The 50 greatest male R&b singers of all time

by ruffcoaley | created - 11 Dec 2013 | updated - 15 Nov 2014 | Public

The best singers, song wtiters, best sellers of all time. I know some will disagree but i broke down the criteria into 10 diffrent catagories to come up with the rankins

1. Marvin Gaye

Soundtrack | High Fidelity

Marvin Gaye was born on April 2, 1939 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA as Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. He was married to Jan Gaye and Anna Gordy Gaye. He died on April 1, 1984 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

2. Stevie Wonder

Soundtrack | The Woman in Red

Born Stevland Hardaway Judkins in Saginaw, Michigan, United States, to Calvin Judkins and Lula Mae Hardaway. Due to being born six weeks premature, Stevie Wonder was born with a condition called retinopathy of prematurity, which made him blind. Stevie Wonder, even with this disability, made his ...

3. Michael Jackson

Soundtrack | Michael Jackson: Thriller

Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana on August 29, 1958, and entertained audiences nearly his entire life. His father, Joe Jackson, had been a guitarist, but was forced to give up his musical ambitions following his marriage to Katherine Jackson (née Katherine Esther Scruse). Together, ...

4. Ronald Isley

Soundtrack | Taxi

Ronald Isley was born on May 21, 1941, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His love of music was encouraged at early age, by his father, a professional vocalist, and his mother, a church pianist who also provided musical accompaniment for him and his brothers at their early performances.

For over 50 years, he has ...

5. Teddy Pendergrass

Soundtrack | The Nutty Professor

Teddy Pendergrass was born on March 26, 1950 in Kingstree, South Carolina, USA as Theodore DeReese Pendergrass. He was married to Joan Pendergrass and Karen Still. He died on January 13, 2010 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, USA.

6. Al Green

Soundtrack | Scrooged

Al Green was born on April 13, 1946 in Forrest City, Arkansas, USA as Albert Greene. He was previously married to Shirley Kyles.

7. R. Kelly

Soundtrack | Space Jam

R. Kelly was born on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, and attended Kenwood Academy High School, where his music teacher-mentor Lena McLin inspired him to become a singer. He used to sing on street corners. He started off his career with a group by the name of Public Announcement. R. Kelly a ...

8. Prince

Soundtrack | Under the Cherry Moon

Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Mattie Shaw, a jazz singer and social worker, and John L. Nelson, a lyricist and pianist. His father's stage name was "Prince Rogers". His parents were both from African-American families from Louisiana. They separated during his youth, ...

9. Keith Sweat

Soundtrack | The Watch

Keith Sweat is a Harlem-born R&B singer/songwriter who released his debut album, 'Make It Last Forever', at the end of 1987. The album sold over three million copies, spawning the hits "I Want Her" (#1 R&B, #5 pop), "Something Just Ain't Right" (#3 R&B), "Make It Last Forever" (#2 R&B), and "Don't ...

10. Ray Charles

Soundtrack | Ray

A tragic fate may have given this visionary a heightened sensitivity, perception, awareness, even expansion to his obvious musical gifts that he may have never touched upon had he not suffered from his physical affliction. Whatever it was, Ray Charles revolutionized American music and was ...

11. Curtis Mayfield

Soundtrack | Armageddon

Rhythm and blues performer/songwriter credited with defining 1960's Chicago sound in hits like "It's All Right" and "Gypsy Woman." His style influenced other artists from pop to hip hop. Has been a quadriplegic ever since he was struck by lighting rig during outdoor concert in New York, 1990. ...

12. Sam Cooke

Soundtrack | Innerspace

Sam Cooke was born January 22, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He was one of eight children of Charles Cook Sr., a Baptist minister. When Sam sang as a little boy in church, everyone made note that his voice had "something special". He sang in church and in local gospel choirs until a group called...

13. Luther Vandross

Soundtrack | The Goonies

He was the heartbeat of R&B during the 1980s and 1990s, yet led a productive singing and songwriting life prior to this preeminence. The soul balladeer's strong commitment to the art of music continued on its Grammy-winning course, even after an acute stroke in 2003 left him severely incapacitated ...

14. Raphael Saadiq

Soundtrack | Mudbound

Raphael Saadiq was born on May 14, 1966 in Oakland, California, USA as Charlie Ray Wiggins.

