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.

1
189 102
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

2
242 121
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Michael Jackson Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

3
189 89
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
140 89
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

5
123 106
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

6
151 90
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
115 43
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

8
129 72
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Temptations Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

9
171 74
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
92 46
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
99 47
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
120 80
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
105 57
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
95 49
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
122 72
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Jackson 5 Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

16
109 91
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

17
77 53
The O'Jays is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The O'Jays Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

18
75 95
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Ike & Tina Turner Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

19
81 78
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

20
67 46
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
106 71
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

22
89 71
Smokey Robinson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Smokey Robinson Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

23
83 77
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

24
69 63
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

25
72 57
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
71 65
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

27
96 63
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Luther Vandross Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

28
57 48
The Supremes is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Supremes Girl group, Doo-wop, Psychedelic soul

29
88 62
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

30
77 69
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Barry White Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

31
83 68
Usher is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Usher Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

32
58 28
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Earth, Wind & Fire Disco, Rock music, Black metal

33
59 54
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

34
69 76
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

35
43 50
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

36
49 48
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

37
85 69
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Boyz II Men Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

38
71 57
TLC is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
TLC Hip hop music, Girl group, Alternative hip hop

39
63 68
Sly & the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Sly & the Family Stone Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

40
59 64
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Jackie Wilson Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

41
62 69
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

42
52 57
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Brandy Norwood Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

43
57 45
New Edition is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
New Edition Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, New Wave

44
77 66
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

45
32 21
Kool and the Gang is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

46
55 66
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
39 45
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Natalie Cole Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm

48
80 45
Chris Brown is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Chris Brown Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

49
64 70
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

50
76 61
R. Kelly is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
R. Kelly Hip hop music, Neo soul, Dance-pop