The 50 Best Singers From All Genres & Generations [Infographic]

50 Best Singers of All Time

When you ask people who the best singers of all time are, many of the same names pop up: Frank, Ella, Whitney… But you might also hear some new names that you don’t recognize. 

The following list includes the best singers from a variety of genres and eras, but it is far from comprehensive. These particular singers made the list because they had something that really made them stand out, whether it was their sound or presentation – or both!

The 50 Best Singers of All Time

Before we go into the details of why each singer made the list, this infographic shows a small selection from our top 50. Click around, have a listen, and enjoy!


Best Female Singers of All Time

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand has an extremely unique voice that has been enchanting audiences for over fifty years. Her gorgeous tone, belting prowess, and way with a ballad are only a few reasons why so many people adore her.

Aretha Franklin

The power, the musicality, the feeling! These are the reasons why Aretha will forever be the “Queen of Soul.” Though many have tried to be her, there is just no topping the sassy original. No wonder she’s considered one of the best singers of all time.

Patsy Cline

This country legend had a rich voice that many consider to be one of the finest ever. Though Willie Nelson penned the hit song “Crazy,” he admitted that no one could sing it like Patsy. Her version is magical!

Ella Fitzgerald

Not only did she have a youthful and beautiful tone, but Ella had musicianship like no other singer. She said she “learned to sing from the birds,” and after listening to this song you’ll believe her!

Karen Carpenter

Although she may have started her musical journey as a drummer, Karen’s brother Richard encouraged her to share her gorgeous contralto with the world. The rest is history!

Best Male Singers of All Time

Elvis Presley

The King of Rock and Roll was such a presence. He took the world by storm with his unmatched charisma and beautiful baritone that he used in everything from rockabilly to ballads and even soulful gospel songs.

Frank Sinatra

If you want to hear masterful phrasing, listen to Frank Sinatra. His cool, clear baritone is timeless. Like Ella, he was known for making each song his own, even nursery rhymes!

Sam Cooke

His soulful tenor could sell a song like nothing else. The polish in his delivery is another reason why singers will admire Sam Cooke for years to come.

Freddie Mercury

Is there a rock vocalist alive that doesn’t wish they could sing like Freddie? The range, the sheer power, the showmanship! He’s a legend and one of the best singers ever for many reasons.

Luther Vandross

Many have compared Luther’s voice to velvet. The beautiful quality of his voice paired with the feeling in his singing are just a few reasons why he will always have millions of fans.

Best Pop Singers of All Time

Celine Dion

Discovered at an early age, Celine is known for her amazing range and effortless sound. She takes great care of her instrument and you can definitely tell.

George Michael

A soulful and distinctive sound, George could really tug at the heartstrings when he performed a ballad, or get us to dance with more lighthearted tunes. This is the mark of a singer with true versatility!

Josh Groban

This versatile baritone is one of the best singers because of his special way with standards and ballads. He can also sing in Italian and has starred on Broadway. What can’t Josh do?!

K. D. Lang

An underrated yet greatly respected vocalist, K. D. Lang is equally gifted in old school country, jazz, and pop standards. Her version of “Hallelujah” has been called one of the best ever.

Whitney Houston

This legend had a clear and soulful mezzo voice that could soar and tackle absolutely everything from dance songs to love songs. Skilled with vocal runs, she knew just how to use them tastefully.

Best Rock Singers of All Time

Grace Slick

Her intimidating stage presence and steely tone: these are just two reasons why Grace will always be a queen of rock.

Ann Wilson

Ann sounds better than ever now that she is in her 60s! She studied healthy vocal technique, and it shows. Her sheer power have many calling her the “female Robert Plant.”

Sammy Hagar

Still rocking in his seventies, because he can! The Red Rocker had an extremely powerful voice that made Van Halen a success, as well as his numerous other bands and solo projects.

Robert Plant

No one could wail quite like Robert. His soaring tenor is legendary, as a front man and as a soloist. He is another artist that many imitate, but simply can’t compare!

