Soul The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time  

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26.7k votes 4.2k voters 325.3k views 159 items

List Rules Only soul singers and groups. If an artist is known for their brand of soul music, then they can be added.

Combining elements of jazz, R&B, and traditional gospel music, soul is a genre that became popular in the 1950s and hasn't looked back since. Though there have been periods where soul has thrived more so than others, the best soul singers are widely regarded as some of the most popular figures in music history. In fact, soul singers are considered by many to be the backbone of the modern music movement. Though it may not seem obvious on the surface, soul music came from influential labels like Stax, Motown, and Atlantic Records, all of which played an important role in shaping the music business. That aside, the best soul singers have dominated the charts and their importance has spanned across multiple generations and has led to multiple soul music subgenres. No matter how you slice it, soul music artists are widely important and their rollicking, soulful songs are part of the great American songbook.

So, who are the best soul singers? Any list of soul music artists has to include names like Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Al Green, James Brown and Marvin Gaye. These soul singers are just a tip of the iceberg as there are so many amazing soul music artists that it's impossible to just name a few. Their influence can't be stated enough and even today, their songs are radio staples and some the easiest identifiable songs in music history.

That said, it's up to you to determine who are the best soul singers of all time. If you like soul music and know soul music artists, then feel free to cast your vote on this list. If you think someone is missing, feel free to add them to the list.This list answers the questions "who are the best soul music bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest soul music 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 soul music bands that you might've heard of.

1
791 238
Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Otis Redding Southern soul, Soul blues, Rock music

2
711 211
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

3
698 209
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

4
824 160
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Marvin Gaye Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

5
532 162
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Ray Charles Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

6
509 155
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Al Green Smooth soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

7
488 154
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
James Brown Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

8
592 150
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

9
386 108
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Temptations Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

10
312 148
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Tina Turner Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

11
249 127
Wilson Pickett is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Wilson Pickett Southern soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

12
228 97
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Jackie Wilson Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

13
286 112
Smokey Robinson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Smokey Robinson Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

14
282 97
Curtis Mayfield is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Curtis Mayfield Psychedelic soul, Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues

15
294 104
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Etta James Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

16
247 99
Bill Withers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Bill Withers Smooth soul, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

17
231 88
Four Tops is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Four Tops Doo-wop, Pop music, Rock music

18
185 81
Sam & Dave is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Sam & Dave Southern soul, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

19
224 73
Donny Hathaway is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
crmflava added Donny Hathaway Blues-rock, Pop music, Chicago soul

20
275 101
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Luther Vandross Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

21
253 108
Prince is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

22
267 105
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Earth, Wind & Fire Disco, Rock music, Black metal

23
283 114
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Barry White Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

24
224 83
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Michael Jackson Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

25
229 86
The Isley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Isley Brothers Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

26
215 77
Gladys Knight & the Pips is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Gladys Knight & the Pips Rhythm and blues, Soul music

27
142 99
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Ike & Tina Turner Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

28
189 72
Ben E. King is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Ben E. King Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

29
194 64
The O'Jays is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The O'Jays Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

30
153 60
Sly & the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Zaliste added Sly & the Family Stone Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

31
159 38
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

32
200 67
Teddy Pendergrass is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Teddy Pendergrass Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

33
130 53
Bobby Womack is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Vvvvvvv added Bobby Womack Southern soul, Doo-wop, Soul blues

34
135 61
David Ruffin is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
GarlandC.KingJr. added David Ruffin Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

35
250 105
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

36
112 64
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Booker T. & the M.G.'s Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

37
134 68
The Spinners is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Spinners Smooth soul, Philadelphia soul, Pop music

38
138 57
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Commodores Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

39
140 59
The Stylistics is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Zaliste added The Stylistics Rhythm and blues, Soul music

40
183 91
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time

41
102 41
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Jackson 5 Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

42
143 56
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

43
145 60
Percy Sledge is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Percy Sledge Rhythm and blues, Soul music

44
76 25
The Drifters is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Drifters Doo-wop, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

45
109 53
The Chi-Lites is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Zaliste added The Chi-Lites Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

46
106 52
The Miracles is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Miracles Doo-wop, Disco, Rhythm and blues

47
152 86
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

48
107 42
The Supremes is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Supremes Girl group, Doo-wop, Psychedelic soul

49
142 66
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Patti LaBelle Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

50
65 23
Mary Wells is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Mary Wells Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues