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The Best Female Vocalists Ever

Updated September 21, 2020 1.8m votes 140.8k voters 1.9m 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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  • 1
    Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    32,727
    21,445

    Whitney Houston

    Pop music, Dance-pop

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Whitney Houston

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  • 2
    Karen Carpenter is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    18,202
    14,589

    Karen Carpenter

    Pop music, Soft rock

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Carpenters Albums of All Time

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  • 3
    Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    26,478
    24,043

    Mariah Carey

    Pop, Contemporary R&B

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Mariah Carey Songs

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  • 4
    Celine Dion is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    24,041
    22,579

    Celine Dion

    Adult contemporary music, Pop music

    NationalityCanada

    See: The Best Songs Of Celine Dion

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  • 5
    Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    20,258
    19,303

    Aretha Franklin

    Pop music, Rock music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Aretha Franklin

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  • 6
    Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    14,500
    14,027

    Ella Fitzgerald

    Ballad, Swing music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Ella Fitzgerald

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  • 7
    Adele is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    21,371
    22,670

    Adele

    Pop, R&B

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    See: The Best Adele Music Videos 

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  • 8
    Lady Gaga is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    11,621
    12,478

    Lady Gaga

    Pop, Dance

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs of Lady Gaga 

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  • 9
    Christina Aguilera is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    17,863
    19,932

    Christina Aguilera

    Hip hop music, Bubblegum pop

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Christina Aguilera

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  • 10
    Patsy Cline is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    7,801
    8,516

    Patsy Cline

    Rock music, Swing music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 11
    Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    6,658
    7,382

    Nina Simone

    Folk music, Rhythm and blues

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums of Nina Simone

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  • 12
    Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    8,777
    8,978

    Dolly Parton

    Ballad, Country pop

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs of Dolly Parton

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  • 13
    Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    6,673
    7,225

    Gladys Knight

    Rhythm and blues, Soul music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 14
    Linda Ronstadt is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    9,288
    10,611

    Linda Ronstadt

    New Wave, Rock music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Linda Ronstadt

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  • 15
    Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    12,306
    14,093

    Amy Winehouse

    Doo-wop, Pop music

    NationalityEngland

    See: The Best Songs Of Amy Winehouse

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  • 16
    Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    10,186
    11,714

    Billie Holiday

    Torch song, Ballad

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Billie Holiday

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  • 17
    Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    11,242
    13,127

    Donna Summer

    New Wave, Disco

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Donna Summer

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  • 18
    Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    11,776
    13,870

    Tina Turner

    Rock music, Dance-pop

    NationalitySwitzerland, United States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Tina Turner

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  • 19
    Judy Garland is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    8,497
    9,506
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  • 20
    Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    12,576
    14,770

    Stevie Nicks

    Classic rock, Pop music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Stevie Nicks

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  • 21
    Julie Andrews is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    9,008
    10,239

    See: The Best Julie Andrews Albums

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  • 22
    Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    4,032
    2,950

    Diana Ross

    Disco, Pop music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 23
    Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    5,063
    5,546

    Jennifer Hudson

    Pop music, Contemporary R&B

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • 24
    Barbra Streisand is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    17,277
    20,602

    Barbra Streisand

    Adult contemporary music, Show tune

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Barbra Streisand

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  • 25
    Etta James is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Female Vocalists Ever
    9,122
    10,778

    Etta James

    Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Etta James

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