Top 10 Greatest Female Singer/Songwriters of All Time


The Top Ten

1 Joni Mitchell Joni Mitchell Roberta Joan Mitchell, professionally known as Joni Mitchell, is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Drawing from folk, pop, rock, and jazz, Mitchell's songs often reflect social and environmental ideals as well as her feelings about romance, confusion, disillusionment, and joy.

Joni is true genius- as poet, musician and visual artist. She's a better musician and poet than Bob Dylan, creating over 50 open tunings on the guitar. Her name will endure long after most on this list are distant memories. 200 years from now, there will still be Beethoven, Beatles and Joni. What a privilege to live during her time.

The best ever

No doubt about it. Blue, Court & Spark, Hejira my favorites. So many choices.

Simply the absolute greatest of all time. Nobody has greater expression of feeling and depth. Articulate, beautiful voice, great writer and musician, not maudlin. Love you, Joni!

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2 Taylor Swift Taylor Swift Taylor Alison Swift is an American singer-songwriter. She was born on December 13, 1989 in Reading, Pennsylvania. She is best known for writing break up songs and for having more than 5 Grammys. She became interested in country music when she was around 9 years old and after watching a documentary about more.

Outstanding songwriter! The emotion she captures through her words are amazing, they're so deep and meaningful and if people would listen it's not all about her ex boyfriends. It's much more deeper. Should be No. 1 but all the women in the list are also amazing and talented!

Her lyrics are just perfect, with simple melodies and few fancy tricks like electronic sounds

The best songwriter and singer...I have ever seen,she writes such fabulous and masterpiece songs

Best songwriter with great vocals at the same time ' Taylor Alison Swift'

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3 Carole King Carole King Carole King is an American composer and singer-songwriter. She is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century in the USA, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1955 and 1999. King also wrote 61 hits that charted in the UK, making more.

The commercial success that Carole has achieved must put her up at the top

What? She's No. 1

She should be listed as #1...absolutely!

Why is Taylor Swift higher - 445956

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4 Stevie Nicks Stevie Nicks Stephanie Lynn "Stevie" Nicks is an American singer and songwriter, best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac and an extensive solo career, which collectively have produced over forty Top 50 hits and sold over 140 million albums.

All around the greatest female singer songwriter of all time.

Every mans dream woman mid seventies through mid eighties. I Remember when real women walked the planet with style and grace.

Amazing. - Swellow

5 Patti Smith Patti Smith Patricia Lee "Patti" Smith is an American singer-songwriter, poet, and visual artist who became a highly influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses.

A definite groundbreaker.

Maybe patti smith can top a list for once! - RecklessGreed

You can do it - waldo

6 Janis Joplin Janis Joplin Janis Joplin (1943-1970) was an American singer who rose to fame as the main singer of acid band Big Brother and the Holding Company. She was known for her eccentric hippie style and psychedelic rock music.

She was soulful, brilliant, cutting edge and phenomenal. Gone way too soon!

Awesome performer, but not really a songwriter.

I can't believe someone like Taylor Swift is Higher Than This Legend Just Sad - Thecyanryan

7 Mariah Carey Mariah Carey Mariah Carey, born March 27, 1970, is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She is one of the biggest best-selling women in the music industry, with 18 number 1 records to her name. She is regarded as a sex symbol through her songs and music videos, and she is "well known" for her over-the-top more.

She should be on top of everyone.

Mariah is the greatest of them all... Singer, song writer, producer.

Queen of whistles

Simply the greatest!

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8 Kate Bush Kate Bush

My goodness, Kate Bush is on the list. She's probably the best British singer and songwriter I've ever heard. - SpinelliFan

Her Miming and voice are extraordinary. She comes across as very shy and rarely tours. She's a one off. Unique in every way.

Only Joni Mitchell is Kate's peer among female singer songwriters. The depth of meaning and emotional impact of so many of her songs, the gorgeous music and her amazingly expressive voice are inimitable. On top of that, she is one of the first artists to seize control of her music from her label and is a pioneer in video and live performance excellence.
No one is as influential across genres, from Big Boi to Bjork, from Solange to St. Vincent, from Tori Amos to Lady Gaga, and so many more.

Should be at the top spot in my opinion. What an utter travesty ok that she is 4 places beneath TAYLOR SWIFT!

I suggest you peasants take yourself to YouTube and search for Jig of Life. That is a song. Taylor Swift? what a joke.

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9 Dolly Parton Dolly Parton Dolly Rebecca Parton is an American singer-songwriter, actress, author, businesswoman, and humanitarian, known primarily for her work in country music.

