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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.

The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time Bands/Musicians
  • 13 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 41
    - 28

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

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  2. 2
    + 50
    - 26


    Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

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  3. 3
    + 40
    - 38


    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

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  4. 4
    + 47
    - 34


    Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

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  5. 5
    + 46
    - 42


    Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

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  6. 6
    + 40
    - 42


    Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

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  7. 7
    + 16
    - 12

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

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  8. 8
    + 37
    - 43


    Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

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  9. 9
    + 33
    - 29


    Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

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  10. 10
    + 38
    - 41


    Southern soul, Soul blues, Rock music

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  11. 11
    + 41
    - 38


    Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

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  12. 12
    + 24
    - 28


    Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

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  13. 13
    + 36
    - 36


    Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

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  14. 14
    + 10
    - 8


    Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

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  15. 15
    + 24
    - 28


    Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

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  16. 16
    + 31
    - 32


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

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  17. 17
    + 37
    - 36


    New Wave, Disco, Pop music

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  18. 18
    + 19
    - 27


    Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

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  19. 19
    + 9
    - 10

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

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  20. 20
    + 18
    - 20


    Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

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  21. 21
    + 29
    - 31


    Disco, Pop music, Dance music

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  22. 22
    + 18
    - 18


    Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

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  23. 23
    + 29
    - 36


    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

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  24. 24
    + 29
    - 37


    Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

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  25. 25
    + 22
    - 30


    Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

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  26. 26
    + 23
    - 31


    Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

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  27. 27
    + 22
    - 30


    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

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  28. 28
    + 21
    - 29


    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

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  29. 29
    + 21
    - 26


    Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

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  30. 30
    + 21
    - 29


    Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

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  31. 31
    + 13
    - 23


    Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

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  32. 32
    + 9
    - 8

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

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  33. 33
    + 8
    - 9


    Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

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  34. 34
    + 8
    - 10


    Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

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  35. 35
    + 9
    - 9

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

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  36. 36
    + 22
    - 32


    Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

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  37. 37
    + 19
    - 25


    Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

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  38. 38
    + 16
    - 22


    Neo soul, Contemporary R&B, Quiet storm

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  39. 39
    + 15
    - 22


    Urban contemporary, Girl group, Hip hop music

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  40. 40
    + 3
    - 1

    added by PanagiotisTsarouxas
    Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

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  41. 41
    + 13
    - 17


    Hip hop music, Neo soul, Dance-pop

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  42. 42
    + 2
    - 2


    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Pop music

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  43. 43
    + 2
    - 2
    No image

    added by 412 music
    Partynextdoor

  44. 44
    + 14
    - 20


    Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

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  45. 45
    + 14
    - 26


    Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul

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  46. 46
    + 12
    - 17


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  47. 47
    + 15
    - 27


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

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  48. 48
    + 16
    - 25


    Girl group, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

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  49. 49
    + 19
    - 33


    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

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  50. 50
    + 20
    - 33


    Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

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173 +

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