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
216 107
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
129 59
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
117 53
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

4
166 90
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
116 57
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

6
124 67
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

7
147 86
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

8
112 60
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

9
114 65
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Smooth soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

10
123 74
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

11
70 43
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
54 30
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
27 6
Prince is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

14
52 30
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
73 48
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Soul blues, Rock music

16
79 51
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

17
82 56
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

18
58 36
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

19
64 42
Usher is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

20
60 37
Four Tops is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Doo-wop, Pop music, Rock music

21
90 67
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

22
54 34
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

23
64 41
Little Richard is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Jump blues, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

24
38 22
Bruno Mars is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Mary S Spiegel added Alternative hip hop, Pop music, Rock music

25
51 32
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

26
50 36
Bill Withers is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Smooth soul, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

27
57 41
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

28
39 26
Isaac Hayes is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Disco, Jazz-funk, Rhythm and blues

29
50 37
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

30
45 31
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

31
52 38
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

32
87 76
Bee Gees is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco

33
46 40
Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul

34
17 8
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

35
42 36
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

36
30 24
Babyface is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

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

38
20 16
New Edition is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
symoneledford added New Edition

39
38 33
Frank Ocean is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

40
13 9
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

41
58 55
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

42
21 16
D'Angelo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

43
25 21
Bo Diddley is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Chicago blues, Rock music

44
28 26
BLACKstreet is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Electronic dance music

45
10 5
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time

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

47
23 21
George Clinton is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

48
30 27
David Ruffin is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

49
32 31
The Weeknd is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Indie pop, Downtempo, Dubstep

50
27 24
Billy Ocean is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music