The Coasters
Live at the Apollo
Lady Soul
Rock & Roll

R&B

Evolving out of jump blues in the late '40s, R&B laid the groundwork for rock & roll. R&B kept the tempo and the drive of jump blues, but its instrumentation was sparer and the emphasis was on the song, not improvisation. It was blues chord changes played with an insistent backbeat. During the '50s, R&B was dominated by vocalists like Ray Charles and Ruth Brown, as well as vocal groups like the Drifters and the Coasters. Eventually, R&B metamorphosed into soul, which was funkier and looser than the pile-driving rhythms of R&B. Soul came to describe a number of R&B-based music styles. From the bouncy, catchy acts at Motown to the horn-driven, gritty soul of Stax/Volt, there was an immense amount of diversity within soul. During the first part of the '60s, soul music remained close to its R&B roots. However, musicians pushed the music in different directions; usually, different regions of America produced different kinds of soul. In urban centers like New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, the music concentrated on vocal interplay and smooth productions. In Detroit, Motown concentrated on creating a pop-oriented sound that was informed equally by gospel, R&B, and rock & roll. In the South, the music became harder and tougher, relying on syncopated rhythms, raw vocals, and blaring horns. All of these styles formed soul, which ruled the black music charts throughout the '60s and also frequently crossed over into the pop charts. During the '60s and '70s, soul began to splinter apart -- artists like James Brown and Sly Stone developed funk; Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff initiated Philly soul with the O'Jays and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes; and later in the decade, danceable R&B became a mass phenomenon with the brief disco fad. During the '80s and '90s, the polished, less earthy sound of urban and quiet storm ruled the airwaves, but even then, R&B began adding stylistic components of hip-hop until -- by the end of the millennium -- there were hundreds of artists who featured both rapping and singing on their records.

