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Top 5 female singers of last 50 years ...

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:

My choices:

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 - ?

by Anonymousreply 22610/26/2013

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 ...

by Anonymousreply 108/21/2013

Nina Freaking Simone, of course.

by Anonymousreply 208/21/2013

Americans may not know Joan Armatrading much - but she is still huge in Europe and has been since the 70s. Gay, too ...

by Anonymousreply 308/21/2013

The J one.

by Anonymousreply 408/21/2013

Nina is rather an acquired taste, but yes certainly a contender.

by Anonymousreply 508/21/2013

Peggy Lee was still terrific in the 60s on onwards.

by Anonymousreply 608/21/2013

DL fave Miss Dionne.

by Anonymousreply 708/21/2013

The ones I have seen live in concert:

Aretha, twice

Peggy Lee

Nina Simone (oddest concert I have been to)

Cleo Laine

Dionne Warwick

Petula Clark

Barbra Streisand -Funny Girl on the stage, in 1966.

Nancy Wilson

Joan Armatrading

Joni Mitchell - 4 different concerts

Dusty Springfield.

by Anonymousreply 808/21/2013

Am on the Aretha (pre 90s), Joni and Dusty trains for sure.

by Anonymousreply 908/21/2013

Britney Spears Christina Aguilera Rihanna Kathy Perry Lady Gaga

by Anonymousreply 1008/21/2013

I like all those nu-soul gals:

Erikah Badu

Jill Scott

Angie Stone



and 'one hit wonders' like Shannon / Donna Allen / Jody Watley / Angela Bofill / Shara Nelson / Paris Gray / Joyce Sims / REgina Belle.

by Anonymousreply 1108/21/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 1208/21/2013

Roberta Flack - I still play her first album: "Trying times", "compared to what", "ballad of the sad young men".

Shirley Bassey ?

by Anonymousreply 1308/21/2013

I agree with OP's first 4. However, I would put Nina Simone in that august group, to make the 5th.

by Anonymousreply 1408/21/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 1508/21/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 1608/21/2013

Carole King, if only for the Tapestry album. It became part of one's life.

by Anonymousreply 1708/21/2013

Aretha, Linda R., Karen Carpenter, Whitney Houston.

by Anonymousreply 1808/21/2013

Donna Summer!!!!

by Anonymousreply 1908/21/2013

Carly and that No Secrets album, and Anticipation ...

by Anonymousreply 2008/21/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 2108/21/2013

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".

by Anonymousreply 2208/21/2013

Not much love for Madonna or Cher or Janet then ...

by Anonymousreply 2308/21/2013

20 plus posts and no mention of me ? you guyz are slipping ...

by Anonymousreply 2408/21/2013

Doris Day

by Anonymousreply 2508/21/2013

Not really, R23.

by Anonymousreply 2608/21/2013

Finger click. repeat. "everybody got the fever..."

by Anonymousreply 2708/21/2013

Dionne, Dusty, Aretha, Roberta

I like Cassandra Wilson - felt like she did/does not get enough airplay

by Anonymousreply 2808/21/2013

Whitney Houston Stevie Nicks Carly Simon Carole King

by Anonymousreply 2908/21/2013

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."

by Anonymousreply 3008/21/2013

LaVern Baker, Martha Reeves, Ann Wilson, Mavis Staples

by Anonymousreply 3108/21/2013

Barbra, Whitney, Dusty, Aretha, and Neil Sedaka.

by Anonymousreply 3208/21/2013

Ella Fitzgerald?

by Anonymousreply 3308/21/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 3408/21/2013

You should narrow it down more, OP. Because, frankly, I don't see how anyone can best Streisand.

I love Aretha, though!

by Anonymousreply 3508/21/2013

Karen Carpenter

Nina Simone

Mama Cass

Donna Summer

Roberta Flack

by Anonymousreply 3608/21/2013

I would put Chaka up there with Streisand.

Aretha and Gladys Knight too.

by Anonymousreply 3708/21/2013

If we're talking vocal abilities, Cyndi Lauper should be on that list.

by Anonymousreply 3808/21/2013

Gladys Knight is awesome. "If I Were Your Woman" is one my all time favorite songs.

by Anonymousreply 3908/21/2013

Thanks for the input, Cyndi.

by Anonymousreply 4008/21/2013


Donna Summer


Karen Carpenter

Roberta Flack

by Anonymousreply 4108/21/2013

Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Sade, Mama Cass, Diana Ross, Nina Simone.

by Anonymousreply 4208/21/2013

Mavis staples. Patti LaBelle (but I don't like her)

by Anonymousreply 4308/21/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 4408/21/2013

Donna Summer is the only singer I really care about. She's getting me through some tough times right now, calms me down.

by Anonymousreply 4508/21/2013

In no particular order...

