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Top 5 UK Female Singers

February 21, 2016


Exemplary artwork by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

So many lovely British lasses, so few spots available in a Top 5.

Ahh well, if I can’t include more quantity, there’s at least plenty of musical quality with these 5 ladies!


5. Beth Gibbons (of Portishead)
I’d be a Dummy to leave her off such a list.


4. Sandy Denny (of Fairport Convention)
Liege & Lief is among my favourite ‘new-to-me’ albums of this project.


3. Shirley Manson (of Garbage)
Representing Scotland with style!


2. P.J. Harvey
Made 3 strong appearances on the 1001 (Dry, Rid of Me, Stories)…


1.Kate Bush
…much like Kate (The Dreaming, Hounds of Love, The Sensual World). Special thanks to fellow blogger ofopinions for her brilliant recent comments that reminded me of Kate’s brilliance!

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  1. Great list! Beth Gibbons indeed — fabulous. Shirley Manson is one of the smartest pop stars I’ve heard speak. I love this list. ANd bonus points for no Adele (no disrespect to her).

    • I tend to give singers bonus marks for being articulate off-stage – I hadn’t heard that about Shirley, that only helps her case!

  2. I’m so happy Ms. Gibbons made the list. Her voice is amazing. And I always loved Shirley Manson’s voice, too. Great list, sir!

    • Much appreciated Sourgirl, Ms. Gibbons was a more recent find for me, but I’m definitely glad I found her, what a voice!

  3. Ah, my heart skipped a beat seeing her right at number 1! I was just about to reply to your comment on your other post ( it seems there’s a tendency for KB fans to go on whenever they find each other, as I often have in the comments section on WordPress!) But, first, I must make a list for myself. In no order: Joan Armatrading, Siouxie Sioux, Amy Winehouse, Alison Moyet and Kate Bush. Okay, so maybe Kate Bush is number 1, but she’ll be number 1 in ANYTHING for me!

    • I’m not familiar with Alison Moyet – the others all have albums on the 1001 list, I haven’t got to Armatrading or Sioux’s yet.
      Thanks for the recent KB reminder, that made the #1 choice an easy one for me!

      • You may know her as one half of Yazoo, with songs like “Don’t Go” and “Situation”. The other half is Vince Clarke of Depeche Mode. And speaking of 80s duos, I completely forgot Annie Lennox! I had also thought of Dusty Springfield and Adele, but those are obvious choices, aren’t they?

      • Annie Lennox – nice call! I love the ladies with the low-range vocals

  4. Very splendid list, Geoff … though I would likely have Amy Winehouse in there. Man, she was a talent. I quite like Anna Calvi, too. Recent (ish) discovery, but she’d make the list. I will admit, though, that I’ve never found any sorta connect with Kate Bush’s music. Go figure!

    • Anna Calvi’s a new name to me – I’ve only got Amy’s ‘Frank’ (on my copy of the 1001, I think Back to Black replaced it in newer editions), but I certainly reviewed it favourably.
      Not to worry with Kate J, some of it is definitely out there – not sure why it resonates so much with me but I’m glad it does!

      • Calvi’s worth checking out. I think both Winehouse albums are great. Back to Black especially. I actually picked up a cheap copy of 2008’s 1001, but haven’t dug into the pages yet … I shall look for the Amy entry, though.

      • That’s fantastic that you have an updated copy of the book J – funny how the 1001 changes, due to the updates, some of the ones I’ve reviewed are no longer deemed must hear!

      • These music writers, eh? They’re a fickle bunch!

  5. Chicks? in music? no way!!

  6. Here’s a favourite, Beth Gibbons singing ‘Black Sabbath’ with stoner band Gonga. Great video and they released it under the name ‘Black Sabbeth’!!

  7. Lots of idiosyncrasy in that list, Geoff.

    I would have Kate Bush on a list of Top 20 UK artists any day, but not sure about ‘top female singer’. But as you know, I struggle with lists! Yet for what it’s worth, I’d have Sandy Denny roughly four places higher.

    Other contenders might include Annie Lennox, Joan Armatrading, Maddy Prior (Steeleye Span) and Dusty Springfield.

  8. Hackskeptic permalink

    Can’t argue with your picks Geoff. If push came to shove I’d probably shunt Shirley Manson to one side and maybe squeeze in Dusty.

  9. Kate Bush at #1 warms my heart — but I LOVE meee some Adele and have a serious thing for Amy Winehouse. Adele is going to be so upset — first she botched up her Grammy Award spot and now she is off Geoff’s Top 5! How more can she endure? Oh, the inhumanity!!!

    • Haha, after such a snub, my hope is that Adele will find comfort by joining forces with Lionel Richie to do a Hello duet of some sort!

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