Greatest Motown Singers

The Top Ten

1 Michael Jackson Michael Jackson Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, dancer, and songwriter born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana and passed away on June 25, 2009. He donated (at least) a remarkable 500,000,000 dollars to charity. Michael is also known as The King of Pop (a title given to him by Elizabeth Taylor) or under ...read more.

The Great "King Of Pop Soul And Funk The Inspiration Of Many Of The Greatest Artist In The World His Inspirations Too Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, All Of The Great Singers To Ever Walk On Earth His Smooth Voice Nice Music Was The Great Singer Of Motown And The World Because He Is The World Of Music.

Motown singer... my ass. He shouldn't even be on this list.

There are no words great enough to describe him, he was a true inspiration and will never ever fade from our lives. At first, there was Michael on record, then CD, then MP3, then Ipod and he will always be there no matter how much technology updates. An absolute angel. I love him forever.

I love Michael. He was very talented. He was gone to soon. My favorite song by him is I Want You Back. He deserves to be number one. YOU GO BOY!

11 Comments
2 Marvin Gaye Marvin Gaye Marvin Gaye was an American singer, songwriter, and musician, and is regarded as one of the greatest singers of all time.

I am only 16 years old, have listened to many old Motown singers, they have all had a hit or two that caught my attention. Te first time I heard Marvin's voice, I was instantly hooked. It is hard to explain in words. In a way he had a simple voice, but it has a certain sound to it that makes people listen. I can hear the struggles in his voice. You can't just listen to " Let's Get it On", "What's going on", and "sexual healing". While those songs are certainly some of his best, he has many other unappreciated titles under his belt. I recommend the gold album on iTunes. It starts out with happy songs while he was becoming known, but as the album continues he begins sounding more worried and depressed. He certainly has something for everyone.

Your right I'm only ten and know every single song from each artists

I didn't fully appreciate Marvin Gaye until after he was already gone. When I finally tuned in, his voice didn't let me go. There is wonderful smooth voice, but there is emotion involved that he somehow gets across. Don't ask me what it is because it's subtle. I listen to him every time I get a chance. He was so great.

Soulful. Timeless. Unique talent.

Marvin wanted to be a jazz crooner but after poor record sales, Motown decided that he should try some "soul pop" and songs like "stubborn kind of fellow", how sweet it is, "try it baby" followed. With these songs he developed into a very smooth, sharp, slick soul crooner...more similar to Sam Cooke but more laid-back because of his previous smooth jazz swagger.

18 Comments
3 David Ruffin (The Temptations) David Ruffin (The Temptations) David Eli Ruffin was an American soul singer and musician most famous for his work as one of the lead singers of The Temptations during the group's "Classic Five" period as it was later known.

David was the best there was. The others were great but David had the soul of his people and ancestors. Even Marvin Gaye said david had something great in his voice that Marvin himself lacked. I'm tired of all the negative talk I hear about David. A lot of people are hearing the same junk and are judging him and neglecting and ignoring his legacy. David gave to us the voice and soul no other has given. I truly love this man. He wasn't perfect and he made many mistakes but who hasn't made mistakes. We all have made mistakes so why do we expect that David should have been perfect. He was human and he was a man. Now this book" my temptation" must have been written by some sicko. First of all she made the statement that she could here David telling her to write and publish the book. Now why would David come to her in a vision, dream or any other way and tell her to bash his name and legacy like that. Why would he want the world to remember him in that way.? He wouldn't. So we ...more

If there were a Mt. Rushmore of singers, David Ruffin, Levi Stubbs, Eddie Kendricks, and Smokey Robinson ( with Marvin Gaye right there too ) were be on it. David ( 1-A ) and Levi ( 1-B ) were the best there will ever be!

Got be # 2

You all r crazy I read where Marvin said when he first herd David sing he herd what his voice was lacking. If where talking about voices its no competition ruff is the greatest. Smokey Robinson & Gladys before David is a joke & a reminder that people don't know music. By the way David didn't sing cloud nine but thanks anyway.