Chris Cornell

Chris may be remembered for the sheer power and cut of his vocals, but he also had range! He was able to sing more subtle ballads and they were equally impressive.

Best Country Singers of All Time

Tammy Wynette

You believed every word Tammy sang! She poured everything she had into her classics and made no apologies for it. She is one of the best singers of all time due to the feeling she put into each and every song.

George Jones

One of the undisputed kings of country music, this tenor really seemed to live his sad songs – much like his ex-wife, Tammy!

Kitty Wells

The twang, the tears, the authenticity! Kitty inspired so many great country artists that came after her.

Loretta Lynn

This legend packed such power with her sassy lyrics. The “Coal Miner’s Daughter” is still singing today, collaborating with artists like Jack White.

Johnny Cash

Being a great singer is more than just having a great voice. Sometimes, it’s all about the emotion and life you put into a song. And the Man in Black is proof of that.

Best Opera Singers of All Time

Maria Callas

By far the most revered opera singer of all time for good reason. Maria is the soprano who had it all: a great voice, thrilling stage presence, and ultimate musicianship.

Luciano Pavarotti

This Italian superstar tenor had an instantly recognizable voice. His high notes seemed so easy that his nickname was “King of the High Cs”!

Robert Merrill

This American baritone had a big voice and a big personality, making him a beloved star for opera audiences everywhere.

Jussi Bjoerling

Perhaps the greatest tenor you haven’t heard off! Even Pavarotti himself was in awe of this Swedish singer.

Renata Tebaldi

Arturo Toscanini said this Italian soprano had the “voice of an angel.” Renata was often praised for her gorgeous tone.

Best R&B Singers of All Time

Marvin Gaye

This legend had a massive range that he used very expressively. Although he started as a doo-wop singer, he found his voice performing songs with powerful messages.

Toni Braxton

It’s no wonder it seems so easy for Toni: her mother was a trained opera singer who stressed the importance of vocal technique! This artist is a true contralto with low notes to spare.

Stevie Wonder

It may surprise you because he has such a big range, but Stevie is a baritone! His sweet, soulful sound and timeless melodies are what make him a legend.

Diana Ross

Who’s the boss? Ms. Diana Ross! A singer can learn a lot from her class and stage presence, and the way she used her sweet sounding voice.

Gladys Knight

Still sounding fantastic, this Motown legend has a warm and very powerful mezzo voice that younger singers of today would envy.

Best Broadway Singers

Patti Lupone

With a belt as strong as her stage presence, Patti Lupone is without a doubt the most revered grand dame of the Great White Way.

John Raitt

This booming and bright baritone voice still has plenty of fans to this day, and rightly so. He is also the father of another fabulous musician – Bonnie Raitt!

Bernadette Peters

The emotion she puts into each and every song is no doubt why Bernadette is a favorite of composer Stephen Sondheim.

Julie Andrews

Her impossibly clear and pure soprano voice was featured in blockbuster movies, but she got her start on the stage, enchanting in classics such as “My Fair Lady.”

Ethel Merman

There is no one who can out-belt “the Merm!” The sheer brassiness in her voice and personality made her an icon on stage and on screen.

Greatest Singers of Yesteryear

Judy Garland

Judy is one of the finest singing actresses of all time. When she performed, you believed she truly lived each song.

Nat King Cole

Nat was wonderful not only because he had such a warm tone, but because he knew that singing simply was more than enough to sell a song.

Mel Torme

They called him the “Velvet Fog” because of his beautiful tenor voice. Mel was also a great improviser and quite skilled at scat singing.

Rosemary Clooney

Her rich, clear voice lended itself beautifully to both up tempo novelty numbers as well as heartfelt ballads.

Cass Elliot

This amazing voice is one of the best of the 1960s. She used to compete with Barbra Streisand for the same roles in NYC when they were first starting out.

