So I was reading this article on the best R&B singers of all time and was completely flabbergasted by it. Now, before I go off I completely understand that the list one writes is based on what variables they choose to include. But when you really start putting a list together, there are a few names that just stand out and no matter the awards, accolades, writing credits of other artists, they simply don’t outweigh the enormity of the powerhouse singers.
That is where I start, with the powerhouse singers. I’m going to start with just the men (in no particular order):
Now, it becomes a little unfair to great new artist when you compile a top ten list because with these eight, it only leaves room for two more. That leaves R Kelly fighting for a spot with Donny Hathaway, Ron Isley, Teddy Pendergrass, Smokey Robinson and Ray Charles.
It really becomes difficult to be fair with current artists when there are so many great artist that many simply refuse to leave off any list when it comes to ranking the best. This is illustrated in an article I ready by Mark Edward Nero, Greatest R&B Singers Ever. His list consists of men and women so his task was that much more daunting. And he failed miserably in my opinion. His Top five left a lot to be desired. Placing Mary J. Blige above Chaka Khan was a major blunder. MJB gained her popularity by remaking Chaka Khan’s music. The imitator should never rank higher than the originator.
R. Kelly at four is another failure. His rationale for ranking Kels this high is his versatility. This would be fine if we were ranking writing and producing skills, but this is a singing ranking. I simply cannot justify R. Kelly that high.
So what’s the fair way to rank singers? It probably is best to categorize them by eras then rank them. But that becomes a bear because then you have to decide where eras start and stop. So over the next week I’m going to break it down into different sections as to allow for more diversity in the rankings. Hopefully, this will result in a more accurate reflection of R&B list and you can avoid lists like what Mark put together and certainly not the abomination of a list Samuel Edelstein wrote. C’mon, man. Bobby Brown?
Coming Soon The List
Top Ten Male Vocalist
Top Ten Female Vocalist
Top Ten R&B Artist (Male)
Top Ten R&B Artist (Female)
Top Ten R&B Performers