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80s Popular Female Singers

by Julie

Throughout the 1980s, the most popular American singers were women and the music was predominantly Dance Pop. Female performers were often called “pop princesses”, and they were very influential forces to be reckoned with, often surpassing even the popularity of their male counterparts.

The following is a list of popular American female singers from the 1980s. The criteria for inclusion was the single or album sales figures reported by Billboard magazine, as well as general popularity in the US.


This singer was the epitome of 80s pop royalty. She had been a superstar since her debut studio album “Madonna” (1983), and her second album “Like A Virgin” (1984) became an instant classic. Though snubbed at the Grammy award, the album sold over 5 million copies in the US and about 21 million copies worldwide.

Madonna’s next two albums also went platinum and spawned several hits (including “Material Girl”). Her third LP, “True Blue” (1986) featured the classic song, “Papa Don’t Preach”, which caused a lot of controversies due to the themes of abortion in the lyrics of the song. Even through a scandal-filled career, she remains to be known as one of the best female singers of the 80s.

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston was the undisputed Queen of Pop during the 1980s. She dominated the pop music scene with her immense vocal power and remarkable talent for ad-libbing. She also had a string of hit singles like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, “Saving All My Love For You”, “How Will I Know” and “I Have Nothing” that propelled her to stardom.

Whitney Houston has sold over 200 million records worldwide and continues being one of the best selling female singers of all time, despite having passed away in 2012.

Tina Turner

This charismatic singer was one of the best-selling artists in the 80s as a solo act and as part of the duo Ike & Tina Turner. She is also known as a pioneering woman in music and encouraged other women to pursue careers they were interested in. Her fifth album, “Private Dancer” (1984), is certified to be multi-platinum, and continued to sell well after her initial success in the 1980s pop scene.

Tina Turner had sold over 100 million records worldwide by today. She continues to be popular today, even though she retired from music several years ago.

Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John is known for her powerful, contralto voice and high-energy performances. Arguably, she surged to fame due to her role as Sandy Olsson in the film Grease (1978), which took the US by storm and had one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time. However, she was a considerably successful singer even predating that movie.

She continued to flourish in the music career, with hits that include “Physical”, “You’re the One That I Want”, “I Honestly Love You” and “Have You Never Been Mellow”. She is considered to be one of the best female singers of the 80s. Her hit studio album  “Physical” is certified double platinum and sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, establishing her as one of the top female pop singers during the 80s.

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