Music

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
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Thriller, Bad, Off the Wall
2
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Songs in the Key of Life, Innervisions, Talking Book
3
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
What's Going On, Here, My Dear
4
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lady Soul, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Young
5
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Birth of Soul, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, The Spirit of Christmas
6
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album, Whitney Houston, My Love Is Your Love
7
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Temptations Christmas Card, The Very Best of Christmas, The Temptations Sing Smokey
8
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Private Dancer, What's Love Got to Do With It, Simply the Best
9
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Live at the Apollo, Star Time, Funky Christmas
10
Prince is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Purple Rain, Sign 'O' the Times, 1999
11
Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, The Dock of the Bay, The Immortal Otis Redding
12
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Artie_Moon added Call Me, The Christmas Album, White Christmas
13
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Night Beat, Shake, Touch the Hem of His Garment: 23 Gospel Gems
14
Curtis Mayfield is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Artie_Moon added Superfly, Curtis, The Anthology: 1961-1977
15
The Isley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
3 + 3 / Go for Your Guns, Body Kiss, I'll Be Home for Christmas
16
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Ask Rufus, Come 2 My House, Rufus
17
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Christmas Album, 20th Century Masters: The Christmas Collection: The Best of Jackson 5, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5
18
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged 2.0, Ms. Hill
19
Frank Ocean is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Channel Orange, nostalgia, ULTRA.
20
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Mary, My Life, What's the 411?
21
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Remixed & Unplugged in A minor, As I Am, Unplugged
22
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
That's the Way of the World, Spirit, All 'n All
23
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, janet., Control
24
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
This Is Christmas, Every Year, Every Christmas
25
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Aaliyah, One in a Million, I Care 4 U