Greatest Singers of Today

Lady Gaga

Don’t let the crazy costumes fool you: this lady has an absolutely wonderful voice that is as amazing in pop music as well as jazz standards.

Sam Smith

His tenor voice is not only beautiful and unique, but he sounds just as good live as he does on recordings.

Sara Bareilles

Sara’s slightly smoky tone paired with her heartfelt lyrics make this amazingly talented singer one of the best out there right now.

Brandi Carlile

The powerful and emotional delivery of her songs are on par with some of the greats from the past, including Patsy Cline.

Beyonce

Not only does Queen Bey put on a great show, but she also has a killer voice! This internationally adored diva mixes it up between catchy dance tunes and massive ballads, and kills both!


There are so many fantastic singers out there that it wasn’t possible to include everyone on this list. So we want to hear from you. Who would YOU add to this list of the best singers of all time? Let us know in the comments section below.

If you want to be a singer, one of the most important things you can do is listen to and study the greats. Hopefully some of these vocalists inspired you to take your singing skills to the next level.

If you’d like to get started today, check out the online singing classes at TakeLessons Live, or sign up for lessons with a local teacher!

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DIY: Homemade Capo Tutorial in 4 Easy Steps [Video]

How to make a DIY Homemade Capo

If you want to learn how to make your very own homemade capo from scratch, keep reading. In this article, we’ll share four simple steps to put together a DIY capo on the fly – with just two materials!

When you’re jamming with friends and there’s a new vocalist in the mix, you might find yourself having to play in unfamiliar keys. If you left your trusty capo at home, no problem! Follow this easy guide and you’ll learn how to make a capo in no time.

DIY Homemade Capo Tutorial

You can solve the key-change conundrum with relative ease if you know how to make a capo on the fly. Essentially, you need a rigid strip of material that can be clamped onto the neck of your guitar.

Here are the materials you’ll need:

  1. A pencil or sharpie
  2. 2-4 rubber bands (medium thickness)

Yes, you only need two simple materials for this homemade capo. If you can’t find rubber bands, a good alternative is a hair band.

Now that you have all you need, here are the steps for how to make a capo.

Steps to Make a DIY Capo

  1. Make sure your guitar is in tune.
  2. Place the pencil or marker upon the desired fret.
  3. Fold the rubber band in half and loop it over both ends of the pencil.
  4. Add more bands as needed to achieve the desired tension. Check this by plucking each string and listening for a clear tone.

That’s it! This is such an easy way to put together a homemade capo on the fly, with materials that are readily available. Need to see the process demonstrated visually? Watch the steps in the quick video below:

5 Reasons Every Guitarist Needs a Capo

Now let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using a capo, in case you weren’t already convinced that you need one.

  • A capo creates a moveable nut or barre. For example, if you place the capo on the second fret, you’ve moved all the chords up one step (a C is now a D).
  • It allows you to play chord shapes that you’re already familiar with, but in a different key. So with a capo, a bit of transposing savvy, and a handful of chords, you can play some previously hard to reach tunes.
  • Using a capo allows you to explore different chord voicings, or inversions, which can make a chord sound brighter or darker, and add interest to picking.
  • It is helpful for changing tunes to a more comfortable range, or key, for vocals.
  • A capo adds depth when playing with other guitarists. Some can play open chords while others place capos at different locations, which creates a broader sonic range and textural interest.

Now you know some of the benefits of using a guitar capo, so even if you’re only slightly familiar with this tool, you can begin exploring its capabilities.

You’ve also learned how to make a capo very quickly and easily if you wish to try out these concepts without spending any money.

While practicing your skills, be sure to look into private guitar lessons or online guitar classes to help you achieve your musical goals, as personal feedback is a very important part of the learning process. Have fun with your DIY capo, and rock on!

TracyDPost Author: Tracy D.
Tracy D. teaches guitar, drums, piano and more in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She’s been teaching since 2010 and has her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Oklahoma Christian University. Learn more about Tracy here!

