The Top 50 Greatest Voices in Music History

by abbeyroad992 | created - 24 Apr 2011 | updated - 01 Mar 2016 | Public

My personal opinion obviously

1. Janis Joplin

Soundtrack | Watchmen

Janis Lyn Joplin was born at St. Mary's Hospital in the oil-refining town of Port Arthur, Texas, near the border with Louisiana. Her father was a cannery worker and her mother was a registrar for a business college. As an overweight teenager, she was a folk-music devotee (especially Odetta, ...

2. Elvis Presley

Soundtrack | Blue Hawaii

Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in East Tupelo, Mississippi, to Gladys Presley (née Gladys Love Smith) and Vernon Presley (Vernon Elvis Presley). He had a twin brother who was stillborn. In 1948, Elvis and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee where he attended Humes High School. ...

3. Roy Orbison

Soundtrack | Star Trek: First Contact

Roy Orbison was born on April 23, 1936 in Vernon, Texas, USA as Roy Kelton Orbison. He was married to Barbara Orbison and Claudette Frady. He died on December 6, 1988 in Madison, Tennessee, USA.

4. Bob Dylan

Soundtrack | Renaldo and Clara

Robert Allen Zimmerman was born 24 May 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota; his father Abe worked for the Standard Oil Co. Six years later the family moved to Hibbing, often the coldest place in the US, where he taught himself piano and guitar and formed several high school rock bands. In 1959 he entered the...

5. Édith Piaf

Soundtrack | Inception

When one thinks of Edith Piaf, one thinks of love, sorrow and music. One did not breathe without the other two. Born in Paris practically on the streets on December 19, 1915, she struggled from day one, the daughter of street performers. The mother, a singer, eventually abandoned both Edith and her...

6. Roger Daltrey

Actor | Lisztomania

Roger Daltrey is noted as a founder of the legendary rock band The Who. After leaving London's Acton County Grammar School in 1963, he formed a skiffle band called The Detours, then displayed an early genius by putting together unusual elements into a world-class performance. The unusual elements ...

7. John Lennon

Actor | A Hard Day's Night

John Winston (later Ono) Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England, to Julia Lennon (née Stanley) and Alfred Lennon, a merchant seaman. He was raised by his mother's older sister Mimi Smith. In the mid-1950s, he formed his first band, The Quarrymen (after Quarry Bank High School, ...

8. Otis Redding

Soundtrack | Top Gun

Otis Redding was born on September 9, 1941 in Dawson, Georgia, USA as Otis Ray Redding Jr. He was married to Zelma Atwood. He died on December 10, 1967 in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

9. David Bowie

Soundtrack | Labyrinth

David Bowie was one of the most influential and prolific writers and performers of popular music, but he was much more than that; he was also an accomplished actor, a mime and an intellectual, as well as an art lover whose appreciation and knowledge of it had led to him amassing one of the biggest ...

10. Neil Young

Soundtrack | Philadelphia

Neil Young is one of the most respected and prolific rock/folk guitarists of the late 20th century. Raised in Canada, he first became well-known as a guitarist and occasional vocalist for the band Buffalo Springfield. After the band's breakup, Young became a solo performer. However, he also has ...

11. Robert Plant

Soundtrack | The Song Remains the Same

Prior to Hobbstweedle (a pickup blues band formed to honour a gig at West Midlands College Of Education) Robert was the frontman for The Band of Joy - featuring Percy, John Bonham, Paul Lockey (bass), Chris Brown (keyboards) and Kevyn Gammond (guitar). The BOJ were on verge of making a record deal ...

12. Harry Nilsson

Soundtrack | Magnolia

Harry Nilsson was born on June 15, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA as Harry Edward Nilsson III. He was married to Una Mary O'Keeffe, Diane Clatworthy and Sandra Lee McTaggart. He died on January 15, 1994 in Agoura Hills, California, USA.

13. Tom Waits

Actor | Seven Psychopaths

Thomas Alan Waits was born in Pomona, California, to schoolteachers Alma Fern (Johnson) and Jesse Frank Waits. Described as one of the last beatniks of the contemporary music, Waits in fact has two separate careers. From 1973 (LP "Closing Time") to 1983 ("One From The Heart" soundtrack), he ...

14. Johnny Cash

Soundtrack | The Johnny Cash Show

Johnny Cash was born February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas, to Carrie Cash (Rivers) and Raymond Cash. He made his first single, "Hey Porter", for Sun Records in 1955. In 1958 he moved to Columbia Records. He had long periods of drug abuse during the 1960s, but later that decade he successfully ...

15. Paul McCartney

Soundtrack | Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sir Paul McCartney is a key figure in contemporary culture as a singer, composer, poet, writer, artist, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and holder of more than 3 thousand copyrights. He is in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for most records sold, most #1s (shared), most covered song, "Yesterday," ...

16. Sam Cooke

Soundtrack | Innerspace

Sam Cooke was born January 22, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He was one of eight children of Charles Cook Sr., a Baptist minister. When Sam sang as a little boy in church, everyone made note that his voice had "something special". He sang in church and in local gospel choirs until a group called...

17. Judy Garland

Actress | The Wizard of Oz

One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals.

She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on 10 June 1922 in ...

18. Ray Charles

Actor | The Blues Brothers

A tragic fate may have given this visionary a heightened sensitivity, perception, awareness, even expansion to his obvious musical gifts that he may have never touched upon had he not suffered from his physical affliction. Whatever it was, Ray Charles revolutionized American music and was ...

19. Tina Turner

Soundtrack | Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

After almost fifty years in the music business, Tina Turner has become one of the most commercially-successful international female rock stars to date. Her sultry, powerful voice, her incredible legs, her time-tested beauty and her unforgettable story all contribute to her legendary status.

Tina ...

20. Freddie Mercury

Soundtrack | Metropolis

Freddie Mercury was born on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. His parents, Bomi and Jer Bulsara, sent him off to a private school in India, from 1955 til 1963. In 1964, he and his family flew to England. In 1966 he started his education at the Ealing College of Art, where he graduated in 1969. He ...

21. Joe Cocker

Soundtrack | Across the Universe

Joe Cocker was born on May 20, 1944 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England as John Robert Cocker. He was married to Pam Baker. He died on December 22, 2014 in Crawford, Colorado, USA.

22. Marvin Gaye

Soundtrack | High Fidelity

Marvin Gaye was born on April 2, 1939 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA as Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. He was married to Jan Gaye and Anna Gordy Gaye. He died on April 1, 1984 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

23. Bruce Springsteen

Soundtrack | The Wrestler

Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen was born September 23, 1949 in New Jersey, USA. His father, Douglas Frederick Springsteen, worked as a bus driver, and was of Irish and Dutch ancestry. His mother, Adele Ann (Zerilli), worked as a legal secretary, and was of Italian ancestry. He has an older ...

24. Bing Crosby

Actor | White Christmas

Bing Crosby was born Harry Lillis Crosby, Jr. in Tacoma, Washington, the fourth of seven children of Catherine Helen "Kate" (Harrigan) and Harry Lowe Crosby, a brewery bookkeeper. He was of English and Irish descent. Crosby studied law at Gonzaga University in Spokane but was more interested in ...

25. Eric Burdon

Soundtrack | Attack the Block

Eric Burdon has one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in rock and roll. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1994, and hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 Greatest Voices of All Time, Burdon's music forged new territory while also topping the charts for over 5 decades.

...

26. Richie Havens

Soundtrack | I'm Not There.

Richie Havens was born on January 21, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as Richard Pierce Havens. He died on April 22, 2013 in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA.

27. Billie Holiday

Soundtrack | Minority Report

Billie Holiday was a true artist of her day and rose as a social phenomenon in the 1950s. Her soulful, unique singing voice and her ability to boldly turn any material that she confronted into her own music made her a superstar of her time. Today, Holiday is remembered for her masterpieces, ...

28. Paul Simon

Music_department | The Graduate

Born on October 13, 1941 in Newark New Jersey, Paul Simon is one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever. In 1957, he and high school pal, Art Garfunkel, wrote and recorded the single, "Hey Schoolgirl", under the name "Tom and Jerry". After some failures, they broke up. Simon still wrote and ...

29. Art Garfunkel

Actor | Carnal Knowledge

Art Garfunkel was born on November 5, 1941 in Forest Hills, New York, USA as Arthur Ira Garfunkel. He is known for his work on Carnal Knowledge (1971), Catch-22 (1970) and The Rebound (2009). He has been married to Kim Garfunkel since September 18, 1988. They have two children. He was previously ...

30. Grace Slick

Soundtrack | American Hustle

Grace Slick was born on October 30, 1939 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Grace Barnett Wing. She was previously married to Skip Johnson and Gerald Robert (Jerry) Slick.

31. Leon Russell

Soundtrack | The Kids Are All Right

Leon Russell was born on April 2, 1942 in Lawton, Oklahoma, USA as Claude Russell Bridges. He was married to Janet Lee Constantine and Mary McCreary. He died on November 13, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

32. Tim Buckley

Soundtrack | Lost Highway

Tim Buckley was born on February 14, 1947 in Amsterdam, New York, USA as Timothy Charles Buckley III. He was married to Judy Fern Brejot and Mary Guibert. He died on June 29, 1975 in Santa Monica, California, USA.

33. Don Van Vliet

Soundtrack | The Big Lebowski

Don Van Vliet was born on January 15, 1941 in Glendale, California, USA as Don Glen Vliet. He was married to Janet Lorelle Jenkins. He died on December 17, 2010 in Trinidad, California.

