bands/musicians The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time

16k votes 1.9k voters 226k views 190 items Embed

List Rules Only soul singers and groups. If an artist is known for their brand of soul music, then they can be added.

Combining elements of jazz, R&B, and traditional gospel music, soul is a genre that became popular in the 1950s and hasn't looked back since. Though there have been periods where soul has thrived more so than others, the best soul singers are widely regarded as some of the most popular figures in music history. In fact, soul singers are considered by many to be the backbone of the modern music movement. Though it may not seem obvious on the surface, soul music came from influential labels like Stax, Motown, and Atlantic Records, all of which played an important role in shaping the music business. That aside, the best soul singers have dominated the charts and their importance has spanned across multiple generations and has led to multiple soul music subgenres. No matter how you slice it, soul music artists are widely important and their rollicking, soulful songs are part of the great American songbook.

So, who are the best soul singers? Any list of soul music artists has to include names like Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Al Green, James Brown and Marvin Gaye. These soul singers are just a tip of the iceberg as there are so many amazing soul music artists that it's impossible to just name a few. Their influence can't be stated enough and even today, their songs are radio staples and some the easiest identifiable songs in music history.

That said, it's up to you to determine who are the best soul singers of all time. If you like soul music and know soul music artists, then feel free to cast your vote on this list. If you think someone is missing, feel free to add them to the list.This list answers the questions "who are the best soul music bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest soul music musician ever?"

If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular soul music bands that you might've heard of.

1
+ - 433 119
Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Otis Redding Southern soul, Soul blues, Rock music

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2
+ - 386 104
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

3
+ - 287 79
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

4
+ - 302 93
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Ray Charles Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

5
+ - 487 105
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Marvin Gaye Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

6
+ - 297 92
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Al Green Smooth soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

7
+ - 275 96
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
James Brown Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

8
+ - 327 76
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

9
+ - 163 79
Wilson Pickett is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Wilson Pickett Southern soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

10
+ - 217 88
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

11
+ - 226 63
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Temptations Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

12
+ - 188 72
Smokey Robinson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Smokey Robinson Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

13
+ - 132 63
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Jackie Wilson Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

14
+ - 168 59
Curtis Mayfield is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Curtis Mayfield Psychedelic soul, Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues

15
+ - 180 71
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

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16
+ - 121 50
Sam & Dave is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Sam & Dave Southern soul, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

17
+ - 180 63
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Earth, Wind & Fire Disco, Rock music, Black metal

18
+ - 203 75
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Barry White Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

19
+ - 103 66
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Ike & Tina Turner Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

20
+ - 136 69
Bill Withers is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Bill Withers Smooth soul, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

21
+ - 173 65
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Luther Vandross Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

22
+ - 134 45
Donny Hathaway is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Donny Hathaway Blues-rock, Pop music, Chicago soul

23
+ - 136 58
Four Tops is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Four Tops Doo-wop, Pop music, Rock music

24
+ - 155 61
The Isley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Isley Brothers Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

25
+ - 142 65
Prince is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

26
+ - 132 42
The O'Jays is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The O'Jays Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

27
+ - 145 61
Gladys Knight & the Pips is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Gladys Knight & the Pips Rhythm and blues, Soul music

28
+ - 112 47
Ben E. King is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Ben E. King Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

29
+ - 106 47
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Michael Jackson Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

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30
+ - 95 41
Sly & the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Sly & the Family Stone Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

31
+ - 130 42
Teddy Pendergrass is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Teddy Pendergrass Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

32
+ - 165 64
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

33
+ - 128 56
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time

34
+ - 88 40
David Ruffin is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
David Ruffin Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

35
+ - 75 34
Bobby Womack is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Bobby Womack Southern soul, Doo-wop, Soul blues

36
+ - 74 44
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Booker T. & the M.G.'s Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

37
+ - 90 38
The Stylistics is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Stylistics Rhythm and blues, Soul music

38
+ - 93 41
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Commodores Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

39
+ - 88 49
The Spinners is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Spinners Smooth soul, Philadelphia soul, Pop music

40
+ - 47 21
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Chuck Berry Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

41
+ - 76 36
The Chi-Lites is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Chi-Lites Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

42
+ - 64 20
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

43
+ - 96 41
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

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44
+ - 96 43
Percy Sledge is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Percy Sledge Rhythm and blues, Soul music

45
+ - 72 36
The Miracles is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Miracles Doo-wop, Disco, Rhythm and blues

46
+ - 100 58
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

47
+ - 83 36
The Delfonics is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Delfonics Philadelphia soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

48
+ - 41 9
Kool & the Gang is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Kool & the Gang Disco, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

49
+ - 38 13
The Drifters is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Drifters Doo-wop, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

50
+ - 59 23
The Supremes is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Supremes Girl group, Doo-wop, Psychedelic soul