Its a hot summer night and I can't get off to sleep, so ...
who is your top 5 female singers of say last 50 years. I am discounting the greats of the 40s and 50s like Ella and Sarah and Judy, as I am really looking at 1960 onwards, so a quiz for those who were young in the 60s:
Aretha - just look at that back catalogue
Barbra - "
Joni - "
Dusty Springfield "
Joan Armatrading - I just love that fire and ice voice and vocals and lyrics and guitar work ...
lots may nominate Madonna - I love her "Ray of Light" and "Music" years, and she created some great disco moments, but away from the dancefloor, as a vocalist - ?
That should have been:
Aretha - just look at that back catalogue
Barbra - "
Joni - "
Dusty Springfield "
Joan Armatrading - I just love that fire and ice voice and vocals and lyrics and guitar work ...
Nina Freaking Simone, of course.
Americans may not know Joan Armatrading much - but she is still huge in Europe and has been since the 70s. Gay, too ...
The J one.
Nina is rather an acquired taste, but yes certainly a contender.
Peggy Lee was still terrific in the 60s on onwards.
DL fave Miss Dionne.
The ones I have seen live in concert:
Nina Simone (oddest concert I have been to)
Barbra Streisand -Funny Girl on the stage, in 1966.
Joni Mitchell - 4 different concerts
Am on the Aretha (pre 90s), Joni and Dusty trains for sure.
I like all those nu-soul gals:
and 'one hit wonders' like Shannon / Donna Allen / Jody Watley / Angela Bofill / Shara Nelson / Paris Gray / Joyce Sims / REgina Belle.
No one cares about Barbra Streisand anymore. She really needed to update her style about 25 years ago. She still sings in that overwrought, annoying 70s style voice that my generation has no interest in hearing. She's like a living time machine to a past I have no inclination to visit.
Roberta Flack - I still play her first album: "Trying times", "compared to what", "ballad of the sad young men".
Shirley Bassey ?
I agree with OP's first 4. However, I would put Nina Simone in that august group, to make the 5th.
But Streisand was amazing and so different in the early 60s, as those first 3 albums of hers indicated.
Like Aretha's first Atlantic albums, or those early 70s Joni Mitchell albums.
Vocalists who have/had megatalent, and also had big hits on the charts:
Whitney in her prime
Ann Wilson (Heart) - best rock / turbopop female vocals ever
5th: tie between Chaka Khan and Karen Carpenter. Probably Chaka; in terms of phrasing and tone she was influential on many, many later R&B / soul singers.
Carole King, if only for the Tapestry album. It became part of one's life.
Aretha, Linda R., Karen Carpenter, Whitney Houston.
Carly and that No Secrets album, and Anticipation ...
I don't think R 11 understood OP's premice. We're talking great singers, who've proven their durability and universal appeal. R11 girls pale next to most others mentioned in this thread.
Aretha before Atlantic was terrific too, at Capitol - ok they made her sing standards and show tunes, but she also did stunning items like "Running Out of Fools", "It Wont Be Long" and "Who Needs You".
Not much love for Madonna or Cher or Janet then ...
20 plus posts and no mention of me ? you guyz are slipping ...
Finger click. repeat. "everybody got the fever..."
Dionne, Dusty, Aretha, Roberta
I like Cassandra Wilson - felt like she did/does not get enough airplay
When someone asked Leontyne Price who she considered the finest singers of the 60's, she said: " Hmmm, let's see.. There was Aretha, .. and me."
LaVern Baker, Martha Reeves, Ann Wilson, Mavis Staples
Barbra, Whitney, Dusty, Aretha, and Neil Sedaka.
[quote]and 'one hit wonders' like...Jody Watley
Miss Watley was no one-hit wonder. She accumulated 6 Hot 100 top 10s, 8 R&B top 5s and 7 Dance chart #1s.
You should narrow it down more, OP.
Because, frankly, I don't see how anyone can best Streisand.
I love Aretha, though!
I would put Chaka up there with Streisand.
Aretha and Gladys Knight too.
If we're talking vocal abilities, Cyndi Lauper should be on that list.
