Music

The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time 

Ranker Music
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Updated March 16, 2020 17.1k votes 1.6k voters 68k views 221 items

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When it comes to the pop charts, R&B artists tend to be among the most popular. The best R&B singers have been topping the pop charts for years as rhythm and blues has remained a bedrock of music. Emerging as a genre in the 1940s, R&B also incorporates soul and funk. Many of of the top R&B artists are household names and their songs chart-toppers. Though R&B has its roots in African-American music, the best R&B singers have crossed over and due to their radio smashes, they're able to sell out arenas across the globe.

So, that said, who are the best R&B artists? Since this list takes a look at every R&B singer, there are going to be a number of excellent choices. That's why you'll see R&B icons like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, along with newer R&B stars such as Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Adele, Usher and Drake on here. All of these great artists are known as some of the best rhythm and blues singers, so their inclusion shouldn't come as a big surprise.

Ultimately, it's up to you to determine who is the best R&B artist. If you notice that someone isn't on this list and should be, feel free to add them. Vote or re-rank this list according to how you think it should reflect your opinion on R&B. This list answers the questions "who are the best rhythm and blues bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest rhythm and blues musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular rhythm and blues bands that you might've heard of.

list ordered by
1
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
2
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
3
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
4
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
5
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
6
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
7
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
8
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
9
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
10
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
11
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
12
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
13
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
14
Usher is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
15
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
16
Gladys Knight & the ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
17
Beyoncé Knowles ... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
18
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
19
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
20
Four Tops is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
21
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
22
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
23
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
24
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
25
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time