Who is the best lesbian singer of all time?


best lesbian singers k.d. lang dusty springfield melissa etheridge ma rainey

Lesbian singers provide some of the most amazing female voices in the world.

Who is the best?

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Who knows?

The women on this page cross many genres and styles of music.

Maybe, they’re all the best.

They’re all great.

k.d. lang

With nine Grammys among her many music awards and a host of other honours, the list is too long to start here.

k.d also gets kudos for her long support of human rights and environmental causes and her advocacy for gay rights since coming out in the early 90s.

Her career highlights include the recording of “Crying” with Roy Orbison and the release of Ingenue with her most popular song “Constant Craving”.

Anjani Thomas, Leonard Cohen’s partner, said that after hearing k.d. lang sing “Hallelujah”, her and Cohen decided, “We can lay that song to rest now! It’s really been done to its ultimate blissful state of perfection.”

Melissa Etheridge

Singer of one of the best rock songs of all time “Bring Me Some Water”, Melissa Etheridge came out at a gay celebration of Bill Clinton’s first presidential inauguration.

Winner of numerous music awards, Grammy winner Etheridge also has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Janis Ian

Perhaps the most bittersweet anthem of teenage angst ever, Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen” launched her adult career after earlier success as a teen prodigy.

At 14, Janis wrote and recorded “Society’s Child” about an interracial romance. Although a hit, the song, released in the Civil Rights era, inspired death threats to the author and the burning down of an Atlanta radio station that played it.

Beth Ditto

First coming to attention as leader singer of Indie Rock band Gossip, Beth Ditto is now a solo act.

The self-described ‘fat, feminist lesbian from Arkansas’, in 2016 left the band she joined in 1999 to pursue a career in fashion and as a solo artist.

Joan Jett

“I’m not saying no, I’m not saying yes, I’m saying believe what you want. Assume away—go ahead.”

So said Joan Jett in 1994 and she’s yet to answer the question directly.

Therefore, we feel free to take her advice and assume away.

We assume she’s a lesbian.

Joan recorded hits in every decade since the 80s.

There’s some great songs among them but none is more iconic than Joan Jett & the Blackhearts belting out “I Love Rock and Roll.”

Ma Rainey

Unfortunately Paramount, her recording studio, used sub par equipment so no recordings survive to capture the true quality of Ma’s voice.

However her lyrics survive and she gives a very forthright account of herself in them, considering the era.

From 1927s “Prove it on Me”.

“They said I do it, ain’t nobody caught me.
Sure got to prove it on me.
Went out last night with a crowd of my friends.
They must’ve been women, ’cause I don’t like no men.”

The lyrics apparently refer to an incident where Ma was arrested for her participation in an all-woman orgy.

Linda Perry

We’ve loved her songs since she wrote and sang “What’s Up” for 4 Non Blondes in 1992.

Since then she’s penned songs for Pink, Christina Aguilera and Gwen Stefani. She’s also contributed to albums by artists Adele, Alicia Keys, and Courtney Love.

Mary Lambert

We loved her as the featured artist on the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis track, “Same Love’.

She said for that song she drew inspiration from her life as “a lesbian growing up in a tumultuous, Christian upbringing.”

She later used the content she developed for “Same Love” for her song “She Keeps Me Warm”.

Dusty Springfield

One of the most successful female rock singers of all time and one of the most recognisable faces, Dusty was an icon before we called people icons.

Sadly she spent her life battling “addictions to drink and drugs, bouts of self-harm and fear of losing her career if exposed as a lesbian.”

However, her amazing voice lives on forever.

So, make your choice. Who is the best lesbian singer of all time? You tell us.

Perhaps we missed one of your favourites? Tell us and we’ll make another list.

Let’s celebrate lesbian women in music.

QN Magazine | For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.