Gladys Knight is awesome. "If I Were Your Woman" is one my all time favorite songs.
Thanks for the input, Cyndi.
Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Sade, Mama Cass, Diana Ross, Nina Simone.
Patti LaBelle (but I don't like her)
Well, Barbra Streisand is the top-selling female vocalist of all-time in the U.S. What's shocking is that she's the ONLY female vocalist in the Top 10 biggest-selling artists in U.S. history.
No other female will ever top her total sales because the music industry has changed so much over the years.
Donna Summer is the only singer I really care about. She's getting me through some tough times right now, calms me down.
In no particular order...
Lots of honorable mentions but those are my top 5. Patsy was late 50's, early 60's but she fits more with the second half of the century.
With a friend, using a homemade scale we have a list.
Tied with perfect scores:
2. Cass Eliot
Alison Krauss has one of the most incredible voices I've ever heard. She's also the most Grammy decorated female singer ever.
R48 - I agree.
Looks, Babs Streisand has to top the list. But I would like to submit for your approval, Maureen McGovern:
Extra letter there. I meant to type "look" as in, 'listen here, sister,' not "looks." Because while Babs could look very attractive (think "What's Up, Doc?"), her looks are not at issue here. She is simply the best popular music vocalist of the past 50 years. Period. However, I thought Maureen McG. deserved a shout out.
Love that Dusty has a place in so many other people's hearts. Agree with so many of the other choices, but don't really know some of the younger ladies. Hopefully, some of them will still be around and/or thought kindly of in 20-30 years. It's such a personal thing how music can get through to us.
I'm a big Diana Ross fan because when they started the Supremes were able to appeal across cultural and racial divides, and broke through some restricted venues.
R44, you dumb fuck, top selling does NOT mean good.
best female singer in the 20th century
For beauty, range and power of the voice it is these five:
There are many many other divas i like even more than these five but these are the best vocal instruments among popular music singers.
Totally depends on what type of singer.
Mariah (I can't stand her, but she belongs).
For "other" - woman who don't define a jandra (old timers will get that)
Oooh....Dianne Reeves. She's fabulous!
Great responses everyone. Think we will have to make it a top.
Janis Joplin hardly qualifies, her career was just about 3 years and she has not left that much recorded legacy.
Laura Nyro certainly.
Good to see the respect for Aretha, Barbra, Joni.
Miss Ross, like Bassey, seems too much of a required taste.
I meant to say Top Ten.
Connie Francis ?
Lady Gaga reigns supreme with the voice of a thousand angels. She is the Meryl Streep of music.
Just listen to her sing "Fields of Gold".
Died way too young.
The presence of Susan Boyle and Linda Eder on this thread make me giggle like a Japanese schoolgirl.
Barbra Gorme Callaway
Shirley Bassey has one of the best voices in music.
Laura and Joni are genius but are they among the best 'singers'?
Carly Simon for her "No Secrets" album alone.
Whitney tops the list for me. Sure, she left behind a solid body of records, but to listen to her live, in her prime, was nothing short of enchanting. Absolutely beautiful voice, with unparalleled instincts. Thank God for youtube.
OP said since of the last 50 years, since the 60s - so that discounts Judy, Ella, Peggy etc.
Main contenders so far appear to be:
with lots of votes for Joni, Carly, Dusty, Whitney, Dionne.
I like Carly, I really do. But I don't think she's a top 5 singer by any means. Laura Nyro deserves more credit. Incredible range and incredibly soulful. And hello, where's Minnie Riperton???
Whitney (pre 1990)
My choices are those singers whose performances have moved me the most. It's not about the technically best singers. I didn't really like anything Whitney did post 80s. I particularly couldn't stand "I will always love you." I tend to like more understated singing where the singer really conveys true emotion. I'm disappointed in what Amy Grant has put out in recent years--I really loved the direction she was going with her "Behind the eyes" album, but she's gradually drifted back into almost exclusively Christian. I guess it's what people expect from her. Listen to her song "What is the chance of that" to hear what could've been if she had only had more of a burning desire to pursue it. (The song is really not religious at all, despite the giant cross in the video...sigh).
