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100 Greatest Female Rock Singers

Updated on December 16, 2016

Over the years a number of female singers have mesmerized audiences in the realms of rock music. Dwell in an epic list of the best female rock singers.

The hippy-happy 60s were responsible for a new wave of female vocalists emerging in various genres. The folk movement which was monumental in the 60s gave birth to a new breed of thinkers and poets who took new musical paths. The rock movement was propelled to another level during the 60s, and women had their say in all things musical. A number of bands fronted by female vocalists emerged in the rock scene in the 60s. Through the 60s and 70s a significant number of female singers took a liking to the folk-rock movement and expressed themselves in a whole new avatar. The rock movement among women had begun. All-female rock bands started mushrooming, and the musical diversity left audiences speechless. Female rock singers had arrived with a bang, and there was no stopping this new wave of singers.


Female rock movement in the 60s and 70s

The female rock movement came to life in the 60s and since then the movement has spread its wings in various genres of rock. The 70s made way for a new wave of female musicians that kept the flag waving. The blues-rock and acid rock movement of the 60s took new direction in the 70s. Many female rock vocalists that fronted bands also took to side projects while collaborating with bands from other genres. These diverse collaborations gave rise to a new sound in the realms of rock. The punk rock movement that became magnanimous by the mid-70s saw a huge brigade of women experiment through the 70s and 80s.


Female rock singers in the 80s and 90s

Female rock singers took to stage with a whole new glam avatar in the 80s. The glam metal scene that became popular in the 80s showcased female vocalists and male vocalists in the lipstick and leather attire. A significant number of female vocalists fronting bands in the 80s also released solo albums and collaborated with musicians from genres other than rock. With the 90s came the alternative and indie revolution. Many female vocalists fronted indie bands in the 90s. A large crop of female vocalists from various rock genres formed side projects and also embarked on a solo career in the 90s.


Female rock singers in various rock genres

The Riot grrrl movement, a hardcore feminist underground movement in the 90s that sprung forth through the Indie rock movement became hugely popular with women in diverse punk circles. Female rock singers in sub genres of rock have made jaws drop with their vocal skills. Post 2000 a number of female vocalists in the realms of rock have emerged bringing in a fresh new sound. Female singers in symphonic metal bands and gothic metal bands have become exceedingly popular with metal fans because of their incredible vocal range. A fair share of female vocalists in the symphonic metal and goth metal genre are mezzo-sopranos. Also, a large number of indie bands are fronted by female vocalists with diverse influences. The days ahead are bright, and the female movement will only get bigger and stronger.

The space below showcases a list of female rock singers from various rock genres. Mentioned in brackets is the band with which the singer gained prominence. Singers that made it big with solo careers have ‘Solo’ mentioned in brackets.


100 Greatest Female Rock Singers

  1. Janis Joplin (Big Brother and the Holding Company)
  2. Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane/Starship)
  3. Tina Turner (Solo)
  4. Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac)
  5. Tori Amos (Solo)
  6. Annie Haslam (Renaissance)
  7. Pat Benatar (Solo)
  8. Ann Wilson (Heart)
  9. Amy Lee (Evanescence)
  10. Denny Doherty (The Mamas &The Papas)
  11. Patti Smith (Patti Smith Group)
  12. Joan Jett (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)
  13. Alanis Morissette (Solo)
  14. Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders)
  15. Melissa Etheridge (Solo)
  16. PJ Harvey (Solo)
  17. Bjork (Solo)
  18. Skin (Skunk Anansie)
  19. Cherrie Currie (The Runaways)
  20. Linda Ronstadt (Solo)
  21. Fiona Apple (Solo)
  22. Cass Elliot (Solo)
  23. Bonnie Raitt (Solo)
  24. Suzi Quatro (Solo)
  25. Joni Mitchell (Solo)
  26. Christine McVie (Fleetwood Mac)
  27. Darlene Love (Solo)
  28. Shirley Manson (Garbage)
  29. Debbie Harry (Blondie)
  30. Gwen Stefani (No Doubt)
  31. Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil)
  32. Bonnie Tyler (Solo)
  33. Michelle Phillips (The Mamas & The Papas)
  34. Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth)
  35. Grace Potter (Grace Potter and the Nocturnals)
  36. Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins)
  37. Tarja Turunen (Nightwish)
  38. Doro Pesch (Warlock)
  39. Siouxsie Sioux (Siouxsie and the Banshees)
  40. Beth Gibbons (Portishead)
  41. Vibeke Stene (Tristania)
  42. Tracy Chapman (Solo)
  43. Hayley Williams (Paramore)
  44. Belinda Carlisle (The Go-Go’s)
  45. Exene Cervenka (Solo)
  46. Leather Leone (Chastain)
  47. Annie Lennox (Solo)
  48. Liz Phair (Solo)
  49. Taylor Momsen (The Pretty Reckless)
  50. Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
  51. Cher (Sonny and Cher)
  52. Simone Simmons (Epica)
  53. Lacey Strum (Flyleaf)
  54. Meghan Krauss (Maragold)
  55. Clementine Delauney (Serenity/Visions of Atlantis)
  56. Maria Brink (In This Moment)
  57. Liv Kristine (Theatre of Tragedy/Leaves’ Eyes)
  58. Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention)
  59. Lita Ford (Solo)
  60. Cyndi Lauper (Solo)
  61. Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation)
  62. Darby Mills (Headpins)
  63. Marianne Faithfull (Solo)
  64. Alannah Myles (Solo)
  65. Florence Welch (Florence + The Machine)
  66. Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley)
  67. Magali Luyten (Solo)
  68. Lisa Fischer (Solo)
  69. Cat Power (Solo)
  70. Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles)
  71. Jenna McDougall (Tonight Alive)
  72. Floor Jansen (Nightwish/ReVamp)
  73. Veronica Freeman (Benedictum)
  74. Elize Ryd (Amaranthe)
  75. Sabine Scherer (Deadlock)
  76. Nina Hagen (Solo)
  77. Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering)
  78. Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries)
  79. Sheryl Crow (Solo)
  80. Linda Perry (4 Non Blondes)
  81. Jill Janus (Huntress)
  82. Mariska Veres (Shocking Blue)
  83. Brody Dalle (The Distillers/Spinnerette)
  84. Wendy O. Williams (Plasmatics)
  85. Charlotte Wessels (Delain)
  86. Ani DiFranco (Solo)
  87. Neko Case (Solo)
  88. Poly Styrene (X-Ray Spex)
  89. Otep Shamaya (Otep)
  90. Pink (Solo)
  91. Bif Naked (Solo)
  92. Aimee Mann (‘Til Tuesday)
  93. Sonja Kristina (Curved Air)
  94. Ruby Starr (Black Oak Arkansas)
  95. Melissa Auf der Maur (Solo)
  96. Juliet Simms (Automatic Loveletter)
  97. Lee Aaron (Solo)
  98. Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde)
  99. Avril Lavigne (Solo)
  100. Courtney Love (Hole)


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