Karen Carpenter: The girl-next-door with the milk chocolate voice. The Carpenters were dismissed in their 1970’s hey-day due to their squeaky-clean image and a few questionable song choices, post 1976, and counter to 2010's pop landscape, Karen’s singing was never about bombast or vocal acrobatics; she simply sang the song, and she did so exquisitely. Download this album: A Song For You.
K.D. Lang: Underground interpreter began her career as a tongue-in-cheek country singer and blossomed into a vocalist beyond classification: is she country? Is she pop? It doesn’t matter, because she makes every song she sings her very own. Download this album: Ingénue.
Pat Benatar: I barely paid attention to Pat Benatar in the 1980’s, during her commercial peak, and it was my loss. Classically trained, Benatar applied her opera instruction to rock-and-roll and paved the way for girl-rockers today. She sings way too little these days, as far as I’m concerned. Download this album: Crimes Of Passion.
Denise Williams: You know her fluky hits from the 1970’s and 1980’s, “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late,” with Johnny Mathis, and “Let’s Hear It For The Boy,” from the movie, "Footloose," but there’s so much more to this phenomenal and underappreciated talent with a voice like an angel. Download this album: This Is Niecy.
Ann Wilson: When Ann released her first Heart album with her sister, Nancy, everybody thought she was merely a Robert Plant wannabe, a flash-in-the-pan novelty, but over the next decade and with two, major stylistic shifts, Ann Wilson proved she possessed a completely unique gift, and we music fans are all the better for it. Download this album: Dreamboat Annie.
Joni Mitchell: Mitchell’s voice has taken on a different timbre over the years, moving from the high-registered hippie chick from the late 1960’s, to the sultry jazz crooner in the 1970’s, to the sage and sooty, road-worn vocalist that graced her most recent album, the solemn and prayerful, Shine. Download this album: Court and Spark.
Patsy Cline: is timeless, because of her straight-forward approach to tackling songs, taking country foundations and adding a bit of pop and tin pan alley into a highly original sound that still sounds fresh today (and is, indeed, still emulated). The dance floor fills every time they play “Crazy,” as well it should. Download: Few original albums remain in print, but most “hits” packages take you where you need to go.
Tracey Thorn: Smoky, sexy, and mysterious, Thorn’s voice is the lynchpin for the duo, “Everything But The Girl,” and her quiet power sneaks up on you on spine-tinglers, like “Rollercoaster,” “Corcovado," or their best-known song, "Missing." Download this album: Amplified Heart.