Mama Cass Elliot, the overall warmth behind her range and tonality was lovely
Karen Carpenter, near perfect alto
Yma Sumac, legit five octave range. She sang in Spanish, English, and some Peruvian dialects flawlessly.
Lashun Pace, the greatest gospel singer I have ever heard. Make you tube your friend on that.
Aretha Franklin. I am not of her era, but she sang the hell out of an aria at the Grammy's years ago on a moments notice.
Who are the freaks who keep mentioning Yma Sumac? Who cares if she had a 5-octave range. It's not like she could use it singing pop music, which was not her genre.
She nothing but a novelty singer who became famous doing bird calls. She's not a legit singer.
Emmylou Harris. Angelic, divine.
Dame Cleo Laine
Annie Lennox has hardly been mentioned - I loved her Eurythmics songs and videos, and nearly wore out her solo album "Diva".
My top 10 then:
Barbra (just listen to those first 3 albums, and imagine how stunning they were at the time).
Carole King - if only for Tapestry.
Bassey / Nancy Wilson
Who gives a shit?
These are all some great choices...but I've always thought Laura Branigan was underrated. I loved her voice.
My other favorite voices: Dionne, Donna, Cass, Karen, Carly, Linda, Joni, Roberta, Dolly, Annie.
Currently, Adele and Kelly Clarkson.
r98 again - how could I have left out Dusty Springfield. She ties with Annie Lennox then, as britain's 2 finest.
Sade too - she doesnt do much now, but makes plenty from tours and an album every 10 years, but I still play the "Stronger than Pride" album a lot, its timeless.
Karen Carpenter also of course.
Diana Ross (worldwide superstardom)
Aretha Franklin (no explanation needed)
Cyndi Lauper (should have been bigger)
Nancy Wilson (not the rocker but she's good too)
Tina Turner (surprised no one mentioned her)
Whitney should be in there but I'm of the mindset that it's actually her momma Cissy who is the better singer. Cissy is better than Dionne too. She's up there with Aretha but just never got a good shot.
I was never a Barbra Streisand fan (gay demerit)
Michael Jackson (she'd be upset if she wasn't included)
R103 When Cissy was younger she had a whistle register. I can't remember the name of the song she used it on as of right now, but if it comes to me I will make mention of it later on.
Neither Dionne, Cissy, or Whitney took care of their voices at all. David Foster made mention of that in an interview well after Whitney passed. He basically said that Whitney did not have good genes in regards to maintaining her voice. But, I don't know if he was trying to be polite in an odd way, because he didn't mention Whitney's drug use. Maybe he picked the lessor of two evils?
Dee Dee Warwick
106 replies...6 pages... and no mention of Vikki Carr? And this is a gay forum?
Ok, maybe she's not up there with Barbra... but her voice was at least comparable to Shirley Bassey.
In case you've all forgotten...here she is with the fabulously Euro-trashy, drag-act standard, "It Must Be Him".
Listen to those pipes...
Surprised at the lack of love now for Tina Turner, Miss Ross, Roberta Flack and diva Anita Baker. Also nobody sees Madonna as a lasting singer, and nobody thinks the like of Beyonce or Rihanna or J-Lo are in the league of Aretha or Barbra. Mary J could have been a contender? and of course Alicia Keys.
Shame Patsy Cline not recognised more, but country hardly rates.
Tina Turner and Diana Ross are not that popular any more and have not done anything of note for a decade or two, so their stars have slipped ... very polarising artists - you either love them or hate them.
Minnie Riperton, voice of an angel, gone too soon.
Do most of you mentioning Nancy Wilson actually mean Ann Wilson?
 I disagree 100%! Miss Ross is working like she has rent to pay and selling out her venues consistently. Nary a bad review either. That woman is pulling in at least $250K/week and will do a house party for $100K. The only thing I can say bad about Ross is the extra weight she has put on. At her age I don't expect her to be a size five but a 16 doesn't look good on her. Tina is getting ready to tour again but she wants to tone her shows down because of all the physical exertion. I bet her shows will sell out too. I suppose you would have to throw Madonna in this too. She has had a lasting career.
