What are your top 3 favorite female singers?

What are your top 3 favorite female singers?

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Alison Krause

Bonnie Raitt


Many more...

BTW, It's "Who" not "What".

Jenny Lewis.

Beth Gibbons (Portishead)

Regina Spektor

and many more that you may not know. 

Laura Nyro

Mirella Freni

Kate Bush

Janis Joplin

Joan Sutherland

Call the thread police! I've gone two steps too far!

Mary Stallings, Rene Marie, Shirley Horn and a 4th (but really 1st)  Eva Cassidy. 

I'm pleasantly surprised to see Mary Stallings mentioned twice already! She is also one of my favorites, but I thought that she was a bit 'under the radar'.

Hard to confine it to three, of course, but I'll work around that with my three favorite lesser known singers:

Kristin Asbjornsen

Lisa Bassenge

Rokia Traore



Only three?

You're out of my will.

1. Linda Ronstadt

2. Joni Mitchell

3. Amy Winehouse

(4. Joyce DiDonato)

Who are. Not what, Please.

Billie Holiday

Tracey Nelson

Sarah Vaughan

(bonus: Cecilia Bartoli)

Eva Cassidy

Alison Krausse

Emily Lou Harris

(Subject to change without notice)


Francoise Hardy and Natalie Merchant (both mentioned) would be on my longer list, as well as 60 French Girls (all 60 of them).



In addition to the many greats above I would add Fiona Apple and Mavis Staples.

Dusty Springfield - Lucinda Williams - Adele - (HM) Chrissy Hinde & Kay Hanley a good Dorchester girl, lol 


Didn’t we do this last year?

  1. Margo Timmons
  2. Natalie Merchant
  3. Lucinda Williams

Top three that have been with me longest (late 60s-early 70s) 

1. Linda Ronstadt

2. Janis Joplin

3. Carly Simon

Lara Fabian

Kate Bush

Lisa Eckdahl

Lisbeth Scot

Corrine May

OK, I can’t do it… there are too many.

… in decades prior:

Barbara Streisand

Sara McLachlan

Rita Cooledge

Grace Slick

Stevie Nicks

Carole King

Annie Haslam

Linda LaFamme

ok, the list is endless.





Steve Perry

Michael Jackson

Adam Lambert

I despise Natalie Merchant but I am fairly certain she could kick all three of their asses at the same time with one arm tied behind her back. I saw her with 10,000 Maniacs when she yelled at the audience for twenty minutes for being litterbugs. I was fifteen people back from the stage and I was afraid for my safety. 

Joni Mitchell

Linda Ronstadt

Cleo Laine

Carmen McRae

Ella Fitzgerald 

Barbra Streisand

Bette Midler



(For those of us multi-taskers who can still both listen and count) this week’s top three are :

Laura Nyro

Billie Holiday

Aretha Franklin

A lot of my favorites posted above.


Not yet mentioned:

Dolores O’Riordan

Christie McVie


More niche:

Sarah Jarosz

Patti Smith

St. Vincent

Florence Welch / Florence and the Machine

Hannah Reid / London Grammar

Dominique Fils-Aime

And a whole gaggle of Irish singers from all generations.

I just adore singers of whatever sex, but especially female. Hmm, that doesn’t read quite right, but I’ll leave it.

Today I listened to Amy. And Tori. And Dido (need some kit that can reproduce some really low hz for her). Regina Spektor is very special. No sufficient words for Christine McVie.

And an outlier, a very special thing that I don’t often do, as I am not a fan of opera - Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, in the Decca recording of Marriage of Figgaro. Divine. Some may have heard majesty in the film Shawshank Redemption.

edit - and for crying out loud, two legends who must be named are Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.  They sang in a small band known in Australia as ABBA.

1.   Sandy Denny

2.   Joan Baez

3.   Joni Mitchell

Glad to see Sandy appearing twice prior to my post, bearing in mind that neither she nor Fairport really cracked the US of A in period.  She was born in Wimbledon, where I was brought up and her brother David went to my school, five years prior to me.

I listen to female singers for the quality of the voice.  From opera and singers of classical material I note only Cecilia Bartoli makes the cut and then only at no.4.  This may be because many find trained voices forced, unnatural and unattractive, as I do.  At least Bartoli is at the 'less trained, more natural' end of the spectrum and as a result has avoided the big parts, outside Mozart and a few other lighter works.  Joan Baez' wonderful voice in her younger days could easily have taken on that same zone of opera without training and if she had, opera would have benefitted.  Perhaps I would listen to it more often.  I bought many used golden period opera LPs, mainly on Decca, in the late 80s, not expecting to listen much but unable to leave them on the shelf at £1 an LP, or sometimes less.   I have about 5 shelf feet of these.  They do sound good, still some of the best sound around.  Choosing carefully, many had been hardly played.  The Ring cycle with 19LPs cost £12, mint.  I note it can still be had on eBay in such condition for around £90.

When you are forced to narrow it down to three, it's really hard to topple the classics:

Ella Fitzgerald

Dinah Washington

Margie Day