Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

50 female pop pioneers

It's the 50th anniversary of Edith Piaf's death and we're still moved every time Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien rolls out of a speaker. The legendary French singer made her mark on the world with her gutsy unique voice and poignant ballads, which captured the spirit of post-war France.

The last five decades have seen female artists, like Edith, bring energy and excitement to popular music, consistently infusing the genre with new looks, sounds and meanings. What is it that makes a pop star truly brilliant? Is it a distinctive voice like Bjork’s, empowering lyrics such as Beyonce’s, or an incredible gift for song-writing (step up, Annie Lennox) - or a mixture of all of these things?

From queens of reinvention to voices that can’t help but move us (thank you Edith), we take a look at the greatest 50 female pop pioneers of all time in the gallery below.

Click on an image below to launch the gallery. Do you agree with our choices? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter.

Picture credits: Rex Features



Women on the front line


Revolutionary pioneers


History's most infamous female spies



Miss Iceland quits beauty pageant after being ‘told she's too fat’

“I am a very strong woman, but sometimes my strength isn't enough”

by Anna Pollitt
25 Oct 2016

Woman responds in the best way possible to the receipt of a d*ck pic

“Dear Sir, Thank you for the unexpected and unsolicited submission of your penis portrait for our consideration”

by Harriet Hall
25 Oct 2016

Lady Gaga and James Corden are a perfect odd couple in Carpool Karaoke

Far from a Bad Romance.

by Moya Crockett
25 Oct 2016

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Heidi Klum's wardrobe antics to Olivia Wilde's sweet breastfeeding snap

by Nicola Colyer
25 Oct 2016

Serial’s Adnan Syed could be freed on bail while awaiting new trial

He has served over 17 years in prison

by Kayleigh Dray
25 Oct 2016

Pamela Anderson calls for a “sensual revolution” to eradicate bad sex

The model and actress wants us to stop watching hardcore pornography.

by Moya Crockett
25 Oct 2016

Sarah Jessica Parker slams sexist Kim Cattrall feuding rumours

“We needed each other”

by Kayleigh Dray
25 Oct 2016

“Frantic, distressed” Taylor Swift describes alleged groping incident

The singer says a DJ assaulted her backstage at one of her concerts.

by Moya Crockett
24 Oct 2016

A cast member has confirmed this Gilmore Girls fan theory

Had you noticed?

by Amy Swales
24 Oct 2016

Emma Stone has some thoughts on Hollywood’s “insane” gender pay gap

“We should all be treated fairly and paid fairly.”

by Moya Crockett
24 Oct 2016