Everyone has their favourite pop diva (even if they don’t admit it) – whether you’re swept away by the theatrical magic of Barbra Streisand or Ke$ha’s sleazy dance beats – there is a diva for everyone. Before looking at our definitive Top 50, I should probably disclose what I mean by ‘pop diva’. Deriving from the term deity, a diva is a creative woman with an outstanding talent in her field – in this case that field would be pop music.
I’ve tried to capture a selection of pop divas from past and present, with the list going somewhere from the early 1950s to contemporary divas that adorn our modern charts. Of course, limiting this list to a Top 50, means that there will be some big misses – some due to space limitations, some because I’ve forgotten, and others that I simply believe don’t deserve a place alongside the crème de la crème of pop divas (sorry Tulisa).
This article was intended to be published on What Culture, but since it sat with them for several months unpublished – I’ve simply posted it here. I can only presume that since the content was wholly original, they weren’t interested in publishing it. You can read more about What Culture’s practices here.
So without further delay, here is our definitive list of the top 50 pop divas…
Ever since she sang backing vocals on Paris Hilton’s Nothing in This World, it was clear Ke$ha was headed for great things – and arguably some not so great (we probably wouldn’t have predicted that drinking her own urine scenario).
Three years on from laying these backing vocals, Ke$ha would be sitting atop the charts herself with her debut smash Tik Tok – reaching the top spot throughout the UK and Europe, Australia, New-Zealand and the USA. Fortunately it was not a case of peaking too soon as Ke$ha followed up with several well-received singles from her debut album Animal, including the marginally annoying Blah Blah Blah and Your Love Is My Drug.
The singer’s original blend of dance music, rapping and hard electronic beats seems to be a winning combination, with Ke$ha’s 2012 single Die Young performing reasonably well across the globe, despite her ‘difficult second album’ Warrior failing to attain her debut’s chart success.
49. Sade Adu
Sade’s (not to be confused with the Marquis de Sade) distinct blend of smooth R&B, soul and pop as seen in such iconic tracks as Smooth Operator guarantees her a place in this list.
Adu and fellow band members released their first album Diamond Life in 1984 which contained tracks Your Love is King and Smooth Operator, and gained the group immediate recognition and acclaim throughout the 1980s and early-1990s.
Sade’s rich and soulful vocals, alongside mellow instrumental accompaniment resulted in perhaps the most sophisticated and distinct style of smooth R&B to come out of Britain. Adu has six top ten albums under her belt and a string of equally successfully singles including Never as Good as the First Time, Paradise, and The Sweetest Taboo.
Sade and band members split in 1992, yet have since reunited with new studio albums in 2000 and 2010.
48. Gloria Gaynor
Now it is time to switch from the sophisticated R&B of Sade in favour of Gloria Gaynor’s traditional all-out camp disco spectaculars.
Despite her background in gospel and jazz music, the 1970s saw Gloria Gaynor establish herself as one of the premiere artists of the disco movement with debut album, Never Can Say Goodbye. Like fellow disco queen, Donna Summer, Gaynor showcased tremendous vocal might helping her standout from the barrage of counterparts hoping to cash in on the disco movement.
Gaynor followed with another No. 1 dance hit in the form of funky disco ballad, Casanova Brown, however this would not prove to be her biggest hit. Gaynor’s most iconic and enduring hit, I Will Survive, exploded in 1978 and is still continually played to this day.
Whilst Gaynor has never topped the success of this smash (let’s face it – it would be pretty impossible to do so), she has still retained a keen presence in the US dance charts and hit the number one spot again in 2001 and 2002 with Just Keep Thinking About You and I Never Knew.
47. Natalie Imbruglia
The first Neighbours star to appear on this list (hint hint), Natalie Imbruglia, may not have the worldwide success of some of the other artists here, but the quality of her material ensures her a place on this list.
After leaving the Australian soap, Imbruglia moved to London where she was signed up to RCA. 1997 saw the actress release her first album Left of the Middle and sensational debut single, Torn (a soft-pop cover of an obscure nineties grunge track). This proved a sizable hit throughout the world that still serves as Imbruglia’s most successful singles.
Imbruglia’s wistful vocal style and soft-pop instrumentation resulted in several other hits including Big Mistake and Shiver. However, her most exciting release is 2009’s Chris Martin produced Come to Life which saw the singer take a more anthemic/dance direction, featuring such underrated tracks as Lukas.
Imbruglia’s future in the music industry is unclear, but one thing is for sure – she’ll always be one of our ultimate pop divas.
46. Amanda Lear
The ever-provocative Amanda Lear is perhaps the pop world’s biggest enigma – no one quite knows her background. She is a disco queen who served as muse to Spain’s most eccentric artist – Salvador Dali, has bedded some of the music world’s biggest names (Bryan Ferry is but one) and no one is quite sure if she is a he or a she.
Lear’s sultry growling vocals, distinct provocative image and kinky lyrics, resulted in her becoming one of the most prominent figures in European disco/pop music. With fifteen studio albums behind her belt and a music career spanning from 1977 to present day – Lear’s place on this list is well deserved.
Follow Me and Run Baby Run are Lear’s earliest hits, but her back-catalogue is filled with wonderful gems that pop enthusiasts will devour. Even her latest album, I Don’t Like Disco is chock full of gems like Icon and Chinese Walk. If you can find a seventy-two year old French (potentially) transexual disco queen who is doing it better than Amanda Lear, then I’d like to see her.
45. Patti LaBelle
Another of the music industry’s longest survivors, Patti LaBelle is up next.
Originally hitting the charts in the sixties as a Supremes-esque girlgroup titled, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells, Patti and co. shook up their image and renamed to Labelle. Labelle were more glamorous, more theatrical and most importantly, funkier. This new image and sound made the way for such hits as Lady Marmalade, however, the hits soon waned and Patti went it alone (well until the group’s reunion in 2008).
Miss Patti’s solo career was met with more consistent success in the US Billboard and R&B charts, with successful singles like New Attitude, Stir It Up, If You Asked Me To and When You Talk About Love ensuring the singer an enduring career.
Patti’s last solo album was released in 2007, but she has since become a cult figure after parodies in American Dad and web-series, Got 2B Real.
44. Nadine Coyle
We had to include one member of Girls Aloud in this list and despite her lack of solo success (as of yet), Nadine Coyle is the most talented of these girls.
Northern Irish Nadine has been keeping translator’s busy since appearing on Popstars: The Rivals in 2002. She found continued success with fellow runners up Cheryl Cole, Kimberley Walsh, Sarah Harding and Nicola Roberts in Girls Aloud who went on to have five multi-platinum albums and twenty top-ten singles ( including Call The Shots, Can’t Speak French and Love Machine) until splitting in 2013.
