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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
263 128
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
201 113
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
201 95
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
147 96
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
130 117
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
129 47
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
161 97
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

8
138 78
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

9
190 76
Prince is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

10
101 52
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
130 85
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
103 55
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
111 66
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
165 73
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
134 78
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
103 80
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

17
121 97
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

18
101 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
80 102
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
116 78
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

21
86 86
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
72 52
Curtis Mayfield is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Artie_Moon added Psychedelic soul, Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues

23
75 66
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

24
80 60
The O'Jays is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

25
78 61
Mary J. Blige is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

26
94 77
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
77 70
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

28
104 67
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

29
67 30
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
83 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
96 66
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

32
59 52
The Supremes is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Girl group, Doo-wop, Psychedelic soul

33
47 52
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

34
61 59
Toni Braxton is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

35
72 78
Donna Summer is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
New Wave, Disco, Pop music

36
87 79
Usher is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

37
52 53
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

38
89 72
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

39
62 66
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

40
66 72
Sly & the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

41
66 73
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

42
74 62
TLC is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Girl group, Alternative hip hop

43
62 49
New Edition is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, New Wave

44
56 63
Brandy Norwood is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

45
81 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
59 69
Erykah Badu is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Age

47
54 50
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

48
34 23
Kool and the Gang is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time

49
68 71
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

50
59 63
Destiny's Child is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists and Bands of All Time
Urban contemporary, Girl group, Hip hop music