Influential Female Singers of the 1970s
Aretha Franklin - Respect
Barbra Streisand - The Way We Were
Carly Simon - You're So Vain
Carole King - So Far Away
Cher - Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves
Deborah Harry - Sunday Girl
Diana Ross - Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Dolly Parton - I Will Always Love You
Donna Summer - Last Dance
Dusty Springfield - Son of a Preacher Man
Gladys Knight - Midnight Train To Georgia
Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive
Grace Slick - White Rabbit
Helen Reddy - I Am Woman
Janis Ian - At Seventeen
The 1970s were a great time in music there was a wide variety of genres. Coming out of the 60s brought about different types of music. Growing up in the 1970s I was able to hear music from all aspects and genres which gave me my love of music and the reason why I like all types of music.
There were many influential female singers of the 1970s here are a few that immediately come to mind:
Born March 25, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee and known as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin has many accolades. She was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she has won twenty Grammy Awards and she has had twenty number-one singles on the Billboard R&B Singles Chart. Although she started in 1960 it was not until the late 60's early 70's when she signed with Atlantic Records that her popularity grew.
Born April 24, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York and considered the most successful female singer in the United States (only Elvis and The Beatles have sold more albums). She has recorded more than 60 albums. She is also one of a select few that have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony award. From her awards it is easy to see just how talented Barbra Streisand is as a singer and an actor.
Born June 25, 1945 in Bronx, New York Carly Simon is singer, songwriter, actress and musician. Carly Simon has won an Oscar, Golden Globe and two Grammy awards, she was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In the early 1970s Simon's biggest hit You're So Vain and then followed in the late 70's with another hit Nobody Does It Better which was used in the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me.
Born February 9, 1942 in New York, New York and is a singer, songwriter and pianist. Carole King has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Carole King wrote several Top Ten hits for various groups with her partner and husband Gerry Goffin. In 1971 Carole King's Tapestry album became the top-selling pop solo album ever and held that position until Michael Jackson's Thriller in 1982.
Born May 20, 1946 in El Centro, California and became a well rounded star. Although her career started in the 60's it was not until the 70's when her career really started to take off. In the early 70's with her first solo hit Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves and the return of the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour to prime time. Cher is a singer-songwriter, actress, director and record producer that has won an Academy Award, a Grammy, an Emmy and three Golden Globes.
Born July 1, 1945 in Miami, Florida, Debbie Harry is best known for being the lead singer of the punk rock/new wave group Blondie. With her distinct blonde hair and vocal stylings Debbie Harry and Blondie made its mark in the Punk world with songs like Call Me, Heart of Glass and One Way Or Another. After Blondie Debbie Harry continued on to have a solo career and also acted in movies and on television shows.
Born March 26, 1944 in Detroit, Michigan Diana Ross is a true music icon. Her solo career began in the 1970s after leaving The Supremes. Diana Ross is an actress and she has sold more than 100 million records, she has starred in film, television and on Broadway. Diana Ross has also covered several musical genres including R&B, soul, pop, disco and jazz. Diana Ross has many accolades due to her musical successes.
Born January 19, 1946 in Sevierville, Tennessee Dolly Parton is a country music icon. Dolly Parton is one of the most successful country music artists and has 26 number-one singles; she is a singer, songwriter, musician, actress and author. Dolly has her own theme park, Dollywood and is known for her distinct voice, her hair and her figure. At the end of the 1970s Dolly made a crossover into pop music broadening her popularity even more.
Born December 31, 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts and is known as the Queen of Disco. Donna Summer, trained as a gospel singer, is most known for her disco music but has touched in other genres such as R&B, pop, gospel and rock music. Donna Summer has the distinction of having four #1 singles in a 12 month period, had a top forty hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in every year from 1976 to 1984 and also was the winner of five Grammys.
Born April 16, 1939 in London, England and died March 2, 1999 in England of breast cancer. Dusty Springfield was known as the best female soul singer from Britain and for her throaty voice. Dusty had a distinctive deep voice and look with her blue eyes, blonde beehive hairdos, heavy eyeliner and evening gowns. Dusty Springfield is an inductee to both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the UK Music Hall of Fame.
Born May 28, 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia and is known as the lead singer in her group Gladys Knight & the Pips which also included her brother and her two cousins. Gladys Knight is an R&B and soul singer, an actress and an author. Gladys Knight and the Pips gained popularity in the late 60s which carried through to the 70s when they produced such hits as Neither One of Us and Midnight Train to Georgia.
Born September 7, 1949 in Newark New Jersey Gloria Gaynor is known as a disco diva having several disco hits. Gloria Gaynor is best known for her hit song I Will Survive which gave strength to many women in similar situations and quickly became an anthem for female emancipation. The I Will Survive song has taken on a life of its own with many remakes and on many karaoke stages.
Born October 30, 1939 in Chicago, Illinois Grace Slick was the lead singer of Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship and Starship as well as a solo artist. With a sultry voice, quick wit and no nonsense attitude Grace Slick became a powerful woman of Psychedelic Rock and paved the way for many after her such as Patti Smith and Stevie Nicks. As a songwriter her lyrics were thought-provoking and very powerful.