Nadine served as the band’s lead singer showcasing powerful vocals and a natural warmth, becoming a firm fan favourite within the band. Nadine launched a solo career and despite providing audiences with some magnificent tracks, her debut album Insatiable sank due to a distribution deal which limited the album to Tesco stores.
Fortunately, Nadine is working on new tracks, which are rumoured to be with pop-pioneers Xenomania – so fingers crossed for Nadine to get the solo success she deserves.
43. Vanessa Williams
Vanessa Williams may be primarily known as an actress now, thanks to scene-stealing performances in Eraser, Ugly Betty, and Desperate Housewives. However, her history as a pop diva should not be forgotten.
The former Miss America released her debut album, The Right Stuff in 1988 which was a modest success, however, Williams really hit her stride with her sophomore album, The Comfort Zone. The album spawned stunning dance hits Running Back To You and The Comfort Zone (two for nineties pop aficionados), but the most iconic track from the album is sweeping ballad, Save The Best For Last. It’s a bit camp now but that just adds to its gushing charm.
Williams’ pristine vocals are consistently filled with emotion and heart, whether taking on a sentimental ballad or an upbeat dance number. She would also show a vast range in her later work delving into the world of jazz and soul in her most recent album, 2009’s The Real Thing.
Whilst her music may not be my personal favourite, one cannot deny that Adele deserves a place on this list.
Adele’s 19 was perhaps one of the most hyped British album releases in recent years, after topping the BBC’s Sound of 2008 list and winning the Q’s Awards Breakthrough Artist act.19 spawned the hits Chasing Pavements and Make You Feel My Love – which will continue to haunt us in manipulative talent show montages for years to come. It was Adele’s second album, 21, that saw her reach new highs of success.
21, an album of bitter love songs with twists of classic folk and blues proved to be a massive success, breaking countless chart records throughout the world. The album proved so prominent that many (like myself) grew completely sick of hearing the tracks and seeing it atop the charts week in week out. Like many a diva, Adele also made her mark on the Bond theme, recording the series latest, Skyfall.
Personal taste aside, one cannot deny this huge impact that Adele has had on the music industry makes her perfectly befitting of a place upon this list.
41. Bonnie Tyler
Bonnie Tyler is a British institution – a multi-talented artist who makes rock music for people who don’t like rock music.
Tyler’s raspy, husky vocals gained her the attention of producer Ronnie Scott – with both collaborating on 1977 album, The World Starts Tonight resulting in chart hit, Lost In France. Tyler’s distinctive growl proved a hit with audiences, however, it was not until her collaborations with Meat Loaf producer Jim Steinman that Bonnie became a household name.
Steinman collaborated with Bonnie on albums Faster Than the Speed of Night and Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire resulting in a slew of pop-rock hits such as Have You Ever Seen the Rain, Total Eclipse of the Heart, and Holding Out For a Hero.
Bonnie would never top the success of these albums, but her career went a variety of interesting directions trying – resulting in her become a chart icon in Germany, releasing a sex toy anthem titled Sexual Device and most recently being selected as Britain’s representative for Eurovision 2013.
40. Nelly Furtado
Canadian pop supremo, Nelly Furtado has a stellar forty million record sales to her name in a pop career spanning thirteen years.
Nelly shot to worldwide fame with her 2000 debut single, I’m Like a Bird from the folk-tinged pop album, ‘Whoa, Nelly!’ which would go on to sell over six million copies worldwide. Nelly’s fusion of hip-hop, melodic pop and R&B helped her stand out as one of the new millennium’s most distinctive artists. This would carry on through her next release Folklore, which was met with equal success.
Nelly’s third album saw her team-up with Timbaland for dance-infused pop tracks on album Loose, resulting in hits Maneater and Promiscuous. However, after a six-year break from English language pop, Nelly’s return proved somewhat underwhelming with fifth album, The Spirit Indestructible, flopping hard throughout the world (apart from good old, Germany and Switzerland).
Despite the lack of commercial success in recent years, Nelly’s distinctive and original musical style in her current and past work assert her as one of the most exciting pop divas in the music industry.
America’s first drag superstar’s impact on the world of popular music is sorely under-appreciated. RuPaul’s CV boasts five studio albums (six including Holiday album, ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’), several EPs, multiple remix albums and a barrage of singles and featured appearances.
RuPaul burst onto the music scene with debut album, Supermodel of the World, which won the drag star two US number ones and three UK Top 40 singles. Since Supermodel’s 1993 release, RuPaul has become a regular fixture in the Dance Charts with his most recent success Cover Girl, coming from the 2009 album Champion. However’s the performer’s finest work is 2011 album Glamazon, a record which captures the performer’s disco and soul influences in a slick contemporary fashion.
With a new album on the way, it’s certain that Ru’s status as one of the greatest pop divas can only get bigger.
38. Doris Day
The oldest pop diva on this list is saccharine sweet eighty-nine year old, Doris Day. Day was the original poster girl for many of today’s Hollywood starlets – boasting twenty-nine albums and a hugely successful career in both film (Day was Hollywood’s biggest box office star throughout the sixties) and television.
Day’s power as a pop-star can be summarised in one track – Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be), a song known throughout the world – selling over one million copies worldwide and transgressing all languages. Day would also have even greater success with tracks like Sentimental Journey and I’ll Never Stop Loving You.
However, public taste began to change throughout the seventies and Day began to seem growingly passe as public interest faded. Fortunately, her power as a recording artist still remains strong with Day’s first original album in almost fifty years , My Heart, successfully hitting the UK Top 10 in 2011.
37. Katy Perry
Like Doris Day, our next diva, Katy Perry began with a wholesome image – releasing a gospel-pop album in 2001 under the name Kate Hudson. Who would have thought that nine years on she would be firing whipped cream from guns attached to her breasts in California Girls?
It was Perry’s second release, One of the Boys, that completely transformed her previous image of Christian music artist to a raunchy pop star. The artists shot to the top of worlwide music charts with the release of single Cathy Dennis-penned single I Kissed a Girl. The release of Hot n Cold was met with similar success, however, other album tracks had few redeeming qualities.
Perry’s next album release Teenage Dream, propelled her to the status of pop diva, breaking Michael Jackson’s Thriller’s record for the album which has spent the longest on the Billboard Hot 100. The album boasted such hits as: Last Friday Night (TGIF) and Firework, and resulted in the release of concert film Katy Perry: Part Of Me which was cruelly overlooked at the 2013 Academy Awards.
