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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

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