We're ranking the best R&B artists of all time! Although the definition of the genre has skewed over the years, at the heart of today's R&B songs is rhythm and blues. In fact, the artists who encompass this list are the best whom the genre has to offer. There are legends, both living and deceased, featured below, and there's a good number of rock and roll hall of famers featured as well, whose legacy lives on at the Cleveland museum. The beginning of what came to be known as classic 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 old school 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 being said, more modern singers like Alicia Keys, D'Angelo, Mary J. Blige, and the late Prince would be considered some of the best R&B singers whenever they burst onto the scene. The familiar R&B artists below should come as a surprise to no one. If you don't know everyone included on this list, then please give them a listen -- because there's a reason why they're considered the greatest R&B singers of all time! Otherwise, why would people label them as the top R&B artists? Vote for your favorite R&B musicians below based on the quality of their albums and songs rather than simply their popularity or fame, and don't forget to check out the great artists whom you've never heard of before.