Perry recently also it out battled with another pop diva, releasing her latest single Roar at the same time as Lady Gaga debuted Applause. Ultimately, Roar was the more successful of the two and has set Perry’s Prism album campaign off to a solid start.
36. Paula Abdul
There is more to Paula Abdul’s career than simply dancing with an animated cat in the video for her smash hit single, Opposites Attract – although let’s not deny the brilliance of that track and wonderfully dated video.
Abdul released three studio albums between 1988 and 1995, with Head Over Heels serving as her most recent album release. The singer is primarily known for her work as a television personality, formerly judging on American Idol and The X-Factor USA – however, the quality of her music career should not be forgotten.
Her debut album Forever Your Girl would sell over 12 million albums worldwide and would feature four number singles including: Straight Up, Opposites Attract, Forever Your Girl and Cold Hearted. After a break from the music industry the singer would release singles Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow and I’m Just Here for the Music after her stint on Idol.
Paula is reportedly working on a new album.
35. Belinda Carlisle
Ever since Belinda Carlisle reminded us that Heaven was a place on earth in 1987, the singer has become a regular fixture in the music industry at home and abroad.
As well as being the lead singer of all-female rock outfit, The Go-Go’s, Belinda has had a healthy solo career which took off with debut single Mad About You in 1986. However, it was Belinda’s second album Heaven On Earth which saw her become a worldwide superstar and reach the top of countless worldwide charts.
Fortunately Belinda never fell into the territory of a one hit wonder – following Heaven Is a Place On Earth which such hit singles as Leave a Light On, (We Want) The Same Thing and In Too Deep.
Despite not releasing a full album since 2007, the singer is reportedly working on a new album and has recently released the track Sun.
34. Samantha Fox
One of my personal favourite pop divas next. Former Page-Three model Samantha Fox decided to try her hand at pop music in 1986, releasing the track and number one smash Touch Me (I Want Your Body) – resulting in Samantha becoming a much-loved figure in the world of dance/pop music.
Samantha’s debut album proved a success throughout Europe and the USA, featuring a variety of sexually charged singles like Do Ya Do Ya (Wanna Please Me). This sexed-up style and Sam’s lovable persona seemed to prove a successful combination for the former-model and the singer’s later albums continued to reflect this boasting such tracks as Naughty Girls (Need Love Too) and the marvelously titled (Hurt Me, Hurt Me) But the Pants Stay On.
However, it is Samantha’s collaborations with British pop juggernauts Stock-Aitken-Waterman that resulted in her finest material – high energy pop singles Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now and I Only Wanna Be With You.
Sam is currently working on a new album with producers Full Force and has teased a collaboration with Visage frontman, Steve Strange.
33. Tina Turner
Tina Turner would go from backing vocalist to worldwide superstar in a career spanning over fifty years.
Alongside her husband Ike, Tina conquered the Billboard charts throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s with such iconic hits as River Deep – Mountain High, Proud Mary and Nutbush City Limits. However, her husband’s destructive behaviour resulted in Tina fully committing to a solo career (she had previously released albums Tina Turns The Country On and Acid Queen).
After struggling initially (Tina’s third and fourth albums failed to chart) Tina released Private Dancer – an album that we see her surpass the success of her time with husband Ike, and establish her as a successful solo performer. Private Dancer’s moody fusion of rock and eighties pop proved a hit – featuring such singles as What’s Love Got To Do With It and the camp title rack.
Tina’s career maintained the success of Private Dancer by following with such hits as What You Get Is What You See, Goldeneye, The Best, and I Don’t Wanna Fight.
The singer is now in semi-retirement, still occasionally performing. Her last album was 1999’s Twenty Four Seven.
32. Sophie Ellis-Bextor
British pop star Sophie Ellis-Bextor was the sound of the noughties for many a young British teenager – myself included.
After shooting to Number 1 as a featured artist on Spiller’s Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love), the singer followed with solo single Take Me Home – a cover of Cher’s 1979 disco classic, resulting in a #2 in the UK – as well as staying at #1 for six-weeks in Spain. Ellis-Bextor stood out through her distinctive style and contemporary blend of eighties-influenced new wave synthpop.
Ellis-Bextor’s biggest hit followed the unforgettably addictive and now iconic Murder On The Dancefloor. The singer’s material remains as high-quality as ever, but huge delays in the release of her fourth album Make a Scene saw it launch rather unnoticed in 2011 – only reaching #33 in the UK charts and making little impact abroad.
Ellis-Bextor has finished her fifth album, Wanderlust, which is set for release next year.
31. Gwen Stefani
After making her name as the lead singer of No Doubt – Gwen Stefani would go on to conquer the world of fashion, film, and launch a wildly successful solo music career.
No Doubt and Stefani stood out in the mid-nineties upon the release of their thrid album Tragic Kingdom – which signaled a welcome change from the popular grunge movement of the time. The success of the album was mostly carried on the quality of hit single Don’t Speak which dominated countless charts in 1996. This was followed by other hits such as Hey Baby, It’s My Life and Settle Down (from 2012’s comeback album).
However, pop fans are likely to be more drawn to Stefani’s two solo albums which would go on to sell a combined total of more than 11 million copies worldwide. The first of these albums, Love. Angel. Music. Baby., featured belting pop numbers What You Waiting For?, Rich Girl, Hollaback Girl and Cool. Her subsequent solo release proved almost as successful and featured Sound of Music sampling smash Wind It Up.
Stefani is presently working on No Doubt’s seventh album.
30. Lana Del Rey
Second to only Adele, the biggest success story of 2012 was Lana Del Rey.
The singer’s smokey vocal character and eye for lyrical edge combined with the atmospheric retro pop stlyings of the likes of Nancy Sinatra, results in a truly poignant combination. Despite attempting to carve a career in the music industry several years before, Del Rey did not truly grab public attention until her first single Video Games became a viral sensation.
This was soon followed by Born To Die, an album of melancholic pop anthems which took the world by storm – selling almost 3.5 million copies worldwide.
Del Rey’s career has continued to flourish with a rerelease of Born To Die, a featured place on Baz Lurhman’s The Great Gatsby soundtrack, and worldwide tours.
29. Lisa Stansfield
Despite a vast number of hits to her name, Lisa Stansfield is perhaps one of the more underrated divas on this list.
Stansfield found worldwide success with her debut album Affection in 1989, where hits like All Around the World and You Can’t Deny It established her as a pop sensation. The singer’s fusion of soulful melodies and house style instrumentation resulted in a winning formula that carried onto Stansfield’s follow-up release Real Love, featuring the smash single Change.
