bands/musicians The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

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List Rules Only R&B artists. No hip hop, urban contemporary, or soul singers should be on here.

A list of the best R&B artists. Though the definition of the genre has skewed over the years, at the heart of R&B music is rhythm and blues. And the artists who encompass this list are the best the genre has to offer. There are legends, both living and deceased who are on this list. There a good number of rock and roll hall of famers on this list, whose legacy lives on at the Cleveland museum. The beginning of what became to be known as R&B started with the Motown sound of the late 1960s. Under the stewardship of Berry Gordy, many of the most famous artists and singers in music history established themselves during this time. The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross were all a part of the Motown fabric that in time became THE place to be for up-and-coming R&B artists. Many of the greatest R&B groups are from this early, formative period. Sly & the Family Stone, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye among a group of amazing singers, whose careers started during this time.

That is not to say there aren't other great R&B artists from other eras. Prince, Alicia Keys and D'Angelo would be considered some of the best R&B singers whenever they burst onto the scene. The familiar R&B artists on this list should come as a surprise to no one. The odds are you've heard of nearly everyone on here. If not, then you should give them a listen because there's a reason why they're considered the greatest R&B singers of all time. Why would people label them as the top R&B artists? Give them a listen and you'll hear yourself.

This is the list of the best R&B artists. If you notice someone is missing, feel free to add him, her or them to this list. Vote or re-rank this list according to who you think is the greatest R&B artist of all time.

1
+ - 85 47
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Marvin Gaye Doo-wop, Motown Sound Rock music

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2
+ - 64 54
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop Rhythm and blues

3
+ - 76 57
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Michael Jackson Motown Sound, Rock music Electronic music

4
+ - 69 60
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul Pop music

5
+ - 64 58
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music Rhythm and blues

6
+ - 64 58
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
James Brown Hip hop music, Doo-wop Pop music

7
+ - 46 41
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Temptations Doo-wop, Rock music Rhythm and blues

8
+ - 33 20
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Ray Charles Soul blues, Pop music Rock music

9
+ - 39 26
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Al Green Smooth soul, Rhythm and blues Soul music

10
+ - 59 56
Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Otis Redding Southern soul, Soul blues Rock music

11
+ - 63 48
Prince is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop New Wave

12
+ - 53 58
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Ike & Tina Turner Blues-rock, Pop music Rock music

13
+ - 44 39
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues Jazz

14
+ - 15 10
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop Contemporary R&B

15
+ - 37 27
The Isley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Isley Brothers Doo-wop, Rock music Rhythm and blues

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16
+ - 33 30
The O'Jays is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The O'Jays Philadelphia soul, Disco Quiet storm

17
+ - 24 21
Curtis Mayfield is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Curtis Mayfield Psychedelic soul, Chicago soul Rhythm and blues

18
+ - 35 40
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music Disco

19
+ - 44 47
Smokey Robinson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Smokey Robinson Adult contemporary music, Pop music Rhythm and blues

20
+ - 42 46
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Barry White Disco, Rhythm and blues Soul music

21
+ - 40 43
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues Rock and roll

22
+ - 25 25
The Supremes is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Supremes Girl group, Doo-wop Psychedelic soul

23
+ - 46 42
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Luther Vandross Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music Contemporary R&B

24
+ - 33 44
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music Rock music

25
+ - 34 42
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop Neo soul

26
+ - 54 51
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Jackson 5 Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound Disco

27
+ - 46 52
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco Pop music

28
+ - 36 40
Sly & the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Sly & the Family Stone Psychedelic soul, Rock music Rhythm and blues

29
+ - 37 42
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

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30
+ - 33 42
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Jackie Wilson Pop music, Rhythm and blues Soul music

31
+ - 9 1
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Earth, Wind & Fire Disco, Rock music Black metal

32
+ - 41 52
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music Neo soul

33
+ - 35 34
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music Neo soul

34
+ - 32 42
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music Rock music

35
+ - 19 19
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

36
+ - 21 31
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues Jazz

37
+ - 19 16
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
B.B. King Blues-rock, Soul blues Rock music

38
+ - 29 27
R. Kelly is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
R. Kelly Hip hop music, Neo soul Dance-pop

39
+ - 27 31
Usher is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Usher Hip hop music, Pop music Dance-pop

40
+ - 6 2
Kool and the Gang is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

41
+ - 18 17
The Staple Singers is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Staple Singers Girl group, Pop music Rhythm and blues

42
+ - 5 1
The Gap Band is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Gap Band Disco, Electro Contemporary R&B

43
+ - 33 35
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music Contemporary R&B

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44
+ - 32 38
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Boyz II Men Hip hop music, Pop music Contemporary R&B

45
+ - 26 31
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Commodores Disco, Rhythm and blues Soul music

46
+ - 24 35
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Mary J. Blige Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B Rhythm and blues

47
+ - 4 1
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

48
+ - 25 30
Maxwell is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Maxwell Neo soul, Contemporary R&B Quiet storm

49
+ - 31 47
D'Angelo is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
D'Angelo Hip hop music, Pop music Neo soul

50
+ - 4 2
Rick James is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Rick James New Wave, Disco Pop music