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.
With an HPI of 62.97, Grace Jones is the most famous Jamaican Singer. Her biography has been translated into 42 different languages on wikipedia.
Grace Beverly Jones (born 19 May 1948) is a model, singer and actress. Born in Jamaica, she and her family moved to Syracuse, New York, when she was a teenager. 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 notably 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 high-profile figure 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. She scored Top 40 entries on the UK Singles Chart with "Private Life", "Pull Up to the Bumper", "I've Seen That Face Before", and "Slave to the Rhythm". In 1982, she released the music video collection A One Man Show, directed by Goude, which earned her a nomination for Best Video Album at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards. Her most popular albums include Warm Leatherette (1980), Nightclubbing (1981), and Slave to the Rhythm (1985). As an actress, Jones appeared in several indie films prior to landing her first mainstream appearance as Zula in the fantasy-action film Conan the Destroyer (1984) alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sarah Douglas, and subsequently appeared in the James Bond movie A View to a Kill (1985) as May Day, and starred as a vampire in Vamp (1986); all of which earned her nominations for the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 1992, Jones acted in the Eddie Murphy film Boomerang, and contributed to the soundtrack. She also appeared alongside Tim Curry in the 2001 film Wolf Girl. Jones was ranked 82nd on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll (1999). In 2008, she was honored with a Q Idol Award. Jones influenced the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s and has been cited as an inspiration for multiple artists, including Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Solange, Lorde, Róisín Murphy, Brazilian Girls, Nile Rodgers, Santigold, and Basement Jaxx. In 2016, Billboard ranked her as the 40th greatest dance club artist of all time.
With an HPI of 58.43, Jimmy Cliff is the 2nd most famous Jamaican Singer. His biography has been translated into 37 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.
With an HPI of 55.96, Liz Mitchell is the 3rd most famous Jamaican Singer. Her biography has been translated into 21 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.
With an HPI of 49.40, 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.
With an HPI of 49.39, Bunny Wailer is the 5th most famous Jamaican Singer. His biography has been translated into 26 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.
With an HPI of 48.35, Shaggy is the 6th most famous Jamaican Singer. His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.
Orville Richard Burrell CD (born October 22, 1968), better known by his stage name Shaggy, is a Jamaican-American reggae rapper, singer, and songwriter 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 degree from Brown University.
With an HPI of 48.27, Carl Douglas is the 7th most famous Jamaican Singer. His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.
Carlton George Douglas (born 10 May 1942) is a Jamaican recording artist based in the UK who is best known for the 1974 disco single "Kung Fu Fighting".
With an HPI of 48.25, Burning Spear is the 8th 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.
With an HPI of 45.33, Gregory Isaacs is the 9th most famous Jamaican Singer. His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.
Gregory Anthony Isaacs OD (15 July 1951 – 25 October 2010) was a Jamaican reggae musician. Milo Miles, writing in The New York Times, described Isaacs as "the most exquisite vocalist in reggae".
With an HPI of 44.34, Alton Ellis is the 10th 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.
Pantheon has 24 people classified as singers born between 1938 and 1986. Of these 24, 17 (70.83%) 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 Bunny Wailer, Gregory Isaacs, and Alton Ellis. As of April 2022, 1 new singers have been added to Pantheon including Errol Brown.
1948 - Present
1948 - Present
1952 - Present
1944 - Present
1968 - Present
1942 - Present
1945 - Present
1957 - Present
1976 - Present
1976 - Present
1967 - Present
1964 - Present
Which Singers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 6 most globally memorable Singers since 1700.