All Women's Talk

7 Powerful and Anthemic Songs from Queens of Soul ...

By Neecey

Ah, the Queens of Soul! How worthy they are of their titles. Some of them pushed the boundaries of soul music while others bring a modern energy, reinventing the genre so it remains timeless. Whatever their decade, however, the Queens of Soul have produced some anthemic songs we just don’t forget!

1 Aretha Franklin – Respect

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

If you asked all the other Queens of Soul who they believe to be their Queen, they would probably answer Aretha. She was actually called the Queen of Soul back in the late '60s, and nobody has yet dislodged her crown. The first female singer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Aretha Franklin is the standard bearer for female soul singers and if there’s one song that really shouts what powerful anthemic songs these ladies can produce, it’s Respect. The title says it all.

2 Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

It was a sad day for music lovers when Whitney Houston left earth to join the host of heavenly angels with incredible voices. TV talent shows are full of crazy auditions where people think they can pull off this song. Seriously? Most of them are completely delusional. Although written by Dolly Parton, Whitney definitely made this song into a Houston powerhouse.

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3 Dionne Warwick – I Say a Little Prayer

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

From Whitney to her aunt! Dionne Warwick is another of the old school but timeless Queens of Soul. And how do we know she is timeless? Because you know all the words to this song even if you don’t think you do. I don’t imagine you will sing along in a restaurant with your family and friends à la “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” but I defy your toes to stay still as you mouth the words.

4 Diana Ross – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

Recognized as one of the greatest Soul Divas of all time, Diana Ross is one of the most successful singing ladies in my list. From her days with The Supremes to today when she is known for her friendship with Michael Jackson and missing an open goal at the Soccer World Cup Opening Ceremony, there’s simply a longevity to her music. I’ve chosen the song that was her first US number one hit but interestingly, it is the earlier version by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell that is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the most important records ever produced by Motown, despite Diana’s version being the number one and better seller.

5 Tina Turner – Simply the Best

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

If there’s any one song from our fabulous Queens of Soul that can be called anthemic without argument, it’s this one – although some would argue that Tina is THE Queen of Rock rather than one of the Queens of Soul. Played at funerals and sporting events, Simply the Best is a simple song with a simple message – but so strong! Tina is another of our legendary divas who is still strutting that fabulous body of hers even though she’s now in her early 70s.

6 Alicia Keys – Girl on Fire

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

I think Alicia Keys is one of the modern Queens of Soul and certainly among the greatest of the current crop. So many now tip over into R&B that it’s hard to disseminate, but with her simple, classic piano backed tunes, Alicia’s music retains the raw simplicity and passion that is endemic to soul music and few of her songs capture that more than Girl on Fire.

7 Leona Lewis – Run

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

The UK doesn’t have a great history of producing soul divas and when I heard that Leona Lewis was recording a version of Snow Patrol’s Run, I was pretty horrified. But I’ll give her due credit because she did a bang up job. Leona – an X-Factor winner – doesn’t rank up there with the great Queens of Soul, but I couldn’t let this list go by without a British entry!

What do you think? Are these brilliant ladies deserving of their title as Queens of Soul? Should I have included Mary J Blige instead? Or maybe, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, or Chaka Khan? What are your favorite anthemic soul classics?

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