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Top 5 Greatest Popular Music Singers

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Oh no, another list...

Who, in your opinion, are the top 5 greatest pop music singers of all time (regardless of gender). And give a brief explanation of why you think so.

Here are mine (as of today);

1. Frank Sinatra - His body of work spanning multiple decades is impressive, from the Big Band era up to the end of his life. That distinctive masculine voice he possessed. Reinvented his career to broaden his audience.

2. Karen Carpenter - No need to explain, we all know.

3. Judy Garland - Beautiful voice. Much like Karen she was born with all the physical attributes that made her voice special (range, timbre, tone, vibrato, emotion, etc, etc.}

4. Nat King Cole - No mistaking that voice. On all those iconic Christmas classics and his early jazz recordings are great.

5. (tie) Celine Dionne, Barbra Streisand - Celine has an absolutely beautiful voice and can do anything; duets, spiritual, classical, etc.). I'm not a big "Babs" fan, but there is no denying she is one of the best of all time. She has a multitude of loyal fans.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I’d have to think of a real list, but I’d add Linda Ronstadt to a top list. You may not love everything she tried her hand at but the expansiveness and power of her range was elastic and majestical. Yet even with her strength there was always warmth and a melancholic vulnerability coursing through it.

I think it’s fascinating how the great voices nearly always reflect the core nature of the singer. The detailed descriptions and adjectives used to try and hone what makes a particular voice special will give you a very accurate mirrored illustration of the soul of the person.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
^^ Perhaps I should've made a Top 10 list. I agree with you on Linda. Having spent my teenaged years in the 70s, she was iconic and had a wealth of great vocal performances. I feel her rendition of Desperado is definitive.
 

Carpenters Apprentice

Active Member
I could do a list like this featuring just country singers:

Johnny Cash
Weylon Jennings
Merle Haggard
Willie Nelson
Patsy Cline
Alison Krauss
Emmilylou Harris
Glenn Campbell
George Jones
Randy Travis
 

Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
My favourites at the moment... not necessarily THE greatest of all time (Except Karen, of course who in my opinion is the finest singer of all time!)

  • Karen Carpenter
  • Bobbie Gentry
  • Dolly Parton
  • Shawn Mendes
  • Lana Del Rey
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Thanks everyone for participating so far...There is nothing worse than starting a new thread and having it die with your own comment as the sole entry! :laugh:
 

John Adam

"Two Lives"
Going to go just with the ladies for my Top 5.

* Ann Wilson (of Heart)
* Karen Carpenter (She was part of some brother-sister act!)
* Linda Ronstadt
* Donna Summer
* Laura Branigan

* (Honorable Mention) ONJ, who is no where the singer of these top 5, but love her!
 

cam89

Well-Known Member
1) Karen Carpenter
2) Sandi Patty
3) Mariah Carey
4) Barbara Streisand
5) Celine Dion
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
Karen Carpenter
Agnetha Faltskog -ABBA
Elton John -pre vocal cord surgery. It changed his voice. Deeper and not as smooth.
Anne Murray
Margaret “Maggie” Roche of the Roches. She can sing a half octave lower than Karen or Anne. Their Christmas album is amazing. Listen to track 2, awesome.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Just five off of the top of my head:

Karen Carpenter
Lani Hall
Art Garfunkel
Andrea Corr
Dionne Warwick
Annie Haslam (of Renaissance)

[forgot Annie, sorry Dionne]
 
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Portlander

Well-Known Member
Female and male, no particular order:

Karen Carpenter (soundtrack of my youth)
Marilyn McCoo (favorite pop singer after Karen, too bad she had to share vocals)
Olivia Newton John (a clear and pretty voice)
Barbra Streisand (legendary and she knows it)
Ann Wilson (best female rock voice with Grace Slick a close second)

Al Green (best male soul with Marvin Gaye a close second)
Marty Balin (Jefferson Starship)
John Waite (The Baby's and solo)
Eric Carmen (The Raspberries and solo)
Elvis Presley (the King could sing)

Much respect for Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey but they both over sing too often for my taste. Also feel that Toni Tennille is overlooked and underrated and all of the Beach Boys could sing and harmonize with the best of them! England Dan and John Ford Coley were an amazing duo in my opinion and I would place them just ahead of Hall and Oates vocally.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
There are a million singers who I like. I could never make a Top 5.

Some of mine aren’t pop but have sung pop...... well, maybe not Ella.....and a few others.
Usually, I like artists rather than singers - that is, I admire people who can write, play instruments AND sing - and have something interesting to say in their lyrics, as well as tackle interesting music. However, here, I’ll just list people whose voices I enjoy.

