The Most Famous

SINGERS from Jamaica

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This page contains a list of the greatest Jamaican Singers. The pantheon dataset contains 3,541 Singers, 23 of which were born in Jamaica. This makes Jamaica the birth place of the 31st most number of Singers behind Mexico and Bulgaria.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Jamaican Singers of all time. This list of famous Jamaican Singers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Jamaican Singers.

Photo of Grace Jones

1. Grace Jones (1948 - )

With an HPI of 71.39, Grace Jones is the most famous Jamaican Singer.  Her biography has been translated into 40 different languages on wikipedia.

Grace Beverly Jones (born 19 May 1948) is a Jamaican model, singer and actress. In 1999, she ranked 82nd on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll, and in 2008, she was honored with a Q Idol Award. Jones influenced the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s and has been an inspiration for artists including Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Solange, Lorde, Róisín Murphy, Brazilian Girls, Nile Rodgers, Santigold, and Basement Jaxx. In 2016, Billboard magazine ranked her as the 40th greatest dance club artist of all time.Born in Jamaica, she and her family moved to Syracuse, New York, when she was 13. Jones began her modelling career in New York state, then in Paris, working for fashion houses such as Yves St. Laurent and Kenzo, and appearing on the covers of Elle and Vogue. She worked with photographers such as Jean-Paul Goude, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and Hans Feurer, and became known for her distinctive androgynous appearance and bold features. Beginning in 1977, Jones embarked on a music career, securing a record deal with Island Records and initially becoming a star of New York City's Studio 54-centered disco scene. In the early 1980s, she moved toward a new wave style that drew on reggae, funk, post-punk, and pop music, frequently collaborating with both the graphic designer Jean-Paul Goude and the musical duo Sly & Robbie. Her most popular albums include Warm Leatherette (1980), Nightclubbing (1981), and Slave to the Rhythm (1985). She scored Top 40 entries on the UK Singles Chart with "Pull Up to the Bumper", "I've Seen That Face Before", "Private Life", and "Slave to the Rhythm". In 1982, she released the music video collection A One Man Show, directed by Goude. Jones appeared in some low-budget films in the US during the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984, she made her first mainstream appearance as Zula in the fantasy-action film Conan the Destroyer alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sarah Douglas, and subsequently appeared in the 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill as May Day. In 1986, she played a vampire in Vamp, and acted in and contributed a song to the 1992 Eddie Murphy film Boomerang. She appeared alongside Tim Curry in the 2001 film Wolf Girl. For her work in Conan the Destroyer, A View to a Kill, and Vamp, she was nominated for Saturn Awards for Best Supporting Actress.

Photo of Jimmy Cliff

2. Jimmy Cliff (1948 - )

With an HPI of 66.48, Jimmy Cliff is the 2nd most famous Jamaican Singer.  His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.

James Chambers OM (born 30 July 1944), known professionally as Jimmy Cliff, is a Jamaican ska, rocksteady, reggae and soul musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and actor. He is the only living reggae musician to hold the Order of Merit, the highest honour that can be granted by the Jamaican government for achievements in the arts and sciences. Cliff is best known among mainstream audiences for songs such as "Many Rivers to Cross", "You Can Get It If You Really Want", "The Harder They Come", "Reggae Night", and "Hakuna Matata", and his covers of Cat Stevens's "Wild World" and Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now" from the film Cool Runnings. He starred in the film The Harder They Come, which helped popularize reggae around the world, and Club Paradise. Cliff was one of five performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

Photo of Liz Mitchell

3. Liz Mitchell (1952 - )

With an HPI of 64.32, Liz Mitchell is the 3rd most famous Jamaican Singer.  Her biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Elizabeth Rebecca Mitchell (born 12 July 1952) is a Jamaican-British singer, best known as one of the original singers of the 1970s disco/reggae band Boney M.

