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The Best Female Musicians of All Time

Updated September 23, 2020 60.2k votes 4.1k voters 53.3k views191 items

List RulesVote 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. 

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  • 1
    Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    228
    172

    Nina Simone

    Folk music, Rhythm and blues
    Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), known professionally as Nina... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 2
    Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    638
    693

    Aretha Franklin

    Pop music, Rock music
    Aretha Louise Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018) was an American singer, songwriter,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 3
    Etta James is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    267
    257

    Etta James

    Rock music, Rhythm and blues
    Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 4
    Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    405
    435

    Tina Turner

    Rock music, Dance-pop
    Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock, November 26, 1939) is an internationally recognized... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 5
    Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    421
    450

    Amy Winehouse

    Doo-wop, Pop music
    Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer and songwriter.... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 6
    Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    376
    404

    Ella Fitzgerald

    Ballad, Swing music
    Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996) was an African-American jazz singer... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 7
    Patsy Cline is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    243
    251

    Patsy Cline

    Rock music, Swing music
    Patsy Cline (born Virginia Patterson Hensley; September 8, 1932 – March 5, 1963) was an... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 8
    Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    419
    454

    Billie Holiday

    Torch song, Ballad
    Eleanora Fagan (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959), better known as Billie Holiday, was an... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 9
    Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    859
    949

    Whitney Houston

    Pop music, Dance-pop
    Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 10
    Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    156
    147

    Gladys Knight

    Rhythm and blues, Soul music
    Gladys Maria Knight (born May 28, 1944), known as the "Empress of Soul", is an American... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 11
    Heart is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    265
    284

    Heart

    Pop music, Rock music
    Heart is a rock band that first found success in Canada and later in the United States and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 12
    The Cranberries is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    204
    202

    The Cranberries

    Jangle pop, New Wave
    The Cranberries were an Irish rock band formed in Limerick, Ireland in 1989 by lead singer... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 13
    Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    201
    137

    Kate Bush

    Synthpop, Pop rock
    Catherine Bush (born 30 July 1958) is an English singer-songwriter and record producer. In... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 14
    Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    489
    543

    Stevie Nicks

    Classic rock, Pop music
    Stephanie Lynn Nicks (born May 26, 1948) is an American singer and songwriter. Nicks is best... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 15
    P!nk is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    298
    316

    P!nk

    Pop punk, R&B
    Alecia Beth Moore (born September 8, 1979), known professionally as Pink (stylized as P!nk),... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 16
    Janis Joplin is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    399
    439

    Janis Joplin

    Blues-rock, Rock music
    Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American rock, soul, and blues... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 17
    Sarah Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    98
    80

    Sarah Vaughan

    Cool jazz, Traditional pop music
    Sarah Lois Vaughan (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990) was an American jazz singer. Nicknamed... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 18
    Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    517
    531
    Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter (born September 4, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 19
    Adele is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    519
    587

    Adele

    Pop, R&B
    Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (born 5 May 1988) is an English singer-songwriter. After graduating... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 20
    The Supremes is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    331
    375

    The Supremes

    Girl group, Doo-wop
    The Supremes were an American female singing group and a premier act of Motown Records during... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 21
    Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    571
    617

    Dolly Parton

    Ballad, Country pop
    Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American singer, songwriter,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 22
    Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    105
    56

    Minnie Riperton

    Pop music, Rock music
    Minnie Julia Riperton-Rudolph (November 8, 1947 – July 12, 1979), was an American... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 23
    Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    255
    193

    Toni Braxton

    Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music
    Toni Michelle Braxton (born October 7, 1967) is an American singer, songwriter, pianist,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 24
    Pat Benatar is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    192
    219

    Pat Benatar

    New Wave, Rock music
    Patricia Mae Giraldo (née Andrzejewski; born January 10, 1953), who goes by the stage name Pat... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 25
    Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Female Musicians of All Time
    456
    541

    Alicia Keys

    Hip hop music, Pop music
    Alicia Augello Cook (born January 25, 1981), known professionally as Alicia Keys, is an ... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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