What Criteria Are Used to Determine the Greatest Singers of All Time?


Quick Answer

Usually, a list of the greatest singers of all time is ranked by the singer's ability to convey emotion, wit and rhythm. A vocalist considered one of the greatest usually has a voice that is extraordinary and difficult to imitate. Because music lists are often subjective in nature, some have attempted to rank vocalists by their vocal ranges.

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Full Answer

For example, Rolling Stone ranked Aretha Franklin as the greatest singer of all time because of the power and technique of her voice. She also receives praise for being a pioneer for female musicians, as well as her overall confidence, attributed in part to her gospel background. "Respect" and "Chain of Fools" are highlighted as Franklin's most notable tracks.

What Culture ranks Jeff Buckley as the greatest singer of all time. The ranker points to Buckley's wide vocal range, as well as an audible urgency in his songs. "Hallelujah" and "Last Goodbye" are the tracks that the ranker uses as evidence for Buckley's vocal talent.

ConcertHotels ranked singers by vocal range, removing the criteria of emotional perception from the list. This site's list put Axl Rose, lead singer of Guns n' Roses, in the top spot. He was able to hit as low a note as F1 and as high a note as B flat 6.

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