18 Comments
4 Gladys Knight Gladys Knight Gladys Maria Knight, known as the "Empress of Soul", is an American singer, songwriter, actress, businesswoman, humanitarian and author.

Berry Gordy should have given more attention to her! What a beautiful woman with a tremendous voice and passion for her talent!

After Aretha, Gladys stands alone. Every song she sang came from way down in a place, where unlike many could not only go, but stay!

If God needed a voice to represent the world it would be Gladys Knight

I love Glady beautiful smile and fantastic voice.

2 Comments
5 Stevie Wonder Stevie Wonder Stevland Hardaway Morris, known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist.

Stevie is a very influential and amazing singer that is a lot better than a lot of Motown singers because of his pitch perfect singing and voice quality. He should be regarded higher than the other artists.

He is such an under rated artist. I think he is a musical genius.

Stevie was so versatile. From high energy like Signed Sealed Delivered and Supersticious to low and smooth like Golden Lady, I Believe and Boogie on Reggae Woman, his voice range was better than any other major solo recording artist in history. He really should be number 1. MJ may have been more popular, but Stevie had way better vocal abilities.

Signed, Sealed, Deliverd... from the first note to the last he sings absolutely perfect.

6 Comments
6 Levi Stubbs (The Four Tops) Levi Stubbs (The Four Tops) Levi Stubbs was an American baritone singer, best known as the lead vocalist of the R&B group the Four Tops, a band known for a variety of Motown hit records and other songs created in the 1960s and 1970s.

Feed me, Seymour! Feed me all night long!

You haven't heard this great man sing till you've heard what the Tops are NOT famous for! His interpretations of Honey and Climb Every Mountain, to name two, unreleased tracks- Just A Little Love and Old Fashioned Man (all on YouTube) show how diverse, emotional and varied his voice was. No one does passion and emotion like Levi Stubbs, listen to Ask the Lonely, Baby I Need Your Loving, I'll Never Leave Again and I Believe In You and Me. But never wanting the limelight he was and always will be known as part of the Four Tops, if people listen to these 5 odd tracks before voting, Levi Stubbs should be top and deservedly so!

Not the best voice of course, that'll be Marvin. But Levi was the most effective singer, the one who pushes the song past your brain and straight into your soul.

Best voice ever

6 Comments
7 Smokey Robinson Smokey Robinson William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr. is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive.

I returned from Vietnam during July of 67. My best friend in High School was living in L.A.and graduating from college. His Aunt owned a Bar in L.A.. Smokie was singing at the Bar and when he finished a set he came over and sat with my friend Bill and myself. He was a gentleman and he liked my friend Bill. Bill graduated from college, was drafted, and a KIA in Vietnam six months later.I always wanted to let Smokie know this. Whenever I hear the great Smokie Robinson sing I think of Bill Negrini.

No other artist sounded like him, then or now. Also, wrote a ton of songs for others. He should be in the top 5.

Great singer and an amazing poet! Tracks of my Tears is his finest work but he has written many great songs which he's given away to other artists!

Love him, sing his songs all the time

1 Comment
8 Sam Cooke Sam Cooke Samuel Cook, known professionally as Sam Cooke, was an American singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur. Influential as both a singer and composer, he is commonly known as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocals and importance within popular music.

Greatest singing voice of all time along with king cole!

One of the all time best! How can he be so low? Definitely top five, he was one of the greatest singer/songwriters of all time!

Love Sam Cooke but he never was signed to Motown.

Should be in the top three!

9 Eddie Kendricks (The Temptations)

The greatest falsetto there was... The guy could sing like an angel and his smile would light up a room and was just as vital too the temps as ruffin... If ruffin is the greatest of all time A... Then this guy is greatest of all time B.

Eddie sang solos, leads, duets, background, soul, show tunes, R&B, Tin Pan Alley, and Disco. He out sang Diana Ross on "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" and "I'll Try Something New" and was he set the template for every falsetto singer who came after him. A Grammy Award winner, he was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a Temptation. Eddie was in a class by himself.