Aretha Franklin Dusty Springfield Patsy Cline Joni Mitchell Etta James

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.

by Anonymousreply 4608/21/2013

With a friend, using a homemade scale we have a list. Tied with perfect scores: Janis Joplin Aretha Franklin kd Lang 2. Cass Eliot 3.susan Boyle 4.(tie) Annie Lennox Tammy Wynette Abbey Lincoln 5.Loretta Lynn

by Anonymousreply 4708/21/2013

Alison Krauss has one of the most incredible voices I've ever heard. She's also the most Grammy decorated female singer ever.

by Anonymousreply 4808/21/2013

R48 - I agree.

by Anonymousreply 4908/21/2013

Looks, Babs Streisand has to top the list. But I would like to submit for your approval, Maureen McGovern:

by Anonymousreply 5008/21/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 5108/21/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 5208/21/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 5308/21/2013

R44, you dumb fuck, top selling does NOT mean good.

by Anonymousreply 5408/21/2013

JUDY!! JUDY!! JUDY!! best female singer in the 20th century

by Anonymousreply 5508/21/2013

For beauty, range and power of the voice it is these five:

Aretha Franklin Linda Ronstadt Whitney Houston Barbara Streisand Shirley Bassey

There are many many other divas i like even more than these five but these are the best vocal instruments among popular music singers.

by Anonymousreply 5608/21/2013

Totally depends on what type of singer.

For diva?




Donna Summer

Mariah (I can't stand her, but she belongs).

For Rock:


Nancy Wilson


Liz Phair

Kim Deal

For "other" - woman who don't define a jandra (old timers will get that)

Nina Simone




by Anonymousreply 5708/21/2013

Marilyn McCoo

by Anonymousreply 5808/21/2013

Karen Akers

Mama Cass

Linda Ronstadt

Renee Fleming

Nana Mouskouri

by Anonymousreply 5908/21/2013

Chaka Khan

Whitney Houston

Mariah Carey

Dianne Reeves

Betty Carter

by Anonymousreply 6008/21/2013

Oooh....Dianne Reeves. She's fabulous!

by Anonymousreply 6108/21/2013

Freda Payne

by Anonymousreply 6208/21/2013

ikr R62

by Anonymousreply 6308/21/2013

Shirley Bassey

Timi Yuro

Linda Eder

Aretha Franklin

Dusty Springfield

by Anonymousreply 6408/21/2013

Laura Nyro!

by Anonymousreply 6508/21/2013

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.

Miss Dionne.

Good to see the respect for Aretha, Barbra, Joni.

Miss Ross, like Bassey, seems too much of a required taste.

by Anonymousreply 6608/22/2013

Connie Smith

by Anonymousreply 6708/22/2013

I meant to say Top Ten.

by Anonymousreply 6808/22/2013

Connie Francis ?

by Anonymousreply 6908/22/2013


by Anonymousreply 7008/22/2013

Lady Gaga reigns supreme with the voice of a thousand angels. She is the Meryl Streep of music.

by Anonymousreply 7108/22/2013

Eva Cassidy.

Just listen to her sing "Fields of Gold".

Died way too young.

by Anonymousreply 7208/22/2013

The presence of Susan Boyle and Linda Eder on this thread make me giggle like a Japanese schoolgirl.

by Anonymousreply 7308/22/2013

Shirley Bassey has one of the best voices in music.

Laura and Joni are genius but are they among the best 'singers'?

by Anonymousreply 7408/23/2013

Carly Simon for her "No Secrets" album alone.

by Anonymousreply 7508/23/2013

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.



