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The Phenomenal Female Singers of the 70s: Breaking Barriers and Making Music History

Famous 70s Female Singers: Celebrating Their Achievements and Impact

Music has always been a universal language, and the 70s was a particularly vibrant period when numerous female singers achieved grand success. These phenomenal women broke through the barriers in a male-dominated industry with their unique voices, spirited performances, and amazing talents, earning worldwide recognition.


Stevie Nicks to

Karen Carpenter, these ladies created a new wave of music that continues to influence future generations of singers.

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks rose to fame as a lead vocalist of the band, Fleetwood Mac, and later as a solo artist. Her overwhelming voice and poetic lyrics led her to become one of rock’s most influential figures.

Despite having little interest in writing music, Nicks’ prolific songwriting talent was eventually discovered, and she went on to compose some of the band’s most significant hits, such as “Landslide” and “Rhiannon.” In addition to her work with Fleetwood Mac, Nicks also cemented her legacy as a successful solo artist, with six top-twenty hits in the 80s.

Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt was a multi-talented artist who had the ability to cross musical genres effortlessly. From folk to country to rock, her music and vocal range were dynamic and diverse, playing an integral role in the West Coast rock movement.

With 10 Grammy Awards and three American Music Awards, she was undoubtedly one of the most successful musicians of the time. Ronstadt’s unique interpretations of classic rock songs and her revitalization of traditional Mexican music were some of her defining moments.


Cher was an icon of the 70s, both as a solo artist and as one-half of the successful duo, Sonny and

Cher. Her distinctive voice, glamorous style, and daring fashion sense made her not only a sought-after actress but also a pop culture phenomenon.

As a fierce advocate for individualism and female empowerment, she was a trailblazer in her field and has rightfully earned her title as the “Goddess of Pop.”

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton’s music embodies the heart of country music. Her debut album, “Hello, I’m Dolly” signaled her arrival as a force to be reckoned with in the industry.

She earned numerous number-one singles and chart-topping albums, making her one of the most commercially successful country singers of all time. Additionally, her talent as an actress shone in critically acclaimed movies such as “Nine to Five,” proving that she was a multi-talented artist.

Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire has a career spanning five decades, marked by a string of chart-topping hits and numerous awards. Her high-energy performances and powerful voice made her one of the most in-demand female vocalists of the time, with numerous collaborations with the country music legends.

McEntire was a trailblazer for women in country music, earning a reputation as one of the best vocalists in the genre. Additionally, she broke barriers as the first female country singer to perform the national anthem at a Super Bowl.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin transformed the world with her unique style of music. Dubbed “The Queen of Soul,” she revolutionized the way people perceived music, infusing elements of gospel and soul into her songs and creating a new genre of music.

Her gospel background and powerful voice were undeniable, earning her numerous honors and accolades, including being recognized as one of the greatest artists and singers of all time.

Liza Minnelli

Liza Minnelli is a consummate performer, recognized for her intricate dance routines, outstanding vocal range, and versatility on stage and screen. With numerous Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards, she cemented her legacy as a natural-born entertainer, wowing audiences with her energy and vivacity.

Minnelli set the standard for live performing with her one-woman shows, which were electrifying and unforgettable.

Kate Bush

Kate Bush is a genius of the pop world, crafting a unique sound that was both avant-garde and accessible. Her self-written music was poetry set to music, and her art was continually evolving.

Her album “Hounds of Love” garnered numerous accolades and remains a favorite among both critics and fans alike.

Kate Bush remains an enigmatic figure, and her influence can still be seen in contemporary pop music.

Barbara Streisand

Barbara Streisand’s voice is unmistakable, and her performances remain iconic. Streisand’s captivating performances and vocal range have impressed audiences worldwide, earning her Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards.

Her mastery of movie musicals, such as “Funny Girl” and “Hello, Dolly!,” set the bar for future performers. When the industry was dominated by male singers, Streisand paved the way for female artists and held her own as one of the most popular female vocalists of the 70s.

Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John’s angelic voice was a mainstay of 70s pop culture, thanks to “If Not for You” and “Grease” the movie sensation. She earned multiple Grammy awards, and her career spanned various genres, including rock, pop, and country.

Her 80s album “Soul Kiss” saw her veer into dance-pop, proving her versatility as an artist.

Patti LaBelle

Patti LaBelle, otherwise known as the “Godmother of Soul,” was famous for her powerful voice and upbeat musical style. Her hits such as “Lady Marmalade,” “Stir It Up,” and others, have become anthems, beloved by the masses.

LaBelle’s success was not limited to music. She has also had a successful acting career, with numerous TV and movie appearances.

She’s sold over 50 million records worldwide.

Janis Ian

Janis Ian’s breakthrough track, “Society’s Child,” broached race relations in America, and her subsequent success with songs such as “At Seventeen” cemented her as a unique voice in pop music. Her music was peppered with social and political commentary.

She won a Grammy in 1975 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance with “

Janis Ian – Stars.”

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell is a formidable songwriter, composer, and performer. From her debut album “Song For a Seagull” to the classic album “Blue,” Mitchell’s music was innovative and groundbreaking.

Mitchell won 10 Grammys and was inducted into the

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. She was referred to as the “Queen of

Jazz” and the “First Lady of Song” by fellow musicians.