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The Simple Secret for How to Improve Your English Accent

how to improve english accent

In this guide, we’ll dive into the different methods of listening and how to improve your English accent. English is currently the most studied language in the world, with an estimated 1 billion people learning it.

Because English is the international language of business, that number is only expected to grow.

If you’re working to perfect your English skills, then you know how hard it is to learn the American English accent. You might use proper grammar and sentence structure, but still have a hard time being understood due to your accent.

This is not to say that having a foreign accent is “bad.” Amy Chua once said: “Do you know what a foreign accent is? It’s a sign of bravery.”

The difficulty comes however, in the pronunciation of certain English words. For example, “tomb,” “bomb,” and “comb” are all pronounced differently.

If you’re looking for practical suggestions to improve your English pronunciation, check out the video below for starters, then keep scrolling for additional tips!


While using the proper accent is not an easy task, there is a secret for how to improve your English accent faster: listening. 

How to Improve Your English Accent

Listen to Native Speakers

Native speakers are your greatest resource to learn the American English accent. By listening to native speakers you will learn the vernacular, or the common language and slang that people use on a daily basis.

Fortunately, technology has made this incredibly easy. There are countless podcasts, movies, songs, and videos available for you to use.

how to improve english accent - listen to music

One of the hardest parts of learning a new language is finding the time. Listening to music is an excellent solution because it’s so accessible – you can easily play music as you go about your day.

Music is also written for native speakers, so it’s full of common words and phrases. Songs easily get stuck in your head, so the phrases will play over and over, helping you learn them.

Similar to music, podcasts are very helpful to learn the American English accent. You can listen to podcasts while driving, working, cleaning, etc. There are podcasts that deal specifically with English pronunciation, but there are also many others on a range of interesting topics.

Find one you’re interested in and play it throughout the day. This naturally conditions your brain to pick up the pronunciations of various words and tones.

how to improve english accent - watch videos

YouTube is a great help since there are many educational videos aimed specifically at English pronunciation. For some extra practice as you watch, pay attention to how the speaker moves their mouth when they speak. Mimic what you see to learn to better pronounce certain words.

Movies are another fun way to work on your accent. Not only are they entertaining, but the characters are put in a variety of situations, allowing you to take note of inflections, speaking at various speeds, and conversations.

Bonus tip: turning on the subtitles will reinforce what you’re hearing and help facilitate your learning!

Listen to Yourself

So we know that listening is the key for how to improve your English accent, but this goes beyond just listening to others. Once you’ve become more comfortable with English, you should also listen to yourself. It sounds intimidating – we know!

Most people are not fond of their own voice, but listening to yourself and making note of where you can refine your accent will really speed up your learning progress.

learn american english accent - read books aloud

One of the best ways to do this is to record yourself using a computer or cellphone. Try recording yourself as you read a paragraph out loud. Poetry is great for this exercise because of the natural rhythm that comes when reading it.

If you don’t know how to read in English yet, record yourself having a practice conversation with a friend or family member. As you play back the recording, make note of the individual words and phrases that need additional practice.

To take it a step further, if you chose to read a passage from a book, look for an audio recording of that book. Then, listen to the native speaker read that same passage. This will help you really hear the difference and specifically show you which words need more attention.

Bonus tip: stay motivated by recording yourself each week, reading the same paragraph, to notice your improvement over time.

Listen to Feedback

Practicing on your own is a great way to polish your accent. However, if you really want to know how to improve your English accent, getting feedback from a tutor is crucial. An English tutor can listen to the way you speak and comment on areas that need more attention.

An English instructor can show you how to retrain the muscles of your lips, tongue, and mouth. It can be difficult to move your muscles in a way that is different from your native language, but an instructor will show you how to physically modify your movements.

learn american english accent - work with a tutor

Additionally, you can mimic and impersonate the way they speak. TakeLessons has many English instructors who are native speakers that can help you quickly learn the American English accent.

