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What Makes a Woman's Voice Sexy

What makes a woman's voice sexy? To me, it's a scratchy, kind of dirty voice. But what I am listening for in a woman's voice transcends her looks, style of music and in some cases even her vocal talent. Most of the voices I like seem to come from those of female rock singers. There is nothing sexier than hearing a woman belt out notes over a couple guitars and a drummer; it's a lethal combination.

I have put together my list of sexy female rock artists that have left me dreaming and goose-bumpy for a the last 30 years. Most are from the the 70's and 80's. Those are the years I formed my opinions of what sexy is. So without further explanation I will begin my list of the 10 sexiest female rock voices of my lifetime, along with a little snippet of my thoughts. I have also included my list of honorable mentions from other genres.

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

There is no mistaking Pat Benatar's vocals. I have often wondered how such gigantic notes can emanate from such a tiny woman. I once saw her in concert, and even though I was standing on the floor I still needed binoculars to see her, but that's beside the point. Pat Benatar's vocal range has never come close to being matched as a rock front. What I find so sexy about her voice is her range, the depth and clarity of her tones (Shadows of the Night), and when necessary, she can dirty it up a bit (You better Run and I Need a Lover). The confidence and strength she portrays in her songs doesn't hurt the sexy part either.

Amy Lee

Amy Lee

Amy Lee

This girl can sing her face off. She has a great falsetto range (My Immortal) and she can certainly belt out a note. What impresses me most about Amy Lee is her ability to show her softer side one second and then disintegrate the cones the next; Sweet Sacrifice is a prime example. She is by far the sexiest, beautifully ranged voice to enter the rock scene in a while. When she starts singing, I can't turn her off.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

What can I say? I like scratchy, dirty vocals and Janice Joplin should be the poster child. With her soulful singing and her unmistakably, unique voice she created a diehard fan base, of which I am one. How can you possibly be unmoved when you hear Cry Baby or A Little Piece of My Heart. She sounds as if she is living the very emotions she sings about. Listening to her takes me back and it is just as sexy now as it ever was. She is a legend, and a definite one-of-a-kind.

Chrissy Hynde

Chrissy Hynde

Chrissy Hynde

Chrissy Hynde has the sexiest vibrato, ever. What she lacks in range she more than makes up for in velvety, sultry tones. The first time I heard her I was hooked; Brass in Pocket, I think. She reminds me of a blue-collar lounge singer. The smoky vocals, with a no-nonsense approach to singing. If I had to pick the one vocalist to listen to while trying to fall asleep, she would be it. I have no doubt I would have nothing but pleasant dreams.

Annie Lennox

Annie Lennox

Annie Lennox

Of all the women in this list, I would vote Annie Lennox "The Most Desirable Woman to Sing a Lullaby in My Ear," hands down; Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) for me. From her introduction fronting the Eurythmics, with her nearly shaved head and man's suit and tie, she has had the ability to give me goosebumps when she gets to vocalizing. There is a roundness, and intensity in her voice that drives her up the sexy-scale for me. Her voice may not have that scratchiness I love but I can't ignore the vocal talent.

Ann Wilson

Ann Wilson

Ann Wilson (With Props to Nancy, Also)

Ann Wilson of Heart has always been one of my favorites. Her voice is strong without ever losing it's feminine qualities. She can sing a beautiful rock ballad, like Dog and Butterfly or Dreamboat Annie, and then belt out a song like Barracuda or Heartless with great intensity. I have to admit that some of her appeal is rooted in the great harmonies she and her sister have put together. Though I am a bigger fan of her earlier vocals, I still enjoy her later cuts, and she will always have a place in my heart.

Bonnie Tyler

Bonnie Tyler

Bonnie Tyler

Probably best known for her two biggest hits, Holding Out for a Hero and Total Eclipse of the Sun, Bonnie Tyler is another one of those undeniably sexy, scratchy voices. Her vocal sex appeal just gets better the louder she sings. Damn the tonal quality, just bring it home, honey. I'm not sure if it's whiskey or cigarettes, but whatever her formula, Bonnie Tyler has it right. She will always be one of my favorites.

Grace Slick

Grace Slick

Grace Slick

Whether on a plane or in a starship, sexy Grace Slick takes me to another place. White Rabbit is one of my all-rime favorite songs, and I can think of no better song to illustrate the quality of Grace Slick's singing ability. From the soft beginning through the building crescendo, there is no doubt who is telling the story. I appreciate the fullness of her voice and also the strength.

