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
    33,183
    21,485

    Whitney Houston

    Pop music, Dance-pop

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Whitney Houston

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  • Karen Carpenter2
    18,765
    15,153

    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#29 of 152 The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 40

  • Aretha Franklin3
    20,699
    18,949

    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
    26,541
    24,232

    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
    24,305
    22,510

    Celine Dion

    Adult contemporary music, Pop music

    NationalityCanada

    See: The Best Songs Of Celine Dion

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  • Ella Fitzgerald6
    14,774
    13,933

    Ella Fitzgerald

    Ballad, Swing music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Ella Fitzgerald

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  • Adele7
    21,603
    22,642

    Adele

    Pop, R&B

    NationalityEngland

    See: The Best Adele Music Videos 

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  • Linda Ronstadt8
    9,663
    10,499

    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
    7,004
    7,611

    Nina Simone

    Folk music, Rhythm and blues

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums of Nina Simone

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  • Billie Holiday10
    10,545
    11,580

    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
    7,111
    7,465

    Gladys Knight

    Rhythm and blues, Soul music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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    #9 of 74 Mormon Celebrities#819 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

  • Patsy Cline13
    7,990
    8,691

    Patsy Cline

    Rock music, Swing music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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

  • Dolly Parton14
    9,031
    9,361

    Dolly Parton

    Ballad, Country pop

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs of Dolly Parton

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  • Ann Wilson15
    7,136
    7,882

    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
    11,843
    13,161

    Lady Gaga

    Pop, Dance

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs of Lady Gaga 

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  • Barbra Streisand17
    17,555
    20,021

    Barbra Streisand

    Adult contemporary music, Show tune

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Barbra Streisand

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  • Stevie Nicks18
    12,909
    14,653

    Stevie Nicks

    Classic rock, Pop music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Stevie Nicks

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  • Judy Garland19
    8,718
    9,525
    Amazon buy button

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  • Donna Summer20
    11,459
    12,902

    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
    12,488
    14,268

    Amy Winehouse

    Doo-wop, Pop music

    NationalityEngland

    See: The Best Songs Of Amy Winehouse

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  • Jennifer Hudson22
    5,329
    5,720

    Jennifer Hudson

    Pop music, Contemporary R&B

    NationalityUnited States of America

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  • Tina Turner23
    11,744
    13,656

    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
    4,379
    3,094

    Diana Ross

    Disco, Pop music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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    #103 of 225 The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time#22 of 100 The Greatest Motown Artists Of All-Time

  • Etta James25
    9,183
    10,568

    Etta James

    Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Etta James

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