Learning a new language is a great endeavor. It opens up a world of opportunities from travel, to careers, to new friendships. It can be challenging, but remember to relax and take your time with it.

Daily practice is necessary to truly see improvement, and with consistency you will be amazed at how far you’ve come. Language learning is supposed to be enjoyable and hopefully these tips have shown you how to improve your English accent in a fun way!  

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Singing Lessons: Before and After [Best Transformation Videos]

singing lessons before and after

The transformation in vocal students before and after singing lessons is truly inspiring. As a singing teacher, it really is amazing to watch students learn to do everything from match pitches to mix belt like a Broadway star.

Have you ever wondered what you would sound like if you took voice lessons? Although every singer’s results will be different, YouTube has a variety of before and after singing lessons videos, so you can hear the typical results of vocal study.

These three transformation videos leave no doubt: voice lessons definitely work!

Singing Lessons: Before and After

Troy Donavan’s Singing Transformation


In Troy’s older videos, one thing stands out immediately: his significant jaw tension. It almost looks like he is holding something in his mouth, and he is afraid that if he opens his mouth too wide, something will fall out.

Try to notice his masseter muscles clenching as he sings. In addition to the jaw tension, his muffled, uncomfortable tone suggests tongue and throat tension. Now check out this second video.


Even by watching Troy’s “after singing lessons” videos without sound, it’s obvious that he’s starting to relax his jaw and open his mouth more while singing. His face looks much more comfortable, and forming words looks much easier.

His tone is also clearer and has lost that muffled quality, suggesting that the tongue and throat tension he struggled with has largely dissolved. Congratulations, Troy! This is truly an inspiring singing transformation.

Polina Lesik’s Singing Transformation

Polina Lesik is a professional singer from Russia. Although her video does include some footage of live performances, most of the older clips are audio only. Even so, the difference in technique is abundantly apparent.

In the older singing clips, Polina’s singing shows significant pitch problems. While she was always in the ballpark of the correct pitches, she was off just enough to give the singing an amateur quality. She also exhibited no vibrato in the early years.

However, she was studying classical voice during that time, and by 2007 (as exhibited at 3:11 in the video), her head voice technique had markedly improved. She was also showing better pitch accuracy and vibrato.

Even still, Polina was not working on her chest voice technique yet, and that showed in her singing. While her head voice was improving, her chest voice technique from the same period sounds forced and thick. This sounds like a result of tension in the throat and tongue.

It wasn’t until 2010, when Polina again started studying with a voice teacher (this time for jazz voice), that her rock and pop sound improved. The forced sound disappeared, and she was left with greater pitch accuracy, steady vibrato, and a clearer timbre in both her chest and head registers.

Her later videos also exhibit an ability to mix her chest and head voice (called modal voice) in order to hit belted high notes without any strain. Great job, Polina!

Rached Hayek’s Singing Transformation

Rached Hayek is a singer and songwriter from Sydney, Australia. This video’s “before” example is a cell phone recording that doesn’t include video. But just like with Polina, the noticeable difference is enormous.

The song in both the “before” and “after” recordings is “Walking Away” by Craig David, sung a cappella. In the “before” recording, Rached’s tone is pleasant, and it’s clear that he has talent. However, he was not able to successfully navigate the runs and register changes in the song.

When he tried to change notes rapidly, he went out of tune, and because he was singing a cappella, this threw the whole song off balance. In addition, his runs slid together, at times resembling a vocal slide rather than individual notes.

The “after” recording tells a different story. The runs are now clean and distinct, each note precise. As a result, even without a back track, Rached is able to stay in tune. Wonderful work, Rached!

Transform Your Voice

If you’re serious about making vocal progress, find a singing teacher near you or start taking online singing classes today. With the proper guidance, you’ll learn how to sing comfortably in whatever style you choose. And soon, you’ll be able to make your very own “Singing Lessons – Before and After” video!

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