This list has been updated several times, most recently in 2023 after the Rolling Stone list of the top 200 singers of all time. More than 70 lists – some of which focus on singers and some of which focus on greatest frontmen and women – have been aggregated to create this list.
Lists which purport to be “the best of all time” are usually flawed in several ways. First of all, they tend to focus on the rock era, oblivious that there was music before the 1950s. Second, they not only lean on that era, but tend to favor rock and roll artists. Third, those artists are overwhelmingly from English-speaking countries, namely the United States and the United Kingdom. While the third circumstance is still overwhelmingly obvious on this list, I have done my best to pull lists to represent different genres and eras as much as possible. It still isn’t perfect, but it does offer more diversity and representation than you’ll typically find on a best-of list.
See other lists of Acts/Music Makers by Categories.
Queen’s Freddie Mercury, image from immediate.co.uk
Even though the sources behind this list heavily favor white male singers who front rock bands, the list makers still showed “Respect” to Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. Image from rollingstone.com.
Many of the names on this list wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for “The King of Rock and Roll.” Image from fanpop.com.
Despite the shortcomings of lists such as these, don’t let that take away from rock gods like Robert Plant, Jim Morrison, and Mick Jagger who absolutely belong on this list. Image from thehelplessdancer.wordpress.com.
First posted 7/17/2012; last updated 3/5/2023.