Tell me another woman or anyone for that matter that has written better songs than "I Will Always Love You" and "Jolene"! I'll wait... If you answered you're wrong!

I will always love you, and all her work of the heart should place her higher. Prejudice against country. An incredible volume of fantastic work!

10 Carly Simon

the best

The Newcomers

? Dory Previn

The Contenders

11 Hayley Williams Hayley Williams Hayley Nichole Williams is an American singer, songwriter and musician. She is best known as the lead vocalist, occasional keyboardist and primary songwriter of the American rock band Paramore.
12 Chrissie Hynde

Number 3, behind Joni and Carole.

13 Amy Winehouse Amy Winehouse Amy Jade Winehouse was an English singer and songwriter known for her deep expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul, rhythm and blues, and jazz. She is also a well-known member of the 27 Club, as she overdosed on alcohol at age 27.

She should be number one.

Wow She should totally be higher, like her word play and her voice is amazing

14 Bridgit Mendler Bridgit Mendler Bridgit Claire Mendler is an American actress, singer, and songwriter. In 2004, she began her career in the animated Indian film The Legend of Buddha.
15 Lucinda Williams
16 Lily Allen Lily Allen Lily Rose Beatrice Cooper, known professionally as Lily Allen, is an English singer, songwriter, actress, and television presenter.
17 Adele Adele Adele Laurie Blue Adkins is an English singer and songwriter. 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. She is best known with her international hit singles more.

Some of the best lyrics ever

The in thing at the moment

Adele is the best singer-songwriter of all time, and it's not even that close. Joni Mitchell? She has a self-described "helium voice". Bob Dylan? Again, songwriter..yes. Great singer..not exactly. Adele excels at both, and she has the record setting album sales and grammy wins to back it up too.

18 Joan Baez Joan Baez Joan Chandos Baez is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and activist whose contemporary folk music often includes songs of protest or social justice.

Superb voice, symbol of rotest movement, a class of her own

19 Ann & Nancy Wilson

Ann and Nancy are probably the most dynamic singer songwriters ever. They should follow the beauty and class, respectively, of Joni Mitchell and Carol King in the #3 spot light. No women have ever rocked harder than them though Tina Turner for sure has her place in history along side of the Wilson sisters.

20 P!NK P!NK Alecia Beth Moore known professionally as P!NK, is an American singer, songwriter, dancer and actress.
21 Jennifer Jennings

Jennifer Jennings is one of the hottest and most promising modern country singer/songwriters in Chicago. Yes, that’s right, country from Chicago. The Windy City, while being known as the Home Of The Blues, also has a long tradition of country music, which at times gets overlooked. Jennifer Jennings and her band represent the newer style of pop and rock-influenced country, drawing their inspiration as much from songwriters like Tom Petty and Sheryl Crow as from anything coming out of Nashville. The result is music that combines the story-telling type of songwriting of Americana with a sound based in the classic rock that we all love that seems fresh, new, and familiar at the same time.

The Jennifer Jennings Band has been described as "The Allman Brothers meets Sheryl Crow". Jennifer has a phenomenal voice, hearkening back to the great female rock artists of the 60's and 70's. She has a clear, rich, alto voice of uncommon quality - versatile enough to be equally at ...more - Garjen

Check out her song "Empty Need" off her album "All The Pieces" - Garjen


22 Avril Lavigne Avril Lavigne Avril Ramona Lavigne is a Canadian–French singer-songwriter and actress. By the age of 15, she had appeared on stage with Shania Twain; by 16, she had signed a two-album recording contract with Arista Records worth more than $2 million.
23 Sia Furler Sia Furler

For me, it is a tie between Sia and Adele for best songwriter and best vocals.
Sia has a voice crack that makes her so unique and special. She writes powerful songs as well.
Adele has the voice of an angel and the everyday persons heartache in her music.
I simply can't pick a #1 & #2 between these two ladies so they must share the #1 spot.

She is not only one of the best singer songwriter but should be one of the greatest song composer too!

I believe Sia should be listed amongst the top 10 song writers... she's so amazing, Diamonds,Titanium and Chandelier got me crazy!

Ahes awesome, wrote songs for the above artist

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24 Emmylou Harris
25 Lady Gaga Lady Gaga Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. more.

Definitely top 3. Modern pop singers should be based off amount of records sold. 1. Taylor Swift 2. Lady Gaga.

Why is this legend not on the list? Are you simply gonna ignore the very intelligent lyrics from bad romance, poker face, love game? Or the heart warming balads like speechless, TEOG, you and i? Vote for her

26 Kirsty Maccoll
27 Laura Nyro Laura Nyro Laura Nyro was an American songwriter, singer, and pianist. She achieved critical acclaim with her own recordings, particularly the albums Eli and the Thirteenth Confession and New York Tendaberry, and had commercial success with artists such as Barbra Streisand and The 5th Dimension recording her songs. more.