 No. We KNOW exactly who we are talking about. Miss Nancy Wilson. Go over to YouTube and listen to her version of "I Can't Make You Love Me"
Oh heck: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXCZSrL7IaY
Whoa! Rihanna? J-Lo? Mentioned in the same line as Aretha??? Talk about a "clutch my pearls" moment! Honey, may I suggest you find that tape of "Divas Live" from 1998 where Aretha made it quite clear who owned that stage. Gloria Estefan knew better. Carole king stepped back. Shania Twain didn't even bother. But, you do have those unruly children like Celine Dion and Mariah Carey who needed to be taught who is the adult versus who is the child. Aretha vocally whupped their butts real good and walked away without even breaking a sweat.
Aretha isn't worth shit after 1976.
Oh yeah--Kirsty McColl and Kate Bush!
(Champagne for) Lulu!
Brenda Lee is my all time favorite girl singer, I am her #1 fool.
K. D. Lang
Honorable mention to my favorite singer, the song bird and poet, Macy Gray.
Thank you, r116.
I love that Divas concert from 96? with Aretha leading the pack - seeing her and Carole King doing Natural Woman is a stunning moment. The other gals (Mariah, Shania, Gloria, Celine) were just backing singers.
I mean Nancy Wilson, who has been singing since the 60s, all those Capitol albums and songs like "How Glad I Am" and "Lush Life".
Donna Summer was marvellous too, I loved that Quincy Jones album of hers.
Hmm... this is actually very hard. I noticed that it was hard for most to just name 5. But here are mine:
Diana Ross:(without question) As someone wrote; you either love her or hate her but she truly is an international superstar. "She's working like she has rent to pay..." LOL!!! That was funny! Yup! She does 3-4 shows a week in different locations and it's more like $1M a week she pulls in. Not many of these other bitches are getting anywhere near that. ...and yes, Miss Ross will do a house party for a minimum of $100K
Barbra Streisand: Same as Diana Ross. Her star is brighter because of more movies, awards, etc.
Aretha Franklin: Whoever wrote that her work after 1976 is shit... well, I guess you're entitled to your opinion.
Madonna: Can't deny her impact on music.
Beyonce: ...and she's young too! A lot of years ahead.
About Cissy Houston: Did you know Luther Vandross demanded that she sing background on pretty much all of his albums?
Whoever posted that link to Nancy Wilson's "I Can't Make You Love Me," THANK YOU!!! Outside of Bonnie Rait that is the most beautiful rendition of that song that I have ever heard!!! THANK YOU!!!
Not another "best" list. It's all subjective. Your Aretha, OP, may be my Barbara Lewis. No one is gonna be right on this one. I see some really marginally talented singers here. Beyonce??? Give me a fucking break.
Miss Ross may be touring a lot, but not here in the UK, which must be a big market for her kind of nostalgia show. Has she done anything new or relevant at all in last decade ?
Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Huston, Shirley Bassey (just barely due to very poor musical taste), Celine Deon (same comment as for Bassey) and tied, Linda Ronstadt. I'd like to add KD, but she has been kind of limited- not productive enough to include- some of her singing is as good as it gets, but she is inconsistent. Ditto Anita Baker. Mariah Cary almost makes it on the list, Kelly and Christina A are Cary clones- if not better. Madonna is not a great singer- more of a pop music icon- deservably so with a pretty stellar catalogue of music. No one comes close to the breadth and productivity of Streisand whose voice aside from being singularly beautiful, is elastic in expression. Perhaps that is the key to her versatality.
Others like Ella, Judy, Billie, etc are longer than 50 years ago!
[R126] No. Ross hasn't done anything new for a long time. It might be as long as a decade. The "I Really Love You" album was her last endeavor and it charted well. But none of these established girls and guys have done anything new in awhile except Cher. (I believe this is the first mention of her name on this thread) The record industry is beyond brutal these days. No one is really getting record contracts anymore unless the companies know that it is a guaranteed hit for sure. Eyebrows are raising over Miss Beyonce's unspectacular recent endeavors and they are pausing. The state of the record industry today is probably why Janet Jackson got married and "retired." What did she have 3 flops in a row? Nuh-Uh... that doesn't work.