15. Smokey Robinson

Soundtrack | The Boat That Rocked

Multi-talented performer/writer/producer Smokey Robinson's career, and life, is inextricably tied up with Motown Records' founder Berry Gordy (his first two children are named Tamla, for the Gordy-owned label Smokey recorded for, and Berry, for Gordy himself). He and Gordy have had a professional ...

16. Barry White

Soundtrack | Summer of Sam

Barry White first made his mark in the music business in the 1960s as a session musician, even serving for a spell as an A&R man for a small, independent Los Angeles record label. He first hit it big in 1973 with a series of albums and singles emphasizing lush orchestrations and elaborate ...

17. Usher Raymond

Actor | The Faculty

Usher Raymond IV was born in Dallas, Texas, to Jonetta Patton (née O'Neal) and Usher Raymond III. He began singing when he was six years old, joining the local church choir at the behest of his mother who acted as choir director. Jonetta, a single mom, raised Usher and his younger brother, James, ...

18. Ginuwine

Soundtrack | Sex Tape

Ginuwine is a Washington, DC-based contemporary soul artist who released his debut album, "Ginuwine: The Bachelor'' on 8th Oct 1996 to great acclaim. It had hit song "Pony". 100% Ginuwine followed on 16 March 1999 generating the hits "So Anxious", " None Of Ur Friends Business", and "Same Ol G". ...

19. Jaheim

Soundtrack | Not Easily Broken

Jaheim Hoagland was born on May 26, 1978 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Jaheim had a rough childhood. His father died when he was very young and his mother was forced to raise him and his two brothers. Crime was also part of the young man's life. Jaheim came out of jail when he was 16, which is when...

20. Musiq

Soundtrack | Nutty Professor II: The Klumps

Musiq was born on September 16, 1977 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Talib Johnson.

21. James Brown

Actor | The Blues Brothers

James Brown was born on May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina, USA as James Joseph Brown. He was married to Tomirae Brown, Adrienne Rodriguez, Deidre Jenkins and Velma Warren. He died on December 25, 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

22. Gerald Levert

Actor | New Jack City

Gerald Levert was born on July 13, 1966 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Gerald Edward Levert. He died on November 10, 2006 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

23. Lionel Richie

Soundtrack | The Color Purple

Lionel Richie was born on June 20, 1949 in Tuskegee, Alabama, USA as Lionel Brockman Richie Jr. He was previously married to Diana Alexander Richie and Brenda Harvey-Richie.

24. Maxwell

Soundtrack | Life

Maxwell was born on May 23, 1973 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as Maxwell Rivera.

25. Chris Brown

Actor | Takers

Chris Brown was born on May 5, 1989 in Tappahannock, Virginia, USA as Christopher Maurice Brown.

26. Little Richard

Soundtrack | Predator

Richard Wayne Penniman, better known as Little Richard, the self-proclaimed "Architect of Rock 'n' Roll", traveled in his early days with the legendary vaudeville star Spencer "Snake" Anthony. One of Richard's early bands had the young, then unknown singer James Brown (the Godfather of Soul), a ...

27. Aaron Neville

Soundtrack | Alive

New Orleans-born Aaron Neville started singing in a group called The Hawkettes, in which his brother Art Neville also sang. He had some minor hits over the years, mostly regional, but finally hit the big time in 1966 with the delicate "Tell It Like It Is". For a variety of reasons--including the ...

28. Avant

Soundtrack | Coach Carter

Avant was born on April 26, 1978 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Myron Avant. He is an actor, known for Coach Carter (2005), Shark Tale (2004) and Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004).

29. Trey Songz

Soundtrack | Texas Chainsaw 3D

Trey Songz was born on November 28, 1984 in Petersburg, Virginia, USA as Tremaine Neverson.

30. David Ruffin

Soundtrack | The Addiction

The man most of us know by his unmistakable, calming yet disturbed raspy voice was born Davis Eli Ruffin on January 18, 1941, in Whynot, Mississippi. His father, Eli Ruffin, was a Baptist minister. Only months after his birth his mother Ophelia Ruffin died, and his father later remarried, to a ...

31. Aaron Hall

Soundtrack | New Jack City

Aaron Hall was born on August 10, 1964 in Bronx, New York, USA.

32. Freddie Jackson

Soundtrack | All Dogs Go to Heaven

Freddie Jackson was born on October 2, 1956 in Harlem, New York, USA.

33. Montell Jordan

Soundtrack | Everest

Montell Jordan was born on December 3, 1968 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Montell Dusean Jordan. He has been married to Kristin Jordan since June 1994. They have four children.

34. Tyrese Gibson

Actor | Baby Boy

Tyrese Darnell Gibson was born December 30, 1978 in Watts, Los Angeles, California, where he was raised. He is an R&B singer, songwriter, actor, author, television producer and model. He is well known for his actor role as Roman Pearce in the The Fast and Furious movie franchise. Other popular ...

35. Jamie Foxx

Actor | Django Unchained

Jamie Foxx is an American actor, singer and comedian. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, for his work in the biographical film Ray (2004). The same year, he was nominated for the Academy...

36. Ralph E. Tresvant

Producer | The New Edition Story

Ralph Tresvant was born on May 16, 1968 in Roxbury, Massachusetts to Patricia and Ralph, Sr. He has an older sister named LaTonya and a younger brother named Andre. Ralph married his childhood sweetheart Shelly in 1993. They have two girls Na'Quelle and Mariah. While in junior high school, Ralph ...

37. Isaac Hayes

Actor | Escape from New York

Isaac Hayes was the second-born child of Isaac Sr. and Eula Hayes, but was raised by his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Willie Wade Sr. The child of a poor family, he grew up picking cotton in Covington, Tennessee. He dropped out of high school, only to be encouraged later by his former high school ...

39. Johnny Gill

Soundtrack | New Jack City

Born in Washington, D.C., Johnny Gill was discovered by singer Stacy Lattisaw after singing in his family's group Wings of Faith from the age of five. His solo career began in 1983 with the Top 30 R&B single "Super Love." In 1988, he joined New Edition, replacing Bobby Brown. In 1989 he sang on two...

41. Otis Redding

Soundtrack | Top Gun

Otis Redding was born on September 9, 1941 in Dawson, Georgia, USA as Otis Ray Redding Jr. He was married to Zelma Atwood. He died on December 10, 1967 in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

42. Lou Rawls

Soundtrack | Payback

Rawls was born on 1st December 1933 in Chicago, Illinois. His father abandoned his family and Lou was raised by his grandmother. His first meeting with music was when he was seven years old, in a Baptist church choir. He was mostly influenced by the Chicago Regal theatre where he had the ...

43. Tevin Campbell

Soundtrack | A Goofy Movie

Tevin Campbell was born on November 12, 1976 in Dallas, Texas, USA as Tevin Jermod Campbell.

44. Eddie Kendricks

Soundtrack | Barbershop

Eddie Kendricks was born on December 17, 1939 in Union Springs, Alabama, USA as Edward James Kendrick. He was married to Patricia Kendrick. He died on October 5, 1992 in Birmingham, Alabama.

45. Jeffrey Osborne

Soundtrack | Spaceballs

Jeffrey Osborne was born on March 9, 1948 in Providence, Rhode Island, USA as Jeffrey Linton Osborne. He is married to Sherri. They have three children.

46. Eddie Levert

Soundtrack | Coming to America

Eddie Levert was born on June 16, 1942 in Bessemer, Alabama, USA. He is an actor, known for Coming to America (1988), Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) and The Fighting Temptations (2003). He is married to Raquel Capelton. They have one child. He was previously married to Martha Levert.

47. Jackie Wilson

Soundtrack | Ghostbusters II

Jackie "Sonny" Wilson was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Highland Park, the only son of Jack and Eliza Mae Wilson from Columbus, Mississippi. His father was an alcoholic and constantly unemployed, and his mother, who had lost two earlier children, doted on Jackie and became a powerful ...

48. Teddy Riley

Soundtrack | Money Train

Teddy Riley was born on October 8, 1966 in New York City, New York, USA as Edward Theodore Riley.

49. Charlie Wilson

Soundtrack | Sleepers

Charlie Wilson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA as Charles Kent Wilson. He is married to Mahin.

50. Justin Timberlake

Soundtrack | Trolls

Justin Randall Timberlake was born on January 31, 1981, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Lynn (Bomar) and Randall Timberlake, whose own father was a Baptist minister. At the age of 11, he appeared on the show Star Search (1983), and even though he didn't win, it didn't dampen his ambitions. He also ...