Born October 25, 1941 in Melbourne, Australia Helen Reddy is a pop singer and an actress. Helen Reddy is best known for her most iconic and significant song of the 1970s I Am Woman, which catapulted her to stardom after many years of attempts at becoming a famous singer. Helen Reddy was prevelant in the 70s with several hit songs such as Delta Dawn, Keep on Singing, Angie Baby and Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady.
Born April 7, 1951 in New York, New York Janis Ian is a folk singer, songwriter, musician and author. Janis Ian is best known for her song At Seventeen which was a commentary on teenage angst brought about by her own insecurities in high school. Janis Ian felt ugly with her brown curly hair and brown eyes compared to the taller blonde hair cheerleaders. At Seventeen earned Janis Ian a Grammy Award.
Born January 9, 1941 in Staten Island, New York, Joan Baez is a folk singer and songwriter. Most of Joan Baez's songs deal with social and political issues. Although she is best known as a folk singer she has encompassed other genres as well such as rock, pop, country and gospel. Joan Baez is also known for putting her own lovely twist on other's songs doing covers of other musicians.
Born November 7, 1943 in Alberta, Canada Joni Mitchell is a singer, songwriter, and musician. Joni Mitchell covered many genres such as Folk, Pop and Jazz. Joni Mitchell is known for her songs Both Sides Now and Clouds which earned her a Grammy Award; she had several other nominations as well as Grammy wins and many musical hits. Joni Mitchell is definitely an influential singer for many different musical genres.
Born March 2, 1950 in New Haven, Connecticut and died February 4, 1983 in Downey, California from heart failure due to a long battle with anorexia. Karen Carpenter was part of the duo called The Carpenters with her older brother Richard. Karen Carpenter was known for her melodic voice and perfect pitch that is impossible to match, she was also an accomplished drummer helping to lead the way for female drummers to follow.
Born December 30, 1946 in Chicago, Illinois Patti Smith is considered an alternative or punk singer and sometimes referred to as the Godmother of Punk. Patti Smith is a singer, songwriter, poet, artist and activist and tends to incorporate all of these facets in her music, sometimes integrating beat poetry into her music. One of her most famous songs which was co-written by Bruce Springsteen was later redone by the group 10,000 Maniacs; Because the Night.
Born May 24, 1944 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Patti LaBelle is a singer, songwriter and actress. Patti LaBelle is known for her wild performances and her vocal range she has covered many genres; R&B, soul, funk and disco with her groups Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles and Labelle. In the 1970s the groups' most successful hit was Lady Marmalade and later on in the 70s Patti LaBelle started her solo career.
Born July 17, 1952 in New York, New York and died April 26, 2011 in Edison, New Jersey. Phoebe Snow was a singer, songwriter and guitarist. Phoebe Snow was known for her voice which was bluesy in sound and had the capability of sweeping over four octaves. Her first hit song Poetry Man which she is best known for made it to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and helped her to win a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
Born February 10, 1937 Roberta Flack is a singer, songwriter and musician. Roberta Flack has covered numerous genres; jazz, soul, R&B and folk and won back to back Grammy Awards in 1973 and 1974 for Record of the Year. Roberta Flack is known for her many duets with singer Donny Hathaway. Roberta Flack became noticed when Clint Eastwood used The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face for the soundtrack for Play Misty for Me.
Born January, 1937 in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales Shirley Bassey is best known for her three theme songs to three Bond films; Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker. Shirley Bassey is the only singer to have recorded more than one James Bond theme song. Shirley Bassey is an international singer known for her glamorous costumes, her vocal ability and her incredibly entertaining live shows.
Born May 26, 1948 in Phoenix, Arizona Stevie Nicks is a singer, songwriter and musician best known for her work with the band Fleetwood Mac followed by a solo career. Stevie Nicks has a deeper and slightly raspy voice that is her signature and can be heard on her songs Rhiannon and Landslide. Stevie Nicks won the 1977 Grammy for Album of the Year for Rumours with Fleetwood Mac; she was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Born May 5, 1942 in Itawamba County, Mississippi and died April 6, 1998 Nashville, Tennessee of a blood clot. Tammy Wynette was named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1968, 1969 and 1970. Tammy Wynette is best known for her songs Stand By Your Man and D.I.V.O.R.C.E. and Stand By Your Man was voted the greatest country song. She has numerous awards and has had been number one on the charts well over 30 times.
Born November 26, 1939 in Nutbush, Tennessee Tina Turner is a singer, dancer and entertainer. Tina Turner is known as The Queen of Rock and Roll and for her great legs. Tina Turner is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and has won eight Grammy Awards. The late 60s and early 70s Tina rose to stardom with the The Ike & Tina Turner Revue and the hit Proud Mary.
Each of these women made an impact in the 1970s in various ways some are still going strong today. I am certain that there are some women that I have forgotten or left out of this list and maybe even some that should not be included in this list but these were all influential female singers of the 1970s.
Joan Baez - Where have All the Flowers Gone
Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now
Karen Carpenter - We've Only Just Begun
Patti Smith's - Because the Night
Patti Labelle - Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Phoebe Snow - Poetry Man
Roberta Flack - Killing Me Softly
Shirley Bassey - Goldfinger/Diamonds Are Forever
Stevie Nicks – Landslide
Tammy Wynette - Stand By Your Man
Tina Turner - Proud Mary
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