Stoney End, Wedding Bell Blues, And When I Die... Too many great songs to list. She may have the record as the most covered female artist.

She's No. 1 for me, soul, talent, original. Check out Sweet Blindness, sorry 5th Dimension, it's not a drinking song. Save the Country should be our national anthem!

My favorite. Her music is moving; emotional; sensual! Joni & Amy are superb too!

28 Tori Amos Tori Amos Tori Amos is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. She is a classically trained musician with a mezzo-soprano vocal range.

Oh come on! Just been listening to Cornflake Girl several times daily and its one of the most incredibke vocal, lyrical and musical explosions I have ever heard. God I wish I could play the piano like I'm making love. that's what this wonderful woman does. Up there with joni Mitchell and Kate bush. I love her!

Incredible prolific genius pianist - lark

29 Aretha Franklin Aretha Franklin Aretha Louise Franklin (March 25, 1942 - August 16, 2018) was an American singer, songwriter and pianist. She began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where her father, C. L. Franklin, was minister.
30 Christine McVie
31 Sandy Denny Sandy Denny Alexandra Elene MacLean Denny, later known as Sandy Denny, was an English singer-songwriter who was lead singer for the folk rock band Fairport Convention.
32 Karla Bonoff
33 Nina Simone
34 Joan Armatrading

Joan armatrading is the best, she wrote all her hit songs and still write her songs and furthermore she compose and arrange them solely... she creates all the melodies. And after the song is done, when she put in that voice... wow it's amazing, she's got an amazing voice that'll keep you listening to the song now and then. I wonder why she is underrated

35 Björk Björk Björk Guðmundsdóttir, known mononymously as Björk, is an Icelandic singer and songwriter. She is most famous for her eclectic music styles and experimentation on electronic pop music.
36 Karen Carpenter Karen Carpenter Karen Anne Carpenter was an American singer and drummer. She and her brother, Richard Carpenter, formed the 1970s duo Carpenters.

Great vocalist. Good drummer. I don't think she wrote many songs though... - Billyv

37 Rickie Lee Jones

Her ‘night train’ is one of my favorite songs of all time. She hit the scene in 1979 and American music was never the same.

Underrated beauty!

38 Debbie Harry Debbie Harry Deborah Ann "Debbie" Harry is an American singer-songwriter and actress, best known as the lead singer of the new wave and punk rock band Blondie.
39 Gwen Stefani Gwen Stefani Gwen Renée Stefani (born October 3, 1969) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and record producer. She is a co-founder and the lead vocalist of the band No Doubt, whose singles include "Just a Girl" and "Don't Speak" from their 1995 breakthrough studio album Tragic Kingdom, as well as "Hey more.
40 Enya Enya Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin, known professionally as Enya, is an Irish singer-songwriter, musician, and producer.
41 Melanie Safka
42 Loretta Lynn Loretta Lynn Loretta Lynn is an American country music singer-songwriter with multiple gold albums in a career spanning almost 60 years.
43 Judy Collins

Both sides now best version ever

44 Francesca Battistelli
45 Courtney Love Courtney Love Courtney Michelle Love is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and visual artist. A notable figure in the punk and grunge scenes of the 1990s, Love's career has spanned four decades.
46 Alessia Cara Alessia Cara Alessia Caracciolo, born on July 11th, 1996 is professionally known as Alessia Cara, is a Canadian singer and songwriter.
47 Amy Lee Amy Lee Amy Lynn Hartzler, known professionally as Amy Lee, is an American singer-songwriter, classically trained pianist and composer. She is also the lead singer to the Arkansas band Evanescence.
48 Judee Sill
49 Carly Rae Jepsen Carly Rae Jepsen Carly Rae Jepsen is a Canadian singer and songwriter from Mission, British Columbia, and later based in Vancouver.
50 Linda Ronstadt Linda Ronstadt Linda Maria Ronstadt is an American popular music singer. She has earned 11 Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, an ALMA Award, and numerous United States and internationally certified gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums.

Probably the second-best singer on this list, behind only Maria Callas. However, she did not write her own songs. For that matter, neither did Callas.

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List Stats

800 votes
60 listings
3 years, 94 days old

Top Remixes (4)

1. Taylor Swift
2. Hayley Williams
3. Joni Mitchell
1. Joni Mitchell
2. Patti Smith
3. Janis Joplin
1. Joni Mitchell
2. Carole King
3. Stevie Nicks

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