Has Petula Clark even been mentioned? She may be seen as square now, but Pet was a huge star in the 60s - in England, France and USA, with lots of hits (~Downtown" is surely a gay anthem?), movies and tv shows.
She toured endlessly (I saw her about 5 years ago), and unlike her contemporary Julie Andrews, still has that voice at 80 now, and still working too, with a new album.
I vote for Pet.
Norah Jones, kd lang, Streisand, Alison Krauss, Kelly Clarkson
There are not 10 - there are only three:
Judy Garland, Peggy Lee, Barbra Streisand
The woefully uncredited Martha Wash and Darlene love both belong on the list.
Another vote for Petula, and 2 other British songbirds:
Dames Cleo Laine and Shirley Bassey. Both may be acquired tastes, but Cleo was marvellous in the 60s and 70s and into the 80s, I saw her several times and she did great shows. She is still going now in her 80s. I didnt personally like Bassey but she was there.
This is it girls, no one else deserves the top 5 spots.
[quote]Streisand is the biggest-selling female in the US.
Connie Francis has sold more and tops her on Billboard's chart listings.
[quote] seeing her and Carole King doing Natural Woman is a stunning moment.
Wasn't King's mike switched off? And I can't believe you didn't mention the moment where Celine "answers" Aretha with a belt riff that shows up Aretha's squealing.
How is Shirley Bassey an 'acquired' taste? Her voice is brilliant and she is an electrifying performer. She left Streisand in the dust at the Oscars this year.
For the DUMMY at [R128]:
Janet Jackson is a legend and an icon. Pop stars, male and female, still reference her as an inspiration, mimick her style and dance moves and remake her songs. As for her record deals, she LEFT Virgin once the landmark $80 million record deal she signed in the '90s was complete. Also, she ASKED to be let out of her Def Jam contract, but not before giving them a #1 album. So, you see, no one fired her, nitwit. And you're right--she's always had a round bubble butt, and she was known for having one when Kim Kardashian was still just a kid running around in her mommy and daddy's backyard with a pacifier, and J-Lo was just a young, unknown Puerto Rican chica in the Bronx.
Janet will record when she's ready to record, sweetie. She does not need a label, but she could get signed to one whenever she's ready because she's JANET-ACADEMY-AWARD-NOMINATED-100-MILLION-RECORDS-SOLD-EVERY-TEEN-ACT-OF-TODAY-ON-HER-JOCK-FANS-ALL-OVER-THE-WORLD-$150-MILLION-WORTH-MTV-ICON-MORE-BILLBOARD-AWARDS-THAN-ANY-OTHER-ARTIST-SIGNER-OF-TWO-OF-THE-BIGGEST-RECORD-DEALS-IN-HISTORY-MOTHERFUCKING JACKSON.
Ronnie Gilbert (Weavers)
No autotune needed.
Etta James has to be on the list. She started recording in 1954 ("The Wallflower") kept at it all the way up until 2011 just a year before she died. R&B, jazz, and blues-- she could do it all. "At Last" has to be one of the all time best records.
Great responses here. Yes Etta James has to be a major contender. Every karaoke singing frau has to do "At Last" - even Miss Beyonce had the nerve to impersonate her for a movie, but nobody was fooled.
I LIKE Janet Jackson, particularly "The Velvet Rope" album and those early singles like "What Have You Done For Me Lately" (which I bought for my DJ boyfriend when it first came out, so he had it before anyone else in Brighton) - her Joni Mitchell tribute "Got till its gone" was bliss too, love all her various remixes and videos, particuarly "Together Again" ... but as a singer is she in the same league as those most mentioned? I feel the same about Carly Simon and Linda Ronstadt.
One singer songwriter not mentioned is Janis Ian - big in the 70s with "At 17" and some good albums, the lesbians' favourite ?
