National Public Radio had a story on the Best 150 Music Albums By Women. You can see the entire list here. Here’s the list’s Top 10 Albums:

1. Joni Mitchell. BLUE, 1971.
3. Nina Simon. I PUT A SPELL ON YOU, 1965.
4. Aretha Franklin. I NEVER LOVED A MAN THE WAY THE LOVE YOU, 1967.
5. Missy Elliot. SUPA DUPA FLY, 1997.
6. Beyonce. LEMONADE, 2016.
7. Patti Smith. HORSES, 1975.
8. Janis Joplin. PEARL, 1971.
9. Amy Winehouse. BACK TO BLACK, 2006.
10. Carole King. TAPESTRY, 1971.

What do you think of this list? Do you have a favorite music album by a woman?


  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    My favorites would have put something by Marianne Faithful, The Pretenders or a Lucinda Williams. Not a big fan of Beyoncé, Joni Mitchell or Missy Elliot.

  2. Steve Oerkfitz

    Also realized nothing on the 150 long list by Aimee Mann but yet Spice Girls and Brittany Spears make it?

    1. wolf

      I feel like you, Steve!

      I liked the early songs of Natalie Merchant too – haven’t heard from her for some time though.

      Funnily enough, my wife doesn’t like female singers too much – is she jealous maybe? Though of course there’s no reason for that …

  3. Patti Abbott

    The albums that mean the most to be are from my teenage years when I played them to death. But since 45s were the standard then, they would most be compilations of music from the Shirelles, the Ronettes, the Chifons, etc. The first real albums I bought were ones by Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Barbra Streisant and Carol King.

  4. Jeff Meyerson

    Yoko Ono? Oh, no.
    Britney Spears? No.
    The Spice Girls inclusion is unforgivable, let alone at #64 ahead of people who can actually, you know, sing. This is supposed to be the Greatest Albums, not crap that sold a lot to 8 year old girls.

    I’m not going to insult the stuff I don’t know, but come on.

    Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark
    Emmylou Harris, Elite Hotel or one of several others
    Linda Ronstadt, Prisoner in Disguise
    The Shirelles, Greatest Hits

    And how can you have a list like this and not even a mention of Patsy Cline?

  5. Deb

    I can remember sitting in my room as a teenager with Joni’s latest album playing over and over again while I gulped down the lyrics. I know the words to every song on every Joni Mitchell album until about 1982-ish. However, I wouldn’t put BLUE at the top of this list–I wouldn’t even put BLUE as the best of Joni’s albums. I’d reserve that spot for FOR THE ROSES, which was where she was really segueing into a more jazz-infused sound.

    1. George Kelley

      Deb, like you I know all the words to those early Joni Mitchell albums including BLUE. But I can only listen to BLUE about once a year. It’s just too sad for me to listen to, especially when she sings about giving up her child.

  6. Maggie mason

    I didn’t know a lot of the lower half of the list. I agree with Jeff, why no Patsy Cline, and why Yoko. Britney and Spice girls (girl power? most feminists rail at the word girl rather than women, and these were IIRC grown women)

    What surprised me was that it wasn’t just for women singers on their own, but in groups with men, but with the women as the singers, and strength of the group, it made sense.

    Of the top ten, my favorites were Aretha, Joplin, and Carole King.

      1. wolf

        Me too!

        Bought all their LPs – so many great “girls”/women – never understood the fascination for Spice Girls etc.

        A woman who was interested in them or even a fan would have been a no-no for me. 🙂
        But I’m too old anyway for the “new” concept of pop music (and that goes for other stuff too tv, movies, books, you name it …) – lots of hype, all show, all fake, no substance!

  7. Jeff Meyerson

    I always liked this, from Jimmy Buffett’s “Miss You So Badly”:

    I got a head of full of feelin’ higher
    And an ear full of Patsy Cline
    There is just no one who can touch her
    Hell I’ll hang on every line

    You don’t hear anyone saying that about Britney, or Janet Jackson for that matter.

  8. Todd Mason

    And mostly newer pop/rock…for some reason, their selections have to date from 1963 or later, but 1960s pop icons are thin on the list. Frankly, up and down the list, jazz and folk artists are definitely underrepresented as well, and even Aretha Franklin probably doesn’t deserve multiple albums in this context, given all the people left out. I’ve suggested elsewhere that this is a very ROLLING STONE magazine-style list, mixing the pop for relatively young nostalgia buffs with the Very mildly exotic (but nothing too challenging). Utterly unsurprising they should land on Miriam Makeba’s PATA PATA, probably her greatest commercial hit, for example, as her representation here.

  9. Joseph Allegretti

    I understand the objections to this list but I have to say that I’ve always considered Blue to be one of the best pop/rock albums of all time.
    joe allegretti


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