Soul The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time  

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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.
list ordered by

1
863 266
Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Southern soul, Soul blues, Rock music

2
770 234
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

3
779 221
Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

4
578 179
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

5
540 168
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Smooth soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

6
875 171
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

7
519 159
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

8
630 155
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

9
335 156
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Rock music, Dance-pop, Rhythm and blues

10
264 130
Wilson Pickett is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Southern soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

11
414 113
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

12
251 105
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

13
321 108
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

14
299 101
Curtis Mayfield is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Psychedelic soul, Chicago soul, Rhythm and blues

15
297 120
Smokey Robinson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

16
267 103
Bill Withers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Smooth soul, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

17
195 83
Sam & Dave is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Southern soul, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

18
291 105
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

19
238 88
The Isley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Doo-wop, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

20
244 90
Four Tops is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Doo-wop, Pop music, Rock music

21
239 75
Donny Hathaway is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
crmflava added Blues-rock, Pop music, Chicago soul

22
152 103
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

23
283 108
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Disco, Rock music, Black metal

24
300 117
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

25
274 121
Prince is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

26
229 81
Gladys Knight & the Pips is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Rhythm and blues, Soul music

27
250 94
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

28
217 69
Teddy Pendergrass is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

29
197 74
Ben E. King is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

30
142 57
Bobby Womack is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Vvvvvvv added Southern soul, Doo-wop, Soul blues

31
180 41
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

32
203 67
The O'Jays is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Philadelphia soul, Disco, Quiet storm

33
161 62
Sly & the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Zaliste added Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

34
143 64
David Ruffin is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
GarlandC.KingJr. added Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

35
266 109
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

36
196 95
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time

37
147 61
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

38
140 72
The Spinners is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Smooth soul, Philadelphia soul, Pop music

39
118 69
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

40
146 62
The Stylistics is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Zaliste added Rhythm and blues, Soul music

41
155 59
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

42
154 62
Percy Sledge is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Rhythm and blues, Soul music

43
112 45
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

44
82 26
The Drifters is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Doo-wop, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

45
114 54
The Chi-Lites is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Zaliste added Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

46
110 52
The Miracles is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Doo-wop, Disco, Rhythm and blues

47
114 43
The Supremes is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Girl group, Doo-wop, Psychedelic soul

48
151 68
Patti LaBelle is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Doo-wop, Girl group, Ballad

49
155 90
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

50
60 19
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music