10 Best Female Blues Artists

The 10 best female blues artists have made their way in an industry built to hold them down. The highly male dominated world of The Blues often shunned the ladies of the past, but couldn't keep them from following their dreams. The sad tunes they sing make us all feel better in the end.

  1. Bessie Smith. Topping the list of the best female blues artists, Bessie Smith height of popularity came in the 1920's and 30's. Born in Tennessee, Ms Smith was killed in a car crash in 1937. She is said to be one of the biggest influences on 60's artist Janis Joplin.
  2. Ida Goodson. Coming in second on the list of best female blues artists is the piano player for the number 1 lady, a rare feat in those days. Not only was Ida Smith the piano player for Bessie Smith, she went on to have her own singing career after her band leader's death.
  3. Ethel Waters. In the mid-1920's, Ethel Waters was topping the list of best female blues artists. Her tragic life of searching for love did not take away from her upbeat Blues tunes.
  4. Gladys Bentley. Her impressions of the trumpet put this lady on the list of best female blues artists. Known for having a sparse backing band during the time of orchestras, this lady got by on her larger than life voice. She stirred controversy at the time by performing with drag queens and statements and antics of lesbian lifestyles.
  5. Rosa Henderson. Next on the list of best female blues artists comes the lady with many names. Henderson recorded over a hundred songs under various names including Flora Dale, Sally Ritz, Sarah Johnson and Mamie Harris.
  6. Sister Rosetta Tharpe. This entry on the list of best female blues artists was a big influence on Johnny Cash and Little Richard. Her Gospel/Blues style is credited with assisting the formation of Rock n Roll.
  7. Lucille Bogan. This controversial lady makes the list of best female blues artists. Her sexually explicit hit "Shave em Dry" caused a huge ruckus in the music world for both performance and X-rated lyrics.
  8. Koko Taylor. The big lady with the bigger voice hits the list of best female blues artists. Known for her belting lyrics, Her extensive career ranged from the 1960's until her death in 2009.
  9. Bonnie Rait. The modern day Queen of the Blues makes the list of best female blues artists. With hits like "I Can't Make You Love Me", Rait broke down the top 40 barrier for radio play in the 1980's, 90's and into the millennium.
  10. Lizzie "Memphis Minnie" Douglas. The lady rounding out the list of best female blues artists caused a stir with "When the Levee Breaks". Co-written with her husband, the guitar playing lady made her mark on the genre.
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