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Greatest R&B Singers of All-Time
#1
Here are the best R&B and Soul artists in music history, the "20 Greatest R&B Singers of All-Time."


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Chaka Khan. Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns
20.  Chaka Khan
Who: Chaka Khan is a powerful vocalist who began her career as the lead singer of the 1970s funk-R&B band Rufus.
When: Active from 1970-Present
What: Her hits with Rufus include "Tell Me Something Good" and "Sweet Thing." Her solo hits include "I'm Every Woman," "I Feel For You" and "Through the Fire."
Why: Khan is one of the most influential, and most imitated singers in modern music. She has sold over 70 million records worldwide, and earned ten Grammy Awards. More »
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Dionne Warwick. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
19.  Dionne Warwick
Who: Dionne Warwick, who ranks second to Aretha Franklin as the most charted female vocalist with 69 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1955–1999.
When: Active from 1962-Present
What: One of the most successful artists of the 1960s, 70s and 80s.  Three of her classic songs composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame: "Alfie," "Don't Make Me Over," and "Walk On By/"
Why: A five-time Grammy Award winner, including winning Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for the AIDS fundraising  anthem "That's What Friends Are For" featuring Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Gladys Knight. More »


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Ronald Isley. Steve Grayson/WireImage
18.  Ronald Isley
Who: Ronald Isley has been the lead singer of The Isley Bros. since the band was founded in the 1950s, and has also distinguished himself as a successful solo artist.
When: Active from 1954-Present.
What: He and his brothers are best known for sexy R&B songs like "Between the Sheets," "Who's That Lady," "For the Love of You" and the R. Kelly-produced "Contagious."
Why: One of the few artists to release hit songs in six different decades: 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s. His distinctive, silky smooth voice has easily withstood the test of time and is one of the reasons the name Isley is synonymous with R&B. More »
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Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
17.  Nat King Cole
Who: The father of Natalie Cole, Nat King Cole, who became one of the most admired vocalists of his era after beginning his career as a successful jazz pianist. .
When: Active from 1935-1965.
What: Classic tunes including (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" (1946), "Nature Boy" (1948), "Mona Lisa" (1950), "Too Young" (the No. 1 song in 1951), and his signature tune "Unforgettable"
Why: His version of "The Christmas Song" is one of the most popular songs of all-time. He appeared in over 25 films, and in 1956, he made history as the first African American to host a national television variety show, The Nat King Cole Show.


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Tina Turner. Dave Hogan/Getty Images
16.  Tina Turner
Who: Tina Turner, who overcame the abuse of her former husband Ike Turner to become one of the most admired women in music.
When: Active from 1958-Present
What: Recorded the Grammy Award winning classic "Proud Mary" as a member of the duo Ike and Tina Turner. In 1984, she won Record of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, for "What's Love Got To Do With It."
Why: A Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who has been one of the most influential and inspiring artists for over 50 years. She has sold over 200 million records, and set the standard for female stage performance. More »
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Luther Vandross. L. Cohen/WireImage
15.  Luther Vandross
Who: Luther Vandross, who transitioned from a very lucrative career as a studio and background vocalist working with Quincy Jones, Roberta Flack, David Bowie, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, Bette Midler, Donna Summer, and Barbara Streisand, to become one of the most admired and influential solo artists.
When: Active from 1972-2005
What: His number one hits include "Never Too Much" "Here and Now" and "Power of Love/Love Power"
Why: Vandross sold over 30 million singles and albums, including 13 platinum or double platinum albums and seven number one singles. He won eight Grammys, and also composed and produced albums for Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, and Cheryl Lynn. More »


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Mariah Carey. Kevin Winter/Getty Images
14.  Mariah Carey
Who: Mariah Carey is one of the most successful pop-R&B artists of all time. She helped create the template of mixing R&B, pop, and hip-hop..
When: Active from 1988-Present
What: Among her signature tunes are "We Belong Together" (1997) which won a Grammy for Best R&B Song, and "One Sweet Day" featuring Boyz II Men which set the record for most weeks at number one, 16 weeks.
Why: Over 200 million records sold, including 18 number one hits, more than any other solo artist in history. More »


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Beyonce. Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
13.  Beyonce
Who: Beyonce is one of the most successful pop/R&B stars of the past two decades, beginning as lead singer of Destiny's Child.
When: Active from 1997-Present
What: Number one hits with Destiny's Child include "Say My Name," "Independent Women Part I," and  "Bills, Bills, Bills." Chart topping solo singles including "Crazy in Love" (with Jay-Z), "Irreplaceable," and "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"
Why: She's sold over 120 million records, and won 20 Grammy Awards, the second most ever by a female artist. More »


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Al Green. Ebet Roberts/Redferns
12.  Al Green
Who: Al Green, one of the greatest soul and gospel vocalists ever, who is also an ordained minister.
When: Active from 1967-Present
What: His signature songs include "Let's Stay Together," "I'm Still In Love With You," and "Love and Happiness."
Why: Rev. Al released six consecutive number one R&B albums from 1972-1975: Let's Stay Together, I'm Still in Love with You, Call Me, Livin' for You, Al Green Explores Your Mind, and Al Green Is Love. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. More »


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Prince. Kevin Winter/Getty Images
11.  Prince
Who: Prince, one of the greatest guitarists, composers, producers, and artists in modern music.
When: Active from 1976-Present
What: Number one singles "When Doves Cry," "Let's Go Crazy," and "Batdance." In 1985, he won an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score for Purple Rain.
Why: He's sold over 100 million records in his career which spans five decades. Prince has also composed and/or produced hits for Chaka Khan ("I Feel For You featuring Stevie Wonder), MadonnaPatti LaBelle, The Time, Vanity 6, Sinead O'Connor, and several more artists More »

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