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
235 115
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

2
143 62
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

3
125 59
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

4
174 94
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

5
124 59
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

6
123 62
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

7
132 70
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

8
157 88
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

9
129 75
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

10
118 68
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Smooth soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

11
75 46
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

12
58 32
Gladys Knight & the Pips is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Rhythm and blues, Soul music

13
72 44
Usher is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

14
56 33
Sly and the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
MarySSpiegel added Sly and the Family Stone

15
86 58
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

16
75 50
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Soul blues, Rock music

17
82 54
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

18
64 39
Four Tops is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Doo-wop, Pop music, Rock music

19
31 11
Prince is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

20
60 39
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

21
57 37
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

22
66 43
Little Richard is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Jump blues, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

23
41 24
Bruno Mars is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Mary S Spiegel added Alternative hip hop, Pop music, Rock music

24
56 38
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

25
7 0
Momoland is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Daisy Yoo added K-pop

26
53 34
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

27
92 75
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

28
55 39
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

29
48 33
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

30
51 38
Bill Withers is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Smooth soul, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

31
58 43
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

32
40 28
Isaac Hayes is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Disco, Jazz-funk, Rhythm and blues

33
90 78
Bee Gees is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco

34
18 11
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

35
18 9
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

36
43 37
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

37
46 44
Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul

38
31 26
Kenneth Edmonds is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

39
21 18
New Edition is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
symoneledford added New Edition

40
61 58
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

41
39 35
Frank Ocean is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

42
37 33
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

43
35 34
The Weeknd is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Indie pop, Downtempo, Dubstep

44
25 23
George Clinton is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

45
22 18
D'Angelo is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

46
26 23
Bo Diddley is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Chicago blues, Rock music

47
32 30
Billy Preston is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

48
28 26
Billy Ocean is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

49
28 28
BLACKstreet is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Electronic dance music

50
27 25
The Gap Band is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Disco, Electro, Contemporary R&B