The Best Chicago Soul Bands/Artists

Over 100 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Chicago Soul Bands/Artists

Chicago soul artists list, with photos, ranked best to worst by votes. List of good chicago soul bands includes a filter so you can sort by the groups’s label and what albums they've put out. This list of the top chicago soul bands in the world includes all musicians who have released recordings that have gotten distribution, and is an up-to-date list. Chicago soul groups and artists are shown below along with any additional genres in which their music belongs. If available, you can also see information about where all chicago soul bands on this list got started. These are truly the greatest chicago soul bands of all time, since the most famous chicago soul artists ever are listed, and the order is decided by actual fans of the best chicago soul music.

You can click on the chicago soul band names to see more information about that particular notable chicago soul group. If they're near the top of the best chicago soul artist list, though, then they should have at least some information available. All the top chicago soul bands named on the list also have discographies on their pages if you click on the chicago soul band names themselves.

List is made up of artists like Curtis Mayfield and Donny Hathaway. Vote for your favorites to get them to rise to the top. Which is better for this list, Jerry Butler or Leroy Hutson?

All important, significant and iconic names in chicago soul music history deserve your votes, so make sure to choose wisely. You can only vote once on this list.

The list includes all new chicago soul bands, and if there are any missing on the list, you can always add them yourself. Just make sure they aren't already on the list and check your spelling, because this is already an accurate compilation of the best examples of chicago soul, as well as a good place to start if you're asking yourself, or friends, exactly how to get into chicago soul music. Especially since the bands at the top of the list will at the very least be the best choices if you're looking for a list of good chicago soul bands with which to start out. No point in listening to them if they aren't actually good or even half-way decent chicago soul bands.

This list answers the questions "who are the best chicago soul bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest chicago soul 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 chicago soul bands that you might've heard of, but not really listened to closely enough to cast an informed vote.

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  • Tyrone Davis
    Photo: user uploaded image
    23 votes
    Tyrone Davis (born Tyrone D. Fettson or Tyrone D. Branch, May 4, 1938 – February 9, 2005) was an American blues and soul singer with a long list of hit records over more than 20 years. Davis had three number 1 hits on the Billboard R&B chart: "Can I Change My Mind" (1968), "Turn Back The Hands Of Time" (1970), and "Turning Point" (1975).
    • Genres (Music): Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music
    • Albums: I'll Always Love You, Relaxin' With Tyrone, Simply Tyrone Davis, I Had It All The Time, Turn Back the Hands of Time
    • Nationality: United States of America
  • Jerry Butler
    Photo: user uploaded image
    18 votes
    Jerry Butler, Jr. (born December 8, 1939) is an American soul singer-songwriter, producer, musician, and retired politician. He is also noted as being the original lead singer of the R&B vocal group the Impressions, as well as a 1991 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Since leaving The Impressions, Jerry has had over 55 Billboard Pop & R&B Chart Hits as a solo artist, including some 15 Top 40 Pop Hits in the Hot 100, and 15 R&B Top 10's. He served as a Commissioner for Cook County, Illinois, from 1985 to 2018. As a member of this 17-member county board, he chaired the Health and Hospitals Committee, and served as Vice Chair of the Construction Committee.
    • Genres (Music): Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Funk
    • Albums: The Ice Man Cometh, The Best of Jerry Butler, Need to Belong, Platinum Pop "Best of" Series Presents Jerry Butler, The Sagittarius Movement
    • Nationality: United States of America
  • Donny Hathaway
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use
    Donny Edward Hathaway (October 1, 1945 – January 13, 1979) was an American soul singer, keyboardist, songwriter, and arranger. Hathaway has been described as a "soul legend" by Rolling Stone. His enduring songs include "The Ghetto", "This Christmas", "Someday We'll All Be Free", "Little Ghetto Boy", "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know". Hathaway is also renowned for his signature versions of "A Song for You", "For All We Know" together with "Where Is the Love" and "The Closer I Get to You", two of many collaborations with Roberta Flack. He's been inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame and won one Grammy from four nominations. Hathaway was also posthumously bestowed with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
    • Genres (Music): Blues-rock, Pop music, Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
    • Albums: Extension of a Man, Donny Hathaway, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway, Everything Is Everything
    • Nationality: United States of America
  • Curtis Mayfield
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use
    Curtis Lee Mayfield (June 3, 1942 – December 26, 1999) was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer, and one of the most influential musicians behind soul and politically conscious African-American music. He first achieved success and recognition with The Impressions during the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and 1960s, and later worked as a solo artist. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Mayfield started his musical career in a gospel choir. Moving to the North Side, he met Jerry Butler in 1956 at the age of 14, and joined the vocal group The Impressions. As a songwriter, Mayfield became noted as one of the first musicians to bring more prevalent themes of social awareness into soul music. In 1965, he wrote "People Get Ready" for the Impressions, which displayed his more politically charged songwriting. Ranked at no. 24 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, the song received numerous other awards, and was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, as well as being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. After leaving the Impressions in 1970 in the pursuit of a solo career, Mayfield released several albums, including the soundtrack for the blaxploitation film Super Fly in 1972. The soundtrack was noted for its socially conscious themes, mostly addressing problems surrounding inner city minorities such as crime, poverty and drug abuse. The album was ranked at no. 72 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down after lighting equipment fell on him during a live performance at Wingate Field in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York, on August 13, 1990. Despite this, he continued his career as a recording artist, releasing his final album New World Order in 1996. Mayfield won a Grammy Legend Award in 1994 and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995, and was a double inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of the Impressions in 1991, and again in 1999 as a solo artist. He was also a two-time Grammy Hall of Fame inductee. He died from complications of type 2 diabetes in 1999 at the age of 57.
    • Genres (Music): Psychedelic soul, Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music
    • Albums: Superfly, Curtis, The Anthology: 1961-1977, Curtis/Live!, Roots
    • Nationality: United States of America
  • The Five Stairsteps
    Photo: user uploaded image
    The Five Stairsteps, known as "The First Family of Soul" and later "The Invisible Man's Band", was an American Chicago soul group made up of five of Betty and Clarence Burke Sr.'s six children: Alohe Jean, Clarence Jr., James, Dennis, and Kenneth "Keni", and briefly, Cubie. They are best known for the 1970 song "O-o-h Child", listed at #402 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
    • Genres (Music): Psychedelic soul, Disco, Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music
    • Albums: The First Family of Soul: The Best of the Five Stairsteps, Greatest Hits, Danger, She's a Stranger / Behind Curtains, Stairsteps
  • Billy Stewart
    Photo: user uploaded image
    18 votes
    William Larry Stewart II (March 24, 1937 – January 17, 1970) was an American rhythm and blues singer and pianist who was popular during the 1960s.
    • Genres (Music): Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues, Northern soul
    • Albums: Hits and Rarities, Unbelieveable, I Do Love You, Billy Stewart Teaches Old Standards New Tricks, Greatest Hits
    • Nationality: United States of America