Patsy Cline

    Rock music, Swing music

    More Patsy Cline 

    #12 of 291 The Top Country Artists of All Time#8 of 215 The Greatest Classic Country & Western Artists Of All-Time

  • 17

    Barbra Streisand

    Adult contemporary music, Show tune

    See: The Best Songs Of Barbra Streisand

    More Barbra Streisand 

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  • 18

    Stevie Nicks

    Classic rock, Pop music

    See: The Best Albums Of Stevie Nicks

    More Stevie Nicks 

    Fascinating Stories From Stevie Nicks’s Love Life#59 of 263 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

  • 19

    Donna Summer

    New Wave, Disco

    See: The Best Songs Of Donna Summer

    More Donna Summer 

    The Best Donna Summer Albums of All Time#213 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

  • 20

    Lady Gaga

    Pop, Dance

    See: The Best Songs of Lady Gaga 

    More Lady Gaga 

    The Best Lady Gaga Songs of All Time#2 of 198 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years

  • 21

    Amy Winehouse

    Doo-wop, Pop music

    See: The Best Songs Of Amy Winehouse

    More Amy Winehouse 

    ‘Amy’ Is A Deeply Upsetting Documentary That Forced Us To Re-Examine Her Tragedy#2 of 29 Members of The 27 Club

  • 22

    See: The Best Julie Andrews Albums

    More Julie Andrews 

    #7 of 349 The Best Actresses In Film History#1127 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time

  • 23

    Dionne Warwick

    Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music

    More Dionne Warwick 

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  • 24

    Jennifer Hudson

    Pop music, Contemporary R&B

    More Jennifer Hudson 

    The Best Jennifer Hudson Songs#46 of 214 The Greatest Black Actresses Of All Time

  • 25

    Tina Turner

    Rock music, Dance-pop

    See: The Best Songs Of Tina Turner

    More Tina Turner 

    The Best Tina Turner Songs#377 of 453 The Most Beautiful Women Of 2021, Ranked