Colony Records was my place for original Black R&B (36202)

“Someone left the cake out in the rain. I don’t think that I can take it, ’cause it took so long to bake it, and I’ll never have that recipe again. Oh, no…”

–Donna Summer, “MacArthur Park” (Casablanca Records, 1978)

Although original Black rhythm and blues is my favorite genre, I’ve always loved tried-and-true popular music. As a result, I’ve compiled a directory of my favorite vintage female pop vocalists with a celebrated body of work. No one-hit wonders here.

So alphabetically, here are my top 30 female pop vocalists from the days of yore, followed by some of their best-known records. While many had blues, jazz and R&B hits, this is about their signature pop songs over the decades. And it wasn’t an easy task.

Pearl Bailey: “It Takes Two to Tango”; “Baby It’s Cold Outside”; “Come Rain or Come Shine”; “My Man”; “Hello, Dolly”; “Say Si- Si”; “God Bless the Child”

Laura Branigan: “Gloria”; “Imagination”; “Solitaire”; “Lonely Nights”; “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”; “Hold Me”

Kim Carnes: “Bette Davis Eyes”; “Everybody Needs Someone”; “I Pretend”; “I’ll Be Here Where the Heart Is”; “Crazy in the Night”; “More Love”; “What About Me”

Irene Cara: “Fame”; “Flashdance”; “Out Here on My Own”; “Breakdance”; “Why Me”; “the Dream (Hold On to Your Dream)”; “Anyone Can See”

June Christy: “Something Cool”; “Midnight Sun”; “I’ll Take Romance”; “Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy”; “Get Happy”; “I Should Care”; “It Could Happen to You”

Chris Connor: “All About Ronnie”; “The Thrill is Gone”; “It’s All Right With Me”; “All Dressed Up With a Broken Heart”; “Lullaby of Birdland”; “Try a Little Tenderness”

Doris Day: “I’ll Never Stop Loving You”; “The Very Thought of You”; “It’s Magic”; “Love Me or Leave Me”; “Secret Love”; “Too Marvelous”; “With a Song in My Heart”

Ella Fitzgerald: “Air Mail Special”; “Yellow Basket”; “But Not for Me”; “Trying”; “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”; “That’s My Desire”; “Goodnight My Love”

Roberta Flack: “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”; “Killing Me Softly With His Song”; “Where is the Love”; “Feel Like Makin’ Love”; “Quiet Fire”

Aretha Franklin: “Natural Woman”; “Precious Lord”; “I Surrender Dear”; “Never Grow Old”; “Sparkle”; “Let Me in Your Life”

Judy Garland: “Over the Rainbow”; “The Man That Got Away”; “Easter Parade”; “The Trolley Song”; “You Made Me Love You”; “Swanee”; “Look for the Silver Lining”

Billie Holiday: “God Bless the Child”; “Strange Fruit”; “Fine and Mellow”; “I Cried for You”; “Body and Soul”; “All or Nothing at All”; “Embraceable You”; “My Man”

Lena Horne: “Stormy Weather”; “Moanin’ Low”; “Love Me or Leave Me”; “Someone to Watch Over Me”; “Why Was I Born”

Whitney Houston: “I Will Always Love You”; “The Star Spangled Banner”; “The Greatest Love of All”; “So Emotional”; “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”; “One Moment in Time”

Etta James: “At Last”; “Trust in Me”; “These Foolish Things”; “A Sunday Kind of Love”; “Fools Rush In”; “All I Could Do Was Cry”; “Something’s Got a Hold on Me”

Joni James: “Why Don’t You Believe Me”; “Have You Heard”; “My Love, My Love”; “Little Things Mean a Lot”; “Wishing Ring”; “How Important Can It Be”

Ella Johnson: “I’m Just Your Fool”; “Any Day Now”; “Ain’t Cha Got Me Where You Want Me”; “Since I Fell for You”; “I Don’t Want Nobody”

Carole King: “It’s Too Late Baby”; “So Far Away”; “Natural Woman”; “I Feel the Earth Move”; “Jazzman”; “One Fine Day”; “Nightingale”; “Sweet Seasons”

Eartha Kitt: “Santa Baby”; “C’est Si Bon”; “Uska Dara”; “It’s So Nice to Have a Man Around the House”; “African Lullaby”; “I Want to Be Evil”

Peggy Lee: “Lover”; “Just One of Those Things”; “Why Don’t You Do Right”; “It’s a Good Day”; “Is That All There Is”; “I Belong to You”; “Alright, Okay, You Win”

Patti Page: “Old Cape Cod”; “Tennessee Waltz”; “So in Love”; “With My Eyes Wide Open”; “Mockin’ Bird Hill”; “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte”; “Allegheny Moon”

Della Reese: “Don’t You Know”; “And That Reminds Me”; “Someday You’ll Want Me to Want You”; “In Still of the Night”; “Not One Minute More”; “Summer Samba”

Jeri Southern: “You Better Go Now”; “When I Fall in Love”; “Dancing on the Ceiling”; “Fire Down Below”; “Would I Love You”; “The Very Thought of You”

Dusty Springfield: “The Look of Love”; Windmills of Your Mind”; “Sunny”; “Son of a Preacher Man”; “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”; “All I See is You”

Jo Stafford: “You Belong to Me”; “Jambalaya”; “It’s Almost Tomorrow”; “Teach Me Tonight”; “Shrimp Boats”; “Day by Day”; “Symphony”; “Long Ago and Far Away”

Kay Starr: “Wheel of Fortune”; “So Tired”; “Bonaparte’s Retreat”; “Come On-a My House”; “Side by Side”; “Changing Partners”; “If You Love Me, Really Love Me”

Donna Summer: “MacArthur Park”; “Love to Love You Baby”; “Last Dance”; “On the Radio”; “I Feel Love”; “Hot Stuff”; “Romeo”; “Bad Girls”; “The Wanderer”

Sarah Vaughan: “Brokenhearted Melody”; “Misty”; “Whatever Lola Wants”; “Corner to Corner”; “I Ran All the Way Home”; “Time”; “Perdido”; “Linger Awhile”; “Eternally”

Dionne Warwick: “Alfie”; “Dej Vu”; “Walk on By”; “Do You Know the Way to San Jose”; “I Say a Little Prayer for You”; “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”

Dinah Washington: “What a Difference a Day Makes”; “I Concentrate on You”; “It Isn’t Fair”; “Congratulations to Someone”; “Time Out for Tears”; “Harbor Lights”

Bottom line: This was a tough job and it pains me to omit other greats. I’ll weigh in soon with my top 30 male pop vocalists. And that’s the name of that tune.