I preferred is type of singing to David Ruffin. Ruffin's clearly wanted to totally dominate every performance but Eddie was too effortless, slick and slippery for that cat! David's style now sounds OUT of date and Eddie's swagger is in sync with todays rnb sound. I'm sure even Pharell Williams would agree. Listen to one his solo songs "intimate friends". That cat purrs like some gangster pimp!

He should have stayed

10 Diana Ross Diana Ross Diana Ernestine Earle Ross is an American singer, actress, and record producer. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group the Supremes.

I love Michael Jackson he's my favourite artist in thr world I'm a massive fan but I think Diana ross is special when it comes to Motown she's the queen of Motown for sure she may even be the greatest Motown artist she has many brilliant songs she is so talented and she is special really special.

Diana Ross is the image of a superstar. Her versatility and longevity and sheer number of hits have proved that.

Diana Ross is the whole package. She can sing any genre. Best Motown singer, best worldwide singer. A class act.

Diana Ross introduced Motown to the world and much of her work is so underappreciated Surrender Album produced by Ashford ^^ Simpson will stand up against any motown album and it's virtually unknown.

3 Comments

The Contenders

11 Jackson 5 Jackson 5 The Jackson 5, later known as the Jacksons, were an American pop band composed of members of the Jackson family.

I like Jackson 5 because they have always been great Motown singers and they all have great talent that goes above and beyond a lot of other Motown singers that aren't as pitch perfect and don't have the amazing quality they have.

I love the Jackson 5 my favorite song of there's is I Want you Back. Why is Michael Jackson number one he was only in motown with the jackson 5 not by himself.

Jackson 5 is very close to rhyming with cheddar pie LEL

12 Al Green Al Green Albert Leornes Greene, often known as The Reverend Al Green, is an American singer, songwriter and record producer, best known for recording a series of soul hit singles in the early 1970s.

He is simply wonderful

All of them are all time greats.

lover ya

13 Boyz II Men Boyz II Men Boyz II Men is an American R&B vocal group, best known for emotional ballads and a cappella harmonies.
14 The Dells

The Dells were never signed to Motown.

They were great groups

15 Shawn Stockman (Boyz II Men)

BOYZ II MEN SHOULD BE NUMBER ONE. WHEN IT COMES TO VOCALS, PEOPLE PLEASE, BOYZ II MEN CAN TURN BITTER INTO SWEET IN A SPLIT SECOND. QUESTION, WHO COULD HOLD A NOTE LONGER BETWEEN M. J AND WANYA?

16 Edwin Starr
17 Ben E. King Ben E. King Benjamin Earl King, known as Ben E. King, was an American soul and R&B singer and record producer. He was perhaps best known as the singer and co-composer of "Stand by Me"—a US Top 10 hit

Greatest

18 Tina Turner Tina Turner Tina Turner, née Anna Mae Bullock, is a singer, dancer, actress and author, whose career has spanned more than half a century, earning her widespread recognition and numerous awards.

Tina was never a signed to Motown.

I love her she is so amazed love her style

19 Martha Reeves

Love this group! They were the best!

Most covered artist on the label

20 Jermaine Jackson
21 Mary Wells

Best artist ever

22 Ray Charles Ray Charles Ray Charles Robinson, professionally known as Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer.

Ray Charles is a genius. However, he never sang on the any Motown labels. He is known for his Atlantic recording.

He should be number 1 its 4 am I will make big speech later!

Actually I will just make my speech why should he be number 1? I got awnsers!
10. he is blind!
9. people say his back up singer do all the work, but he does not need them!
8. he is just a great singer!
7. he can play the piano! ( please say this one and number 10 together 7,000,000,897 times)
6. he can be loud but also soft.
5. hit the road jack! ( yup, that's a reason! )
4. when his backup singers sing, he goes in a perfect boy tune with them!
3.well...
2...
1... um... OH... 1 is georga on my mind!

