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
202 100
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
161 92
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

3
162 77
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
110 86
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
118 77
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
110 58
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Temptations Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

7
131 76
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
James Brown Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

8
86 33
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

9
144 63
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
77 38
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
82 42
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
106 73
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
88 51
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
80 43
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

The Best New Female Artists

15
91 76
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

16
71 87
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Ike & Tina Turner Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

17
104 68
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Jackson 5 Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

18
87 56
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

19
58 39
Curtis Mayfield is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
68 65
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

21
73 64
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

The Greatest British Actors of All Time

22
80 64
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
63 48
The O'Jays is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The O'Jays Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

24
51 41
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
59 57
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
59 49
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
62 56
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

28
70 56
Usher is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Usher Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

The Best New Male Artists

29
69 47
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
46 40
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Brandy Norwood Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

31
44 21
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Earth, Wind & Fire Disco, Rock music, Black metal

32
78 58
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Luther Vandross Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

33
64 63
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Barry White Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

34
47 47
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

35
54 58
Sly & the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Sly & the Family Stone Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

The 37 Greatest On-Stage Falls of All Time

36
50 53
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

37
71 58
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
53 59
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

39
66 47
R. Kelly is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
R. Kelly Hip hop music, Neo soul, Dance-pop

40
59 50
TLC is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
TLC Hip hop music, Girl group, Alternative hip hop

41
58 71
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

42
45 36
New Edition is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
New Edition Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, New Wave

List of Famous Counselors

43
40 32
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 43 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

44
63 57
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
46 57
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Jackie Wilson Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

46
48 51
Destiny's Child is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Destiny's Child Urban contemporary, Girl group, Hip hop music

47
23 15
Kool and the Gang is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

48
30 46
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
67 55
Frank Ocean is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Frank Ocean Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

50
54 61
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll