Top 10 Best Female Singers of the '70s

The '70s decade was a golden era for music, especially when it comes to female vocalists. This was a time when women in music were carving out their own niche and making their voices heard, both literally and figuratively.
The Top Ten
1 Anni-Frid Lyngstad Anni-Frid Synni, Princess Reuss of Plauen, widely known as Frida Lyngstad or by just the mononym Frida, is a Swedish pop and jazz singer.

The best singer of ABBA! She is wonderful and the most beautiful woman in the pop music world. Her voice is deeper and richer than Agnetha's. Thanks to her chocolate-velvet voice, such songs as Knowing Me, Knowing You, Money, Money, Money, Fernando, One Man, One Woman, I Have a Dream, The King Has Lost His Crown, Lovers Live a Little Longer, Super Trouper, and Andante, Andante have taken on their proper sound.

A lot of people talk more about Agnetha, but in my opinion, Frida's voice, appearance, and acting skills are better than Agnetha's.

2 Karen Carpenter Karen Anne Carpenter was an American singer and drummer. She and her brother, Richard Carpenter, formed the 1970s duo Carpenters.

Karen can sing something out of Sesame Street and make it sound like a hit (and if memory serves, it was a hit!). When she goes into her lower register and brings out those deep, soothing, tender notes, she can make it sound like she's having dinner with you at a romantically lit restaurant table at a steakhouse, where the waiter is pouring you both a bottle of red wine.

The fireplace across the dining room adds to the warmth of the conversation that the two of you are having about absolutely anything Karen wants. There is an unmistakably unique charm and a very powerful sense of longing in her voice that just grabs you and makes you want to listen to her even more.

And here's the thing, even when she's just talking, her speaking voice, her tone, and her inflection make her seem like somebody you absolutely want as your closest friend!

3 Agnetha Fältskog

The '70s was a golden decade for music. A time when real singers sang real songs, mostly self-written. Real vocals sung without the need for auto-tune and without resorting to wearing boob tubes and miniskirts halfway up their behinds to get noticed. How many of today's manufactured, talentless poseurs could cut it in the '70s? Not many!

There are so many '70s female singers to choose from, I find it hard to pick a favorite: Ann Wilson, Kiki Dee, Linda Ronstadt, Melanie Safka, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Cass Elliot, Stevie Nicks, and Karen Carpenter. I could go on, so I will: Helen Reddy, Kate Bush, Carole King, Carly Simon, Anne Murray, Barbra Streisand, Gladys Knight, Cher, Elkie Brooks, Phoebe Snow, Bette Midler, Siouxsie Sioux, Agnetha, and Anni-Frid of ABBA.

4 Linda Ronstadt Linda Maria Ronstadt is a retired American popular music singer. She 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 multi platinum albums.

Linda has always been my very favorite singer. I have loved her music from her early days with The Stone Poneys. She was a little dynamo in concert. Beautiful lady. So very thankful she shared that wonderful voice with all of us through the years.

My adoration of Anna-Frid and Karen Carpenter is practically boundless, but there is absolutely NO choice for #1 but Linda Ronstadt.

If talent were the sole determinant, Linda would take the top ten spots in this ranking, with Frida the runner-up at #11. My bet is that if the artists who made it into this list were given votes, they would elect Linda almost unanimously. She's in a class by herself where ranking is silly.

5 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.

Stevie is, by far, in my opinion, the most inspiring and influential '70s female musician. Her voice just sends chills. LOVE HER!

Whenever I'm feeling stressed, sad, or angry, I listen to her songs, and they take me away from those bad feelings.

I love Stevie Nicks because of her voice. When you hear it, it's just something that touches you.

6 Barbra Streisand Barbara Joan Streisand, known professionally as Barbra Streisand, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and filmmaker.

Only those without an ear for music do not realize Barbra was the greatest female voice of the 20th century (and to date). Unfortunately, many of her songs were under contract, and she had to perform the difficult show tunes in most cases.

The greatest vocalist of all time. She can outperform any singer on this list with one vocal phrase.

The best singer of every single decade she's ever lived in!