23 Brenda Holloway
24 Paul Williams

Super underrated. One of the greatest voices of time. He could take your standard pop songs and turn them into soul masterpieces. The heart and soul of The Temptations. What a voice!

Paul Williams had a great voice,full of Soul and church on his day he was the best.

25 Wanda Rogers (The Marvelettes)

The Empress of Motown

The Empress of Motown

So underrated.

26 James Brown James Brown James Joseph Brown was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer and bandleader. A progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th century popular music and dance, he is often referred to as the "Godfather of Soul".

HOT PANTS

He is the king of motown!

He is amazing!

He is the king of motown! should be 1 or 2!

27 Barbara McNair

She needs to be recognized as a great singer and stunningly beautiful, Motown did not know what they had.

28 Bobby Taylor

Have You All forgotten the voice range on the cut "I Am You're Man", "Does You're Mama Know About Me", And my personal favorite "Malinda". Bobby Taylor Ranks right behind David Ruffin

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.

This artist was never on the Motown label. Aretha sang for Columbia, Atlantic and Artists. Pay Attention people.

30 Otis Redding Otis Redding Otis Ray Redding, Jr. was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, arranger, and talent scout.

Listen to his recordings for hours.

This artist was never on the Motown label. He sang for Stax. Psy Attention people.

31 Berry White

Berry White was never signed to Motown.

BERRY WHITE was one the Greates singer of all times

32 Tammi Terrell Tammi Terrell Tammi Terrell was an American recording artist, best known as a star singer for Motown Records during the 1960s, most notably for a series of duets with singer Marvin Gaye.
33 Jimmy Ruffin
34 Rick James Rick James

Go listen to Ebony Eyes, he out sang Smokey Robinson

35 Janelle Monae Janelle Monae Janelle Monáe Robinson, known professionally as Janelle Monáe, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and model signed to her own imprint, Wondaland Arts Society, and Atlantic Records.

She is such an amazing singer and I wish people would listen to singers like her then that rap hip hop crap is so popular and I don't know why.

36 G. C. Cameron

It's a shame is my favorite oldie, this kid can sing listen to It's A Shame live

37 Billy Preston Billy Preston William Everett Preston was an American musician whose work encompassed R&B, rock, soul, funk, and gospel.

Singing with stevie wonders wife of 14 months... Just fabulous

38 The Three Degrees

The Three Degrees were never signed to Motown.

The somg toast of love by the three Degrees

39 Jean Terrell (The Supremes)
40 Teddy Pendergrass Teddy Pendergrass Theodore DeReese Pendergrass was an American singer–songwriter and composer. He first rose to fame as lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in the 1970s before a successful solo career at the end of the decade.

Teddy Pendergrass arguably had the greatest voice of his generation. Lead singer of the group Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, Teddy would go onto a hugely successful solo career.

Under the Philadelphia International label, he released five consecutive platinum albums, then a record for an African-American R&B artist.


Pendergrass' career was suspended after a near-fatal car crash in March 1982 that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Hugely popular due to his success, Pendergrass became a target. On numerous occasions, his brakes had been cut. And in March 1982, it happened again.


However Pendergrass thankfully was still able to continue his successful solo career until announcing his retirement in 2007. Pendergrass died from colon cancer in January 2010.
Teddy's hits include:

- "Don't Leave Me This Way"

- "If You Don't Know Me by Now"

- "Hope That We Can Be Together Soon" - "Wake Up Everybody (Part 1)"
- "The Love I Lost ...more

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List StatsUpdated 18 Mar 2019

1,000 votes
40 listings
11 years, 211 days old

Top Remixes (4)

1. David Ruffin (The Temptations)
2. Marvin Gaye
3. Eddie Kendricks (The Temptations)
Billyv
1. Sam Cooke
2. Gladys Knight
3. Levi Stubbs (The Four Tops)
Rblandingj
1. Marvin Gaye
2. David Ruffin (The Temptations)
3. The Dells
emeans

WRemix
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