R&B Album Highlights grid list

Live at the Apollo
James Brown & His Famous ...
Live at the Apollo
10
Lady Soul
Aretha Franklin
Lady Soul
10
Rock & Roll
Clyde McPhatter / The ...
Rock & Roll
9
What's Going On
Marvin Gaye
What's Going On
10
Thriller
Michael Jackson
Thriller
10
B'day
Beyoncé
B'day
8
Give Me the Night
George Benson
Give Me the Night
10
What's the 411?
Mary J. Blige
What's the 411?
10
Kaleidoscope Dream
Miguel
Kaleidoscope Dream
10
That's the Way of the World
Earth, Wind & Fire
That's the Way of the World
9
Hot Buttered Soul
Isaac Hayes
Hot Buttered Soul
10
Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
10
Curtis
Curtis Mayfield
Curtis
10
Purple Rain
Prince and the Revolution ...
Purple Rain
10
I Hear a Symphony
The Supremes
I Hear a Symphony
9
Confessions
Usher
Confessions
10
Adrian Younge Presents Something About April
Adrian Younge / Venice Dawn
Adrian Younge Presents ...
10
Songs in the Key of Life
Stevie Wonder
Songs in the Key of Life
10
One in a Million
Aaliyah
One in a Million
9
Baduizm
Erykah Badu
Baduizm
9
Rapture
Anita Baker
Rapture
10
Green Onions
Booker T. & the MG's
Green Onions
9
Don't Be Cruel
Bobby Brown
Don't Be Cruel
10
The Best of the Vee-Jay Years
Jerry Butler
The Best of the Vee-Jay ...
10
Genius: The Ultimate Collection
Ray Charles
Genius: The Ultimate ...
10
Risqué
1979
Chic
Risqué
9
There's a Riot Goin' On: The Coasters on Atco
The Coasters
There's a Riot Goin' On: ...
10
Night Beat
Sam Cooke
Night Beat
10
Voodoo
D'Angelo
Voodoo
10
In a Special Way
DeBarge
In a Special Way
9
La-La Means I Love You: The Definitive Collection
The Delfonics
La-La Means I Love You: ...
9
Anthology
The Dells
Anthology
10
Greatest Hits: Walking to New Orleans
Fats Domino
Greatest Hits: Walking to ...
10
Born to Sing
En Vogue
Born to Sing
9
First Take
Roberta Flack
First Take
10
Leave It All Behind
The Foreign Exchange
Leave It All Behind
10
50th Anniversary Anthology
The Four Tops
50th Anniversary Anthology
9
Malibu
Anderson .Paak
Malibu
10
One Nation Under a Groove
Funkadelic
One Nation Under a Groove
10
Love Me Back
Jazmine Sullivan
Love Me Back
10
Let's Stay Together
Al Green
Let's Stay Together
10
Guy
1988
Guy
Guy
10
Everything Is Everything
Donny Hathaway
Everything Is Everything
9
The Heat Is On
The Isley Brothers
The Heat Is On
9
Control
Janet Jackson
Control
10
12 Play
R. Kelly
12 Play
10
Wild and Peaceful
Kool & the Gang
Wild and Peaceful
9
Peace Beyond Passion
Meshell Ndegeocello
Peace Beyond Passion
9
Gold
Ohio Players
Gold
10
Back Stabbers
The O'Jays
Back Stabbers
10
Teddy
Teddy Pendergrass
Teddy
9
All-Time Greatest Hits
The Platters
All-Time Greatest Hits
10
Perfect Angel
Minnie Riperton
Perfect Angel
9
Ooo Baby Baby: The Anthology
Smokey Robinson & the ...
Ooo Baby Baby: The ...
10
Masterjam
Rufus / Rufus & Chaka Khan
Masterjam
8
The Very Best of Sam & Dave
Sam & Dave
The Very Best of Sam & Dave
10
Winter in America
Gil Scott-Heron / Gil ...
Winter in America
10
Stand!
Sly & the Family Stone
Stand!
10
Spinners
The Spinners
Spinners
9
Freedom Highway
The Staple Singers
Freedom Highway
9
Cloud Nine
The Temptations
Cloud Nine
9
CrazySexyCool
TLC
CrazySexyCool
10
Allen Toussaint
Allen Toussaint
Allen Toussaint
9
Workin' Together
Ike & Tina Turner
Workin' Together
9
Never Too Much
Luther Vandross
Never Too Much
10
The Very Best of Jackie Wilson [Rhino]
Jackie Wilson
The Very Best of Jackie ...
10
Back to Black
Amy Winehouse
Back to Black
10
Still Bill
Bill Withers
Still Bill
10
The Very Best of Prince
Prince
The Very Best of Prince
10
The Very Best of Otis Redding, Vol. 1
Otis Redding
The Very Best of Otis ...
10
The Best of Parliament: Give Up the Funk
Parliament
The Best of Parliament: ...
10
20 All-Time Greatest Hits!
James Brown
20 All-Time Greatest Hits!
10
The Definitive Collection
Chuck Berry
The Definitive Collection
10
Black Byrd
Donald Byrd
Black Byrd
10
The Very Best of the Impressions [Rhino]
The Impressions
The Very Best of the ...
10
Her Best: The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection
Etta James
Her Best: The Chess 50th ...
10
The Last Mile of the Way
The Soul Stirrers
The Last Mile of the Way
10
Lawdy!
Lloyd Price
Lawdy!
10
The Definitive Collection
Stevie Wonder
The Definitive Collection
10
The Ultimate Bee Gees
Bee Gees
The Ultimate Bee Gees
10
The Very Best of Little Richard [Specialty]
Little Richard
The Very Best of Little ...
10
Greatest Hits (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection)
Little Milton
Greatest Hits (Chess 50th ...
10
One Woman: The Ultimate Collection
Diana Ross
One Woman: The Ultimate ...
10
Good Rocking Tonight: The Best of Roy Brown
Roy Brown
Good Rocking Tonight: The ...
10
Deep Sea Ball: The Best of Clyde McPhatter
Clyde McPhatter
Deep Sea Ball: The Best of ...
10
Jazz Me Blues: The Best of Jimmy Witherspoon
Jimmy Witherspoon
Jazz Me Blues: The Best of ...
9
Ultimate Hits Collection
Ray Charles
Ultimate Hits Collection
10
Blues Masters: The Very Best of Jimmy Reed
Jimmy Reed
Blues Masters: The Very ...
10
Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix / The Jimi ...
Experience Hendrix: The ...
9
The Ultimate Collection
The Temptations
The Ultimate Collection
10
The Definitive Greatest Hits
Al Green
The Definitive Greatest ...
10
Anthology 1962-1974
The Righteous Brothers
Anthology 1962-1974
10
Maggot Brain
Funkadelic
Maggot Brain
10
The Greatest Hits [MCA]
The Ink Spots
The Greatest Hits [MCA]
10
Original Musiquarium I
Stevie Wonder
Original Musiquarium I
10
The Chess Box
Willie Dixon
The Chess Box
10

R&B subgenres and styles [+]