My top 10 is shaping up like this:
Barbra / Aretha / Joni / Nina Simone / Joan Armatrading / Dusty Springfield / Annie Lennox / Carole King / Karen Carpenter / Dionne Warwick.
Bubbling under: Donna Summer / Laura Nyro / Petula Clark / Cleo Laine / Shirley Bassey / Regina Belle.
and Patsy Cline !
Gladys Knight and Robert Flack and Nancy Wilson ain't exactly chopped liver either !
Robert Flack ! - rolls eyes.
Love her. Why hasn't she recorded anything in the past decade?
I liked Jennifer Holliday ! - particularly her 1985 album "Hard Times For Lovers" - we wore it out. Pity she did not keep it together and focus on her career after "Dreamgirls".
Janet's Together Again - isn't this about loving someone who has died, and she sings they will be together again. Its happy despite the sadness ?
I saw it back in 1997 as an elegy for all those we had lost to Aids. Was that what Janet intended - despite the video with the animals in Africa ?
[quote]Connie Francis has sold more and tops her on Billboard's chart listings.
No, she hasn't. Connie Francis isn't even in the Top 100. Barbra Streisand in the ONLY female in the Top 10 in the U.S.
Here's the ONLY OFFICIAL list of the TOP SELLING ARTISTS by the RIAA:
1. The Beatles
2. Elvis Presley
3. Garth Brooks
4. Led Zeppelin
6. Billy Joel
7. Michael Jackson
8. Pink Floyd
9. Elton John
10. Barbra Streisand
Madonna is at #16.
Of the new girls, Alicia Keys has to be a major contender, the only one who will go the distance - as well as Mary J. ?
Alicia Keys ain't shit.
R148, check Billboard.
"Here is an updated look at the female artists with the most Hot 100 hits dating to the chart's Aug. 4, 1958, inception:"
73, Aretha Franklin
56, Taylor Swift
56, Dionne Warwick
53, Connie Francis
48, Brenda Lee
44, Mariah Carey
42, Nicki Minaj
41, Barbra Streisand
40, Mary J. Blige
40, Diana Ross
[quote] How is Shirley Bassey an 'acquired' taste?
Her indiosyncratic phrasing.
R151, the only thing that matters is how many albums you've sold, not how many Top 10 hits you've had. Just ask Dionne Warwick, who's living on welfare at the moment.
Joni Mitchell has just as idiosycratic phrasing. I really hate the way she leans on her vowels for no reason at all. She has a lovely voice but to consider her a top five female singer of the last 50 is a joke.
I have to kinda agree about Joni Mitchell - and Carole King. They are loved so much for their great albums and songs which have been part of the fabric of people's lives for decades - but taking them purely as singers, just how good are they? Those early Joni tracks sound painful now with that high pitched wail of hers.
Miss Dionne living on welfare! - there's a scam if I ever heard of one ! Details please, and where do I sign up ?
I was behind Dionne in line at Ralph's and she was using food stamps.
[quote]The state of the record industry today is probably why Janet Jackson got married and "retired." What did she have 3 flops in a row?
No, she didn't. DAMITA JO, 20 YO and DISCIPLINE sold less than her previous works largely because of the negative press from the Super Bowl which dogged Janet in the years following. Even still, DISCIPLINE entered at #1 and yielded a top 20 hit and a Dance chart #1, and DJ and 20 YO entered at #2 and are both multiplatinum worldwide (DJ is 5x platinum and 20 YO is 1.2x platinum). Janet would have had 8 #1 albums if Usher and Ludacris's CDs hadn't nudged DJ and 20 YO from the top spot. And thanks R138 for re-posting my old post.
Joni is genius but not as a singer. She is an okay vocalist but a much better musician and an incredible songwriter.
Dame Shirley Bassey sings like she speaks -- like Streisand and Aretha. She speaks English and whatever the non-english Welsh dialect is called so she has a peculiar way of speaking and singing. It does not diminish the enormity of her power or range or the emotion in her interpretation.
