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
224 111
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
172 99
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
175 85
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
117 97
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
126 85
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
139 85
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
117 68
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
98 39
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
158 68
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
82 43
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
89 46
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
112 77
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
94 55
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
88 47
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
114 70
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
104 86
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
73 92
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Ike & Tina Turner Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

18
76 74
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

19
71 51
The O'Jays is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The O'Jays Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

20
62 44
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
96 66
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

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22
86 69
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
79 73
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
68 54
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 24 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

25
65 62
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
68 62
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

27
56 46
The Supremes is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
The Supremes Girl group, Doo-wop, Psychedelic soul

28
88 62
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Luther Vandross Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

The Sexiest Artists of All Time

29
57 51
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Toni Braxton Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

30
79 57
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

31
71 68
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Barry White Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

32
51 27
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
74 67
Usher is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Usher Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

34
60 64
Sly & the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Sly & the Family Stone Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

35
65 75
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Donna Summer New Wave, Disco, Pop music

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36
39 49
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

37
59 65
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

38
50 53
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Brandy Norwood Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

39
66 55
TLC is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
TLC Hip hop music, Girl group, Alternative hip hop

40
72 61
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Mariah Carey Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

41
77 66
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Boyz II Men Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

42
53 43
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

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43
41 47
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

44
53 63
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Erykah Badu Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

45
28 19
Kool and the Gang is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

46
52 63
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Jackie Wilson Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

47
74 59
R. Kelly is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
R. Kelly Hip hop music, Neo soul, Dance-pop

48
54 59
Destiny's Child is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Destiny's Child Urban contemporary, Girl group, Hip hop music

49
44 41
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 49 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

50
59 68
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