Nina Simone

Gladys Knight

by Anonymousreply 7608/24/2013

Yma Sumac

And no one else.

by Anonymousreply 7708/24/2013

Barbra Streisand

Shirley Bassey

Eva Cassidy

by Anonymousreply 7808/24/2013

Cat Power

Neko Case

Tracy Thorn

Sinead O'Connor

Laura Nyro

by Anonymousreply 7908/24/2013

Aretha, Donna Summer, Dionne Warwick, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston

by Anonymousreply 8008/24/2013

Celia Cruz


Asha Bhosle

Mina Mazzini

Agnetha Fältskog

by Anonymousreply 8108/24/2013

Karen Carpenter;

Aretha Franklin;

Kelly Clarkson;

Barbra Streisand;

Whitney Houston.

by Anonymousreply 8208/24/2013






by Anonymousreply 8308/24/2013

Barbra Streisand Judy Garland Bjork Aretha Franklin Annie Lennox

by Anonymousreply 8408/24/2013

Randy Crawford never gets the due she deserves. Simply one of the most distinctive jazz/pop voices ever.

by Anonymousreply 8508/24/2013

Like it or not, Madonna has sold twice as many records as Streisand. So has Mariah Carey.

Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger.

by Anonymousreply 8608/24/2013

R86, that's internationally. Streisand is the biggest-selling female in the US.

by Anonymousreply 8708/24/2013

Barbra Streisand

Judy Garland

Whitney Houston

Shirley Bassey

Eydie Gorme

by Anonymousreply 8808/24/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 8908/24/2013

Linda Eder Heather Headley Karen Carpenter Barbra Streisand Whitney Houston

by Anonymousreply 9008/24/2013

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???

by Anonymousreply 9108/24/2013

Amy Grant Patty Griffin Karen Carpenter Whitney (pre 1990) Kelly Clarkson

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).

by Anonymousreply 9208/24/2013

Judee Sill

Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins)

Dionne Warwick

Victoria Legrand (Beach House)

Kazu Makino (Blonde Redhead)

by Anonymousreply 9308/24/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 9408/24/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 9508/24/2013

Emmylou Harris. Angelic, divine.

by Anonymousreply 9608/24/2013

La Lupe

Etta James

Georgia Brown

Dame Cleo Laine

Vikki Carr

by Anonymousreply 9708/24/2013

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).



Nina Simone

Carole King - if only for Tapestry.

Annie Lennox

Dionne Warwick

Joan Armatrading


Bassey / Nancy Wilson

by Anonymousreply 9808/28/2013

Who gives a shit?


by Anonymousreply 9908/28/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 10008/28/2013

Dionne Warwick

Karen Carpenter

Barbra Streisand

Joni Mitchell

Aretha Franklin

by Anonymousreply 10108/28/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 10208/28/2013

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)

********************************************* Honorable mention:

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)

Annie Lennox

Chaka Kahn

Leontyne Price

Michael Jackson (she'd be upset if she wasn't included)

by Anonymousreply 10308/28/2013

Connie Smith

by Anonymousreply 10408/28/2013

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?

by Anonymousreply 10508/28/2013

Dee Dee Warwick


Kirsty MacColl

Carleen Anderson

Eddi Reader

by Anonymousreply 10608/28/2013

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 she is with the fabulously Euro-trashy, drag-act standard, "It Must Be Him".

Listen to those pipes...

by Anonymousreply 10708/28/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 10808/29/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 10908/29/2013

Minnie Riperton, voice of an angel, gone too soon.

by Anonymousreply 11008/29/2013

Cissy Houston is in very poor physical and mental health right now. This is an interview she gave this week in which she seems totally out of it.

by Anonymousreply 11108/29/2013

Ann Wilson Whitney Houston Tina Turner Celine Dion Janis Joplin

by Anonymousreply 11208/29/2013

Do most of you mentioning Nancy Wilson actually mean Ann Wilson?

by Anonymousreply 11308/29/2013


by Anonymousreply 11408/29/2013

[109] 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.

by Anonymousreply 11508/29/2013

[113] 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:

by Anonymousreply 11608/29/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 11708/29/2013

Aretha isn't worth shit after 1976.

by Anonymousreply 11808/29/2013

Oh yeah--Kirsty McColl and Kate Bush!

by Anonymousreply 11908/29/2013


Linda R.

Patsy C.

(Champagne for) Lulu!

