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.

  • 9 ReRanks
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2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 23
    - 18

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

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 37
    - 16

    ranked low on reranks
    Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 30
    - 27

    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 27
    - 30

    Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 34
    - 21

    Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 31
    - 30

    Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

    ) open buy at  
  7. 7
    + 26
    - 30

    Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 26
    - 20

    Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 27
    - 32

    Southern soul, Soul blues, Rock music

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 13
    - 20

    Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 6
    - 4

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

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 32
    - 23

    New Wave, Disco, Pop music

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 12
    - 20

    Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 25
    - 29

    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 32
    - 29

    Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 22
    - 20

    Disco, Pop music, Dance music

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 16
    - 25

    Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 15
    - 19

    Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 9
    - 18

    Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul

    ) open buy at  
  20. 20
    + 17
    - 25

    Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 9
    - 18

    Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 5
    - 4

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

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 22
    - 31

    Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 12
    - 17

    Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 28
    - 30

    Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 17
    - 25

    Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 16
    - 31

    Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

    ) open buy at  
  28. 28
    + 24
    - 28

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

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 15
    - 26

    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 14
    - 22

    Girl group, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 6
    - 12

    Southern soul, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 11
    - 15

    Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 17
    - 27

    Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 9
    - 14

    Hip hop music, Bassline, Pop music

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 17
    - 26

    Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 11
    - 21

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

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 15
    - 28

    Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 10
    - 20

    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 13
    - 26

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 12
    - 21

    Pop music, Contemporary R&B, New jack swing

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 14
    - 28

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 6
    - 4

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

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 9
    - 19

    Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 12
    - 17

    Neo soul, Contemporary R&B, Quiet storm

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 4
    - 13

    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, House music

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 6
    - 18

    Pop music, Rock music, Contemporary R&B

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 5
    - 5

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

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 4
    - 3

    Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 9
    - 22

    Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 13
    - 22

    Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

    ) open
74 +

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