Best Female Recording Artists of All Time

A lot has changed since women broke into the music industry. Ella Fitzgerald became the first woman to win a Grammy Award. And Mariah Carey sold over 200 million records, with 19 songs topping the Billboard Hot 100.

In this post, we look at two of the most influential female artists within the last four decades.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin was the first woman to enter the Rock ’n Roll Hall of Fame. She was born to C.L. Franklin, who was a well-known minister in Detroit for over 30 years. So Aretha grew up singing in a choir until she produced her first single at the age of 18 for Columbia Records.

Soon after that, she produced the hit singles ‘Won’t Be Long’ and ‘Operational Heartbreak’ under the same label. But it was her work with Atlantic Records that made her a household name. She soon released several more Top-10 hits, including ‘Chain of Fools,’ ‘Natural Woman,’ and ‘Baby I Love You.’ It was these singles that won her Grammy Awards in the ‘Best R&B Vocal’ category.

Aretha Franklin succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2018, following a spectacular 50-year career in music.


This remarkable vocalist is a seven-time Grammy Award winner. She has also sold a whopping 300 million records throughout her career, while starring in a number of movies.

Madonna was born in Bay City, Michigan, in 1968, and moved to New York ten years later. She soon partnered with Panic Hernandez to form a pop band called ‘The Breakfast Club,’ although little came of this.

However, her career took off after she sent a demo tape to Sire Records in 1982. She then worked with Sire to produce a string of fantastically successful albums. Madonna is known for being an ambitious ‘material girl,’ whose music has largely defined America’s pop-music landscape.