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 streets ahead of the others (and they are great). Her honest lyrics, sublime tonal changes and excellent open tuning guitar chords give her the greater musicality. She might just be the greatest... male or female!

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!

Hey, Blue, songs are like tattoos

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

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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.

Genius songwriter from an extremely young age. She wrote her third album, Speak Now, all by herself when she was only 19. Every song on that album is incredible. Her Red album also has quite a few lyrical gems on it such as State of Grace and All Too Well.

Taylor Swift is THE BEST SONGWRITER of all time. Her ability to transform her feelings and emotions into lyrics is AMAZING

Nothing to say, she is the queen!

She deserves the 1 place

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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.

When it was released the Tapestry album sold more records than any album ever recorded More Than the Beatles more than Elvis more than anybody it had five songs that between Carole King and other artists reached number one on the charts and to this day it has only been bested in sales by Michael Jackson's Thriller and the Eagles Greatest Hits

Just the best writer / performer, closely followed by Carly Simon - and where's Diane Warren in this list...?

Joni Mitchell's good, but Carole is even better - 445956

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.

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

A definite groundbreaker.

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.

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

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

Awesome performer, but not really a songwriter.

7 Kate Bush Kate Bush

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.

The most original, intelligent and creative singer-songwriter of all time - male or female. Not just an incredible talent in this field, either; she excels as a dancer, choreographer, pianist, producer, and director. Also - in spite of her protestations to the contrary - she can act. Finally, Kate is a modest woman who obviously cares far more for her family than she does for fame.

What more can be said?

Kate is in a different league from all the others.

8 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.

Trashy website indeed. I would put Mariah Carey on the top 3. So underrated even for how huge her success all throughout her career. She makes the melody, the runs, the lyrics, almost everything, except for the accompaniment for she is not into musical instrument. How can they not appreciate her talent? She's so underrated as a songwriter.

This whole website is TRASH! Mariah has written EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HER SONGS, & COMPOSED them + PRODUCED them. Her lyrics are ethereal, and have a far deeper meaning when you actually SEE the lyrics! Don't try the QUEEN OF BILL BOARD like this! GIVE MIMI THE NUMBER ONE SPOT!

Many of the singers mentioned above haven't even wrote a single song

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

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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 Newcomers

? Kesha Kesha Kesha (formerly known as Ke$ha) was born in Los Angeles, United States. She is best known for her hits like Timber, Tik Tok, and We R Who We R. Kesha is an animal rights activist and she works for H.S.I. (Humane Society International). Kesha also stands up for L.G.B.T. rights in America

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
13 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.
14 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.

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

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
19 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


20 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.

21 P!NK P!NK Alecia Beth Moore known professionally as P!NK, is an American singer, songwriter, dancer and actress.
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 Emmylou Harris
24 Kirsty Maccoll
25 Laura Nyro Laura Nyro

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!

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.

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

26 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

27 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.

Incredible prolific genius pianist - lark

28 Sia Furler Sia Furler

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

How? why? what?!?!, sia should be in the top 10, it's just unacceptable.

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 Karla Bonoff
31 Nina Simone
32 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.
33 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

34 Christine McVie
35 Rickie Lee Jones

Underrated beauty!

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.

36 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.
37 Gwen Stefani Gwen Stefani
38 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

39 Loretta Lynn Loretta Lynn
40 Judy Collins

Both sides now best version ever

41 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.
42 Enya Enya Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin, known professionally as Enya, is an Irish singer-songwriter, musician, and producer.
43 Alessia Cara Alessia Cara Alessia Caracciolo, born on July 11th, 1996 is professionally known as Alessia Cara, is a Canadian singer and songwriter.
44 Melanie Safka
45 Carly Rae Jepsen Carly Rae Jepsen Carly Rae Jepsen is a Canadian singer and songwriter from Mission, British Columbia, and later based in Vancouver.
46 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.
47 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.

48 Selena Gomez Selena Gomez Selena Marie Gomez is an American actress and singer. She is best known for songs like "Come & Get It", "Good For You", "Same Old Love", and "Naturally". Selena Gomez's voice is mezzo-soprano but she usually sings in alto. She is best known for her role as Alex Russo in Wizards of Waverly Place.

I don't think so.

49 Francesca Battistelli
50 Whitney Houston Whitney Houston Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston is one of pop music's best-selling music artists of all-time, with an estimated 170–200 more.
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List Stats

600 votes
59 listings
2 years, 269 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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