Suzi Quatro

Suzi Quatro, known as “The Wild One,” was a bass guitar wizard who blazed a trail as one of the first female rockers. With hits like “Can the Can” and “Devil Gate Drive,” she personified the tough-as-nails female rocker that paved the way for later female rock stars.

Quatro has sold over 50 million records and been inducted into the Bravo Otto Hall of Fame.

Judy Collins

Judy Collins was a prodigious piano player who became famous for eclectic songs such as “At Seventeen.” The song earned her a spot on the top-ten, and Collins’s career peaked in the late 70s. Collins’s discography includes various genres, from classic rock standards to children’s music.

She has ten gold and platinum albums to her credit.

Bonnie Tyler

With her iconic raspy voice, Welsh singer

Bonnie Tyler had numerous hits, including “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Holding Out for a Hero.” Tyler’s music was known for its dramatic intensity and ear-catching hooks. Her music continues to be celebrated and enjoyed to this day, and she still tours and releases records.

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald was one of the greatest jazz singers ever, renowned for her spectacular scat-singing abilities. Her lengthy career spanned several decades, and her impact on jazz rivaled if not surpassed her contemporaries.

Ella Fitzgerald’s legacy continues to influence new generations of artists, and she remains a legend in the world of music.

Donna Fargo

Donna Fargo emerged as one of the top female country singers of the 70s, earning recognition as Top New Female Vocalist from the Academy of Country Music. Fargo’s deep, resonant voice and uplifting melodies made her hits like “Little Girl Gone” and “Daddy” irresistible to music lovers.

She had a string of top ten hits and certified gold status.

Roberta Flack

Roberta Flack’s soulful voice, combined with her songwriting talent, made her a force to be reckoned with in the pop world. Famous for her songs “Where is the Love” and “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” Flack earned four Grammy awards, and both songs reached number one on the Billboard charts.

Flack’s music has withstood the test of time and remains popular today.

Karen Carpenter

One half of the Carpenters duo,

Karen Carpenter was known for her silky voice and touching songs such as “Goodbye To Love.” Karen’s influence in music during the 70s can still be heard in popular music today. Rolling Stone magazine named her one of the greatest singers of all time.

Diana Ross

Diana Ross’s music legacy is unparalleled as one of the most iconic female singers of the 70s. Her work with the Supremes and later her solo career earned her numerous hits and multiple awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Ross helped to pave the way for female musicians of all genres, and her music lives on as a testament to her remarkable talent.


The 70s produced some of the most iconic female singers of all time, each leaving their unique mark on the music industry. These women broke through barriers and persevered despite facing numerous obstacles along the way.

Their legacy lives on, inspiring future generations of female musicians who will undoubtedly continue to push the boundaries in music. The 1970s was a decade of cultural change and musical diversity.

As music became increasingly accessible, artists’ sounds and styles explored new experimental realms, blurring traditional genre boundaries. Whether it was the irresistible disco beat, the poetic folk music of singer-songwriters or the jazzy swing and big band sound, there was something for everyone.

Women played an integral part in the music industry, leaving their mark as singers, songwriters and performers. In this article, we explore the eclectic genres and sounds that defined music in the 70s and highlight female vocalists’ impact in the industry.

Eclectic Genres and Sounds


The 70s disco movement transformed dance music, paving the way for electronic dance music in the decades that would follow. Disco music was all about getting people onto the dance floor, and its irresistible beat, pulsating basslines, and catchy hooks proved to be a winning combination.

Artists such as Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor and Bee Gees were among the pioneers of the disco sound. Donna Summer’s iconic “I Feel Love” marked the beginning of electronic dance music, and Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” became an anthem for women who were empowered by the disco culture.


Jazz music experienced a new surge of popularity in the 70s, with artists such as Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock revolutionizing the genre. The 70s jazz sound was a fusion of traditional jazz, blues and rock, with a hint of funk.

Jazz vocalist Nina Simone’s powerful voice delivered emotive and soulful interpretations of jazz classics. The emergence of jazz-funk bands such as Earth, Wind & Fire further embedded jazz in mainstream music in the 70s.


Rock music in the 70s was defined by the emergence of a new generation of artists who pushed the boundaries of what was considered rock music. The sound was heavier, with distorted guitar riffs and dynamic solos.

Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd andQueen were among the most influential rock bands of the decade. The rise of punk rock sub-genre in the late 70s stirred a revolution in music culture, with bands such as The Clash and The Ramones challenging social norms and political establishments.


Folk music played an enormous part in the 70s sonic landscape, with artists such as

Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez leading the way. Their music was characterized by acoustic guitars, poetic lyrics, and emotive vocals, and their themes revolved around hope, peace, and social justice.

The folk movement of the 70s extended beyond traditional folk music, embracing a new generation of artists such as Bob Dylan, who pushed musical boundaries with his contemporary folk-rock sound.


The vintage swing music of the 30s and 40s also had a resurgence in the 70s, particularly in pop culture. The revival of swing music was evidenced by the popularity of artists such as Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.

Later, singers such as Michael Buble and Harry Connick Jr. also embraced the swing sound and brought it to a new generation of music lovers.


Blues music has always provided a rich source of inspiration for artists, and the 70s were no exception.

Blues-rock emerged as a sub-genre of rock music in the 70s, with Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin incorporating blues elements into their music.

Blues musician Bonnie Raitt broke the glass ceiling

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