Although maintaining UK success throughout the nineties, the noughties saw Stansfield’s two lowest charting albums – Face Up (UK #38) and This Moment (#57) despite their solid quality.
Stansfield is working on her first album since 2004, titled Seven and is due for release early 2014. The singer also continues to tour – playing a variety of UK dates this Summer.
28. Sheena Easton
Scottish songbird Sheena Easton’s career has taken a huge number of various twists and turns – from recording a James Bond theme to serving as Prince’s muse in the mid-1980s.
After establishing herself on BBC documentary series The Big Time (the episode focused on a relative unknown’s attempt to rise to musical stardom) in 1979, Easton was promptly signed to EMI where she released the disco-tinged Motown-esque singles Modern Girl and 9 to 5 (Morning Train). The singer’s polished vocal style resulted in her being drafted in to record Bond theme For Your Eyes Only.
The singer’s career saw brushes with country music on tracks like We’ve Got Tonight with Kenny Rogers, latin-pop on 1984 album Todo Me Recuerda a Ti , dance and funk with the Prince-composed Sugar Walls, and most recently old-fashioned disco tracks on the suitably camp 2000 album Fabulous.
Easton has 16 studio albums to her name, each with a rich and distinctive style – yet has unfortunately not released anything since 2000. If you see this Sheena, the world is dying for your comeback.
27. Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez has gone from obscurity in The Bronx to making a name for herself as one of America’s biggest film stars, television personalities, and music sensations.
After a brief stint as a dancer, Lopez first came to prominence as an actress on short-lived dramas Hotel Malibu and Second Chances. This ultimately lead to film roles in such modern masterpieces as Anaconda, Money Train, and Antz. A boosted profile meant Lopez was able to launch her music career – with the star’s first three albums going platinum in the US. Singles such as If You Had My Love, Let’s Get Loud, Love Don’t Cost a Thing, and Jenny From the Block resulted in Lopez becoming one of the most prominent young figures in Latin-pop.
Recent years have seen Lopez achieve huge success as a judge on American Idol between 2011 and 2012, maintain her profile as a successful film star, and venture into the world of dance music with regular collaborator’s like Pitbull and RedOne. Lopez’s most recent album Love? featured the gargantuan hit On the Floor, and established a successful musical style (trashy dance-pop) that proved a winning formula for the singer – as also seen in latest track Live It Up.
Lopez’s eighth album is due in late-2013.
26. Dionne Warwick
Our next diva sees us move away from high-octane dance-pop to a more refined time. Dionne Warwick a performer with over 100 million album sales under her belt, and ranks as the second most-charted artist in the Billboard Hot 100 between 1955-1999 (behind Aretha Franklin).
Warwick made her first entry into the Billboard charts in 1962 with the Burt Bacharach produced Don’t Make Me Over – interestingly, every single subsequent single by Warwick (up until 1972) would chart within the Billboard Hot 100. This soulful pop was also channeled in subsequent hits like I Say a Little Prayer, Do You Know the Way to San Jose, (There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me, and Then Came You (with The Spinners).
However, Warwick reached her peak with her move to Artista Records where she released her highest selling album Heartbreaker in 1982. The album was produced by Barry Gibb, with the title single featuring the performer’s iconic vocals which gel with Warwick’s unmistakable vocal purr.
Warwick now mostly releases easy listening styled pop to this day – although occasionally ventures into soul and gospel music.
25. Lady Gaga
Whether you think she’s ripping off everyone from Madonna to La Toya Jackson, or a magnificent pop music pioneer – everyone has an opinion on Lady Gaga.
No one can deny that Gaga’s rise to fame was a glorious and exciting time for pop music as she released her debut album, The Fame in 2008. Tracks such as Just Dance, Poker Face and Paparazzi became instant pop classics with the album topping the charts throughout the globe. Things continued to blow-up with the singer’s subsequent EP, The Fame Monster where the singer’s collaboration with Beyonce on Telephone saw her success reach monstrous proportions.
By the release of her second studio album Born This Way the success continued, despite mixed fan response. The singer continued to show diversity through collaborations with veteran crooner Tony Bennett on his hit The Lady is a Tramp – with so much success that the pair are collaborating on a full-length jazz album.
Gaga’s has an army of Monsters waiting on her 2013 album Artpop which is due on November the 11th 2013. Audiences got a taster of the album’s sound from lead single Applause – a thumping pop track that immediately sent her fans into meltdowns of ecstasy.
24. Gloria Estefan
Few singers have put Latin pop music on the map like Gloria Estefan – a performer with over 100 million album sales under her belt.
After making a name for herself as the frontwoman of Miami Sound Machine with hits like Rhythm is Gonna Get You and Conga, Estefan embarked on a solo career in the late 1980s – releasing UK #1 album Cuts Both Ways. The album signified that Latin-pop Queen Estefan was here to stay. The album combined the Miami Sound Machine’s fiery Cuban beats with smooth contemporary ballads – resulting in hits like Get On Your Feet.
The singer’s career continued to flourish, racking up dozens of UK Top #40 hits and Billboard appearances. Estefan would continue to dip her toes back into Spanish-language releases, whilst maintaining a strong presence on the English-language music scene with albums like Destinty, Gloria!, and most recently Miss Little Havana.
Sadly Estefan’s latest venture is seeing her tackle classic jazz standards – let’s hope she comes back with something more exciting and apt to her Latin flair after that.
23. Dannii Minogue
Dannii, the thinking man’s Minogue has always been an underappreciated figure in the world of music – and I think it is time that she got the recognition she deserved.
Shooting to fame (several years before her big sister Kylie) on Australian TV series Young Talent Time and Home and Away – it was not long before Dannii gravitated towards the music industry and was signed to Mushroom Records. The singer released her international debut Love and Kisses in 1991 and was immediately embraced by the British public. Audiences lapped up her hits like Success and Jump to the Beat. Her subsequent nineties releases would echo this success with dance-numbers like This Is It and All I Wanna Do.
After a short hiatus from the music industry, Dannii reinvented herself as Queen of the Clubs in 2003 releasing the stunning Neon Nights – an album chock full of slickly produced, intelligent dance-hits showcasing Minogue’s sexy, breathy vocals to full effect in hits like I Begin to Wonder and I Don’t Wanna Loose This Feeling.
Since Neon Nights, Minogue has made a name for herself as a fashion designer and hugely demanded television personality. Sadly, her legions of fans still await her glorious musical comeback – an event so legendary that it would surely eclipse the second coming of Jesus.
August saw the release of This Is It: The Very Best Of Dannii Minogue, which featured the stunning new track ‘Cos You’re Beautiful – a rock-tinged dance anthem that had previously been teased in the singer’s reality show. Dannii was also recently seen holding song lyrics last June so this comeback may be happening sooner than many would have expected.
