20 Greatest Vocalists of all time

By Jazzual Jazzual
updated over 3 years ago

  1. Marvin Gaye

    Enigmatic, complex, socially and politically literate with a multi-faceted vocal range that makes some of his songs sound like there are three of four vocalists singing at once. There was only one Marvin.

  2. Robert Plant

    It wasn't only Jimmy Page's guitar magic that made Led Zep the greatest Rock band of all time. Robert's primal, banshee wailing, euphoria enducing vocals had something to do with it.

  3. James Brown

    At his best the ultimate vocal performer. The definition of hard funk - exhilarating, wild, exhuberant yet musically as tight as a mosquito's ass!

  4. Terry Callier

    Seriously underated soul man Callier was a man of sincerity, depth and passion. How else could he sing like this?

  5. Teena Marie

    Along with Terry Callier, 'Lady T' is one of the finest singer-songwriters not to be a household name. A hugely passionate yet sensual vocalist who fully deserved to have albums released by Motown records.

  6. Minnie Riperton

    An incredible vocalist with an immense range. She also made some outstanding funky soul music, especially when working with some of the greatest producers of the 70's - Charles Stepney and Lamont Dozier imparticular. Died tragically young.

  7. Chaka Khan

    She has obviously had lots of hits which have been enjoyed by everyone from soul boys to commercial radio loving housewives but listen to those vocals. Powerful, euphoric, joyous.

  8. El Camarón De La Isla

    His raw, gutteral and at times painful vocal perfomances came straight from the heart. He lived fast, died young but was one of the greatest flamenco cantaores of all time.

  9. Ibrahim Ferrer

    Perhaps thie biggest reason for the massive success of the Buena Vista Social Club. A gentle, humble Cuban with a voice that aged like the finest wine.

  10. 10

    MF Doom

    MF Doom

    A one man Hip-Hop phenomenon with a unique approach to rhymes that makes most rappers sound like bet-wetting amateurs.

  11. Donald Fagen

    Maybe not the greatest singer technically but has to be in the list for his amazing songwriting ablity set to the flawless musicians he worked with - both with and without Steely Dan.

  12. 12



    Listening to Rai legend Khaled in full flow is one of the most exciting experiences in music. A powerful, fun and rebellious icon.

  13. Howlin' Wolf

    A massive character with a voice which represents the rawness and passion that the blues is all about. For my money the greatest Blues vocalist there has been.

  14. Mark Hollis

    The Talk Talk frontman has a restrained and sensitive style. How does he produce such heart wrenching, emotional tension with such sparing vocals? A true one off.

  15. 15



    Has to be in the list on the basis of her first 3 albums. Restrained, sophisticated, sensual British soul perfection.

  16. Curtis Mayfield

    His unique falsetto vocals, prodigious songwriting talent and social awareness and activism makes him an artist who is universally respected by all soul lovers.

  17. Stuart A. Staples

    One of the most idiosyncratic vocalists in the world today. His low-end, melancholy drawl belies a cheeky humour and works fantastically with the sumptous musical backing of the Tindersticks.

  18. Paolo Conte

    An enormously charismatic, refined and often humorous vocalist. Plays Jazz, Danzon, Swing, Tango and makes it all work.

  19. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    The legendary Pakistani Qawwal typified what this form of Sufi music is all about. A Hypnotic, visceral and immensely powerful performer of sheer spiritual intensity.

  20. Al Jarreau

    A technically brilliant and inventive vocalist as at home with jazz as he was on his unique soul albums.