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
    33,180
    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
    18,763
    15,152

    Karen Carpenter

    Pop music, Soft rock

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Carpenters Albums of All Time

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    #273 of 403 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person#107 of 532 The Best Drummers Of All Time

  • Aretha Franklin3
    20,699
    18,948

    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
    26,540
    24,227

    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
    24,304
    22,506

    Celine Dion

    Adult contemporary music, Pop music

    NationalityCanada

    See: The Best Songs Of Celine Dion

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  • Ella Fitzgerald6
    14,770
    13,933

    Ella Fitzgerald

    Ballad, Swing music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Ella Fitzgerald

    Amazon buy button

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  • Adele7
    21,601
    22,637

    Adele

    Pop, R&B

    NationalityEngland

    See: The Best Adele Music Videos 

    Amazon buy button

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  • Linda Ronstadt8
    9,663
    10,496

    Linda Ronstadt

    New Wave, Rock music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums Of Linda Ronstadt

    Amazon buy button

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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
    7,003
    7,608

    Nina Simone

    Folk music, Rhythm and blues

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Albums of Nina Simone

    Amazon buy button

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  • Billie Holiday10
    10,541
    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
    7,109
    7,464

    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
    8,688

    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
    9,028
    9,359

    Dolly Parton

    Ballad, Country pop

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs of Dolly Parton

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  • Ann Wilson15
    7,135
    7,881

    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
    11,840
    13,159

    Lady Gaga

    Pop, Dance

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs of Lady Gaga 

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    The Best Lady Gaga Songs of All Time#3 of 198 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years

  • Barbra Streisand17
    17,554
    20,020

    Barbra Streisand

    Adult contemporary music, Show tune

    NationalityUnited States of America

    See: The Best Songs Of Barbra Streisand

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    The Best Barbra Streisand Songs#66 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years

  • Stevie Nicks18
    12,906
    14,651

    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
    8,716
    9,525
    Amazon buy button

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  • Donna Summer20
    11,458
    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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    The Best Donna Summer Albums of All Time#99 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

  • Amy Winehouse21
    12,486
    14,268

    Amy Winehouse

    Doo-wop, Pop music

    NationalityEngland

    See: The Best Songs Of Amy Winehouse

    Amazon buy button

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  • Jennifer Hudson22
    5,328
    5,720

    Jennifer Hudson

    Pop music, Contemporary R&B

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Amazon buy button

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    The Best Jennifer Hudson Songs#268 of 349 The Best American Actresses Working Today

  • Julie Andrews23
    9,092
    10,205

    See: The Best Julie Andrews Albums

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    #20 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World#7 of 843 The Best Actresses in Film History

  • Tina Turner24
    11,743
    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 Ross25
    4,378
    3,092

    Diana Ross

    Disco, Pop music

    NationalityUnited States of America

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    #22 of 100 The Greatest Motown Artists Of All-Time#12 of 219 The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s