Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Great female singers

I've just watched Gladys Knight on Jools Holland's show on BBC2 and was in raptures. She's fantastic. To think that it's nearly 50 years since I first heard her sing with the Pips. Doesn't seem possible.
Still. it made me think about the great female singers who I've had the pleasure of hearing and, in some cases, seeing over the years. So here is my top 50 female singers (and apologies to any I've missed) in no particular order:
1. Irma Thomas, 2. Gladys Knight, 3. Aretha Franklin, 4. Ruth Brown, 5. Lavern Baker, 6. Carla Thomas, 7. Patti LaBelle, 8. Brenda Lee, 9. Connie Francis, 10. Maxine Brown, 11. Dee Dee Sharpe, 12. Diana Ross, 13. Mary Wells, 14. Martha Reeves, 15. Dinah Washington, 16. Dionne Warwick, 17. Nina Simone, 18. Etta James, 19. Fontella Bass, 20. Brenda Holloway, 21 Lesley Gore, 22. Barbara George, 23. Betty Everett, 24. Jackie DeShannon, 25. Sugar Pie DeSanto, 26. Patsy Cline, 27. Amy Winehouse, 28. Dusty Springfield, 29. Billie Holiday, 30. Shirley Brown, 31. Millie Jackson, 32 Denise LaSalle, 33. Laura Lee, 34. Dorothy Moore, 35. Wanda Jackson, 36. Freda Payne, 37. Esther Phillips, 38 Marlena Shaw, 39. Jean Carne, 40. Mavis Staples, 41. Marcia Ball, 42. Barbara Lynn, 43. Betty Lavette, 44. Inez Foxx, 45 Ann Peebles, 46 Tammi Terrell, 47 Bonnie Raitt, 48. Anna King, 49. Toni Green, 50. Kim Weston.
Comments/additions would be most welcomed.


At 12:20 pm , Blogger Private Beach said...

An impressive list, but no folkies there - I'd find room for Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Judee Sill, Buffy Sainte-Marie. And how could you leave out Tina Turner?

At 2:47 pm , Blogger Nick said...

Not sure about the folkies but leaving out Tina Turner was definitely a mistake. Should also have included Betty Harris. Who else have I missed?

At 5:17 pm , Blogger Dave C said...

I’d certainly put Joni Mitchell in the great category. She’s a singer/songwriter who appeals to jazz fans as well as folkies. And if you were to add to the two jazz singers in your list (Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday – I don’t think I would describe Nina Simone as a jazz singer), you would have to include Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan before heading on to the numerous others worthy of mention. However, bearing in mind your areas of taste, you might wish to consider Candi Staton, Betty Wright, Gwen McCrae, Mable John, Barbara Acklin, Doris Troy, Doris Duke, Linda Jones, and Jackie Moore. I would definitely put Phyllis Hyman and Anita Baker in my top twenty but perhaps they fall outside your taste. However there is one singer that I am surprised you have omitted (taking into account your once close personal relationship) and that is Ronnie Spector!

At 8:50 pm , Blogger Nick said...

I knew I'd missed some of the greats - thanks Dave for your excellent suggestions. I guess I should have made it a top 100 (and I could have made room by omitting Dusty!).

At 10:38 pm , Blogger Nick said...

OK, so it really should have been a top 100. Having just listened to Lorraine Ellison she should certainly have been on the list. And I also suggest the following: Madelaine Bell, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gloria Gaynor, Loleatta Holloway, Margie Joseph, Barbra Mason, Randy Crawford, Dorothy Moore, Bessie Smith, Koko Taylor, Katie Webster, Shirley Caesar, Mahalia Jackson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Astrid Gilberto, Eartha Kitt, Nellie Lutcher, Marcia Grffiths, Shirley Ellis, Marie Knight, Ketty Lester, Barbara Lewis, Bettye Crutcher, Erma Franklin, Jean Knight, Trudi Lynn, Ann Sexton, Margaret Lewis, Lynn White. Syreeta, Cher, Julie London, Nancy Sinatra and Timi Yuro. Any more for any more?

At 8:26 am , Blogger Private Beach said...

The more I think about this, the more names come to mind. How could I have omitted Sandy Denny from my previous list? Then there's Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders) and Patti Smith. I agree with Nick on Bessie Smith, but if you're going that far back I'd throw in Lucille Bogan as well. And if I had to start cutting names, I'd take out Connie Francis before Dusty Springfield.

Of course, this is not even including classical singers. One of the most spine-tingling pieces of music in my collection is Kirsten Flagstad's "Liebestod", transcribed from an old 78. (Yes, I have eclectic tastes!)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home