I've started a BEST MALE VOCAL seperately - if you want to contribute to that, please go that discussion...

I personally think the BEST FEMALE is so much harder than the Best Male, and I already have so many names in mind that I thought I'd wait and see others suggestions.


THANKS to all who cotribute...
A fantastic singer, i believe, unmentioned here was 
Keely Smith, one of the best natural singers ever.

"A fantastic singer, i believe, unmentioned here was
Keely Smith, one of the best natural singers ever. "

If I didn't mention her; I should have. I inherited just one of her albums with Louis. The vinyl is far from Virginal; but good enough to appreciate both their talents. My parents often spoke of Keely with respect.
A lot of great choices here, but the best female vocalist in my opinion was the absolutely brilliant Eydie Gorme. I would try to describe her voice, but words simply do not suffice. A voice sent from heaven - even that is an understatement! Another great female vocalist is the phenomenal Linda Eder. Nobody else will mention her either, but she has been astonishing her loyal fans for the past 3 decades plus, and her voice still sends shivers up the spine of anybody who has a pulse. I've seen her 3 times and she gets better with age. Two women with voices that leave me awe struck. 
Many great ones listed here...A new one to me was Melody Gardot’s CD “My One and Only Thrill”. Every song is nice and she wrote most. She’s very articulate and usually waits to the end of each phrase to use her vibrato. 

Here she is in the tub singing, “Baby I’m a Fool”:

@soundsbeyondspecs   +1!  I couldn't agree more.  I am a huge fan of Melody. All of her albums are worth having.  Meaningful, heartfelt songs sung by a gal who has been through some very rough times.  "My One and Only Thrill" is my favorite song of her's and probably her best conceived album.  You can tell it has caught on with lots of folks as there are 180 gram LPs at 33 ⅓ and 45 rpm!

Melody, Eva Cassidy and, of course, Karen Carpenter, are/were some of the greatest natural talents ever.  Yes, I know there are many other notable ladies with fantastic vocal gifts!