by Gray Graham
For a change of pace I thought I would do a Top 10 list since they are always all the rage. Now I generally don't write about music. I leave that to the pros like Mrs. Jackson and Ms. James but I am sure they don't mind me contributing every now and again.
Since I am a lover not a fighter, I will always like R&B the most. The songs are about love, both finding and losing it, something that everyone can relate. I find that the ladies put more heart and true emotion into their ballads drawing from their life experiences.
Now it goes without saying that your list will be different than mine. Music is a very personal thing and there is no right or wrong answers in the end just enjoy what you like.
So let's count them down.
When you have men singing "I'm a single lady" then you must have some kind of power. Because of her looks and her dancing she probably doesn't get enough credit for her vocals. There are so many people that dislike Beyonce for other reasons so they ignore her roots which is singing. Despite all of that she still gets love from her legion of fans and hit songs. She has become the example of what a female singer should be for generations to come.
9. Mariah Carey
I remember when the joke was that people did not know Mariah was Black as if you had to be Black in order to sing. It was a shock to see this young woman with this All American Pop look but then easily slide into the hip hop scene. Guys around the world love her because she looks like the classic anime girl come to life. Women love her because she sings like the woman they want to be, an angel here on Earth.
8 . Mary J. Blige
She set the standard for current female R&B singers. She came up in the age of hip hop where guys are a little different than they were in the past. Saying I love you is not something that you are going to hear the average street soldier say. But Mary sung in a way that touched their hearts so you would hear someone say that thugs need love too.
7. Diana Ross
The original face of Motown. She reminded the world that Black women were classy and elegant. She had men around the world (including a certain superstar) in love with her. As the lead singer for the Supremes she also set the standard for female groups that is still followed to this day.
6. Chaka Khan
She is best known for her rendition of the woman's anthem "I'm Every Woman" that I am sure every woman knows by heart. Her smooth voice just let's you feel the emotion of the song be it a ballad or something up tempo like "Can't Nobody". Chaka Khan will always rock you.
5. Gladys Knight
The thing I like most about Gladys Knight is that she always came across as a woman that was a singer and not a singer that was a woman. So many hits that will live on for years to come. When you listen to Gladys Knight you get the feeling you are hearing an honest story.
What can you say about Sade? She has been making men crazy and women mad around the world for 20 years straight. I often hear men that I know don't like anything R&B talking about Sade and going to her concerts. The one that really catches your ear is how her voice sounds exactly the same, sweet and pure. Despite all of that beauty she still comes across as the girl next door which is really the thing that men love in a woman.
3. Patti LaBelle
Many have come and many have gone, but Patti is still here. Too many hits to name. It is often said that she has the best example of a female soul singer. Her style and dress have been copied by many but never equaled. The thing you have to like most about her is how she has encouraged those that came after her. In a time when so many act like a diva, she actually embraces the role of mentor. Yes somebody loves you baby and that someone is me.
2. Whitney Houston
Does anyone have a better voice? Whether you liked her personally or not you have to admit she could really sing. Her voice touched everyone and made them feel so much love. For many it was like hearing an angel sing. When you look at her first big appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson you can just see the greatest. It is sad the way her life turned and how it ended but we will always have her music. That is the greatest gift of all.
1. Aretha Franklin
She is called the Queen Of Soul for a reason. Taking the leap from gospel to R&B you can just hear the soul in every song she sings. She has hit songs in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 00's and maybe beyond. Most women today can't even keep going for two years let alone two decades. That still would not put them in the queen's league, a class all by herself that no one can touch. So glad everyone gives her the respect she deserves.