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
135 79
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

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2
124 64
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Marvin Gaye Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

3
113 78
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

4
87 74
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
88 68
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
75 51
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Temptations Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

7
91 68
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
James Brown Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

8
53 31
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Ray Charles Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

9
50 25
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

10
60 35
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 10 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

11
92 57
Prince is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

12
82 66
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
67 45
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
59 34
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

15
62 75
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Ike & Tina Turner Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

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16
53 53
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

17
38 31
Curtis Mayfield is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
60 55
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
47 40
The O'Jays is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The O'Jays Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

20
75 61
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Jackson 5 Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

21
40 35
The Supremes is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Supremes Girl group, Doo-wop, Psychedelic soul

22
57 60
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

23
52 50
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

24
45 54
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

25
49 48
Sly & the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Sly & the Family Stone Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

26
46 50
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

27
49 45
Usher is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Usher Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

28
49 45
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

29
26 12
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Earth, Wind & Fire Disco, Rock music, Black metal

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30
31 23
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
38 42
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
52 56
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Barry White Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

33
52 62
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

34
47 36
Frank Ocean is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Frank Ocean Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

35
36 31
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

36
42 50
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Jackie Wilson Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

37
47 44
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

38
15 8
Kool and the Gang is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

39
44 42
TLC is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
TLC Hip hop music, Girl group, Alternative hip hop

40
56 53
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Luther Vandross Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

41
47 53
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

42
39 51
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

43
25 39
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

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44
44 39
R. Kelly is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
R. Kelly Hip hop music, Neo soul, Dance-pop

45
48 50
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Boyz II Men Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

46
34 47
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

47
32 40
Destiny's Child is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Destiny's Child Urban contemporary, Girl group, Hip hop music

48
26 29
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

49
28 41
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

50
24 35
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad