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
157 82
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
137 68
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
125 82
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
94 79
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
94 73
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
103 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
84 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
63 35
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
60 29
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
109 60
Prince is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

11
68 40
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
88 71
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
75 49
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
65 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
65 81
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

16
68 59
Smokey Robinson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Smokey Robinson Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

17
45 36
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
82 65
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Jackson 5 Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

19
58 60
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
64 67
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

21
49 57
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

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22
51 46
The O'Jays is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The O'Jays Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

23
56 55
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

24
42 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
50 55
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

26
33 15
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Earth, Wind & Fire Disco, Rock music, Black metal

27
58 51
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

28
48 35
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

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29
50 52
Sly & the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Sly & the Family Stone Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

30
53 49
Usher is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Usher Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

31
44 46
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 45
TLC is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
TLC Hip hop music, Girl group, Alternative hip hop

33
64 56
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Luther Vandross Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

34
56 61
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Barry White Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

35
35 28
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 35 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

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36
53 48
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

37
20 12
Kool and the Gang is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

38
54 67
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

39
42 50
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

40
44 54
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

41
44 54
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Jackie Wilson Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

42
55 53
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Boyz II Men Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

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43
52 43
Frank Ocean is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Frank Ocean Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

44
34 43
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

45
49 57
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

46
49 43
R. Kelly is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
R. Kelly Hip hop music, Neo soul, Dance-pop

47
34 33
New Edition is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
New Edition Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, New Wave

48
26 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
30 32
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

50
36 44
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