The Top 10 Best Singers of All Time

They can make even the simplest songs sound great because of their ability to render and deliver the music and its words clearly and soulfully. These are the top 10 best singers of all time as judge

They can make even the simplest songs sound great because of their ability to

render and deliver the music and its words clearly and soulfully. These are the top 10

best singers of all time as judged by Rolling Stone magazine.

10 James Brown

He calls himself Soul Brother Number One. James Brown was known for his

trademark vocal that featured an amazing range. He also had a scream that

sounded like a voice from within crying out for more. Brown was also more than

just his vocals. He had an awkward, beautiful dance that he branded as an African

nerve control. Whether it was ballads or uptempo, his songs always had an edge

into it. Born on May 3, 1933, Brown passed away on Christmas Day in 2006. Some

of his most famous songs are “I Got You (I Feel Good),” “The Payback,””Give It Up

or Turnit a Loose” and “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” He has influenced artists like

Prince, Iggy Pop, Michael Jackson, Sly Stone and George Clinton.

9 Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder’s rich and clear voice evokes a joyful cry that everyone can hear.

He knew how to create an impact with his singing and his lyrics are very visual and

graphic. Such an irony for someone who is blind, but this disability is what probably

allowed him to heighten his other senses that made us see the imagery of his songs

so clearly. Some of his songs include “Superstition,” “Signed, Sealed and Delivered”

and “My Cherie Amour.” Born on May 13, 1950, he has influenced artists such as

Cee-Lo, Adam Levine and Maxwell.

8 Otis Redding

Otis Redding started out as a driver for Johnny Jenkins. During an audition for Stax

Records in Memphis, he blew everyone away with his version of “These Arms of

Mine.” The amazing thing about Redding was that he actually possessed limited

range. He couldn’t go as low or as high as other singers. What he had plenty of,

however, was emotion that only came about when he was singing. Some of his

most famous songs include “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” and “Try a Little

Tenderness.” He is a hero to the likes of Al Green, Chris Robinson and Toots


7 Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is probably music’s version of Marlon Brando in that they both dismissed

the cunning and deceit of their trade to get to the art. His voice is a combination of

cracked, yelp and howl, but it was exactly the reason why he could sing melancholic

songs without being corny and sentimental. His songs were raging and indignant

and he is considered as the Voice of a Generation. He sang “Like a Rolling Stone,”

probably the greatest song of all time. He has influenced artists like Bono, John

Lennon and Bruce Springsteen.

6 Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye had the unique combination of soft and gentle singing backed up with

his powerful voice. He sang with honesty and emotion and it seemed that every song

he delivered came straight from the heart. Everything that was happening in his life

had an effect on his singing. None better capture that than “What’s Going On?” He

also sang “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” He has influenced artists like R. Kelly,

Alicia Keys and Usher.

5 John Lennon

John Lennon’s songs were a product of his intellect and rendered by his intimate

voice. He sang “Imagine” in such a way that everyone listening to the song was

living in it, thinking and wishing exactly for what the lyrics were saying. His style

was straightforward, going directly to what he wanted to say. He gave us powerful

imageries with “Strawberry Fields Forever.” His influence on other musicians has

been profound, with artists like Bono, Jackson Browne, Liam Gallagher and Neil

Young looking up to him as a hero.

4 Sam Cooke

When you listen to the songs of Sam Cooke, you could just feel him reaching down

to his very soul. He sang gospel style, meaning it was real, clean and direct. He

did not boast of an amazing range, but the totality of his singing is still considered

as one of the best because of his phrasing and power to deliver. Some of his most

memorable renditions have been of “Bring It On Home to Me,” “A Change is Gonna

Come” and “You Send Me.” He influenced other artists, like Otis Redding, Rod

Stewart, van Morrison and Art Garfunkel.

3 Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley had a unique singing style that evoked confidence. He had the ability

to transform a song and treat even the tiniest note as his own. As a result, it would

be hard for other artists to even attempt a version of his songs. Can you imagine

anyone else singing “Hound Dog,” “Suspicious Minds,” “Jailhouse Rock” or “Love

Me Tender?” Some of the artists Presley has influenced include fellow influential

musicians themselves, like Bruce Springsteen, Bono and Led Zeppelin.

2 Ray Charles

No other singer could turn groans, whoops, grunts and yelps into actual music. He

was the epitome of an artist baring his soul through his singing. He had the most

unique voice and style, incorporating small laughs and adlibs into parts of the song.

Despite being blind, he had a gleeful style of singing that felt like he was actually

enjoying each and every performance he gave out. Some of his more memorable

songs are “What’d I Say, Pts. 1 & 2,” “You Don’t Know Me,” “I Got a Woman” and

“Georgia on My Mind.” He has influenced artists like Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Otis

Redding and van Morrison.

1 Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin epitomized power and technique, blended with an honesty and

soulfulness that made her singing incomparable. Her deliveries allow listeners to

visualize what she is saying because of her clear expressions. Her songs have

remained favorites after all these years, including “Chain of Fools,” “Respect” and

“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” She influenced Whitney Houston,

Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Aaron Neville and Annie Lennox.

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The Top 10 Best Singers of All Time