bands/musicians The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time  

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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 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 charttoppers. 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 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
168 91
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Michael Jackson Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

2
90 42
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

3
96 48
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
James Brown Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

4
95 50
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

5
137 82
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Marvin Gaye Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

6
101 58
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
The Temptations Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

7
121 73
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

8
92 52
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Ray Charles Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

9
98 56
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Al Green Smooth soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

10
109 68
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

11
50 26
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

12
39 18
Sly and the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
MarySSpiegel added Sly and the Family Stone

13
45 23
Usher is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Usher Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

14
42 21
Gladys Knight & the Pips is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Gladys Knight & the Pips Rhythm and blues, Soul music

The Best R&B Songs of 2018

15
49 26
Four Tops is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Four Tops Doo-wop, Pop music, Rock music

16
51 28
Little Richard is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Little Richard Jump blues, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

17
66 41
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

18
40 21
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

19
75 54
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

20
61 41
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
B.B. King Blues-rock, Soul blues, Rock music

21
42 24
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Chuck Berry Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

The Best Canned Soup Brands

22
51 34
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Boyz II Men Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

23
42 27
Bill Withers is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Bill Withers Smooth soul, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

24
37 22
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Booker T. & the M.G.'s Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

25
39 24
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

26
33 20
Isaac Hayes is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Isaac Hayes Disco, Jazz-funk, Rhythm and blues

27
39 26
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

28
46 31
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Barry White Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

The Best New Female Artists

29
49 35
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Commodores Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

30
81 68
Bee Gees is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Bee Gees Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco

31
39 30
Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Amy Winehouse Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul

32
19 11
Bruno Mars is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Mary S Spiegel added Bruno Mars Alternative hip hop, Pop music, Rock music

33
38 29
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

34
53 45
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

35
53 47
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Elvis Presley Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

Songs That Were Total Ripoffs

36
27 21
Billy Preston is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Billy Preston Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

37
22 18
Babyface is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Babyface Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

38
23 18
The Gap Band is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
The Gap Band Disco, Electro, Contemporary R&B

39
22 19
BLACKstreet is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
BLACKstreet Hip hop music, Pop music, Electronic dance music

40
6 2
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

41
22 20
The Weeknd is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
The Weeknd Indie pop, Downtempo, Dubstep

42
11 9
New Edition is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
symoneledford added New Edition

The Greatest Artists Who Have Never Won a Grammy

43
23 20
David Ruffin is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
David Ruffin Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

44
21 18
Bo Diddley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Bo Diddley Blues-rock, Chicago blues, Rock music

45
28 26
Frank Ocean is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Frank Ocean Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

46
6 3
Prince is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

47
56 56
Adele is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Adele Southern soul, Neo soul, Rock music

48
18 17
George Clinton is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
George Clinton Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

49
4 1
Spinners is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Whoviant added Spinners

50
17 15
Big Mama Thornton is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Big Mama Thornton Rhythm and blues, Texas blues