Music
4.5k voters

The Best Female Musicians of All Time

Updated September 23, 2020 64.2k votes 4.5k voters 63.5k 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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  • Aretha Franklin1
    722
    746

    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
    288
    255

    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
    562
    597

    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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  • Whitney Houston4
    919
    983

    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 Fitzgerald5
    412
    440

    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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  • Billie Holiday6
    449
    484

    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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  • Tina Turner7
    452
    487

    Tina Turner

    Rock music, Dance-pop
    Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock, November 26, 1939) is an internationally recognized...  more
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  • Amy Winehouse8
    494
    532

    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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  • Gladys Knight9
    200
    197

    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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  • Janis Joplin10
    447
    484

    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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  • Dolly Parton11
    633
    628

    Dolly Parton

    Ballad, Country pop
    Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American singer, songwriter,...  more
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  • Etta James12
    301
    317

    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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  • Adele13
    588
    645

    Adele

    Pop, R&B
    Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (born 5 May 1988) is an English singer-songwriter. After graduating...  more
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  • Beyoncé Knowles14
    599
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    Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter (born September 4, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter and...  more
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  • Heart15
    304
    330

    Heart

    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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  • Kate Bush16
    250
    201

    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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  • Mariah Carey17
    639
    688

    Mariah Carey

    Pop, Contemporary R&B
    Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, record...  more
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  • Pat Benatar18
    223
    245

    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 Braxton19
    290
    237

    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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  • Diana Ross20
    494
    538

    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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  • Patsy Cline21
    264
    288

    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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  • The Cranberries22
    229
    238

    The Cranberries

    Jangle pop, New Wave
    The Cranberries were an Irish rock band formed in Limerick, Ireland in 1989 by lead singer...  more
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  • Annie Lennox23
    423
    476

    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 Vaughan24
    119
    111

    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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  • Alicia Keys25
    486
    566

    Alicia Keys

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