music The Best R&B Artists  

Reference
6.5k votes 573 voters 42.4k views 205 items Embed

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. (205 items)
list ordered by

1
126 69
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Michael Jackson Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

The Sexiest Artists of All Time The Greatest One-Hit Wonder Songs of the 70s

2
110 64
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Marvin Gaye Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

3
99 56
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

4
74 38
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

5
73 40
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best R&B Artists
James Brown Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

6
66 35
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

7
83 49
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best R&B Artists
The Temptations Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

8
75 43
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Ray Charles Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

9
79 47
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Al Green Smooth soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

10
94 59
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

11
42 20
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

12
58 33
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

13
35 16
Gladys Knight & the Pips is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Gladys Knight & the Pips Rhythm and blues, Soul music

14
34 16
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

15
40 22
Four Tops is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Four Tops Doo-wop, Pop music, Rock music

The Best Taylor Swift Songs Songs That Were Total Ripoffs

16
44 26
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Boyz II Men Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

17
32 16
Usher is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Usher Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

18
42 25
Little Richard is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Little Richard Jump blues, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

19
29 14
Sly and the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best R&B Artists
MarySSpiegel added Sly and the Family Stone

20
38 22
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Barry White Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

21
74 54
Bee Gees is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Bee Gees Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco

22
34 19
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Chuck Berry Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

23
43 27
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Commodores Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

24
52 35
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best R&B Artists
B.B. King Blues-rock, Soul blues, Rock music

25
62 44
Beyoncé is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Beyoncé Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

26
34 20
Bill Withers is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Bill Withers Smooth soul, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

27
30 18
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Booker T. & the M.G.'s Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

28
31 20
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

29
33 22
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time Historic Sporting Events You'd Have to See If You Had a Time Machine

30
25 16
Isaac Hayes is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Isaac Hayes Disco, Jazz-funk, Rhythm and blues

31
25 16
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

32
46 36
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

33
23 16
Billy Preston is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Billy Preston Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

34
19 13
Babyface is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Babyface Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

35
19 13
BLACKstreet is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best R&B Artists
BLACKstreet Hip hop music, Pop music, Electronic dance music

36
41 36
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Elvis Presley Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

37
48 44
Adele is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Adele Southern soul, Neo soul, Rock music

38
21 17
David Ruffin is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best R&B Artists
David Ruffin Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

39
19 15
The Gap Band is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best R&B Artists
The Gap Band Disco, Electro, Contemporary R&B

40
18 14
The Weeknd is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best R&B Artists
The Weeknd Indie pop, Downtempo, Dubstep

41
21 18
Billy Ocean is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Billy Ocean Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

42
18 15
Ben E. King is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Ben E. King Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

43
6 3
New Edition is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best R&B Artists
symoneledford added New Edition

Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album The Greatest Former Child Stars

44
5 2
Bruno Mars is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Mary S Spiegel added Bruno Mars Alternative hip hop, Pop music, Rock music

45
28 26
Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Amy Winehouse Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul

46
22 20
Frank Ocean is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Frank Ocean Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

47
15 13
Big Mama Thornton is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Big Mama Thornton Rhythm and blues, Texas blues

48
25 24
Van Morrison is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Van Morrison Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

49
16 15
Bo Diddley is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Bo Diddley Blues-rock, Chicago blues, Rock music

50
13 12
Aaron Neville is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best R&B Artists
Aaron Neville Rhythm and blues, Soul music