7 Olivia Newton-John Dame Olivia Newton-John was a British-Australian singer, songwriter and actress. She was a four-time Grammy award winner who had amassed five number-one and ten other Top Ten Billboard Hot 100 singles, and two number-one Billboard 200 solo albums. She died on August 8, 2022 of breast cancer in Santa... read more

Olivia could sing almost every genre: true country, folk, pop, rock, and jazz. Her voice just gets better with age. A great actress and always a positive force on this planet, there is no other voice out there that can sound like Olivia. She has a huge range, perfect pitch, and impeccable intonation. I agree with all the other comments. Olivia is a goddess. SHE JUST SANG, the finest singer. I love me some Olivia.

Olivia "The Goddess" Newton-John was the total package! Beauty, class, and the voice of an angel. She will always be #1 in my book. I wish we had female singers today with such a great voice. They all sound whiny or on helium today. Sad!

8 Carly Simon

I have always felt that Carly's songs are so real and lack pretension. If you have listened to her in interviews, she is very humble and sometimes self-deprecating, and often very funny. She doesn't take herself too seriously, but I wish others would!

Come on... she should be much higher on this list. She did the first album of standards, Torch (and followed up with more over the decades), but Linda Ronstadt got all the media blitz with What's New. Listen to Torch, then What's New, and you'll know who the real queen is.

9 Helen Reddy Helen Maxine Lamond Reddy was an Australian singer, actress, and activist. In the 1970s, she enjoyed international success, especially in the United States, where she placed 15 singles in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. Six made the Top 10.

Truly one of the biggest vocalists of the '70s and one of the most unappreciated hit-makers of all time. The powerful range of her vocals, at times subtle and very tender, showcased her exceptional talent. Within a short span of 5 years, she produced some of the best pop songs ever! "I Don't Know How to Love Him," "Angie Baby," "You're My World," "You and Me Against the World," "Peaceful," "Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady," "Emotion," "Candle on the Water," and of course, "I Am Woman" showcased what a true vocalist is.

And then there were some of her best songs that unfortunately did not get the attention they should have. So please listen to "Poor Little Fool," "Somewhere in the Night," "One More Night," and "Let Me Be Your Woman."

10 Vikki Carr

No singer has ever touched my heart and soul the way Vikki Carr has! She can deliver a song with such passion and emotion that you literally feel what she is feeling. Sinatra has said, "She possesses my kind of voice!" and Dean Martin said, "She's the best girl singer in the business!"

I was thrilled to see Ms. Carr perform in Sept. 2012, and indeed, she continues to reign as the BEST girl singer ever!

She is just so great. You should see her performing live and listen to her different recordings. She has a WONDERFUL voice going from country music to Latino pop, mariachis, blues, etc. As Sinatra and others said, she is definitely one of the best female singers in the US. Besides, she is such a very warm-hearted person.

Christophe (Belgium)

The Contenders
11 Shirley Bassey Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey is a Welsh singer whose career began in the mid-1950s, best known both for her powerful voice and for recording the theme songs to the James Bond films Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, and Moonraker.

I was mesmerized by her vocals at 13 in the movie score Goldfinger! I saw her on TV variety shows after and was spellbound by her vocal strength and power. Years later, Barbra Streisand, Vikki Carr, Phyllis Hyman, Celine Dion, oh gosh, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and Whitney Houston reigned as all the greats!

Always a pleasure to listen to Shirley. Masterful expressive phrasing. That's what you come to expect every time you hear Shirley sing. Until you hear her, you never knew such unmatched ferocious power could be at once so tender, so refined, so magical.

12 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

Certainly one of the most influential with her verse. Tapestry spoke to my soul.

A very distinct voice makes any band the key to success. She sings well with others like James Taylor.

"Will you still love me tomorrow?"

13 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.

She had a unique voice and wrote all her own songs. There has never been anyone like her. An excellent guitarist too!

A superb musician. One of the greatest female singer-songwriters, and how wonderfully has her voice aged?!

Top ten for sure. Hope she does a farewell tour but not quite yet.

14 Donna Summer Ladonna Adrian Gaines (31 December 1948 - 17 May 2012) was known by her stage name, Donna Summer. She was an American singer, songwriter, and painter.

Pop music's first megastar, selling millions of records worldwide and pushing the boundaries by crossing into multiple genres. She was the first female to dominate the Billboard charts, the first to have 3 #1 singles in the same year, and the first to have 5 top 5 singles in the same year.

She was also the first to have the #1 single and #1 album at the same time in the modern era (and the first to repeat that feat), the first to have 2 songs in the top 3 (and the first to repeat that feat). She brought 3 multi-platinum double albums to the top of the charts in 14 months.

