Top 10 Greatest Female Singer/Songwriters of All Time

The Top Ten Greatest Female Singer/Songwriters of All Time

1 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 just happens to be a genius and uses that special gift in the arts to explore and express her thoughts on the things in life that are important to her and somehow magically we, her audience in turn self identify and internalizes her words into our own lives. She will always have a special place in my heart like no other female songwriter or artist can.

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.

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!

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

2 Taylor Swift Taylor Alison Swift is an American singer-songwriter. ...read more.

Dana taught me about her music. She was right that Taylor Swift is the greatest

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!

Very pure and honest emotional singer songwriter. She writes through her feelings and never afraid to share it through songs.

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

3 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 ...read 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

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

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

4 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.

The greatest song writer of all time man or woman! Both beautiful and brilliant! Her voice is pretty dam good to! Love, love Stevie!

She is an amazing songwriter/singer you can feel her emotion in the music so well that it almost sucks the air out of the room.

Her voice and songwriting, that’s raw talent right there. Give her a microphone, and her sound and words will have you swept away into a spiritual and emotional journey.

All around the greatest female singer songwriter of all time.

5 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 (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

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, 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 ...read 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.

9 Carly Simon

Extremely honest, witty, even a bit brutal, but always catchy songwriting with a sexy, unique voice. Carly is the most underrated female pop singer of the 70s and 80s. She seems to have always been overshadowed by her peers - Joni, Carole and Linda. Carly is a powerful, original talent, but she is also humble and down to earth. God forbid! No wonder she didn't receive the recognition she deserved.

the best

10 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!

The Contenders

11 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. In 2020 she started a solo career.
12 Chrissie Hynde

Number 3, behind Joni and Carole.

13 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

She should be number one.

14 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

€Essence”
“Sweet Old World”
“Something About What Happens When We Talk”
“Righteously”

16 Lily Allen Lily Rose Beatrice Cooper, known professionally as Lily Allen, is an English singer, songwriter, actress, and television presenter.
17 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

18 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 ...read more.

The in thing at the moment

Some of the best lyrics ever

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.

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

22 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

23 Emmylou Harris
24 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.
25 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. ...read more.

Top 5 of singer-songwriters with King, Mitchell, Parton and Simon.
Many on the list are basically singers and including them just muddies the polling.

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!

26 Lady Gaga Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. ...read 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 Kirsty Maccoll
28 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 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

Extremely underrated, Bonoff writes beautiful heartfelt songs that were widely covered by other famous artists. She also has a lovely singing voice herself.

31 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.

An innovator, there's only one Bjork

32 Nina Simone
33 Christine McVie
34 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.
35 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

36 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 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.

38 Loretta Lynn Loretta Lynn is an American country music singer-songwriter with multiple gold albums in a career spanning almost 60 years.
39 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 ...read more.
40 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

41 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.
42 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.
43 Enya Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin, known professionally as Enya, is an Irish singer-songwriter, musician, and producer.
44 Melanie Safka
45 Carly Rae Jepsen Carly Rae Jepsen is a Canadian singer and songwriter from Mission, British Columbia, and later based in Vancouver. She is best known for her hit song "Call Me Maybe" which topped many charts in 2012.
46 Judy Collins

Both sides now best version ever

47 Francesca Battistelli
48 Alessia Cara Alessia Caracciolo, born on July 11th, 1996 is professionally known as Alessia Cara, is a Canadian singer and songwriter.
49 Judee Sill
50 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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