Photo of Max Romeo

4. Max Romeo (1944 - )

With an HPI of 61.59, Max Romeo is the 4th most famous Jamaican Singer.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Max Romeo (born Maxwell Livingston Smith, 22 November 1944) is a Jamaican reggae and roots reggae recording musician who has achieved chart success in his home country and in the United Kingdom. He had several hits with the vocal group the Emotions. His song "Wet Dream" (1968) included overtly sexual lyrics and launched a new style of reggae.

Photo of Burning Spear

5. Burning Spear (1945 - )

With an HPI of 60.71, Burning Spear is the 5th most famous Jamaican Singer.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Winston Rodney OD (born 1 March 1945), better known by the stage name Burning Spear, is a Jamaican roots reggae singer-songwriter, vocalist and musician. Burning Spear is a Rastafarian and one of the most influential and long-standing roots artists to emerge from the 1970s.

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6. Bunny Wailer (1947 - )

With an HPI of 60.15, Bunny Wailer is the 6th most famous Jamaican Singer.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Neville O'Riley Livingston (10 April 1947 – 2 March 2021), known professionally as Bunny Wailer, was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and percussionist. He was an original member of reggae group The Wailers along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. A three-time Grammy Award winner, he is considered one of the longtime standard-bearers of reggae music. He was also known as Jah B, Bunny O'Riley, and Bunny Livingston.

Photo of Shaggy

7. Shaggy (1968 - )

With an HPI of 59.13, Shaggy is the 7th most famous Jamaican Singer.  His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.

Orville Richard Burrell CD (born October 22, 1968), better known by his stage name Shaggy, is a Jamaican-American reggae musician, singer, DJ, and actor who scored hits with the songs "It Wasn't Me", "Boombastic", "In The Summertime", "Oh Carolina", and "Angel". He has been nominated for seven Grammy Awards, winning twice for Best Reggae Album with Boombastic in 1996 and 44/876 with Sting in 2019, and has won the Brit Award for International Male Solo Artist in 2002. In 2007, he was awarded the Jamaican Order of Distinction with the rank of Commander. In 2022, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Brown University

Photo of Carl Douglas

8. Carl Douglas (1942 - )

With an HPI of 59.06, Carl Douglas is the 8th most famous Jamaican Singer.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Carlton George Douglas (born 10 May 1942) is a Jamaican singer-songwriter and recording artist based in the UK who is best known for the 1974 disco single "Kung Fu Fighting".

Photo of Alton Ellis

9. Alton Ellis (1938 - 2008)

With an HPI of 58.50, Alton Ellis is the 9th most famous Jamaican Singer.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Alton Nehemiah Ellis (1 September 1938 – 10 October 2008) was a Jamaican singer-songwriter. One of the innovators of rocksteady, he was given the informal title "Godfather of Rocksteady". In 2006, he was inducted into the International Reggae And World Music Awards Hall Of Fame.

Photo of Millie Small

10. Millie Small (1947 - 2020)

With an HPI of 58.31, Millie Small is the 10th most famous Jamaican Singer.  Her biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Millicent Dolly May Small CD (6 October 1947 – 5 May 2020), known professionally as Millie Small, was a Jamaican singer and songwriter. She is best known for her 1964 hit "My Boy Lollipop", which reached number 2 in both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100 and selling over 7 million copies worldwide. On her UK records, she was usually credited mononymously as Millie. She was the Caribbean's first international recording star, and its most successful female performer.

Pantheon has 23 people classified as singers born between 1938 and 1986. Of these 23, 18 (78.26%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living singers include Grace Jones, Jimmy Cliff, and Liz Mitchell. The most famous deceased singers include Alton Ellis, Millie Small, and Gregory Isaacs. As of October 2020, 7 new singers have been added to Pantheon including Carl Douglas, Alton Ellis, and Millie Small.

Living Singers

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Deceased Singers

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Newly Added Singers (2020)

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Which Singers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 5 most globally memorable Singers since 1700.