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
186 95
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
99 45
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

3
106 53
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

4
150 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
103 52
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
99 55
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Ray Charles Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

7
128 78
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
106 62
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
The Temptations Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

9
102 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
112 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
54 28
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Gladys Knight Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

12
45 22
Sly and the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
MarySSpiegel added Sly and the Family Stone

13
46 23
Gladys Knight & the Pips is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Gladys Knight & the Pips Rhythm and blues, Soul music

14
53 31
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

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15
45 25
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Aaliyah Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

16
51 29
Four Tops is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Four Tops Doo-wop, Pop music, Rock music

17
55 33
Little Richard is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Little Richard Jump blues, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

18
69 45
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

19
44 25
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Chuck Berry Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

20
63 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
44 28
Bill Withers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Bill Withers Smooth soul, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

The Best Christian Rock Bands & Artists

22
54 37
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Boyz II Men Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

23
77 59
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
43 28
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Janet Jackson Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

25
63 47
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Alicia Keys Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

26
25 13
Bruno Mars is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Mary S Spiegel added Bruno Mars Alternative hip hop, Pop music, Rock music

27
34 21
Isaac Hayes is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Isaac Hayes Disco, Jazz-funk, Rhythm and blues

28
52 36
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 Very Best Indie Pop Bands & Artists

29
47 32
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
43 32
Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Amy Winehouse Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul

31
37 24
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Booker T. & the M.G.'s Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

32
40 27
Chaka Khan is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Chaka Khan Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Disco

33
13 3
Prince is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

34
39 30
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

35
11 2
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

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36
82 72
Bee Gees is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Bee Gees Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco

37
55 48
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
29 23
Billy Preston is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Billy Preston Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

39
24 20
BLACKstreet is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
BLACKstreet Hip hop music, Pop music, Electronic dance music

40
26 21
David Ruffin is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
David Ruffin Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

41
24 19
The Gap Band is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
The Gap Band Disco, Electro, Contemporary R&B

42
13 10
New Edition is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
symoneledford added New Edition

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43
23 20
Babyface is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Babyface Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

44
22 18
Bo Diddley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Bo Diddley Blues-rock, Chicago blues, Rock music

45
26 24
The Weeknd is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
The Weeknd Indie pop, Downtempo, Dubstep

46
19 17
George Clinton is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
George Clinton Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

47
18 15
Big Mama Thornton is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Big Mama Thornton Rhythm and blues, Texas blues

48
18 15
Aaron Neville is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Aaron Neville Rhythm and blues, Soul music

49
16 13
D'Angelo is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
D'Angelo Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

50
30 28
Frank Ocean is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Frank Ocean Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B