Brenda Lee is my all time favorite girl singer, I am her #1 fool.

by Anonymousreply 12008/29/2013


Dionne Warwick

K. D. Lang

Natalie Cole

Jennifer Warnes

Honorable mention to my favorite singer, the song bird and poet, Macy Gray.

by Anonymousreply 12108/29/2013

Thank you, r116.

by Anonymousreply 12208/29/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 12308/30/2013

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!!!

by Anonymousreply 12408/30/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 12508/30/2013

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 ?

by Anonymousreply 12608/30/2013

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!

by Anonymousreply 12708/30/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 12808/30/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 12908/30/2013

Norah Jones, kd lang, Streisand, Alison Krauss, Kelly Clarkson

by Anonymousreply 13008/30/2013

There are not 10 - there are only three:

Judy Garland, Peggy Lee, Barbra Streisand

by Anonymousreply 13108/30/2013

The woefully uncredited Martha Wash and Darlene love both belong on the list.

by Anonymousreply 13208/30/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 13308/31/2013

Whitney Houston

Barbara Streisand

Aretha Franklin

Diana Ross

Judy Garland

This is it girls, no one else deserves the top 5 spots.

by Anonymousreply 13408/31/2013

[quote]Streisand is the biggest-selling female in the US.

Connie Francis has sold more and tops her on Billboard's chart listings.

by Anonymousreply 13508/31/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 13608/31/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 13708/31/2013

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.


Any questions?

by Anonymousreply 13808/31/2013

Rosemary Clooney

Ronnie Gilbert (Weavers)

Connie Francis

Linda Ronstadt

Edith Piaf

Nana Mouskouri

No autotune needed.

by Anonymousreply 13908/31/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 14008/31/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 14108/31/2013

and Patsy Cline !

by Anonymousreply 14208/31/2013

Gladys Knight and Robert Flack and Nancy Wilson ain't exactly chopped liver either !

by Anonymousreply 14308/31/2013

Robert Flack ! - rolls eyes.

by Anonymousreply 14408/31/2013

[quote]Jennifer Warnes

Love her. Why hasn't she recorded anything in the past decade?

by Anonymousreply 14508/31/2013

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".

by Anonymousreply 14608/31/2013

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 ?

by Anonymousreply 14708/31/2013

[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

5. Eagles

6. Billy Joel

7. Michael Jackson

8. Pink Floyd

9. Elton John

10. Barbra Streisand

Madonna is at #16.

by Anonymousreply 14808/31/2013

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. ?

by Anonymousreply 14908/31/2013

Alicia Keys ain't shit.

by Anonymousreply 15008/31/2013

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, Madonna 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

by Anonymousreply 15108/31/2013

Alicia Keys should never (try to) belt.

by Anonymousreply 15208/31/2013

[quote] How is Shirley Bassey an 'acquired' taste?

Her indiosyncratic phrasing.

by Anonymousreply 15308/31/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 15408/31/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 15508/31/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 15609/01/2013

Miss Dionne living on welfare! - there's a scam if I ever heard of one ! Details please, and where do I sign up ?

by Anonymousreply 15709/01/2013

I was behind Dionne in line at Ralph's and she was using food stamps.

by Anonymousreply 15809/01/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 15909/01/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 16009/02/2013


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.

by Anonymousreply 16109/02/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 16209/02/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 16309/02/2013

Ella Fitzgerald ( The ultimate. No one better)




Roberta Flack ( The best control)



Rosemary Clooney

Sarah Vaughan

Bonnie Raitt

by Anonymousreply 16409/02/2013


Nancy Wilson. (Lush Life -- wow)

Gladys Knight

That's all I can do right now.

by Anonymousreply 16509/02/2013

Where is Dolly Parton? Her voice is so clear ....strong...

by Anonymousreply 16609/02/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 16709/02/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 16809/03/2013

Aretha Franklin

Chaka Khan

Nina Simone

Renee Geyer

Gladys Knight

and honorable mention to Dusty Springfield

Of the newbies ... Chrisette Michele

by Anonymousreply 16909/03/2013

Where is Marilyn McCoo???

by Anonymousreply 17009/03/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 17109/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 17209/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 17309/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 17409/03/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 17509/03/2013

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?

Ronstadt rules.

by Anonymousreply 17609/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 17709/03/2013

"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.

by Anonymousreply 17809/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 17909/03/2013

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".

by Anonymousreply 18009/03/2013

I think I misunderstood the question. The singers career must have started within the last 50 years?

by Anonymousreply 18109/03/2013

Wow, "even the (here today, gone tomorrow) Sugarbabes" ! Maybe r180 is Tracy Chapman, the way he keeps promoting her, and trying to rubbish Armatrading, who has been going since the mid-70s.

by Anonymousreply 18209/03/2013

I loved Bobbie Gentry too and bought that hit song - but how long did she last, where is she now?

by Anonymousreply 18309/03/2013

Yes we are talking about singers of the last 50 years, so are deliberately excluding those who were established before then (like Peggy Lee, Judy, Billie Holliday, Ella, Dinah, Sarah, Lena, etc).