Joan Jett

Joan Jett

Joan Jett

In your face all the way. Joan Jett strikes me as a this-is-who-I-am, take-no-prisoners, kind of gal. I am not a huge fan of her music, but I do love to hear her scratch out a yell or a note on the edge of her range, I Love Rock and Roll being the best illustration of that. She has that nasty edge to her vocals that keeps me listening. Joan Jett may not be my favorite, but there is a sexy something about her voice I will not deny.

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Honorable Mentions

I won't go into great detail for the Honorable Mentions list, but I wouldn't have felt true to myself without at least mentioning them. Most, as you will note, are not what I would consider rock vocalists. That may be the only reason they didn't make this top ten. They are in no particular order.

  • Tina Turner - What more can I say?
  • Whitney Houston - No discernable scratch, but boy-howdy she sticks a note.
  • Allison Iraheta - I certainly hope she gets a deal with someone. She has all the makings of a great rock vocalist. She's the red-head from American Idol.
  • Stevie Nicks - She was real close to making the list. She has the scratch I like, with a little vibrato mixed in.
  • Sade - Would quickly replace Annie Lennox for the lullabye duty. Those dark, breathy tones wouldn't be hard to relax by.
  • Nancy Wilson - Not that Nancy Wilson; the jazz great. Silk behind a microphone.
  • Sarah Vaughn - She's a lot of fun to listen to when she's stylin'.


Who would you like to see on this list?

Nick on November 19, 2017:

you are an Idiot Tina Turner is the best rock singer and must be number one

Professor Rideout on November 13, 2013:

Yes, Amy Lee should be at the top, followed by Cyndi Lauper and Lene Lovich (weird can be sexy).

KHatfull on January 30, 2013:

Jacqui Copland...check her out.

Julia on June 21, 2012:

OMFG where is Lzzy Hale???

CJ Baker from Parts Unknown on March 28, 2012:

Great list! If you like powerhouse female vocalist, there is this newer band Alabama Shakes. Their lead singer Brittany Howard is a real vocal powerhouse. Here is a link to my favorite youtube clip of theirs. Check it out, I don't think you'll be disappointed:

Chris on December 30, 2011:

Suzi Quatro ftw!!

EXTERMINATOR on October 13, 2011:

Tarja Tarunmen!!

Meghann on April 13, 2011:


Deza on February 08, 2011:

What about Simone Simons

sarah on January 15, 2011:

Amy Lee is hot!!!

wml on December 30, 2010:

Alison Moyet. Listen to her fado styled "First time I ever saw your face" on you tube. She kicks ass on State Farm and the whole Hoodoo album. Check it out. Great list by the way. This is the pic you need for La Lennox

RCQ on November 13, 2010:

No Debbie HArry? :( She had this thing about her...

Gus on July 05, 2010:

I would add Ingrid Michaelson, Joan Osborne and Andrea Corr.

Daniel on June 17, 2010:


franklinwhylder on June 04, 2010:

Liz Fraser - Cocteau Twins!

jody on May 27, 2010:

Carly Simon?? Anyone? Anyone?

What about Karen O of the yeah yeah yeahs?

Todd sweeney on May 02, 2010:

How can you mention alisson? But not kelly clarkson or carly smithson .

Jessi on April 09, 2010:

I just love Amy Lee, because of all u said about her... Thanks 4 the article!

Kristin on February 20, 2010:

Karen O hands down.

rayneroseren from Brentwood, Pittsburgh, PA on February 19, 2010:

where is Tori Amos in all this? she has a fab voice and her lyrics are gorgeous!!! she's my ALL TIME FAVE!!! plus her outfits kick ass and when she straddles that piano bench...I love her!!

Rocker on February 16, 2010:

Joan Jett over other rockers Lee Aaron and Toronto Annie "Holly" Woods

Rocker on February 16, 2010:

Joan Jett is pretty average and Annie Lennox wtf you forgot to mention Stevie Nicks,Sharon den Adel,Tarja Turunen you spud.

DJ on November 20, 2009:


Your work was worthful.



puppascott (author) from Michigan (As far as you know...) on August 11, 2009:


If you mean Courtney Love, she was not forgotten. I draw the line at talent.

As for Kathy Love, I cannot forget someone I do not know. If you have more info on her I would be glad to review it.


Kathy Love from Harrisburg on August 10, 2009:

You forgot an very important one though: Kathy Love! *cheese*

puppascott (author) from Michigan (As far as you know...) on July 31, 2009:

I did like the Cranberries. But I actually enjoy her solo stuff (2003?) a little better.

I'm not as familiar with Liz Fraser. Her singing style reminds me of Edie Brickell, who I am a big fan of.

Thanks for the comments.


Island Summer from MA on July 30, 2009:

I'll agree with Chrissy Hynde and Annie Lennox, plus your honorable mention to Stevie Nicks.

