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
178 90
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Michael Jackson Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

2
143 85
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

3
150 73
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Marvin Gaye Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

4
102 81
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

5
106 74
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

6
116 73
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
James Brown Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

7
95 56
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Temptations Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

8
73 30
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

9
128 60
Prince is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

10
71 35
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Ray Charles Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

11
76 41
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Artie_Moon added Al Green Smooth soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

12
97 72
Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Otis Redding Southern soul, Soul blues, Rock music

13
82 50
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

14
75 39
The Isley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Isley Brothers Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

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15
63 59
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

16
68 84
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Ike & Tina Turner Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

17
93 65
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Jackson 5 Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

18
75 60
Smokey Robinson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Smokey Robinson Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

19
67 61
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

20
51 37
Curtis Mayfield is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Artie_Moon added Curtis Mayfield Psychedelic soul, Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues

21
74 70
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

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22
73 52
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

23
56 46
The O'Jays is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The O'Jays Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

24
47 39
The Supremes is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Supremes Girl group, Doo-wop, Psychedelic soul

25
63 41
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

26
59 55
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

27
55 55
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

28
54 47
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Mary J. Blige Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

The Greatest Artists Who Have Never Won a Grammy

29
65 52
Usher is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Usher Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

30
40 16
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Earth, Wind & Fire Disco, Rock music, Black metal

31
53 53
Sly & the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Sly & the Family Stone Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

32
72 56
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Luther Vandross Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

33
61 61
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Barry White Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

34
51 54
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

35
57 46
TLC is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
TLC Hip hop music, Girl group, Alternative hip hop

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36
41 44
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

37
39 29
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Artie_Moon added B.B. King Blues-rock, Soul blues, Rock music

38
23 12
Kool and the Gang is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

39
60 51
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

40
64 55
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Boyz II Men Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

41
45 50
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

42
63 47
Frank Ocean is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Frank Ocean Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

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43
56 68
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

44
41 33
New Edition is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
New Edition Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, New Wave

45
58 44
R. Kelly is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
R. Kelly Hip hop music, Neo soul, Dance-pop

46
46 55
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Jackie Wilson Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

47
53 58
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

48
29 43
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

49
35 33
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

50
42 46
Destiny's Child is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Destiny's Child Urban contemporary, Girl group, Hip hop music