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Bands/Musicians 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
306 153
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

2
232 131
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

3
233 103
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

4
168 107
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

5
144 127
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

6
157 56
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

7
153 85
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

8
176 105
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

9
216 86
Prince is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

10
118 56
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

11
149 90
Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Southern soul, Soul blues, Rock music

12
110 62
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Artie_Moon added Smooth soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

13
123 69
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

14
148 83
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

15
191 89
Frank Ocean is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

16
116 65
The Isley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

17
136 111
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

18
112 92
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

19
100 99
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

20
91 67
The O'Jays is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

21
94 71
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

22
84 114
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

23
86 76
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

24
80 60
Curtis Mayfield is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Artie_Moon added Psychedelic soul, Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues

25
103 83
Smokey Robinson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

26
82 35
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Disco, Rock music, Black metal

27
126 92
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

28
119 73
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

29
82 75
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

30
90 78
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

31
103 83
Usher is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

32
65 58
The Supremes is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Girl group, Doo-wop, Psychedelic soul

33
112 80
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

34
106 76
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

35
69 65
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

36
52 58
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

37
77 77
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

38
77 77
Sly & the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

39
77 86
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
New Wave, Disco, Pop music

40
70 71
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

41
57 58
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

42
68 71
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

43
83 67
TLC is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Girl group, Alternative hip hop

44
90 76
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

45
61 48
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Artie_Moon added Blues-rock, Soul blues, Rock music

46
75 74
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

47
66 75
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

48
59 54
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

49
67 67
Destiny's Child is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Urban contemporary, Girl group, Hip hop music

50
41 29
Kool and the Gang is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time