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
259 135
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
164 85
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
189 117
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

4
173 110
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

5
132 80
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
134 83
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 83
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

8
138 90
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

9
125 79
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
137 89
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
81 48
Usher is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

12
82 50
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

13
40 15
Prince is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

14
62 37
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
62 39
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 57
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
63 40
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

18
69 43
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
66 43
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Gospel music

20
49 29
Bruno Mars is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Mary S Spiegel added Alternative hip hop, Pop music, Rock music

21
78 54
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Soul blues, Rock music

22
90 65
Alicia Keys 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 42
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
70 46
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
57 36
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