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
226 108
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
137 60
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
123 54
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
171 92
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
120 58
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
129 68
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
119 60
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
151 86
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
116 66
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
126 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
29 6
Prince is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

12
56 31
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 45
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
54 31
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
68 43
Usher is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

16
83 56
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
80 51
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
73 48
B.B. King is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Soul blues, Rock music

19
59 36
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
62 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
65 41
Little Richard is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Jump blues, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

22
91 68
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music

23
40 23
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
55 36
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

25
52 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
51 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
40 26
Isaac Hayes is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Disco, Jazz-funk, Rhythm and blues

28
58 41
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

29
46 31
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
50 37
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music

31
53 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
90 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 41
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
43 36
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

35
17 8
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
31 24
Kenneth Edmonds is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

37
14 9
Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

38
37 31
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

39
20 16
New Edition is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
symoneledford added New Edition

40
22 16
D'Angelo is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

41
25 21
George Clinton is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

42
38 33
Frank Ocean is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B

43
26 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
59 56
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

45
34 32
The Weeknd is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Indie pop, Downtempo, Dubstep

46
32 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
31 27
David Ruffin is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time
Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

48
28 24
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 26
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
10 5
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time