Regardless of the era or genre, some female singers stand out above the rest. From Patsy Cline to Madonna, these talented women left their mark on the music industry forever.
See which of your favorite female artists made this list of absolute legends.
Celine Dion’s singing career was Titanic in nature!
Canadian-born singer Celine Dion sang one of the greatest songs of all time on the soundtrack of Titanic. “My Heart Will Go On” won Dion two Grammy Awards.
Dion released albums in English and French and topped every list in pop, rock, R&B, gospel, and classical music.
American or not, everyone stood when Whitney Houston sang the anthem!
The late Whitney Houston, nicknamed “The Voice,” is the most awarded female artist of all time, according to Guinness World Records. From selling over 200 million records worldwide to becoming the first artist to have a hit single reach No. 1 seven consecutive times, Houston”s star power was undeniable.
Many consider Houston’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV to be one of the greatest performances ever at a sporting event.
It’s not quite Christmas without Mariah Carey!
Mariah Carey’s five-octave range is not as impressive as the global popularity of her holiday version of “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
Hits like Fantasy and One Sweet Day helped Carey become one of the best-selling musical artists of all time selling over 220 million albums worldwide.
It would be “Crazy” not to include Patsy Cline as one of the greatest!
Country and pop artist Patsy Cline inspired generations of artists to come with her wide range and beautiful yet strong voice. Cline nearly passed over the opportunity to record one of her biggest hit singles, “Crazy.”
Written by Willie Nelson, Cline’s husband discovered the song and approached his wife about recording it. Initially, she refused because she did not like it. Eventually giving in, Cline added her own touch and recorded the song, becoming a major hit.
21 was more than a number for Adele!
19, Adele’s debut album, crushed every UK chart it appeared on, going 8X platinum. The world really took notice after her sophomore album release.
Her album 21 is Billboard‘s top-performing album in US chart history! Adele’s single “Hello” broke records, and her song “Skyfall” earned her an Oscar.
Madonna fans have over 300 million reasons to shout “All Hail the Queen!”
Often referred to as the Queen of Pop, Madonna’s popularity and dominance on the charts reigned for two decades.
The Material Girl sang and danced across international screens and stages. Madonna is the best-selling female artist of all time, selling over 300 million albums worldwide.
Janet Jackson’s stardom started a “Rhythm Nation!”
Being the younger sister of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, meant that Janet Jackson had to bring something extra to be successful like her brother.
Hits like “Rhythm Nation,” and “Nasty,” helped her set the record for the most consecutive top-ten entries for singles on Billboard‘s Hot 100.
Chaka Khan brought the funk to audiences for over 5 decades!
Only Chaka Khan, the Queen of Funk, can release one single like “I Feel for You” off of the album of the same name, and ascend to legendary status.
Over Khan’s 50-year career, her collaborations ranged from Ray Charles, Robert Palmer, to Mary J. Blige, solidifying her iconic status.
Patti Labelle sang On My Own, but her audiences felt anything but!
Uplifting soulful ballads will forever mark the career of Patti Labelle, which began in the 1960s. Rolling Stone Magazine named Labelle to their Top 100 Greatest Singers list.
Labelle’s career spanned over 7 decades, singing countless classics like “On My Own,” which she collaborated with singer Michael McDonald.
Sarah McLachlan isn’t afraid of her competition, founding Lilith!
As founder of the Lilith Fair Tour, which featured only female solo and group artists, Sarah McLachlan empowered women globally with her vocals.
The Canadian-born singer loaned her time and vocals for many charitable causes. McLachlan sang at benefit concerts for AIDS awareness, tsunami relief, and animal cruelty prevention.
Toni Braxton’s Secrets spoke loudly about her success!
Toni Braxton is without question one of the greatest female singers of all time, confirmed by her selling over 70 million albums worldwide.
Braxton’s fame and greatness came to prominence after her 1996 Secrets album, which featured her most successful hits, Unbreak My Heart, and You’re Making Me High.
Sade fans had No Ordinary Love for her and her music!
“Sweetest Taboo,” “Smooth Operator,” and “No Ordinary Love,” gently blessed audiences and made Sade into the iconic singer she is.
Nigerian-born, Sade’s singles climbed charts, sold albums worldwide, and she remains one of the most successful British female singers ever. Sade’s influence was felt across various genres, from contemporary to rap music.
A Jagged Little Pill got Alanis Morissette fans high on her singing!
Jagged Little Pill was not only the debut album for Alanis Morissette and her most critically acclaimed work, but the same album was the inspiration for the rock musical of the same name… nominated for 15 Tony Awards!
Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” transcended genres and rocketed up international pop charts.
Britney Spears…Oops she did it again, and again, and again!
During her run in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Britney Spears breathed life into the once dead genre of pop music, particularly among her mostly teenage audience.
Spears’ albums Baby One More Time, and Oops I Did It Again, broke records and are mentioned among the greatest albums ever released.
Sheryl Crow was a “Favorite Mistake” of her loyal fans!
Fans associate Sheryl Crow strumming her guitar while singing on a stage. Crow’s diversity, however, shined brightly everywhere she went. Crow’s stage presence crossed over into pop, country, folk, and blues music.
Singles including “Favorite Mistake” and “Soak Up the Sun” helped Crow sell over 50 million albums worldwide.
One listen of Mary J. Blige and fans knew What’s the 411!
Mary J. Blige’s debut album What’s the 411 is known in many music circles for being the first album to bring a mix of Hip Hop and R&B.
Mary’s second album My Life made Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of all time and TIME‘s Top 100 all-time lists.
Annie Lennox’s performances had everyone watching “Sweet Dreams!”
Quirky and ahead of her time, Annie Lennox and her unorthodox ways mesmerized fans everywhere.
Lennox’s singles “Sweet Dreams” and “Here Comes the Rain Again” were two of her many hit singles. Her performances in men’s clothes, and short orange hair, almost distracted audiences from her contributions to charitable causes.
Shania Twain’s fabulous career will “Getcha Good!”
Shania Twain’s “Still the One,” “I’m Gonna Getcha Good,” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” helped define her awesome career.
Twain sold over 100 million albums which makes her the best-selling artist in country music history. Twain has a star on both the Canadian and Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Aretha Franklin commanded R-E-S-P-E-C-T with every performance!
R&B singers from every generation need to bow and pay homage to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Franklin’s iconic career impressively spread across eight decades.
Franklin twice made Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list with hits like “Respect,” and “A Natural Woman.”
Come Away with Norah Jones
Her hit single “Come Away with Me,” (2002), began an incredible reign of chart-topping hits and awards for Norah Jones. Today she has nine Grammy Awards to her name and sold well over 50 million albums worldwide.
Jones tried her hand at acting making several TV cameo appearances and appears in the film My Blueberry Nights.