Favorite Plus-Sized Female Singer Of All Time?

Categories: Music

Some of these ladies aren't still plus-sized -- and a bunch of them aren't even alive -- but whatever the case, they have all been through plump periods of the soul. And their apparent lack of vomiting skills always gave them a refreshing heft, big lungs, and an ability to transcend their potential outcast status and become sexy mamas of song.

My faves:


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ALISON MOYET, from Yaz. She always knew her way vocally around any "situation."

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ELLA FITZGERALD could scat, swing, and vamp with the best of them. And that's no brisket, I mean tisket.

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MAMA CASS ELLIOT didn't wear this poncho, it wore HER. She's my personal fave -- a velvet-throated delight and all-around style icon and trendsetter.

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ARETHA FRANKLIN. Sitting on so many buses made her rump grow, but her talent never waned. 'Re has long earned our 'Respect.

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God bless America -- and let's all bless KATE SMITH.

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Long before Elvis, BIG MAMA THORNTON made a three-course meal out of her "Hound Dog."

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HELEN TERRY made a BIG contribution to Culture Club with all those wonderfully scatty asides.

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BETH DITTO loves her rock and rolls.

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ADELE. Always chasing pastries. Love her.

And of course there's Ethel Waters, Carnie Wilson, Missy Misdemeanor Elliot, Martha Wash, and tons more.

Dig in.


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23 comments
buttercup
buttercup

Ruth Brown, y'all.  Although Ella rules them all.

latenitebump
latenitebump

loleatta hollaway, two tons of fun, kelly price, jessie norman, jocelyn brown.

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

Ella, first, last and always, Judy at her Carnegie Hall weight, Mildred Bailey and the sublime Barbara Cook. I was part of the audience at one of Ms. Cook's tutorials, and what she doesn't know about the human voice, emotions, breath control and singing, just ain't worth knowing.

Davidwperkins
Davidwperkins

Ella is the best on this list and the best of any size.  Period.

Melinda9
Melinda9

Great list, Michael - talented, lovely ladies all.

Flippant13
Flippant13

I would add Etta James and Yma Sumac to this list.

Notyah Nalla
Notyah Nalla

I'll have to check out Helen Terry. I didn't know she had a solo album. "In the church if the poison mind" is wouldn't have been the same w/o her.

Steinmetz
Steinmetz

Another vote for Alison. Loved "Situation."

Ynnocence
Ynnocence

Might be too left-field for the list, but if curiosity moves you in that direction, try the original Fat Ladies. Birgit Nilsson for Wagner, Monserrat Caballe for Puccini, and my all-time fave, Marilyn Horne for Rossini. Even Maria Callas made her mark as an overweight singer. They're the reason why when I turn to pop music, I check out the sizes of the performers - a sure-fire guarantee of vocal power and dedication to craft. (Of course pop singing allows for a lot of exceptions, but I tend to be stubborn that way.)

Gus Casals
Gus Casals

So glad you didn't forget about Alison! She's hands down my fave.A shame she never crossed over to the states, and that she's not given more credit as an Adele originator.

Fingers
Fingers

Mama Cass, Ella, and Ann Wilson are my faves. Adele is creeping up to my list too lately.

Honks
Honks

Ella.......................

Abel
Abel

Uh, "one of them isn't even alive?"  I count several who have gone on to their rewards.  Ella Fitzgerald, Cass Elliot, Kate Smith, Big Mama Thornton, Ethel Waters.

Hidalgo
Hidalgo

Another vote for Cass. She rocked.

Starzz
Starzz

I vote for Mama Cass based on that photo alone!!!

mjm
mjm

Etta definitely yes.

add Mildred Bailey, Dinah Washington, Nell Carter, Barbara Cook, Jennifer Holliday (n her Dreamgirls days), Gwen Guthrie, Lilias White, Ruth Brown, Fontella Bass, Loleatta Holloway, Sylvia Syms, Jocelyn Brown, Ann Wilson from Heart, Doris Troy, and Debora Iyall from Romeo Void to the list.

but the winners for this list: Ella and Aretha hands down

mjm
mjm

Sophie Tucker, the original plus size diva anyone?

Musto
Musto

You couldn't wait to chime in with your nyah-nyah remark? I fixed it two seconds later. But a special gold star for you for being so quick on the correction button.

mjm
mjm

and also Mahalia Jackson for the winners circle, too.

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