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
235 122
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
145 68
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 64
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
174 103
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
159 95
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

6
124 68
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

7
132 77
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
123 69
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
130 80
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 71
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
24 3
Momoland is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Daisy Yoo added K-pop

12
72 44
Usher is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

13
75 47
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

14
58 33
Gladys Knight & the Pips is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Rhythm and blues, Soul music

15
56 34
Sly and the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
MarySSpiegel added Sly and the Family Stone

16
86 59
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

17
75 51
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Soul blues, Rock music

18
32 12
Prince is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

19
82 55
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

20
64 40
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
60 40
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

22
57 38
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
58 39
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

24
66 44
Little Richard is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Jump blues, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

25
41 25
Bruno Mars is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Mary S Spiegel added Alternative hip hop, Pop music, Rock music

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
49 33
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

29
55 39
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

30
59 43
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

31
51 38
Bill Withers is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Smooth soul, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

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
31 26
Babyface is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

38
46 44
Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul

39
22 18
New Edition is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
symoneledford added New Edition

40
62 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
33 30
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
26 23
Bo Diddley is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Chicago blues, Rock music

48
11 7
Spinners is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Whoviant added

49
28 26
Billy Ocean is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

50
28 28
BLACKstreet is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Electronic dance music