Their voices continue to inspire. Many ladies that graced the music scene in the 1970s continue to inspire to this day. They are just that good. Our list of 70s female singers contains pure pop sirens to emotive pathfinders. Some country music, classic rock, and pop music.
The 1970s era is something that many people around the world would love to forget. Why? Because of the downturn in many Western economies. But for popular culture, music achieved enormous success in the 1970s.
The ladies on this list are among the most iconic artists of all time. No Spotify playlist from back in the day can go without these 70s female singers. Let’s take a look.
The American singer, songwriter, and actress rose to fame as the lead singer of the group The Supremes. They became Motown’s most successful act during the 1960s and 1970s. To this day, they remain one of the best-selling girl groups of all time.
In the 1970s, Diana Ross left The Supremes and embarked on a solo career in music, film, television, and stage. Her debut solo album features her probably greatest hit, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.
She also tried herself into acting, even winning a Golden Globe Award and receiving an Academy Award nomination. In 1976, Billboard named her the Female Entertainer of the Century. She released 25 studio albums as a solo performer.
Born in September 1948, Olivia Newton-John is a British-Australian singer, songwriter, actress, and activist. She is a four-time Grammy Award winner. Her music career includes five US Number 1 hits and ten Top 10 hits.
Olivia became known to the wider public after appearing in the musical film Grease in 1978 alongside John Travolta. The soundtrack from that movie remains one of the world’s best-selling albums of recording music. She has two hit duets on that album, You’re The One That I Want and Summer Nights.
In her later years, she has been an activist for environmental and animal rights issues. Newton-John also advocates for health awareness.
Ella Fitzgerald is an American jazz singer. Born in April 1917, many refer to her as the First Lady of Song and Queen of Jazz. Noted for the purity of tone, impeccable diction, timing, intonation, and her horn-like improvisational ability, Ella performed across the country.
When the female singer turned her career to Norman Grantz, he founded Verve Records to produce new records by Fitzgerald. There, she recorded some of her most famous works. Ella gave her last public performance in 1993, following a career spanning more than 60 years. She died three years later at the age of 79.
Born in September 1957, Gloria Estefan is a Cuban and American singer, actress, and businesswoman. She started her career as the lead singer in the Miami Latin Boys group. The group later changed its name to Miami Sound Machine.
In 1985, Gloria earned worldwide success with Conga, making it her signature song. Her career took a turn for the worse in March 1990, when she suffered a broken vertebra after her bus was involved in an incident. But Estefan came back in March 1991 with a new world tour and new album.
During her career, she has won three Grammy Awards. She has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. Gloria has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She has recorded several duets with male singers as well.
Janis Joplin is one of the biggest “what if” stories in music. While she died in October 1970, she is still part of the most famous 70s female singers. The American singer sang classic rock music, blues, and soul music. A rock star of her era, critics praised Janis for her powerful mezzo-soprano vocal and electric stage presence.
She rose to fame following her appearance at Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. There, she was the lead singer of the little-known psychedelic rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. She released two albums with the band and then continued as a solo artist.
Janis died of a heroin overdose in 1970 at the age of only 27 years. She has three albums, two with the Big Brothers band and one solo album.
Kate Bush is an English singer, songwriter, musician, and dancer. At the age of 19 in 1978 she topped the UK Singles Chart with her debut single, Wuthering Heights. She became the first female artist to reach UK Number 1 with a self-written song.
Kate Bush began writing songs at the early age of 11. She signed to EMI Records after Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour helped her produce a demo tape. Her eclectic and experimental musical style, unconventional lyrics, and literary themes have influenced many artists since her days.
Annie Lennox is a Scottish singer and songwriter, but also a political activist and philanthropist. She received moderate success in the late 1970s as part of the new wave band The Tourists.
But in the 1980s, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart achieved worldwide success and recognition with their band Eurythmics. Their hit song Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) continues to inspire the younger population. In 1992, Lennox embarked on a solo career.
We cannot have a list of 70s female singers without the great Aretha Franklin. She has twice appeared on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time list, making it to the top 10 twice.
The female singer began her career as a child, singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. At the age of 18, she embarked on a music career following signing with Columbia Records.
Aretha is among the top 3 most awarded female singers. She has a total of 18 awards, including many American Music Award trophies. In 1976, pop icon Michael Jackson presented her with an award. The other two ladies with more awards? Beyonce and Alison Krauss.
Patricia Lee Smith
Many call her punk poet laureate. She fused rock and poetry in her work. Patti Smith was influential during the New York City punk rock movement in the 1970s. Her 1975 debut album Horses helped her do that.
Patricia’s most famous song is Because of the Night. She co-wrote the song with Bruce Springsteen and it reached Number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
LaDonna Adrian Gaines
Most people know her by her professional name, Donna Summer. She was an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Donna Summer gained prominence and success during the disco era of the 1970s.
Many call her the Queen of Disco to this day. She was influenced by the counterculture of the 1960s. She was the lead singer of the psychedelic rock band Crow.
During her career, Donna had 42 hit singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. 14 of those reached the Top 10.
Barbara Streisand had a career spanning over six decades. During that period, she achieved success in many fields of entertainment. She is among the few performers to win an Emmy Award, Grammy Award, Oscar, and Tony. She also won an American Music Award for three consecutive years for best female artist in pop/rock from 1979 to 1981.
She started her career by performing in nightclubs and Broadway theaters in the early 1960s. When she signed to Columbia Records, Streisand insisted to retain full artistic control. She accepted lower pay in exchange.
By the end of the 1960s, she ventured into movies and starred in the critically acclaimed Funny Girl. For this movie, she won an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Speaking of her music, she has more than 150 million record sales worldwide. She is the highest certified female artist in the US with 68.5 million certified albums, tying her with Mariah Carey.
Carole King Klein
Carole King Klein started her career as one of the staff songwriters at the Brill Building. She has been active since 1958. Later on, she continued her career as a solo artist. To this day, she is considered one of the most influential musicians of all time.
She is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century. She has written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
She is one of the most successful female singers. Dolly has a couple of duets with male singers as well. For example, her song Imagine with Elton John remains one of the most successful ever. In 1999, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Parton has composed over 3,000 songs. She is one of the rare female stars who rose to prominence thanks to country music in the 1970s.
You cannot have a list of female performers without including the great Tina Turner. The American-born singer is referred to as The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. She rose to prominence as the lead singer of Ike & Tina Turner Revue before launching a successful solo career.
Their band disbanded in 1976, and then in the 1980s, Turner launched one of the greatest comebacks in music history. To this day, Tina Turner has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling recording artists of all time.