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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
277 133
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
211 119
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
215 96
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
156 98
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
133 122
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
140 49
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
143 80
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
201 79
Prince is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

9
165 101
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

10
105 54
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
137 86
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
106 57
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
115 67
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
178 78
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
138 79
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

16
127 99
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

17
106 82
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

18
105 59
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
81 104
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

20
84 61
The O'Jays is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

21
89 90
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

22
120 82
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

23
74 53
Curtis Mayfield is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Artie_Moon added Psychedelic soul, Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues

24
83 62
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

25
77 68
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

26
98 78
Smokey Robinson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

27
112 67
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

28
80 70
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

29
71 31
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Disco, Rock music, Black metal

30
87 72
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

31
61 53
The Supremes is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Girl group, Doo-wop, Psychedelic soul

32
102 71
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

33
67 61
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

34
49 53
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

35
91 79
Usher is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

36
73 80
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
New Wave, Disco, Pop music

37
95 73
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

38
55 53
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

39
64 64
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

40
71 74
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

41
70 73
Sly & the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

42
64 67
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

43
78 63
TLC is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Girl group, Alternative hip hop

44
65 51
New Edition is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, New Wave

45
84 71
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

46
56 51
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

47
70 71
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

48
61 71
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

49
37 25
Kool and the Gang is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

50
44 49
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm