Music

The Best Female Musicians of All Time 

Ranker Music
Originally by
Updated July 24, 2020 45.7k votes 3.8k voters 48k views 190 items

List Rules Vote up the female bands and musicians of all time, regardless of genre.

When it comes to the best female musicians of all time, there's a long list of female powerhouses that could be considered the greatest of all time. Whether it be a female-led band like Blondie or a group of female singers like the Supremes, music has seen some incredible females throughout its history. Of course, you also have to consider all the single ladies out there. You know, the top female vocalists like Etta James, Mariah Carey, Adele and P!nk, who made careers of their very own (among a great deal of others).

So, while you may have a favorite female singer of all-women band, it's time to rank the top female musicians of all time. That means any genre, any type of group, and any type of woman. From the girl groups of the 60s and 70s to the top female singers out right now, you certainly have your work cut out for you. Some of the greatest musical acts of all time have been led by females and some have been exclusively female. In fact, some even led bands and had successful solo careers—and both can be found on this list. That means if you like Gwen Stefani's music more than No Doubt, vote accordingly! 

Check out the extensive list of female musicians below and vote up your favorites, or those who you think are the absolute best. In short, who made the best music? Keep in mind, you can vote any female bands and singers down, as well as add your own picks to the list if they're missing. 

list ordered by
1
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues
Aretha Louise Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist. Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New ...more

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The Best Aretha Franklin Albums of All Time #6 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Yearslisted on 1970s Christian Pop Artists

2
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B
Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer and actress. She was cited as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records and ...more

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The Best Whitney Houston Albums of All Time #14 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #65 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

3
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Torch song, Ballad, Swing music
Eleanora Fagan (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959), better known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz singer with a career spanning nearly thirty years. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her ...more

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The Unprecedented Rise And Tragic Death Of Billie Holiday #60 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #496 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time

4
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Jacob Bernstein added Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), known professionally as Nina Simone (), was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music ...more

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The Best Nina Simone Albums of All Time #142 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #513 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time

5
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music
Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996) was an African-American jazz singer sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella. She was noted for her ...more

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The Best Ella Fitzgerald Albums of All Time #11 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #206 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

6
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues
Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock, November 26, 1939) is an internationally recognized singer, songwriter, and actress. She is originally from the United States, and has been a Swiss citizen ...more

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The Best Tina Turner Songs #34 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #219 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

7
Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul
Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer and songwriter. She was known for her deep, expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, ...more

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‘Amy’ Is A Deeply Upsetting Documentary That Forced Us To Re-Examine Her Tragedy #126 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Yearslisted on Members of The 27 Club

8
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music
Stephanie Lynn Nicks (born May 26, 1948) is an American singer and songwriter. Nicks is best known for her work as a songwriter and vocalist with Fleetwood Mac, and also for her chart-topping ...more

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Fascinating Stories From Stevie Nicks’s Love Life #16 of 225 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #65 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years

9
Adele is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Pop, R&B, Soul
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (born 5 May 1988) is an English singer-songwriter. After graduating from the BRIT School in 2006, Adele signed a recording contract with XL Recordings. In 2007, she ...more

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Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Adele #72 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #157 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years

10
Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Ballad, Country pop, Pop music
Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actress, author, businesswoman, and humanitarian, known primarily for her ...more

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25 Weird And Charming Facts About Dolly Parton #20 of 225 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #7 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

11
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Disco, Pop music, Dance music
Diana Ross (born March 26, 1944) is an American singer, actress, and record producer. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group the Supremes, ...more

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#31 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #81 of 360 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #981 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

12
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Pop, Contemporary R&B
Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, record producer, and entrepreneur. Referred to as the "Songbird Supreme" by the Guinness World Records, ...more

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The Best Mariah Carey Songs of All Time #179 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #6 of 120 Current Singers You Most Wish You Could Sound Like

13
Madonna is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Pop, Electronica
Madonna Louise Ciccone (, Italian: [tʃikˈkoːne]; born August 16, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. Referred to as the "Queen of Pop" since the 1980s, ...more

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The Best Madonna Albums of All Time #247 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #180 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years

14
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll
Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American singer who performed in various genres, including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz and gospel. ...more

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The Best Etta James Albums of All Time #90 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #438 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time

15
The Supremes is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Girl group, Doo-wop, Psychedelic soul
The Supremes were an American female singing group and a premier act of Motown Records during the 1960s. Founded as The Primettes in Detroit, Michigan, in 1959, the Supremes were the most ...more

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The Best Supremes Albums of All Time #27 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #117 of 263 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

16
Celine Dion is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music
Céline Marie Claudette Dion (born 30 March 1968) is a Canadian singer. Born into a large family from Charlemagne, Quebec, she emerged as a teen star in her homeland with a series of ...more

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The Best Celine Dion Songs #145 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #15 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years

17
Janis Joplin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music
Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American rock, soul, and blues singer-songwriter, and one of the most successful and widely known rock stars of her era. After ...more

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The Tortured, Painful Life of Janis Joplin, The Baddest Woman In Rock History #80 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timelisted on Members of The 27 Club

18
Beyoncé Knowles ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
R&B, Pop, Hip hop
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter (born September 4, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter and actress. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Beyoncé performed in various singing and ...more

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The Best Songs Ft. Beyonce #253 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #140 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years

19
Heart is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Folk rock
Heart is a rock band that first found success in Canada and later in the United States and worldwide. Over the group's history, it has had three primary lineups, with the constant center of the ...more

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#54 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #32 of 263 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands #52 of 159 The Best Hair Metal Bands Of All Time

20
Annie Lennox is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Blue-eyed soul, New Wave, Pop music
Ann Lennox OBE (born 25 December 1954) is a Scottish singer-songwriter, political activist and philanthropist. After achieving moderate success in the late 1970s as part of the new wave band The ...more

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The Best Annie Lennox Albums of All Time #138 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #117 of 360 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

21
Christina Aguilera is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Hip hop music, Bubblegum pop, Rock music
Christina María Aguilera (born December 18, 1980) is an American singer, songwriter, actress and television personality. Her accolades include five Grammy Awards, one Latin Grammy Award, ...more

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Things You Didn't Know About Christina Aguilera #125 of 225 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #117 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years

22
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul
Alicia Augello Cook (born January 25, 1981), known professionally as Alicia Keys, is an American musician, singer, and songwriter. A classically-trained pianist, Keys was composing songs by age ...more

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The Best Songs Feat. Alicia Keys #61 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #22 of 120 Current Singers You Most Wish You Could Sound Like

23
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
New Wave, Disco, Pop music
LaDonna Adrian Gaines (December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012), widely known by her stage name based on her married name Donna Summer, was an American singer, songwriter and actress. She gained ...more

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The Best Donna Summer Albums of All Time #48 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #68 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

24
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music
Toni Michelle Braxton (born October 7, 1967) is an American singer, songwriter, pianist, record producer, actress, television personality, and philanthropist. In the late 1980s she began ...more

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The Best Toni Braxton Albums of All Time #169 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #507 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time

25
Cher is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
Hip hop music, Rock music, Dance-pop
Cher (born Cherilyn Sarkisian; May 20, 1946) is an American singer, actress and television host. Commonly referred to by the media as the Goddess of Pop, she has been described as embodying ...more

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The Best Cher Albums of All Time #220 of 360 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #352 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time