I ran across this article today, not sure how old it is (2008?) but I thought I’d pass it along to see what you think.


I don’t know who this “panel of 179 experts” is….but this list is pretty jacked up in my opinion. Christina Aguilera above Mariah? Bob Dylan above Stevie Wonder? Barbara Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Celine Dion, Pavarotti, Bocelli and Chaka Khan completely left off? I know it’s hard to rank singers that are from different eras and genres, but still the innovators should be before the copycats. And true vocalists above showmen….showmanship and entertainment value doesn’t equate a greatest singer of all time in my book….that needs its own list so they can place Madonna, David Bowie, etc…on that one. Bob Dylan has a terrible voice…great songwriter and performer? Sure….but SINGER?

Top 25 for me would be:

  1. Aretha Franklin – they had this one right.
  2. Ella Fitzgerald
  3. Barbara Streisand – she’s not my personal fave, but I have mad respect for her huge range and control
  4. Stevie Wonder
  5. Bobby McFerrin – yes the acapella genious – don’t judge off “Don’t worry, be happy” – check out his youtube performances and you’ll be BLOWN AWAY of what he is capable of producing out of just his body and a microphone.
  6. Michael Jackson
  7. Whitney Houston
  8. Kim Burrell
  9. Sting
  10. Prince
  11. Mariah Carey
  12. Chaka Khan
  13. Tina Turner
  14. Celine Dion
  15. Louis Armstrong
  16. Steve Perry
  17. Phil Collins…yes, mainstream, but I have always been a big fan.
  18. Yolanda Adams
  19. Steven Tyler
  20. Anne Wilson
  21. Sarah McLaughlin…why? Because she was the first person I heard to mix yodeling into mainstream music and her breathiness is beautiful too
  22. Mavis Staples – that low range with the feel and “stank” she put on everything!
  23. Jill Scott – to mix spoken word, soul, opera and jazz….she is a HUGE inspiration to me
  24. Anita Baker
  25. Patti Labelle

It was almost impossible to put these in any kind of order….but they are my personal faves as far as innovating style within their genres, vocal techniques and ranges. This list has NOTHING to do with their stage presence or entertainment value….just vocal abilities. Frank Sinatra and others would have definitely made my list of top 50, but….I don’t have all day to ponder these things!