The Best Singers of All Time

Who are the best singers of all time? That’s a tough question to ask. This list includes many of the greatest vocalists ever, from all genres of music. Whether it’s the incomparable, late, great Whitney Houston with her extraordinary pop and R&B tones or rock icons like Freddie Mercury from Queen, Jim Morrison from The Doors or John Lennon and/or Paul McCartney from The Beatles, this list spans decades of incredible musicians.

What singers do you feel are the greatest of all time? What are some of the greatest voices in music? Vote for your favorites, vote down any you don’t like and feel free to rerank this list your way.

Putting together the top singers in music history is a tall order. Everyone has an opinion. Some might lean more toward rock vocalists as their personal favorite (think Ann Wilson, Stevie Nicks and Mick Jagger), while others might prefer excellent pop or R&B vocalists like the late Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, or even Stevie Wonder, James Brown or Aretha Franklin.

Country musicians could also easily be included on this list. Musicians like Johnny Cash and Keith Whitley gave new meaning to great vocals with outstanding country songs. Female country artists, including modern era vocalists like Carrie Underwood could also be included. If country’s your thing, vote and add away!

Here’s the 15 best singers of all time

15. Celine Dion

Best Singers of All Time
Céline Marie Claudette Dion is a Canadian vocalist. Born into a large family from Charlemagne, Quebec, Dion emerged as a teen star in her homeland with a series of French-language albums during the 1980s. Dion first gained international recognition by winning both the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival and the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest where she represented Switzerland.

Genres (Music): Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music +more
Albums: Falling into You, These Are Special Times, Miracle +more
Nationality: Canada
Labels: Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sony 550 Music, 550 Music +more
Career Began: Montreal, Canada

 

14. Robert Anthony

Best Singers of All Time
Robert Anthony Plant is an English singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the rock band Led Zeppelin.
Plant enjoyed great success with Led Zeppelin throughout the 1970s and developed a compelling image as the charismatic rock-and-roll front man, similar to his contemporaries, The Who singer Roger Daltrey, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones and Jim Morrison of the Doors.

Genres (Music): Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock +more
Albums: Raising Sand, No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded, Walking Into Clarksdale +more
Nationality: United Kingdom, England
Labels: Rounder Records, Atlantic Records, Universal Records +more
Career Began: Kidderminster, United Kingdom

 

13. Marvin Gaye

Best Singers of All Time
Marvin Pentz Gaye (born Gay Jr.) was an American singer, songwriter and record producer. Gaye helped to shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s, first as an in-house session player and later as a solo artist with a string of hits, including “Ain’t That Peculiar”, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, and duet recordings with Mary Wells, Kim Weston, Diana Ross and Tammi Terrell, later earning the titles “Prince of Motown” and “Prince of Soul”.

Genres (Music): Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music +more
Albums: What’s Going On, Here, My Dear +more
Nationality: United States of America
Labels: Motown Records, Tamla Records, Columbia

 

12. Elton John

Best Singers of All Time
Sir Elton Hercules John is an English singer, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date. In his five-decade career Elton John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world.

Genres (Music): Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock +more
Albums: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Disney’s Sing-Along: The Lion King, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy +more
Nationality: England
Labels: MCA Records, Universal Records, Island Records +more
Career Began: Pinner, London, United Kingdom

 

11. David Bowie

Best Singers of All Time
David Robert Jones known professionally as David Bowie was an English singer, songwriter and actor who is often considered to be one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. He was a leading figure in popular music and was acclaimed by critics and fellow musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s.

Genres (Music): Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music +more
Albums: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Hunky Dory, Diamond Dogs +more
Nationality: United Kingdom, England
Labels: PRT Records, Parlophone, Hansa Records +more
Career Began: Brixton, London, United Kingdom

 

10. John Lennon

Best Singers of All Time
John Winston Ono Lennon was an English singer, songwriter, and peace activist who co-founded the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. He and fellow member Paul McCartney formed a much-celebrated songwriting partnership. Along with George Harrison and Ringo Starr, the group would ascend to worldwide fame during the 1960s.