I'd also like to offer up Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries, and Liz Fraser of Cocteau Twins. Both convey a lot of power and emotion with their voices.

Great page!

puppascott (author) from Michigan (As far as you know...) on July 29, 2009:

Your kidding, right?

ParamoreNowHere on July 28, 2009:

Hayley Williams!!!

puppascott (author) from Michigan (As far as you know...) on July 20, 2009:


I told you I would get back to you. I have listened to several Lacuna Coil songs, and I have to say her voice is not my cup of tea. She is a great talent, just not for me.


puppascott (author) from Michigan (As far as you know...) on July 13, 2009:

Linda Ronstadt has a great voice. I still get chills when she makes that last ascent at the end of Blue Bayou; And don't get me started on long black hair. I've just never found it sexy.

I am not familiar with Christina Scabbia. I will have to get back to you.

Thanks for the comments.

FEM-Metal on July 11, 2009:

Appreciate your effort here. How about Linda Ronstadt? More recently, Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil?

puppascott (author) from Michigan (As far as you know...) on June 24, 2009:

I welcome your patronage, En.

Enelle Lamb from Canada's 'California' on June 24, 2009:

Point taken :) I agree it is a personal thing - and not everyone's taste coinsides - and you can call me En ;)

puppascott (author) from Michigan (As far as you know...) on June 24, 2009:

Oooh, good call. I forgot about her. I will unoficially add her to the honorable mentions list.

tony0724 from san diego calif on June 24, 2009:

puppa , silly me I forgot to mention Shirley Manson from Garbage . That voice Is so sultry you cannot help but be aroused listening to their CDs !

puppascott (author) from Michigan (As far as you know...) on June 24, 2009:

Enelle (or do you prefer Lamb, or Enelle Lamb?),

Thanks for the feedback. Music is such a personal thing, and the more I got into this article the harder it was. Paring down those with talent and appeal (in my eyes) was tough. To your point, I just can't get into Melissa Ethridge's music; I don't know why, and I will never deny her talent, but she just doesn't have that "certain something." Comparing her vocal ability to Bonnie Tyler (for this instance) might be an insult to Melissa Etheridge, but Bonnie does it for me. Anyway. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Enelle Lamb from Canada's 'California' on June 24, 2009:

I thought for sure Melissa Etheridge (spelling?) would make the honorable mention list - she has a sultry, sexy, bottom-of-the-whisky-barrel voice that can't be denied...least ways I think so...

puppascott (author) from Michigan (As far as you know...) on June 18, 2009:

I found Deborah Harry easier to look at than listen to. So when I do the 10 sexiest looking women of rock, she'll probably be on it. Don't kill yourself, she needs all the fans she can get.

Bard on June 18, 2009:

What?! No Debby Harry? Ok I must have lost touch with modern man. I must now kill myself

Steve Andrews from Lisbon, Portugal on June 11, 2009:

Excellent hub and choice of female singers!

puppascott (author) from Michigan (As far as you know...) on June 09, 2009:


Yes, it is a dandy. I like near everything she has ever put her vocal stylings to. Thanks for reading, and commenting.

gusripper on June 09, 2009:

One of the best songs that i ever heard in all of my life is from JANIS THE GODES JOPLIN and its called MERCEDES BENZ.Do you agree puppascott?

puppascott (author) from Michigan (As far as you know...) on May 30, 2009:

I'm glad you enjoyed. This was tough to narrow down, and then I was reminded of a few that I could have included.

Lady Rogue from Cleveland Heights, Ohio on May 30, 2009:

Great list, Puppa! I really have to agree with you on just about all of your choices. I'm a woman and the sound of most of these chicks turns ME on! Joan Jet, Pat, Chrissy, and the Wilsons are such great 80's memories - it's a time/place allure, too. Amy Lee has the most prestine, angelic voice I have ever heard and I love the combination of it with the hard pounding, dark rock!

tony0724 from san diego calif on May 29, 2009:

Martha Davis yeah The Motels were goooooood ! Nice call MM .

puppascott (author) from Michigan (As far as you know...) on May 29, 2009:

Thanks Tony and Mighty. You brought up a few I hadn't considered, or forgotten (age you know). Perhaps a follow up with a reader's choice...Hmmm.

Susan Reid from Where Left is Right, CA on May 29, 2009:

I love your list and your descriptions of each singer. I agree with all your choices. I would add the following (for runners up or just your general consideration):

Bonnie Raitt, Martha (can't think of her last name) from the Motels -- she's got that whiskey voice thing, too.

Do you know Joan Armatrading? How about Tracy Chapman?

tony0724 from san diego calif on May 29, 2009:

I kinda like Norah Jones and Liz Phair In the honorable mention column too !

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