Captain Beefheart

34. Howlin' Wolf

Soundtrack | The Sopranos

Howlin' Wolf was born on June 10, 1910 in White Station, Mississippi, USA as Chester Arthur Burnett. He was married to Lillie Handley. He died on January 10, 1976 in Hines, Illinois, USA.

Howlin' Wolf

35. Aretha Franklin

Actress | The Blues Brothers

Several Grammy award wins, the first women to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and dubbed as the Queen Of Soul. Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Aretha was born to parents, Barbra Singers homemaker, and Clarence Franklin a baptist minster. Aretha Franklin ...

36. Brian Wilson

Soundtrack | Love & Mercy

Brian Douglas Wilson was born on June 20th 1942 and has gone on to become one of, if not the greatest, musical geniuses in the world. It was while growing up, while being physically and psychologically abused by his father, that he discovered music as a way of shutting out all hurt and pain that he...

37. Muddy Waters

Soundtrack | Adventures in Babysitting

Muddy Waters (born McKinley Morganfield) was one of the major forces in contemporary blues. He was instrumental in bringing the sound of the Mississippi Delta to Chicago in the 1940s, where his recordings for the Chess label exerted an enormous influence on both blues and rock musicians from the ...

38. Frank Sinatra

Actor | The Manchurian Candidate

Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, to Italian immigrants Natalina Della (Garaventa), from Northern Italy, and Saverio Antonino Martino Sinatra, a Sicilian boxer, fireman, and bar owner. Growing up on the gritty streets of Hoboken made Sinatra determined to work hard to get ahead. ...

39. Etta James

Soundtrack | Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Etta James was born on January 25, 1938 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Jamesetta Hawkins. She was married to Artis Mills. She died on January 20, 2012 in Riverside, California.

40. David Crosby

Actor | Hook

David Crosby was born on August 14, 1941 in Los Angeles, California, USA as David Van Cortlandt Crosby. He has been married to Jan Dance since May 16, 1987. They have one child.

41. Ella Fitzgerald

Soundtrack | When Harry Met Sally...

On Saturday, June 15th, 1996, an era in jazz singing came to an end, with the death of Ella Fitzgerald at her home in California. She was the last of four great female jazz singers (including Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Carmen McRae) who defined one of the most prolific eras in jazz vocal ...

42. Nina Simone

Soundtrack | Repo Men

Nina Simone was born on February 21, 1933 in Tryon, North Carolina, USA as Eunice Kathleen Waymon. She was married to Andrew Stroud and Donald Ross. She died on April 21, 2003 in Carry-le-Rouet, Bouches-du-Rhône, France.

43. James Brown

Actor | The Blues Brothers

James Brown was born on May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina, USA as James Joseph Brown. He was married to Tomirae Brown, Adrienne Rodriguez, Deidre Jenkins and Velma Warren. He died on December 25, 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

44. Cass Elliot

Soundtrack | Repo Men

Cass Elliot was born Ellen Naomi Cohen on September 19, 1941, in Baltimore, Maryland. She grew up in the Washington D.C. environs and in her senior year of high school, performed in a summer stock production of "The Boyfriend" at the Owings Mills Playhouse, where she played the French nurse who ...

45. Ian Gillan

Soundtrack | Twister

Former vocalist for the Javelins and Episode Six, Ian Gillan joined Deep Purple in 1969. They recorded the legendary albums "Deep Purple In Rock", "Fireball", "Machine Head" and "Who Do We Think We Are", as well as a number of live albums.

He left Deep Purple in 1973 due to differences with guitarist...

46. Al Green

Soundtrack | Scrooged

Al Green was born on April 13, 1946 in Forrest City, Arkansas, USA as Albert Greene. He was previously married to Shirley Kyles.

47. Roger Waters

Soundtrack | Pink Floyd: The Wall

Roger Waters was born on September 6, 1943 in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England as George Roger Waters. He has been married to Laurie Durning since January 14, 2012. He was previously married to Pricilla Phillips, Carolyn Christie and Judy Trim.

48. Van Morrison

Soundtrack | American Sniper

Van Morrison was born on August 31, 1945 in Belfast, Northern Ireland as George Ivan Morrison. He has been married to Michelle Rocca since 2006. They have two children. He was previously married to Janet (Planet) Minto.

49. Billy Preston

Actor | Blues Brothers 2000

Billy Preston was born on September 9, 1946 in Houston, Texas, USA as William Everett Preston. He died on June 6, 2006 in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.

50. Elton John

Soundtrack | Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Sir Elton John is one of pop music's great survivors. Born 25 March, 1947, as Reginald Kenneth Dwight, he started to play the piano at the early age of four. At the age of 11, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. His first band was called Bluesology. He later auditioned (...