In one 13-month period, she scored 6 top 4 singles (4 #1s, 1 #2, and 1 #4). The only artist to be nominated for a Grammy in 5 different genres and the only artist to win in 4 different genres. She knocked the door down for female artists to build careers on dance music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, and Rihanna). The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named her "Diva De Tutte Dive," the first true diva of the modern pop era.

15 Kate Bush

I admire her for being only interested in the music and never being a diva. Her writings are genius!

A vocal range in pure opposition to that of Arthur Brown's. Excellent!

Everything about her is original. She is a pure talent.

16 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.

Her approach is like a jazz singer's. I don't know what her range is, but what she does within that range is astounding. Debbie in the late '70s and early '80s used her voice like a trumpet and is endlessly inventive. Mature Debbie, aged 55 and older, is even more impressive, especially on the new material, showcasing pure artistry on every track.

In concert, she can slip off-key, and like Nina Simone, still overwhelm us with her artistry and feeling. She's also a total actress. English Boys, Little Girl Lies, and Rip Her to Shreds sound like the work of one voice inhabited by different people.

Her/Blondie's lyrics are also worth more attention than they get - they frequently delve into madness, which is what Blondie's all about, letting go of reality. My favorite line is "one week hung up superb said maybe not."

17 Anne Murray Morna Anne Murray known professionally as Anne Murray, is a retired Canadian singer in pop, country, and adult contemporary music whose albums have sold over 55 million copies worldwide.

Anne was Elvis Presley's favorite voice. An alto who sang with such ease, she slid to her notes at times, and no one has ever been able to do it like Anne. Her interpretation of a song is unique. A strong range for an alto and a quality rare and beautiful.

I listened to Anne's music every day growing up. I still put on a song or two, and it brings me right back to the feeling or moment when I first heard her voice. Her music and voice comforted me, and in the subtleties of her style, I found myself in awe of such a talent. Thank you, Anne, for the voice, the music, and the memories.

18 Dionne Warwick Marie Dionne Warrick is an American singer, actress and TV-show host, who became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and a United States Ambassador of Health.

"You'll Never Get to Heaven If You Break My Heart" was the first time I came to know the voice of Dionne Warwick. I was 12 and, as I came out of the operating room, drowsy, I heard this song playing. Everything was right. On the gurney, I was singing and moving. Music has that effect on me, and this song did, so did "Walk On By" and "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?"

Variety shows were big on TV in the '60s. It was an introduction to genres kids aren't as privy to now. We had "Auditorium" in school where we learned all the great masters, music, poetry, and art. I'm a Dionne Warwick/Burt Bacharach fan. Love Dionne!

19 Cass Elliot (Mama Cass) Ellen Naomi Cohen known professionally as Mama Cass and later on as Cass Elliot, was an American singer and voice actress. She was a member of the singing group the Mamas & the Papas. After the group broke up, Elliot released five solo albums. In 1998, she was posthumously inducted into the Rock and... read more

She was such a wonderful and humble singer. I would have loved to hear what she could have accomplished had she not been taken so soon.

Loved Cass Elliot. She was definitely taken from us too soon.

20 Connie Francis

The greatest female voice in pop music. Ever!

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

What can I say? Fantastic voice. Loved her music. Her concerts were fantastic - such energy. An all-around beautiful and talented lady. She will be sorely missed in the world of music.

A musical icon! Tina made history with her performances and wonderful voice. One of music history's greatest vocalists and performers.

22 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.

She should be closer to the top, definitely the top 10. I loved her music above all the rest in the late '60s and early '70s.

Still adore Joan Baez and all she stands for.

A magnificent voice, used for good.

23 Nicolette Larson

Love her music! It reminds me of learning how to drive with my sister. It always makes me smile!

To me, that sweet woman Nicolette Larson will always be in my heart.

Never got enough credit for how awesome she was as a person, songwriter, and singer.

24 Dusty Springfield Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien, known professionally as Dusty Springfield, was an English pop singer and record producer whose career extended from the late 1950s to the 1990s.

Terrific stage presence, fantastic voice.

A true British icon, with the best sound.

25 Janis Ian

An intimate sound to her voice and great songs make her one of the best singer-songwriters of the '70s. She's still going strong today, and lots of people have covered her songs.

She had the largest range in her voice.

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