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.
list ordered by

1
+ - 117 71
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Michael Jackson Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

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2
+ - 102 70
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

3
+ - 114 57
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Marvin Gaye Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

4
+ - 79 67
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

5
+ - 82 64
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
+ - 86 63
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
+ - 50 24
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Ray Charles Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

8
+ - 66 47
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Temptations Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

9
+ - 43 19
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

10
+ - 55 32
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Al Green Smooth soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

11
+ - 77 62
Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Otis Redding Southern soul, Soul blues, Rock music

12
+ - 82 53
Prince is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

13
+ - 61 42
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
+ - 61 66
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Ike & Tina Turner Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

15
+ - 52 28
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
+ - 35 25
Curtis Mayfield is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Curtis Mayfield Psychedelic soul, Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues

17
+ - 44 34
The O'Jays is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The O'Jays Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

18
+ - 37 29
The Supremes is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Supremes Girl group, Doo-wop, Psychedelic soul

19
+ - 71 56
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Jackson 5 Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

20
+ - 56 51
Smokey Robinson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Smokey Robinson Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

21
+ - 45 49
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

22
+ - 41 45
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Jackie Wilson Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

23
+ - 52 58
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

24
+ - 43 47
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

25
+ - 49 52
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Barry White Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

26
+ - 47 49
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

27
+ - 40 52
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

28
+ - 43 44
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
+ - 46 48
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

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30
+ - 52 47
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Luther Vandross Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

31
+ - 17 7
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
+ - 50 57
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

33
+ - 28 19
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
B.B. King Blues-rock, Soul blues, Rock music

34
+ - 43 41
Usher is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Usher Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

35
+ - 37 48
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

36
+ - 25 34
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
+ - 43 43
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

38
+ - 24 24
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

39
+ - 43 41
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

40
+ - 40 39
TLC is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
TLC Hip hop music, Girl group, Alternative hip hop

41
+ - 43 48
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Boyz II Men Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

42
+ - 34 31
Frank Ocean is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Frank Ocean Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

43
+ - 38 36
R. Kelly is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
R. Kelly Hip hop music, Neo soul, Dance-pop

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44
+ - 31 41
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 44 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

45
+ - 11 6
Kool and the Gang is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

46
+ - 32 44
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

47
+ - 34 51
D'Angelo is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
D'Angelo Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

48
+ - 26 39
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

49
+ - 22 33
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

50
+ - 29 36
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Commodores Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music