4.5k voters

The Best Female Musicians of All Time

Updated September 23, 2020 63.7k votes 4.5k voters 62.8k 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. 

  • Aretha Franklin1

    Aretha Franklin

    Pop music, Rock music
    Aretha Louise Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018) was an American singer, songwriter,...  more
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  • Nina Simone2

    Nina Simone

    Folk music, Rhythm and blues
    Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), known professionally as Nina...  more
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  • Stevie Nicks3

    Stevie Nicks

    Classic rock, Pop music
    Stephanie Lynn Nicks (born May 26, 1948) is an American singer and songwriter. Nicks is best...  more
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  • Tina Turner4

    Tina Turner

    Rock music, Dance-pop
    Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock, November 26, 1939) is an internationally recognized...  more
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  • Whitney Houston5

    Whitney Houston

    Pop music, Dance-pop
    Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer and...  more
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  • Ella Fitzgerald6

    Ella Fitzgerald

    Ballad, Swing music
    Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996) was an African-American jazz singer...  more
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  • Janis Joplin7

    Janis Joplin

    Blues-rock, Rock music
    Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American rock, soul, and blues...  more
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  • Gladys Knight8

    Gladys Knight

    Rhythm and blues, Soul music
    Gladys Maria Knight (born May 28, 1944), known as the "Empress of Soul", is an American...  more
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  • Billie Holiday9

    Billie Holiday

    Torch song, Ballad
    Eleanora Fagan (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959), better known as Billie Holiday, was an...  more
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  • Amy Winehouse10

    Amy Winehouse

    Doo-wop, Pop music
    Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer and songwriter....  more
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  • Beyoncé Knowles11
    Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter (born September 4, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter and...  more
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  • Heart12


    Pop music, Rock music
    Heart is a rock band that first found success in Canada and later in the United States and...  more
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  • Dolly Parton13

    Dolly Parton

    Ballad, Country pop
    Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American singer, songwriter,...  more
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  • Kate Bush14

    Kate Bush

    Synthpop, Pop rock
    Catherine Bush (born 30 July 1958) is an English singer-songwriter and record producer. In...  more
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  • Adele15


    Pop, R&B
    Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (born 5 May 1988) is an English singer-songwriter. After graduating...  more
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  • Etta James16

    Etta James

    Rock music, Rhythm and blues
    Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American...  more
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  • Mariah Carey17

    Mariah Carey

    Pop, Contemporary R&B
    Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, record...  more
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  • Diana Ross18

    Diana Ross

    Disco, Pop music
    Diana Ross (born March 26, 1944) is an American singer, actress, and record producer. Born and...  more
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  • Pat Benatar19

    Pat Benatar

    New Wave, Rock music
    Patricia Mae Giraldo (née Andrzejewski; born January 10, 1953), who goes by the stage name Pat...  more
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  • Toni Braxton20

    Toni Braxton

    Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music
    Toni Michelle Braxton (born October 7, 1967) is an American singer, songwriter, pianist,...  more
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  • Patsy Cline21

    Patsy Cline

    Rock music, Swing music
    Patsy Cline (born Virginia Patterson Hensley; September 8, 1932 – March 5, 1963) was an...  more
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    #11 of 291 The Top Country Artists of All Time#6 of 215 The Greatest Classic Country & Western Artists Of All-Time

  • Annie Lennox22

    Annie Lennox

    Blue-eyed soul, New Wave
    Ann Lennox OBE (born 25 December 1954) is a Scottish singer-songwriter, political activist and...  more
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  • Sarah Vaughan23

    Sarah Vaughan

    Cool jazz, Traditional pop music
    Sarah Lois Vaughan (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990) was an American jazz singer. Nicknamed...  more
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  • Minnie Riperton24

    Minnie Riperton

    Pop music, Rock music
    Minnie Julia Riperton-Rudolph (November 8, 1947 – July 12, 1979), was an American...  more
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  • Lauryn Hill25

    Lauryn Hill

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop
    Lauryn Noelle Hill (born May 26, 1975) is an American singer, songwriter and rapper, known for...  more
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