by Anonymousreply 18409/03/2013


That was my first Chapman/Armatrading post. Trolldar is your friend.

by Anonymousreply 18509/03/2013

That Bobby Gentry hussy stole one of my hits in the UK!

by Anonymousreply 18609/03/2013

More votes for Sade - I can listen to her anytime, timeless stuff.

by Anonymousreply 18709/03/2013

Miss Dionne has never forgiven Cilla Black either for having that hit with her "Anyone Who Had A Heart".

by Anonymousreply 18809/03/2013

Lulu - She makes me wanna S H O U T !

by Anonymousreply 18909/03/2013

Lulu's best is "Oh Me Oh My".

by Anonymousreply 19009/03/2013

Love her, r181. Also the similar Kristine W. Here she does a soul uber classic.

by Anonymousreply 19109/03/2013

This is getting silly now. Someone will be voting for All Saints next or Bananarama or Mel and Kim ! or Tiffany.

by Anonymousreply 19209/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 19309/03/2013

I vote for The Sugarlumps!

by Anonymousreply 19409/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 19509/03/2013

Just post another list r185.

by Anonymousreply 19609/03/2013

I meant r194 - sorry.

by Anonymousreply 19709/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 19809/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 19909/03/2013

What,no Cher ?

or disco gals like Ultra Nate, Rosie Gaines, Adeva ...

by Anonymousreply 20009/03/2013

My revised list





Bobbie Gentry

If my list could be longer I'd add:

Roberta Flack

Bonnie Raitt

Anita Baker

Esperanza Spalding

Teena Marie

Dorothy Moore

Amy Whinehouse

Jennifer Hudson

by Anonymousreply 20109/03/2013

** Dusty Springfield **

Timi Yuro


Frida & Agnetha from ABBA

PJ Harvey

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.

by Anonymousreply 20209/03/2013

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...

by Anonymousreply 20309/03/2013

Here's the second one. It's bad quality footage but you can definitely hear Cissy's voice.

by Anonymousreply 20409/03/2013

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%.

by Anonymousreply 20509/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 20609/03/2013

R200, you missed Linda Ronstadt. She's received several votes.

by Anonymousreply 20709/03/2013

Quite right, r209. Amy Winehouse should be there too.

by Anonymousreply 20809/03/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 20909/04/2013

A few more worthy of mention:

Kelis - fantasic live, great music tracks

Shara Nelson - "Unfinished Sympathy"

Mary J. - "No More Drama" !

by Anonymousreply 21009/04/2013

Kiri Te Kanawa ?

by Anonymousreply 21109/04/2013

Vanessa Amorosi?

by Anonymousreply 21209/04/2013

linda ronstadt

carly simon

laura nyro

nina simone

diana ross

by Anonymousreply 21309/04/2013

Lana Cantrell

Dorothy Squires

Joannie Sommers

Jackie Trent

Marilyn Maye

by Anonymousreply 21409/04/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 21509/04/2013

Whitney live stands alone.

Add Babs Aretha Gladys Tina

That is all.

by Anonymousreply 21609/05/2013

Oh yes there is R16! Those ladies could sing live and on pitch without needing all of this techno junk.

by Anonymousreply 21709/05/2013

Connie Francis

Jane Morgan

Gogi Grant

Rosemary Clooney

Toni Arden

by Anonymousreply 21809/05/2013

No Joss Stone love? For a British white girl, she has the voice and soul of a seasoned black diva.

by Anonymousreply 21909/05/2013

Its Dusty Springfield who is the great British white soul diva, r220. She was the white queen of soul.

by Anonymousreply 22009/06/2013

Jo Stafford

Patti Page

Pearl Bailey

Eydie Gorme

Kay Starr

by Anonymousreply 22109/06/2013

Jennifer Hudson

Joss Stone



Amy Winehouse

by Anonymousreply 22209/08/2013

Kathy perry Rihanna Lady gaga Nikki minaj Miley cirus

by Anonymousreply 22309/18/2013

Dusty Springfield

Linda Ronstadt


Stevie Nicks

Gladys Knight

Honorable Mentions: Aretha, Babs, Doris Day, Annie Lennox, Mary Wells

by Anonymousreply 22410/26/2013

Britney Spears? Rihanna? Kathy? Perry???

r10, is clearly deaf.

by Anonymousreply 22510/26/2013
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