Music
146.2k voters

The Best Female Vocalists Ever

Updated November 6, 2020 1.8m votes 146.2k voters 2.0m views602 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

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  • Whitney Houston1
    33,164
    21,469

    Whitney Houston

    Pop music, Dance-pop

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Whitney Houston

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  • Karen Carpenter2
    18,755
    15,139

    Karen Carpenter

    Pop music, Soft rock

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Carpenters Albums of All Time

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    #107 of 532 The Best Drummers Of All Time#2 of 59 History's Greatest Female Drummers, Ranked

  • Aretha Franklin3
    20,686
    18,943

    Aretha Franklin

    Pop music, Rock music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Aretha Franklin

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

  • Mariah Carey4
    26,534
    24,209

    Mariah Carey

    Pop, Contemporary R&B

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Mariah Carey Songs

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    The Best Mariah Carey Songs of All Time#13 of 739 The Best Singers of All Time

  • Celine Dion5
    24,293
    22,499

    Celine Dion

    Adult contemporary music, Pop music

    NationalityCanada

    See: The Best Songs Of Celine Dion

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  • Ella Fitzgerald6
    14,757
    13,930

    Ella Fitzgerald

    Ballad, Swing music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Ella Fitzgerald

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  • Adele7
    21,582
    22,629

    Adele

    Pop, R&B

    NationalityEngland

    See: The Best Adele Music Videos 

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  • Linda Ronstadt8
    9,663
    10,490

    Linda Ronstadt

    New Wave, Rock music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Linda Ronstadt

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    #301 of 309 Famous People Most Likely to Live to 100#15 of 294 The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s

  • Nina Simone9
    6,997
    7,602

    Nina Simone

    Folk music, Rhythm and blues

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums of Nina Simone

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  • Billie Holiday10
    10,535
    11,579

    Billie Holiday

    Torch song, Ballad

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Billie Holiday

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  • Christina Aguilera11
    18,164
    20,146

    Christina Aguilera

    Hip hop music, Bubblegum pop

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Christina Aguilera

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  • Gladys Knight12
    7,103
    7,460

    Gladys Knight

    Rhythm and blues, Soul music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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    #9 of 74 Mormon Celebrities#335 of 465 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s

  • Patsy Cline13
    7,990
    8,685

    Patsy Cline

    Rock music, Swing music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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    #4 of 160 The Top Female Country Singers#221 of 355 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

  • Dolly Parton14
    9,012
    9,355

    Dolly Parton

    Ballad, Country pop

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs of Dolly Parton

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  • Ann Wilson15
    7,131
    7,877

    Ann Wilson

    Rock music, Folk rock

    NationalityUnited States of America

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    #15 of 298 The Best Frontmen in Rock#24 of 48 The Best Female Hard Rock/Metal Guitar Shredders

  • Lady Gaga16
    11,830
    13,151

    Lady Gaga

    Pop, Dance

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs of Lady Gaga 

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  • Barbra Streisand17
    17,544
    20,008

    Barbra Streisand

    Adult contemporary music, Show tune

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Barbra Streisand

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  • Stevie Nicks18
    12,895
    14,646

    Stevie Nicks

    Classic rock, Pop music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Stevie Nicks

    Amazon buy button

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  • Judy Garland19
    8,712
    9,520
    Amazon buy button

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  • Donna Summer20
    11,453
    12,897

    Donna Summer

    New Wave, Disco

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Donna Summer

    Amazon buy button

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  • Amy Winehouse21
    12,481
    14,260

    Amy Winehouse

    Doo-wop, Pop music

    NationalityEngland

    See: The Best Songs Of Amy Winehouse

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  • Jennifer Hudson22
    5,326
    5,713

    Jennifer Hudson

    Pop music, Contemporary R&B

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Amazon buy button

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  • Tina Turner23
    11,736
    13,654

    Tina Turner

    Rock music, Dance-pop

    NationalitySwitzerland, United States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Tina Turner

    Amazon buy button

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  • Diana Ross24
    4,373
    3,088

    Diana Ross

    Disco, Pop music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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    #22 of 100 The Greatest Motown Artists Of All-Time#181 of 186 The Greatest Actresses Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)

  • Etta James25
    9,179
    10,567

    Etta James

    Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Etta James

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