22. Beyoncé Knowles
Beyoncé Knowles shot to fame as one of the member’s of R&B girlgroup Destiny’s Child, however, it is her solo career that has seen her escalate to almost legendary status in recent years.
Alongside Destiny’s Child bandmates Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland, Beyonce went on to huge mainstream success with hits such as Survivor, Bootyliscious and Save My Breath establishing them as one of the world’s most successful girlbands.
After the group went on hiatus to pursue solo projects, film roles began calling with Beyoncé signed up to star as Foxxy Cleopatra in Goldmember alongside Mike Myers. The singer then began to balance a film career (with awe-inspiring turns in modern classics like Carmen: A Hip Hopera and Obsessed even going on to make Meryl Streep envious) with solo music projects – going on to release four solo albums, each hitting the top spot of the Billboard charts.
The singer’s powerful R&B vocals continues to set the charts alight, with her musical back-catalogue reading like a list of modern R&B classics – boasting such hits as Crazy In Love, Irreplaceable, Single Ladies and Love on Top.
Beyoncé will (hopefully) release her fifth studio album in 2014.
21. Olivia Newton-John
Olivia Newton-John is one of the entertainment industry’s biggest troopers – she’s done Eurovision, starred in iconic films, and topped the charts in a career spanning fifty years (something that seems unbelievable as she only looks about forty years old). Olivia is not just one of the UK’s most-loved expatriates, she’s one of our most loved pop divas.
The singer dabbled in the world of adult contemporary and country-folk music for most of the 1970’s (with great success), but her image was completely overhauled in 1978 after taking on the female-lead in Grease – the highest grossing musical film of all time. The equally successful film soundtrack’s focus on upbeat pop signaled a change in market for the singer, with her subsequent album Totally Hot reflecting this.
Olivia’s following role in Xanadu also capitalised on her new found pop-style, in the film’s stunning soundtrack. However, it was 1981’s Physical that saw Olivia transform into a pop-goddess with the camp eighties dance track topping the US and Australian charts – with the help of a music video showcasing a raunchy new style for the singer.
Olivia’s later career continued to mix dance-pop and her more traditional country and contemporary roots. She recently featured on the soundtrack to Aussie-UK comedy A Few Best Men, which features the singer covering a variety of classic standards (and magnificent new track Weightless) in the style of electronic dance music.
20. Cyndi Lauper
Since shooting to fame in 1983 with Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper has been a hugely prominent figure in the pop world. Going on to release twelve studio albums, champion LGBT rights, star in her own television series, and most recently compose a Broadway musical, Cyndi is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest pop divas.
Cyndi’s distinctive style New Wave outfits and soft vocal style proved an immediate hit with the singer’s debut album She’s So Unusual going on to sell 16 million copies worldwide – thanks to hit singles like Time After Time. Further releases like True Colours and I Drove All Night would go on to cement her reputation as one of America’s most creative pop stars.
Refusing to be confined to one genre, Cyndi has released albums of jazz covers (on 2003’s At Last), dance tracks (on 2008’s Bring Ya To The Brink), and blues (on 2010’s Memphis Blues) – showing great success in all genres. Outside the music industry she has starred in The Celebrity Apprentice and performs amazing versions of Girls Just Want To Have Fun in Buenos Aires’ airports.
The second drag artiste to feature on our countdown is cult filmmaker John Waters’ very own muse, Divine. The performer’s larger than life screen appearances in trash masterpieces Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, and Hairspray helped craft Divine’s outrageous persona that was fully channeled into her music career.
Divine began touring her nightclub act in the late 1970s during the height of the disco boom, and eventually began to include some original music in the act (which has previously consisted of swearing at the audience and fighting with other drag queens). The result of this was Born to be Cheap, a sleazy rock number which showcased Divine’s ferocious vocals and trashy image.
Divine’s later releases began to make an impact throughout the UK and Europe with his first album The Story So Far spawning six solidly perfomring singles. Among these was Stock-Aitken-Waterman Hi-NRG anthem, You Think You’re A Man which reached #16 in the UK charts and confirmed that Divine was not simply a novelty act.
Later releases like I’m So Beautiful and Walk Like a Man (a dance cover of the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ hit) were also modest successes. Divine would go on to release her fourth and final album, Maid In England, shortly before her tragic death in 1988 – truly a life cut short too soon.
18. Grace Jones
From one outrageous diva to the next, Grace Jones, like Divine, has conquered the world of music, cinema and fashion and continues to do so.
Born in Jamaica in 1948, Jones found her big break after moving to the US and beginning a modelling career. After catching the attention of Island Records she was swiftly signed up and released her first album in 1977 – a collection of disco covers of Broadway hits and several original tracks.
Jones’ debut single, I Need a Man, hit #1 on the US dance charts and would be the first of many hits for the androgynous singer. Jones would continue to release disco music and became a regular feature at New York’s Studio 54, until the early eighties when her music began to take a more exciting angle.
Jones would return to prominence with Pull Up to the Bumper in 1981 – showcasing a style that sat somewhere between New Wave and Reggae, proving an instant hit. This style paved the way for following singles such as Nipple to the Bottle and Slave to the Rhythm.
Although Jones faded from prominence in the music industry towards the end of the eighties, she remained active in the film industry taking on film roles in A View to a Kill and Conan the Destroyer. She would eventually make a triumphant return to the music industry in 2008 with Hurricane.
Jones is presently recording a follow-up to Hurricane with producer Ivor Guest.
17. Britney Spears
Love her or loathe her, Britney’s status as a pop juggernaut is a hard one to deny. The nineties saw her reign supreme as one of the most prominent and successful pop singers – something that still continues to this day.
Britney’s first release …Baby One More Time saw her shoot to #1 across the globe, not simply establishing her as a pop star, but as a pop phenomenon. The singer’s breathy vocals, unabashed sex appeal, and glossy pop production proved a force to be reckoned with and resulted in subsequent #1 singles Oops I Did It Again, Everytime, and Toxic.
However, personal issues began to dent the performer’s public image (who could forget the infamous head-shaving moment in 2007) and gradually shifted attention away from her solid musical output. Fortunately Britney landed back on top with successful releases like Womanizer and 3 paving the way for her 2011 #1 album, Femme Fatale.
After topping the charts with will.i.am and a dodgy stint on the US X Factor, Britney released new studio album, Britney Jean – unfortunately to lackluster reviews and poor commercial performance.
16. Celine Dion
Yes it is everyone’s favourite French-Canadian Eurovision winner, Celine Dion. Celine may be everyone’s Mum’s favourite – or maybe just the uncool Mums but she has had no shortage of hits – need we mention the immortal words My Heart Will Go On?
