Nana Mouskouri

Globally speaking, Nana Mouskouri is the biggest-selling female artist of all time. Her fluency in multiple languages -- Greek, French, English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese -- enabled her to reach audiences all over Europe, the Americas, and even Asia. Possessed of a distinctive, angelic soprano -- the product of having been born with only one vocal cord -- Mouskouri was sometimes described as Europe's answer to Barbra Streisand. Her repertoire was varied enough to support the universal appeal she aimed for: jazz standards, well-known pop tunes from before and after the rock era, French cabaret chansons, movie songs, classical and operatic repertory, religious music, folk songs from her native Greece and elsewhere, and more. Television ads for Mouskouri collections (a major North American marketing tool) leave the impression that her chief strength was interpreting familiar songs in that lovely voice; however, her early fame in Europe was built largely on songs written for and associated with her, most notably her first hit, "The White Rose of Athens." She was particularly successful in her eventual adopted home of France, where her trademark large black glasses were viewed as highly unorthodox visual style. Mouskouri recorded steadily from the 1960s into the new millennium, tailoring specific releases to specific international markets with tremendous success.