Tony Williams of The Platters
Colin Blunstone of The Zombies
Johnny Mathis
Maire Brennan of Clannad
Mark Williams (NZ)
Judie Tzuke
Brook Benton
Bryan Ferry
Tracy Thorn (EBTG)
Ella Fitzgerald
Tim Finn
Debra Byrne
Jimmy Little
Karen Carpenter
Boy George
Ian Moss, of Cold Chisel
Steve Marriott (of Small Faces)
Levi Stubbs (of Four Tops)
BJ Thomas
El deBarge
Eric Carmen
Anne Murray
I love The Choirboys, The Divinyls and Cold Chisel, three great Aussie bands, but you couldn’t call them pop.

If I sat here long enough, I could mention 300 names, at least.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
Female and male, no particular order:

Karen Carpenter (soundtrack of my youth)
Marilyn McCoo (favorite pop singer after Karen, too bad she had to share vocals)
Olivia Newton John (a clear and pretty voice)
Barbra Streisand (legendary and she knows it)
Ann Wilson (best female rock voice with Grace Slick a close second)

Al Green (best male soul with Marvin Gaye a close second)
Marty Balin (Jefferson Starship)
John Waite (The Baby's and solo)
Eric Carmen (The Raspberries and solo)
Elvis Presley (the King could sing)

Much respect for Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey but they both over sing too often for my taste. Also feel that Toni Tennille is overlooked and underrated and all of the Beach Boys could sing and harmonize with the best of them! England Dan and John Ford Coley were an amazing duo in my opinion and I would place them just ahead of Hall and Oates vocally.
Excellent choices! How the hell did I forget The Beach Boys? Carl Wilson’s voice is angelic and his tone is unmatched. Can you imagine what a duet with Karen would have sounded like?
 

John Adam

"Two Lives"
Going to go just with the ladies for my Top 5.

* Ann Wilson (of Heart)
* Karen Carpenter (She was part of some brother-sister act!)
* Linda Ronstadt
* Donna Summer
* Laura Branigan

* (Honorable Mention) ONJ, who is no where the singer of these top 5, but love her!
Forgot the "WHY" I think so.

Ann Wilson: Listen to the power of "Barracuda," The beauty and longing of "Alone" and the Kennedy Center Honors version of "Stairway To Heaven" they performed in front of Led Zeppelin if you have any doubt of her vocal abilities.

KC: The absolute beauty of her voice. Both the basement and the head voice are spot on.

Linda Ronstadt: She became an even better "pop" singer after her foray into the American Standards. Listen to "Cry Like A Rainstorm or Winter Light" albums. She knew how to make any song her own and definitive version!

Donna Summer: The "Queen of Disco" was also one of pop/R&B's best vocalists. That label doesn't do her ability justice!

Laura Branigan: Gloria, How Am I Supposed to Live Without You, Forever Young, The Power of Love. A big voice suited to ballads all the way to the dance floor. Another that died too soon.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I'll just stick to Pop females, otherwise I don't have a chance here.

1. Karen Carpenter
2. Olivia Newton-John
3. Roberta Flack (she basically only ever did Pop music so she fits here)
4. Barbara Streisand
5. Anne Murray (slotted as a Country act but did almost no actual country singing)

Ed
 

Greg

Well-Known Member
It's so difficult to compare voices, but here is my personal take.

1. Streisand - By far the most versatile and technically gifted singer of the entire pop era to my ears. I'm not sure anyone has come close to her talent at her absolute 70's vocal peak.

2. Aretha Franklin - Maybe the best soul/gospel singer who ever lived.

3. Whitney Houston - The best pop singer of the last 30 years for me.

4. Karen Carpenter - The most beautiful tone I ever heard from any voice.

5. Frank Sinatra - A master story teller.

There are so so many others too: Nat King Cole, Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Judy Garland, Mariah, Celine, Amy Winehouse, Elvis .... I could go on and on.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
It's so difficult to compare voices, but here is my personal take.

There are so so many others too: Nat King Cole, Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Judy Garland

I forgot about Luther Vandross. I really like his album, “Dance with my Father”. And what about Jeffrey Osborne, of LTD? I have a few of his albums. Great voice. Aaron Neville has an amazing, unusual voice. I’ve recently been collecting his albums. Marc Hunter, from NZ band Dragon - fantastic voice. It’s so impossible to choose a Top 5.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Also forgot about Aussie singer Renee Geyer - incredible, rich, warm, gravelly, bluesy voice. Has to be up there with the world’s best.
 
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