After a career of mixed success in France and Canada with a slew of French-language albums, Celine soon set her sights on dominating the English-speaking (singing?) music world. Early English singles like Where Does My Heart Beat Now and Beauty and the Beast were met with reasonable acclaim, but Celine would soon find her first worldwide smash with Jennifer Rush cover, The Power of Love.
Celine was firmly established as queen of the romantic ballad with further nineties hits including Think Twice, Tell Him (with Barbra Steisand), All By Myself, My Heart Will Go On, and I’m Your Angel (with R. Kelly). However, the singer did show some variation with releases like 2003’s One Heart which took a much-welcome dance angle and spawned her wonderfully camp cover of I Drove All Night.
Recent years have seen Celine’s chart impact fade yet she still remains an ever popular fixture in Las Vegas. Celine also released her first English-language album in six years, Loved Me Back to Life this November. The campaign was spearheaded by a single of the same name – an anthemic ballad penned by Sia that retains Celine’s signature vocal authority with smooth modern production. She also proved she was hip by dancing to Get Lucky recently.
15. Donna Summer
While many iconic singers just hopped onto the disco bandwagon for some quick cash, none could match the might of the late Queen of Disco, Donna Summer. Backed with vocal chords that must have been heaven sent and pioneering production from Giorgio Moroder, Donna Summer was one of the true iconic divas of pop music.
To call Summer simply a disco performer would be a label that cheapens her vast career, she remained consistently prominent until the early nineties and would make a welcome return to pop music in 2008. Summer was one of the championing artists for disco label, Casablanca, throughout the seventies with her tracks Love to Love You Baby, I Feel Love, Love’s Unkind, Last Dance, Hot Stuff, Bad Girls, and No More Tears (Enough is Enough) fast becoming the soundtrack of the era.
However, when the disco boom passed Summer’s career remained successful as she adapted within the pop world and switched to a more New Wave/Pop-Rock throughout the eighties, with a sound as best captured in singles like The Wanderer and She Works Hard for the Money. The end of decade saw Summer adapt once more and embrace the Hi-NRG stylings of Stock-Aitken-Waterman as showcased on her 1989 album, Another Place and Time – boasting such hits as This Time I Know It’s For Real.
Summer’s nineties output became more sporadic than her previous, occasionally releasing a gem like Carry On (which saw her reunite with Giorgio Moroder in 1992). It was 2008 that saw her launch a triumphant comeback with Crayons an album that spawned three #1’s on the US Dance Charts.
October will see the release of Love To Love You Donna – a remix album featuring the talents of Giorgio Moroder, Chromeo and Oliver, and Hot Chip – that will continue to showcase Donna’s enduring legacy.
14. Christina Aguilera
Nielsen Scan reports that Christina Aguilera is the second highest selling singles artist between 2000-2009 (only behind Madonna, of course) – this is no mean feat judging by the stellar competition that the singer faced during this period from the likes of Miss Britney Spears, Beyonce, and co.
After finding initial success in The Mickey Mouse Club in the early nineties with the likes of Ryan Gosling (everyone can let out a little scream of excitement), Christina would return to prominence in 1999 with the release of her self-titled debut album containing hits Genie in a Bottle, What a Girl Wants, and Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You). Despite this early promise, Christina’s debut would be eclipsed by her masterpiece (not Bionic), Stripped in 2002.
Stripped signaled a more mature side to Christina (or Xtina to those of us of of the religious persuasion) as showcased in the raunchy hit, Dirty, and tender ballad, Beautiful. The album would go on to become a permanent fan favourite. Christina continued to flirt with a variety of new sounds tackling retro jazz and funk on Back to Basics (as heard on Ain’t No Other Man and Candyman) and electropop on subsequent release Bionic (most notably on vastly underrated single Not Myself Tonight).
Despite having hugely popular US series, The Voice, as a means of promotion, Christina’s 2012 release Lotus failed to reach the commercial highs of her previous releases (it stalled at #28 here in the UK). However, the album does contain several hidden gems like Red Hot Kinda Love, Let There Be Love, and country ballad, Just a Fool with Blake Shelton – and stands as a true testament to Christ-ina’s diversity as a performer.
13. Liza Minnelli
Liza Minnelli has the honour of descending from Hollywood royalty – her parents were Judy Garland and filmmaker Vincent Minnelli, yet has had made her career a success and become an icon on her own merits and talents.
After practicing her craft in the nightclubs of New York, Liza was signed by Capitol Records going on to release three albums with the label including ‘Liza! Liza!’ and ‘There Is a Time’ where she tackles some iconic pop standards. Liza packs these albums with a sense of energy, warmth and dynamism – something that can also be felt in her most notable recordings on 1972’s Cabaret soundtrack.
Minnelli won an Oscar for her leading role in Bob Fosse’s seminal classic, Cabaret, with the soundtrack also being Liza’s first album to crack both the UK and US Top 40. Tracks like Mein Herr, Maybe This Time and the iconic title-song would go on to be regarded as signature tracks for the performer.
Perhaps Liza’s most exciting career turn saw her team up with the Pet Shop Boys in 1989 to release Results, an album of contemporary electronic pop anthems. Among these were hit singles, Losing My Mind (a #6 hit in the UK) and Love Pains. Here Liza showcased a welcome versatility that was welcomed by British audiences.
Liza continues to tour and has reverted back to the world of pop standards- perhaps a good thing when you hear her cover of Single Ladies on the Sex and the City 2 soundtrack.
12. Mariah Carey
Personally, the term diva summons one performer to mind immediately and that is Mariah Carey. This is unsurprising when you think about how many albums and singles that Mariah has gone on to sell – she is the biggest selling artist of the nineties after all.
It is no surprise that Carey’s debut in 1990 was met with astounding success – it boasted four US #1 singles and signaled the world that Carey was going to be a prominent figure in the music industry. The star’s musical output crossed throughout countless genres with splices of R&B, pop ballads, easy-listening, and dance-pop all showcased through Carey’s impressive vocal range.
Mariah released countless hits throughout the nineties and early-two-thousands including Hero, Without You, All I Want For Christmas Is You, Fantasy, My All & Against All Odds making the singer a household name.
However, Carey seems most at home with R&B tinged tracks – which traditionally tend to be more fun than her ballads. Touch My Body, Obsessed, Triumphant (Get ‘Em) and most recently her collaboration with Miguel, #Beautiful, stand as some of the singer’s finest and most exciting work.
