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

List Criteria: 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.

  • 6 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 35
    - 14


    Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 21
    - 18

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 27
    - 27


    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 26
    - 28


    Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 34
    - 18

    ranked low on reranks
    Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 24
    - 28


    Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 26
    - 18


    Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 26
    - 30


    Southern soul, Soul blues, Rock music

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 31
    - 28


    Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

    ) open buy
  10. 10
    + 32
    - 21


    New Wave, Disco, Pop music

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 12
    - 18


    Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 16
    - 23


    Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 32
    - 27


    Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 24
    - 28


    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 21
    - 19


    Disco, Pop music, Dance music

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 6
    - 2

    added by Artie_Moon
    Smooth soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 13
    - 18


    Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 9
    - 17


    Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 17
    - 24


    Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 5
    - 3

    added by Artie_Moon
    Psychedelic soul, Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 12
    - 16


    Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 17
    - 24


    Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 28
    - 29


    Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 24
    - 27


    Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 14
    - 18


    Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 5
    - 11


    Southern soul, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 11
    - 14


    Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 8
    - 17


    Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul

    ) open buy
  29. 29
    + 16
    - 30


    Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

    ) open buy
  30. 30
    + 9
    - 18


    Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 8
    - 13


    Hip hop music, Bassline, Pop music

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 21
    - 30


    Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 13
    - 27


    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 6
    - 3

    added by Artie_Moon
    Girl group, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 4
    - 12


    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, House music

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 12
    - 16


    Neo soul, Contemporary R&B, Quiet storm

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 15
    - 25


    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 13
    - 21


    Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 8
    - 20


    Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 15
    - 26


    Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 3
    - 2


    Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 4
    - 4

    added by Artie_Moon
    Blues-rock, Soul blues, Rock music

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 5
    - 16
    ) open
  44. 44
    + 7
    - 19


    Neo soul, Contemporary R&B, New jack swing

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 10
    - 19


    Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 2
    - 2


    Blues-rock, Pop music, Chicago soul

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 8
    - 19


    Blue-eyed soul, Disco, Rock music

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 8
    - 19


    Morris Day & the Time

  49. 49
    + 12
    - 27


    Hip hop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 7
    - 16


    Girl group, Doo-wop, Psychedelic soul

    ) open
76 +

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