Genres (Music): Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music +more
Albums: Imagine, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Double Fantasy +more
Nationality: England
Labels: Parlophone, Geffen Records, EMI +more
Career Began: Liverpool, United Kingdom

 

9. Paul McCartney

Best Singers of All Time
Sir James Paul McCartney is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. He gained worldwide fame as the bass guitarist and singer for the rock band the Beatles, widely considered the most popular and influential group in the history of pop music. His songwriting partnership with John Lennon was the most successful of the post-war era.

Genres (Music): Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock +more
Albums: Flaming Pie, Ram, McCartney +more
Nationality: England
Labels: Decca Records, Swan Records, Parlophone +more
Career Began: London, United Kingdom

 

8. Adele

Best Singers of All Time
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins is an English singer and songwriter. After graduating from the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology in 2006, Adele was given a recording contract by XL Recordings after a friend posted her demo on Myspace the same year. In 2007, she received the Brit Awards “Critics’ Choice” award and won the BBC Sound of 2008 poll.

Genres (Music): Southern soul, Neo soul, Rock music +more
Albums: 21, 19, Make You Feel My Love +more
Nationality: United Kingdom, England
Labels: XL Recordings, Universal Music Group, Columbia
Career Began: Tottenham, London, United Kingdom

 

7. Stevie Wonder

Best Singers of All Time
Stevland Hardaway Morris known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. A child prodigy, he is considered to be one of the most critically and commercially successful musical performers of the late 20th century. Wonder signed with Motown’s Tamla label at the age of 11, and he continued performing and recording for Motown into the 2010s. He has been blind since shortly after birth.

Genres (Music): Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music +more
Albums: Songs in the Key of Life, Innervisions, Talking Book +more
Nationality: United States of America
Labels: Motown Records, Tamla Records
Career Began: Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

 

6. Aretha Franklin

Best Singers of All Time
Aretha Louise Franklin was an American singer, songwriter, actress, and pianist. Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan where her father C. L. Franklin was minister. At age 18, she embarked on a secular career recording for Columbia Records. However, she achieved only modest success. Franklin found commercial success and acclaim after signing with Atlantic Records in 1966.

Genres (Music): Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues +more
Albums: Lady Soul, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Young +more
Nationality: United States of America
Labels: Atlantic Records, Arista Records, Columbia
Career Began: Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

 

5. Francis Albert Sinatra

Francis Albert Sinatra
Francis Albert Sinatra was an American singer, actor, and producer who was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide.

Genres (Music): Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band +more
Albums: Christmas With the Rat Pack, In the Wee Small Hours, Christmas Songs by Sinatra +more
Nationality: United States of America
Labels: Qwest Records, Legacy Recordings, Reprise Records +more

 

4. Elvis Presley


Elvis Aaron Presley was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” or simply the “King”.

Genres (Music): Christian music, Pop music, Rock music +more
Albums: Jailhouse Rock, The Sun Sessions, From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential ’60s Masters +more
Nationality: United States of America
Labels: Sun Records, RCA Records
Career Began: Memphis, Tennessee, United States of America

 

3. Whitney Elizabeth Houston


Whitney Elizabeth Houston was an American singer and actress. She was cited as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records and remains one of the best-selling music artists of all time with 200 million records sold worldwide. She released seven studio albums and two soundtrack albums, all of which have been certified diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Genres (Music): Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B +more
Albums: The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album, Whitney Houston, My Love Is Your Love +more
Nationality: United States of America
Labels: Sony Music Entertainment, Arista Records, RCA Records
Career Began: East Orange, New Jersey, United States of America

 

2. Michael Jackson


Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the “King of Pop”, he was one of the most popular entertainers in the world and one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Jackson’s contributions to music, dance, and fashion along with his publicized personal life made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

Genres (Music): Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music +more
Albums: Thriller, Bad, Off the Wall +more
Nationality: United States of America
Labels: Sony Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Motown Records +more
Career Began: Gary, Indiana, United States of America

 

1. Farrokh Bulsara


Farrokh Bulsara known professionally as Freddie Mercury, was a British singer, songwriter and record producer, best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. He was known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave vocal range. Mercury wrote numerous hits for Queen, including “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Killer Queen”, “Somebody to Love”, “Don’t Stop Me Now”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, and “We Are the Champions”.

Genres (Music): Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly +more
Albums: The Solo Collection, Barcelona, Mr. Bad Guy +more
Nationality: Zanzibar, United Kingdom
Labels: Parlophone, Hollywood Records, EMI +more
Career Began: London, United Kingdom

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