Music

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
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
2
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
3
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
4
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
5
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
6
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Birth of Soul, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, The Spirit of Christmas

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#96 of 455 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #93 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best Ray Charles Songs

7
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Temptations Christmas Card, The Very Best of Christmas, The Temptations Sing Smokey

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#162 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #200 of 353 The Greatest Classic Rock Bandsfeaturing The Best Temptations Albums of All Time

8
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
9
Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, The Dock of the Bay, The Immortal Otis Redding

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#61 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best Otis Redding Albums of All Timelisted on People On Stamps: List Of People On US Postage

10
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album, Whitney Houston, My Love Is Your Love

More Whitney Houston

#6 of 455 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #95 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best Whitney Houston Albums of All Time

11
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Artie_Moon added Call Me, The Christmas Album, White Christmas

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#67 of 298 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #165 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best Al Green Albums of All Time

12
Jennifer Lopez is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
13
Prince is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
14
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
15
Curtis Mayfield is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
16
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
17
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
18
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
River Deep - Mountain High, The Soul Anthology, Bold Soul Sister: The Best of the Blue Thumb Recordings

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#166 of 711 The Best Rock Vocalists #539 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #418 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

19
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged 2.0, Ms. Hill

More Lauryn Hill

#272 of 455 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #558 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best Lauryn Hill Songs

20
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
21
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
22
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
23
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Christmas Album, 20th Century Masters: The Christmas Collection: The Best of Jackson 5, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5

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#129 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #154 of 270 Rank the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Inducteesfeaturing The Best Jackson 5 Albums of All Time

24
The Isley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
3 + 3 / Go for Your Guns, Body Kiss, I'll Be Home for Christmas

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#282 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #254 of 353 The Greatest Classic Rock Bandsfeaturing The Best Isley Brothers Albums of All Time

25
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time