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
190 96
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
109 53
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

3
100 46
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

4
152 84
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Marvin Gaye Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

5
104 53
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
James Brown Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

6
109 62
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
131 79
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
100 56
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
103 61
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
114 70
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
48 23
Gladys Knight & the Pips is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Gladys Knight & the Pips Rhythm and blues, Soul music

12
54 29
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

13
46 24
Sly and the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
MarySSpiegel added Sly and the Family Stone

14
55 32
Usher is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Usher Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

The Best R&B Songs of 2018

15
57 33
Little Richard is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Little Richard Jump blues, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

16
71 45
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

17
46 26
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

18
52 30
Four Tops is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Four Tops Doo-wop, Pop music, Rock music

19
72 49
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

20
64 43
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
57 37
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Boyz II Men Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

The Best Wineries in France

22
44 26
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Chuck Berry Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

23
79 60
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Beyoncé Knowles Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

24
44 29
Bill Withers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Bill Withers Smooth soul, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

25
35 21
Isaac Hayes is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Isaac Hayes Disco, Jazz-funk, Rhythm and blues

26
43 30
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

27
26 15
Bruno Mars is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Mary S Spiegel added Bruno Mars Alternative hip hop, Pop music, Rock music

28
52 37
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Commodores Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

The Best Christian Rock Bands & Artists

29
47 33
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Barry White Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

30
14 3
Prince is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

31
43 33
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
37 25
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Booker T. & the M.G.'s Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

33
40 28
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

34
12 2
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

35
82 73
Bee Gees is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Bee Gees Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco

The Worst Albums by Great Bands

36
39 31
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

37
55 49
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Elvis Presley Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

38
25 21
BLACKstreet is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
BLACKstreet Hip hop music, Pop music, Electronic dance music

39
29 24
Billy Preston is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Billy Preston Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

40
25 20
The Gap Band is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
The Gap Band Disco, Electro, Contemporary R&B

41
27 24
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
24 21
Babyface is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Babyface Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

The Very Best Indie Pop Bands & Artists

43
26 22
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
17 13
D'Angelo is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
D'Angelo Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

45
31 28
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
14 12
New Edition is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
symoneledford added New Edition

47
22 19
Bo Diddley is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Bo Diddley Blues-rock, Chicago blues, Rock music

48
19 16
Big Mama Thornton is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Big Mama Thornton Rhythm and blues, Texas blues

49
19 18
George Clinton is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
George Clinton Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

50
18 16
Aaron Neville is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Aaron Neville Rhythm and blues, Soul music