Hey buddies! How are you doing? The 1980s era witnessed extremely talented artists in the music industry. When it comes to female artists, have emerged during the era with their captivating lyrics, powerful vocals, and distinctive dressing style. In this post, we will consider the most influential female singers of the 80s.
Here we have come up with the list of the 20 Best female singers of the 80s era. From rock divas to pop icons, these women broke barriers and left an iconic mark on the music industry. Without any further ado, let’s check out the list of the most celebrated female artists of the era.
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20 Most Influential 80s Female Singers
1- Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks is famous for her solo music and contribution to the band “Fleetwood Mac”. She began her career as a duo with Lindsey Buckingham. Later, she joined Fleetwood Mac, and its second album “Rumours” became one of the best-selling albums.
As a solo artist, she released several chart-topping hits. Her debut solo album Bella Donna charted at #1 on the U.S. Billboard. Moreover, Nicks became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice.
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Madonna is one of the most influential female singers of the 80s. She is often called the “Queen of Pop”. Before establishing herself as a singer, she worked as a waitress, nude model, and dancer. She formed the band ‘Madonna and the Sky’ and never looked back.
In fact, she rose to prominence with her self-titled album. Hits like Material Girl, Like a Virgin, True Blue, and Borderline catapulted her to international stardom. Madonna has been credited with eleven Guinness World Records for different categories.
3- Diana Ross
Diana Ross is a renowned singer and actress. She has been a member of one of the best-selling girl groups, The Supremes. The group released several hits including Love Child, Where Did Our Love Go, and Come See About Me.
In 1970, Ross kickstarted her solo career after disbanding from the band. She released chart-topping global hits including All of You, I’m Coming Out, Chain Reaction, Upside Down, and Love Hangover. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
4- Kate Bush
Next up on the list, is English singer Kate Bush. Bush started her career at sixteen and signed with EMI Record label. She gained fame with her debut single “Wuthering Heights”, which also became one of her best-selling singles.
Furthermore, her album Never for Ever was one of the first female solo albums to top the UK Albums Chart. Q Magazine listed her album Hounds of Love as “the third Greatest Album of All-Time by a Female Artist”. In 2013, Queen Elizabeth honored her as Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
5- Annie Lennox
Annie Lennox is one of the best female singers of the 80s era. Scottish singer started her career as a duo “Eurythmics” with artist Dave Stewart. They got international success with Love Is a Stranger, Here Comes The Rain Again, and Missionary Man.
Later on, Lennox made her solo debut with the album “Diva” featuring hit singles like Walking on Broken Glass and Why. The album went multi-platinum in the UK and the US. Apart from this, she is also a political activist and philanthropist.
6- Whitney Houston
Here is one of the best-selling music artists, Whitney Houston. Houston signed to Arista Records label when she was just 19. Her studio albums Whitney Houston and Whitney topped the Billboard 200 Chart. She was the only artist to have seven consecutive #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.
Houston also tried her hand at acting and appeared in a few hit movies. Moreover, she has won various awards including 2 Emmy Awards, 8 Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, and 28 Guinness World Records.
7- Tina Turner
Anna Mae Bullock aka Tina Turner was a prominent singer. She is famous as the Queen of Rock and Roll. She began her career as a duo with Ike Turner. After releasing several hit songs, Turner disbanded with the duo and began a solo career.
In fact, Tina has sold over 150 million records worldwide and has become one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. Her album Private Dancer went multi-platinum and featured the Grammy winner song “What’s Love Got to Do With It”. She died on 24 May 2023 at the age of 83.
8- Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is a celebrated country singer. She is also an actress, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She joined Porter Wagoner for his show and signed RCA Records. The duo released several hit singles, Joshua, Touch Your Woman, and Love Is Like a Butterfly.
Afterward, she headed for a solo career ending up the partnership with Portner. Parton released hit songs 9 to 5, Starting Over Again, and Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle To You. She has also appeared in several movies and television shows.
9- Aretha Franklin
The list is incomplete without the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. She was indeed a gem of the music industry. She signed Columbia Records at the age of eighteen. After a few records, she signed with other labels like Atlanta and then Arista Records.
Throughout her long-spanned career, she released numerous charted studio albums and singles. Some superhits include Chain of Fools, Spirit in the Dark, Think, Amazing Grace, and Aretha. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the UK Music Hall of Fame, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
10- Olivia Newton-John
Here is one of the most talented 80s female singers, Olivia Newton-John. Olivia was a famous singer and actress. She has sold over 100 million records across the world and was one of the best-selling music artists of all time. “Long Live Love” was one of her best albums.
In fact, Olivia has released numerous hits including RIAA’s gold-certified eleven singles and fourteen albums. She released fifteen top-ten singles. Besides, she worked as an actress in various films. She battled breast cancer and opened the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre.
