Some popular female vocalists from the 20th century include Aretha Franklin, Madonna and Tanya Tucker. From R&B to country and pop, these female musicians left a permanent mark on popular music in the 20th century.
One of the major figures of both soul music and pop in general, Aretha Franklin released a string of hits throughout the 1960s and 1970s that defined the R&B sound of the time. Iconic tracks such as “Respect” and “I Say a Little Prayer” made Franklin one of the biggest international pop stars, and she also served as a symbol for the black community and the triumphs of the Civil Rights movement.
Madonna emerged onto the musical landscape in 1981 with a distinct style that would come to define the 1980s. A decade later, she had scored 21 Top Ten hits on the U.S. charts and has sold more than 70 million albums around the world. Madonna’s hit singles such as “Like a Virgin,” “Papa Don’t Preach” and “Like a Prayer” influenced a generation of musicians.
Tanya Tucker’s first hit single came in 1972, when the singer was just 13 years old. Boasting a voice that was powerful beyond her years, Tucker was able to transition from teenage stardom into country royalty, releasing a string of hits throughout the 1970s. Tucker crossed over into rock music in the late 1970s, and by the early 1980s, her popularity had declined. However, she emerged again to score four more hits before the decade was through.