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R&B 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.
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list ordered by

1
356 181
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
266 153
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
267 120
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
194 123
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
159 147
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
185 70
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
174 97
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
196 122
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
243 99
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
139 69
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
176 100
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
128 72
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
143 80
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
284 106
Frank Ocean is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

15
137 100
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

16
165 92
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

17
156 123
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
129 72
The Isley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

19
109 78
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

20
92 65
Curtis Mayfield is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Artie_Moon added Psychedelic soul, Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues

21
89 121
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

22
97 83
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

23
110 112
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

24
101 42
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Disco, Rock music, Black metal

25
131 76
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B