As the above image will show, Mariah’s diva persona is so huge that it has expanded into the online world as captured in her marvelously decadent Twitpics. As Mariah would say: “Tour de force! Tour de force, darlings! Do you know what that means?”
11. Agnetha Fältskog & Frida Lyngstad
The past few months have seen somewhat of an ABBA revival as half the world has been in love with former-ABBA chanteuse Agnetha Fältskog’s first album since 2004, A. Both Agnetha and former band mate, Frida Lyngstad’s landmark work in ABBA and their solo careers guarantee them both a place on this list.
Despite early solo success for both ladies in their native-Sweden, Agnetha and Frida would go on to become the iconic voices of Europop around the world with ABBA. Since bursting onto the worldwide music scene with their Eurovision-winning hit, Waterloo, the group would go onto release over sixty-five more singles and become a worldwide phenomenon.
1982 saw the end of ABBA, yet the beginning of an exciting new chapter in Agnetha and Frida’s career. Agnetha was met with modest success in 1983 with her debut English-solo album, Wrap Your Arms Around Me, with later albums Eyes of a Woman and I Stand Alone faring on a similar par. Her latest releases My Colouring Book and A have been her most successful in the UK, with the latter spawning singles When You Really Love Someone and Dance Your Pain Away.
Frida’s two English releases were also warmly-received throughout the UK and Europe, Something’s Going On – the first of these took a more rock-focused approach and featured the input of Phil Collins, Bryan Ferry and Giorgio Moroder. Her subsequent album, Shine, embraces a more conventional pop style with their title track delivering a huge dose of eighties camp.
10. Aretha Franklin
It would be a crime not to include the woman who had served as the inspiration to many of the divas this list, Aretha Franklin. Franklin is the undisputed Queen of R&B Soul yet has tackled everything from gospel to hip-hop to dance in her illustrious career.
Franklin was met with modest success in her early years with Columbia Records, yet would hit her peak with Atlantic records during her twelve year stint with the label. Here Aretha scored international acclaim with hits such as Think, I Say a Little Prayer, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and Something He Can Feel – all contributing to her staggering 20 #1 R&B singles.
The eighties saw the vocally gifted diva embrace new styles after signing to Artista records and releasing dance/hip-ho tinged anthems like Who’s Zooming Who and Jump to It. She would once again go on to top both the US and UK charts with George Michael on their classic duet I Knew You Were Waiting For Me.
Aretha remains relevant today by embracing some of proteges hits – she most recently unveiled her take on Mariah Carey’s Touch My Body. She is currently working with music-mogul Clive Davis and Babyface on her next album.
9. Debbie Harry
Debbie Harry burst onto the music scene with Blondie and fast became the face of the New Wave musical movement. Her edgy vocal prowess, unique fashion sense, tough yet likeable persona, and diverse musical stylings resulted in her becoming a favourite performer to fans of rock, punk, pop, reggae and disco/dance music.
Along with Chris Stein, Harry founded Blondie in the mid-seventies and went on to release a variety of chart-topping hits that blurred the lines between musical genres. From the early-post punk sound of Picture This and Hangin’ on the Telephone to the glossy upbeat pop of Sunday Girl and the post-disco flair found on Call Me and Rapture – Blondie ticked all boxes among music fans. Even the group’s tropical-reggae infused anthems proved smash hits – as seen in The Tide Is High and Island of Lost Souls.
Harry’s solo career was equally diverse as her work in Blondie – with the singer having five solid studio albums too her name. Harry continued to flirt with pop, dance and rock with releases like Backfired, In Love with Love, French Kissin’, and I Want That Man all making a modest impact on the UK Charts.
Harry continues to tour and record with Blondie and the group will release their 10th album, Ghosts of Download later this year.
8. Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston’s life may have been plagued with scandal, something that continued right up to her tragic death in 2012, but that all seems unimportant when listening back to the musical legacy that the soulful diva has left us with.
Houston’s debut album would go on to sell an excess of 25 million copies worldwide – not surprising when one reads through the tracklist that features such smash hits as Greatest Love of All, How Will I Know, and Saving All My Love For You.
Incredibly, Houston would go on to equal her debut’s success with follow-up, Whitney, in 1987 featuring dance-pop anthems I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) and So Emotional.
In yet another staggering feat Houston continued to better herself with the soundtrack to 1992’s The Bodyguard going on to sell over 45 million copies. The first single, a cover of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You would go on to become one of the biggest selling tracks of the nineties.
Houston’s subsequent albums would go onto be multi-million worldwide sellers up until her final release I Look to You in 2009.
7. Annie Lennox
Like Debbie Harry, Annie Lennox would go on to find success as part of a New Wave group – in Lennox’s case this was with Dave Stewart as part of synth phenomenon, Eurythmics. Lennox would also go on to huge solo success after parting ways with Stewart.
Initially finding moderate UK success with Stewart in the band, The Tourists, the two would part ways with the group and establish themselves as Eurythmics. Despite a slow start, the pair found global acclaim with their debut album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) showcasing Lennox’s distinctive, smoky vocals and androgynous style. These hits would continue in the form of Who’s That Girl, Here Comes the Rain Again, Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves (with fellow diva, Aretha Franklin) and There Must Be Angel (Playing with My Heart).
The pair would both go on to solo careers at the beginning of the nineties, with Lennox pairing up with producer Steve Lipson for her debut solo album, Diva in 1992. The album would prove an instant classic containing such hits as Little Bird, Walking on Broken Glass and Why. This was followed by four further solo albums and a Eurythmics’ reunion album in 1999.
Lennox’s future recording plans are unclear as the singer concentrates on her humanitarian work.
6. Barbra Streisand
Singer, songwriter, producer, film star, film producer, director, humanitarian – there is not much that Barbra Streisand has not done in the entertainment industry.
After making her way round nightclubs, Streisand found work on broadway before signing with Columbia Records in 1963. Fifty years later and with 33 albums under her belt, Streisand remains one of the ultimate pop divas.
The singer packs her music with a understated sensitivity and quiet power that traditionally proves a hit in all genres. Streisand scored her first hit with People in 1964, which would go on to be the first of many, including Stoney End, The Way We Were, Evergreen and You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.
Streisand’s career is at it’s most interesting when she takes a more contemporary angle with her work as seen in her collaborations with Donna Summer (on Enough Is Enough) and Barry Gibb (on the albums Guilty and Guilty Pleasures). Her collaborations with Gibb in particular have resulted in some iconic tracks such as Woman In Love, Guilty, What Kind of Fool and dance-smash Night of My Life.
The singer retains her grip on the album charts with near all of her releases being certified platinum in the US.
5. Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson emerged from the shadows of her famous siblings to become a musical icon in her own right. Janet, the youngest of the musical dynasty has gone on to sell over 100 million albums worldwide.
Under the guidance of her father Jackson released her self-titled debut in 1982 which made little chart-impact. Her second release, Dream Street, fared even worse – scraping into the Billboard chart at #147 – despite featuring solid production from Giorgio Moroder. After rethinking her musical career, Jackson signed with a new manager who hooked her up with producers Jimmy Jamm and Terry Lewis. This collaboration resulted in one of Jackson’s most iconic releases – Control, which informed the world Jackson was a mature talent in her own right and a force that was here to stay.
Control spawned such hits as What Have You Done For Me Lately? and When I Think Of You and would be certified 5x Platinum. This pairing of Jackson and Jamm and Lewis would prove an iconic match that Jackson would stick with until her 2008 album Discipline. The pair’s soul and funk stylings were a perfect match for Jackson and would result in such landmark releases as Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814, janet., The Velvet Rope, and All For You.
Jackson is reportedly working on her first studio album since Discipline.
4. Diana Ross
The highest R&B/soul diva on this list is none other than Diana Ross. Originally hitting the charts as part of Motown girlgroup, The Supremes, Ross would go on to have one of the most diverse and exciting music careers that the industry has seen.
With The Supremes, Ross began to make a name for herself in both the US and UK, hitting the top of the charts with classics such as Where Did Our Love Go, Baby Love, and You Can’t Hurry Love. However, Ross would leave the group in 1970 to concentrate on her solo career in which the singer would tackle a variety of new genres.
Ross’s first few albums with Motown stuck to a similar style to her work with The Supremes, however, the singer began to branch out at the dawning of the disco movement towards the end of the seventies. This lead to such hits as Love Hangover, The Boss, and It’s My House. However, arguably Ross’s finest moment came in 1980 when she teamed up with Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards to release diana. It would be the singer’s most commercial release and spawned the now-iconic hits My Old Piano, I’m Coming Out, and Upside Down.
Ross’s subsequent career continued to produce hits and resulted in anthems such as Mirror, Mirror, Swept Away, Chain Reaction and most recently, Not Over You Yet.
Whether belting out folk tunes with Sonny Bono, glittering up for disco anthems, riding battleships whilst belting out pop-rock, or charging up the autotuner to rejuvenate dance music – Cher has always been an unstoppable force of nature within the music industry.
Cher’s music career began in the early 1960s where the singer’s blend of folk-tinged pop resulted in a mix of hits – some with husband Sonny (most notably 1965’s I Got You Babe) and many as a solo artist (Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves, Dark Lady). However, the duo divorced in 1975 and both performers went on to fully focus on their solo careers.
Cher scored moderate hits in the disco period with Take Me Home and Wasn’t It Good released on the Casablanca label, yet would fade from prominence in the early eighties as she adapted a more glam rock-focused sound. However, Cher relaunched herself in 1987, once again embracing soft-rock music which she would stick with for her next four albums. This resulted in such hits as If I Could Turn Back Time, Just Like Jesse James, and One By One.
Towards the end of the nineties, Cher would once again reinvent herself with Believe – embracing a new club-friendly sound that would top charts worldwide. This continued onto her subsequent album Living Proof in 2001 which featured the hits The Music’s No Good Without You and When The Money’s Gone.
Cher has made a triumphant return to the world of US pop music this September, with the critically acclaimed Closer To The Truth – an album featuring an array of slick dance anthems (like Dressed to Kill and Woman’s World) and anthemic ballads (I Hope You Find It and Sirens). The album is expected in the UK in October.
With over 300 million record sales and 12 UK #1 albums to her name, no one can deny that Madonna is one of the world’s ultimate pop divas.
Bursting onto the music industry in 1983 with her self-titled debut, Madonna fast became a favourite of pop fans with catchy pop tracks like Holiday. The singer would continue to outdo herself with her sophomore smash album, Like a Virgin where the singer would win another batch of #1 hits across Europe and the US.
Madonna’s career would continue to go from strength to strength throughout the eighties, nineties and noughties with the release of pop masterpieces like Papa Don’t Preach, Open Your Heart, Like a Prayer, Vogue, Ray of Light, Beautiful Stranger, and Music. The singer would once again reinvent herself with disco-influenced album Confessions on a Dance Floor in 2005 which would win the singer 4 Top 10 UK singles.
Madonna’s latest album MDNA would go onto reach #1 in 40 countries. Her Superbowl half-time show performance would be the highest viewed of all time. The MDNA Tour would also be the ninth highest grossing concert tour of all time. Surely proof that thirty years into her career, Madonna is still one of the ultimate pop divas.
The singer’s blend of sex appeal, vocal talent, star quality, and sheer drive and passion for her craft ensure that she is one of the ultimate Queens of Pop.
1. Kylie Minogue
The glamorous Australian has faced some stiff competition but is without doubt our ultimate pop diva. Kylie’s loveable personality and multitude of hits speak for themselves. Kylie has been an ever-present, reassuring figure in the British, European, and Australian charts from 1987 onwards. The singer’s warm persona and instantly catchy music have resulted in her becoming a firm favourite of almost all pop music fans worldwide.
Kylie burst onto the UK music scene with Stock, Aitken, Waterman produced bubblegum pop anthem I Should Be So Lucky, which told the world that she was a serious pop contender – and not just Charlene from Neighbours. The singer would stick with the Hi-NRG production team for her debut and following three albums – resulting in the creation of several pop anthems like Hand on Your Heart, Better the Devil You Know, What Do I Have to Do and Give Me Just a Little More Time.
After leaving SAW, Kylie’s signed with Deconstruction where her following albums would see her develop a more mature sound. However, to the delight of many, the year 2000 saw the year of hardcore pop Kylie where she would release Spinning Around, On a Night Like This and Kids from her album, Light Years. Kylie would go on to top the success of Light Years with her 2001 smash album, Fever, containing such pop masterpieces as Can’t Get You Out of My Head, In Your Eyes, Love at First Sight and Come Into My World.
Kylie’s subsequent releases would continue to push the boundaries of pop music and continue to reshape the genre. The singer would dip into R&B with Body Language, tackle electropop in X and excel with dance/europop in Aphrodite.
Her twelfth studio album will debut in 2014, with Minogue giving us a taster with innovative buzz single, Skirt. The singer’s flawless reputation was further confirmed when she was brought in the save ailing BBC talent-fiasco The Voice, alongside fellow music luminaries erm… the bloke from the Kaiser Chiefs and will.i.am. We can’t wait to see what else Kylie, our definitive pop diva, has in store for us in 2014.
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