11- Cyndi Lauper
American singer Cyndi Lauper began her career as a vocalist on various cover bands. She released her debut album She’s So Unusual which ranked in fourth position in the US and reached the top five other countries. Lauper is one of the few artists to win three prestigious awards a Tony, an Emmy, and two Grammy awards out of four(EGOT).
Laupr has released eleven studio albums out of which Memphis Blues become the best one. It stayed at the #1 position on the Billboard Blues Albums chart for consecutive thirteen weeks.
12- Janet Jackson
Next up on the list, is the multi-talented singer, actress, and dancer Janet Jackson. She started her career in acting with the television series The Jacksons. After appearing in various tv shows, she signed with A&M Records.
In the late 1990s, Billboard magazine named her the second most successful recording artist of the decade. Jackson is famous for creative, socially conscious, and sexually provocative records. During her long career, she has won 208 awards which made her one of the most awarded artists.
13- Grace Jones
Grace Jones is a renowned singer who started her career as a model. She has worked for various fashion houses like Kenzo and Yves St. Laurent. She began her musical career in 1977 signing with Island Records. VH1 ranked her among its list of “Greatest Women of Rock and Roll” in 1999.
Her most notable works include Slave to the Rhythm, Private Life, Nightclubbing, Pull Up to the Bumper, Bulletproof Heart, and Warm Leatherette. Jones also appeared in films such as A View To Kill, Cyber Bandits, and Siesta.
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14- Pat Benatar
Pat Beantor was born Patricia Mae Giraldo in New York City, U.S. She began her musical career as a singing waitress in the nightclub “The Roaring Twenties”. Later, she joined the Coxon’s Army band and rose to prominence with her performance in the nightclub Catch A Rising Star.
Afterwards, she released several hit albums and singles. She released two multi-platinum albums, five platinum albums in the U.S., and eight straight platinum albums in Canada. Her superhits include You Better Run, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Treat Me Right, and Fire and Ice.
15- Joan Jett
Joan Jett is one of the most popular female singers of the 80s. Joan Jett started playing the guitar but quit soon after to pursue a career in country music. Jett founded the band The Runaways with the drummer Sandy West. Afterwards, she headed for a solo career.
After tired of finding a label to sign with, she founded the record label Blackhearts Records with Kenny Laguna. The rock singer gained international prominence with the bands Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and The Runaways.
16- Patti Smith
Patti Smith is one of the most influential figures in the punk rock movement. She was interested in poetry and literature since childhood. She formed the band Patti Smith Group in 1974. The next year she signed with Arista Records.
Her albums Horses, Radio Ethiopia, Easter and Wave proved to be successful hits. After a long hiatus of 17 years, she came back with Dream of Life, Summer Cannibals, and Gone Again. Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. She also won the Polar Music Prize in 2011.
Cherilyn Sarkisian aka Cher is a renowned singer and actress. She is popular for her unique contralto voice. She embarked on a music career as a duo “Sonny and Cher” with her husband. The duo sold over forty million records worldwide.
Later, Cher started her solo career. She released a series of successful singles Dark Lady, Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves, Half Breed, and Believe. She is one of the best-selling artists with 100 million records sold worldwide. Cher has inspired generations of artists with her long-spanned career.
18- Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani is a popular singer, fashion designer, and actress. She co-founded the band No Doubt and rose to fame as its lead vocalist and songwriter. After several hits like Don’t Speak, Just a Girl and Spiderwebs, the band went on a hiatus.
Stefani embarked on a solo career and released her debut album Love.Angel.Music.Baby. The album incorporates elements of dance, pop and hip-hop. Her most successful works include Rich Girl, Cool, The Sweet Escape, and This is What the Truth Feels Like.
19- Irene Cara
Irene Cara was a popular singer and actress. She appeared in various television shows. She hogged the limelight with the musical film “Fame”. Irene also recorded the movie’s title song which reached number 1 in several countries.
Moreover, her albums Anyone Can See, and What a Feelin’ proved to be commercial success and earned her Academy Awards and Grammy Awards. Other chart-topping hits include You Were Made for Me, Breakdance, Why Me and Flashdance… What a Feeling.
20- Chaka Khan
Last but not least, Chaka Khan is one of the most influential female singers of the 80s. Her real name is Yvette Marie Stevens. She was famous as the lead vocalist of the band Rufus. VH1 ranked her among its list of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll.
Khan is also popular as the Queen of Funk. She has worked with several record labels including ABC, MCA, Warner Bros, and Reprise. Her career spanned more than five decades and she received three gold albums, three gold singles and a platinum album. She has sold above 70 million records across the world.