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
443 122
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

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2
583 177
Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Otis Redding Southern soul, Soul blues, Rock music

3
504 150
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
409 121
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Ray Charles Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

5
634 128
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Marvin Gaye Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music

6
380 121
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
368 120
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
444 100
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
295 80
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
251 117
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
197 102
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
232 88
Smokey Robinson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Smokey Robinson Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

13
171 77
Jackie Wilson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Jackie Wilson Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

14
215 74
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
226 81
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

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16
186 79
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
145 62
Sam & Dave is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Sam & Dave Southern soul, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

18
216 77
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Earth, Wind & Fire Disco, Rock music, Black metal

19
173 55
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
194 80
Prince is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

21
239 91
Barry White is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Barry White Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

22
214 78
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Luther Vandross Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

23
167 67
Four Tops is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Four Tops Doo-wop, Pop music, Rock music

24
121 80
Ike & Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Ike & Tina Turner Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

25
178 73
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
171 68
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
145 56
Ben E. King is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Ben E. King Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

28
153 64
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Michael Jackson Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

29
158 54
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

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30
118 50
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
166 56
Teddy Pendergrass is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Teddy Pendergrass Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

32
98 41
Bobby Womack is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Vvvvvvv added Bobby Womack Southern soul, Doo-wop, Soul blues

33
106 26
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

34
150 70
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time

35
104 50
David Ruffin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
GarlandC.KingJr. added David Ruffin Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

36
91 54
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
194 86
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Whitney Houston Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B

38
112 48
The Stylistics is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Zaliste added The Stylistics Rhythm and blues, Soul music

39
111 47
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Commodores Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

40
106 57
The Spinners is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Spinners Smooth soul, Philadelphia soul, Pop music

41
117 46
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

42
71 27
The Jackson 5 is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Jackson 5 Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound, Disco

43
117 51
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

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44
60 31
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Chuck Berry Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

45
85 42
The Miracles is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Miracles Doo-wop, Disco, Rhythm and blues

46
88 44
The Chi-Lites is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
Zaliste added The Chi-Lites Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

47
122 69
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
78 28
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
96 41
The Delfonics is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Delfonics Philadelphia soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

50
54 20
The Drifters is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time
The Drifters Doo-wop, Pop music, Rhythm and blues