I don't think her natural accent is entirely the issue. She doesn't look... funny when she speaks. The exaggerated enunciation is largely left to her singing.
The few pop covers Joni Mitchell ever recorded are totally forgettable. "Twisted" and a snippet of "Unchained Melody" are a couple. UM, in fact, is so bloodless that you might have expected it from Karen Carpenter.
Genius songwriter, sweet, expressive voice but certainly not one of the greatest singers.
Joni's voice has changed dramatically over the years. She started as a sweet soprano and now she is a hoarse contralto. Still, she is a very effective interpreter just not a great singer.
Ella Fitzgerald ( The ultimate. No one better)
Roberta Flack ( The best control)
Nancy Wilson. (Lush Life -- wow)
That's all I can do right now.
Where is Dolly Parton? Her voice is so clear ....strong...
I want to add Anita Baker, Dorothy Moore, Reba McEntire, and Patsy Cline to my bonus section. I also think Tina Turner's voice is way underrated. I think most people think of her as an entertainer because she dances and puts on a show. Anyway, in her prime, Tina had an amazing voice.
I never liked Tina' voice - it just sounded too rough and her songs repetitive. Same with Ross and Whitney, so it all comes down to personal choice.
and honorable mention to Dusty Springfield
Of the newbies ... Chrisette Michele
Where is Marilyn McCoo???
[quote]Americans may not know Joan Armatrading much - but she is still huge in Europe and has been since the 70s. Gay, too ...
That is not true, not in her native UK anyway. She is a respected artist but one with sporadic at best commercial success, not a chart artist. And while her voice is fine, nor is she known for that.
Were you to say Tracy Chapman (also gay), you might have a point.
Artists like Joan Armatrading dont have to have hit records to be popular. She still sells out concert halls (I saw a few years ago and the place was packed), has new cds and keeps touring. Thats where the money is these days. There is a huge residue of affection for her 70s hit albums and songs. She plays with a great band too, I have seen several of her shows since then. Like The Pet Shop Boys she just keeps on going.
Tracy Chapman is known here in the UK for one hit song and album, and is a very minor name now. Armatrading by comparison has a string of albums and well known songs.
Barbra Streisand - Fuck that Zio-Jew cunt. I don't listen to Jew music... and Streisand is the nastiest of the nasty Jew. Just listen to her talk about Jews taking over the earth. She can't sing and she sucks Jew dick.
Ronstadt is/was the greatest.
[quote]Tracy Chapman is known here in the UK for one hit song and album, and is a very minor name now.
BUT that "hit album" just happens to be one of the biggest sellers of all time in the UK, especially for a female.
And it keeps selling every year and reappearing on the charts. Also, as well as "Fast Car" that album houses "Baby Can I Hold You" (#1 for Boyzone, but obviously the less said about that the better) and "Talkin' About a Revolution", not hits per se but very well known songs that explain the sales.
Joan had "Love and Affection", "Drop the Pilot" and what else? Look, I'm not a Joan hater by any means nor a Chapman stan but she isn't a hit machine like the Pet Shop Boys. I agree with what you're saying about her being a big name and legendary songwriter of sorts.
r175 Didn't Anita Bryant rant against homosexuality? How do you equate a sane and rational disdain for Jew to a religious hatred for gays?
OK, I'm back again. It's so hard to pick just five people, but I have to add Bobbie Gentry. I just love her voice.
"Willow"?, r176 who seems to be having a vendetta against Joan Armatrading. most people only know Chapman for "Fast Car".
I love Joan's "Me Myself & I", "Mameo Beach", "All the way from America", "Cool Blue", "Back to the Night", "Tall in the Saddle", "Join The Boys", "Water with the wine" ..... etc.
I don't own music by either Armatrading or Chapman, but I would say Chapman's more know to young people. Even the Sugababes covered Fast Car.
Here's one that will stun you all: German diva Billie Ray Martin, with the icy voice and great songs, shes a Disk Jockey as well, and sang in the 80s group Electribe 101. She has some terrific albums out "Deadline for my Memories" and "18 carat Garbage".
Try her songs like "Your Loving Arms" or "Running Around Town".
This is getting silly now. Someone will be voting for All Saints next or Bananarama or Mel and Kim ! or Tiffany.
Oh OK, R185. I was wondering why no one had Ella and the others on their list lol. I wish we had the ability to edit our posts here.
I vote for The Sugarlumps!
I still play that long extended remix of Billie Ray's "Running Around Town", and that "Deadline for my Memories" album is a terrific wallow.
She did a terrific one a few years ago: "No brakes on my rollerskates".
I saw her once at an art event in London where Polanski's "Repulsion" was screened with no soundtrack, but Billie and her band on stage accompanied the film with their own music and songs. It worked - one didnt need dialogue to match the images, as the story told itself.
Just post another list r185.
I meant r194 - sorry.
Love Repulsion r196.. there was a cinema reissue this year in a Polanski season - I saw that and Knife in the Water. Both great and Repulsion is about my fave from him, but a bit of an acquired taste it seems. It's blatantly obvious what it's about, it couldn't be spelled out any clearer.
Post 200 recap: leading the field:
Aretha / Barbra / Joni / Dusty / Annie Lennox / Whitney / Dionne / Karen Carpenter / Nina Simone / Donna Summer.
Honorable mention: Etta James / Janis Joplin / Laura Nyro / Sade / Carole King / Carly Simon / Petula Clark / Cleo Laine / Shirley Bassey / Diana Ross / Tina Turner / Roberta Flack / Joan Armatrading -v- Tracy Chapman / Janis Ian / Bobbie Gentry.
What,no Cher ?
or disco gals like Ultra Nate, Rosie Gaines, Adeva ...
My revised list
If my list could be longer I'd add:
** Dusty Springfield **
Frida & Agnetha from ABBA
Honourables: Kate Bush, the usual suspects noted above. Roisin Murphy and Regina Spektor of the new ones. The girl from Haim is really good as well.
Most of these women are very good. There were a few I questioned though. Anyway, what surprised me most are the posts that noted Cissy Houston. That sort of threw me because she really never achieved the recognition that she deserved. I always thought that Cissy's voice had the power of her daughter's voice Whitney's and yet the silkiness and subtleness of Dionne's. The link will give an example (I'll put up two)and don't be offended by it because it's gospel. A lot of you bitches need Jesus in your life anyway...
I think anyone would have to include Bill O'Reilly in the short list of 5 greatest singers. You may object to Bill being male but she actually had a sex change operations years ago. Bill said "I've always felt like a gay man trapped in a woman's body". Bill never did get his own set of dick & balls. He still uses the women's rest room and he only pees sitting down. Ergo, I think Bill O'Reilly qualifies, 100%.
Has anyone mentioned PATTI LABELLE? On voice alone she is in same league as Aretha, Whitney and Barbra. Her songs are not as memorable but she is one of the best singers ever.
R200, you missed Linda Ronstadt. She's received several votes.
Quite right, r209. Amy Winehouse should be there too.
[R207] Patti LaBelle has been mentioned a few times (as it should be.) Look... Patti Labelle can sing but I would hardly think she ranks in the top 5 over the last 50 years. Patti Labelle's popularity is pretty much just domestic and concentrated among gay and Blacks. She has few hits and limited vocal styles.
A few more worthy of mention:
Kelis - fantasic live, great music tracks
Shara Nelson - "Unfinished Sympathy"
Mary J. - "No More Drama" !
Kiri Te Kanawa ?
I think recent singers are getting the short shrift on this thread. There is nothing inherently better about a singer from 30, 40, 50 or more years ago than today.
Whitney live stands alone.
That is all.
Oh yes there is R16! Those ladies could sing live and on pitch without needing all of this techno junk.
No Joss Stone love? For a British white girl, she has the voice and soul of a seasoned black diva.
Its Dusty Springfield who is the great British white soul diva, r220. She was the white queen of soul.
Honorable Mentions: Aretha, Babs, Doris Day, Annie Lennox, Mary Wells
Britney Spears? Rihanna? Kathy? Perry???
r10, is clearly deaf.