Entertainment Music Ten Greatest R&B Bands of All-Time Earth, Wind & Fire Leads Salute to Greatest R&B Bands Share PINTEREST Email Print Music Rhythm & Blues Top Picks Rock Music Pop Music Alternative Music Classical Music Country Music Folk Music Rap & Hip Hop World Music Punk Music Heavy Metal Jazz Latin Music Oldies Learn More By Ken Simmons Ken Simmons is a seasoned broadcast journalist with national visibility, who specializes in writing about rhythm and blues, and pop music. our editorial process Ken Simmons Updated March 18, 2017 Four of the greatest bands in R&B music were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Earth, Wind & Fire; The Isley Brothers, Sly & The Family Stone. and Parliament-Funkadelic. One band has been performing for over five decades, Kool & the Gang, and another, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, continues to sell out after performing for over 45 years. Two groups launched superstars. Lionel Richie was the lead singer of The Commodores, and Chaka Khan began her career with Rufus.The remaining groups defined funk: The Ohio Players, and Cameo. Here is a list of the "Ten Greatest R&B Bands of All-Time." 01 of 10 Earth, Wind & Fire Earth, Wind & Fire. GAB Archive/Redferns Founded by Maurice White (who passed away February 3, 2016 at the age of 74) in Chicago in 1969, Earth, Wind & Fire is one of the greatest bands in music history. The group has sold over 100 million albums, including three triple platinum and two double platinum albums. Known as "The Elements of the Universe," EW&F combines elements of African music, Latin music, R&B, jazz, and rock into a unique sound featuring the dynamic lead voice of Philip Bailey. Recording for over 40 years, the group has won six Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, four American Music Awards, and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Earth, Wind & Fire's concerts are legendary. In the 1970s and 1980s, the group featured amazing illusions, including bass player Verdine White performing while being levitated above the stage, and the members appearing and vanishing in transparent cylinders as if they were traveling through space via the Star Trek transporter beam. Earth, Wind & Fire has recorded numerous classics over five decades, including "After The Love Has Gone (1979), "Shining Star" (1975), and "That's The Way of the World" (1975). 02 of 10 The Isley Brothers The Isley Brothers. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images Recording for over 50 years, The Isley Brothers began as a vocal trio in the 1950s in Cincinnati, Ohio with Ronald Isley as lead singer performing with brothers Rudolph and O'Kelly Isley. The group expanded to six members in 1973 with their 3 + 3 album. Younger brothers Ernie lsley (guitar) and Marvin Isley (bass) joined the group along with Rudolph's brother-in-law, Chris Jasper (keyboards). The Isley Brothers have released four double platinum, six platinum, and four gold albums. Seven of their singles have reached number one on the Billboard R&B chart. Two of their songs, "Shout," and Twist and Shout." were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The Isleys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. They have also received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and a BET Lifetime Achievement Award. 03 of 10 Parliament-Funkadelic Parliament-Funkadelic. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images George Clinton is the legendary leader of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic which record separately and perform together in concert. Parliament began in the 1960s in New Jersey as a doo-wop vocal group called The Parliaments, and Funkadelic served as their band. The Parliaments eventually evolved into a mainstream funk group under the name Parliament, and Funkadelic assumed its own identity as a psychedelic soul group inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Sly & The Family Stone. Known collectively as Parliament-Funkadelic, P-Funk became the most outrageous African-American band of the 1970s and 80s, famous for landing the "Mothership" on stage during 4 hour marathon concerts. Mastermind Clinton is a genius lyricist who is idolized in the hip-hop world, and his talented musicians, especially keyboardist Bernie Worrell, bassist Bootsy Collins (from James Brown's band), and guitarists Michael Hampton, Eddie Hazel, and Gary Shider are worshipped by rock fans. Parliament-Funkadelic hit number one five times on the Billboard R&B singles chart, including "Flash Light" (1978), "One Nation Under A Groove" (1978), and "(Not Just) Knee Deep" (1979). P-Funk was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. 04 of 10 Kool & The Gang Kool and the Gang. Kool and the Gang Formed in 1964 in Jersey City, New Jersey, Kool & The Gang has been performing for over 50 years. Led by bass player Robert "Kool" Bell, the group began as a jazz instrumental band before transitioning into R&B and funk. Kool & The Gang has sold over 70 million records, including five platinum, three gold, and one double platinum album (Emergency in 1984). Its eight number one singles include "Celebration" (1980), "Ladies' Night" (1979), "and "Joanna" (1983). Their honors include five American Music Awards, a Soul Train Legend Award, and a Grammy for Album of the Year for Saturday Night Fever (which included their song, "Open Sesame"). 05 of 10 Sly & the Family Stone Sly and the Family Stone. David Warner Ellis/Redferns Formed in 1967 in San Francisco by Sylvester Stewart, Sly & The Family Stone was one of the most influential bands of the 1960s and 70s. They were the leaders of the "psychedelic soul" movement, combining R&B and rock into their own unique sound. The Family Stone were trailblazers with their integrated, multi-gender lineup. Their unforgettable performance at the historic Woodstock Festival in 1969 elevated their stature to one of the most revered acts in the world. The group released three platinum albums, including the five times platinum Greatest Hits in 1970. They also recorded four number one singles including "Everyday People" (1968), "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" (1969), and "Family Affair" (1971). The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. 06 of 10 Maze featuring Frankie Beverly Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic The group Maze featuring Frankie Beverly began as Raw Soul in Philadelphia in 1970. After moving to the San Francisco Bay area, they were discovered by Marvin Gaye who renamed the band, Maze. Beginning with their 1977 self-titled debut release, all of their eight studio albums have been certified gold, plus their 1981 Live In New Orleans album. Maze has two number one singles, "Back In Stride" in 1985, and "Can't Get Over You" in 1989. Their signature song, "Before I Let Go," only reached number 13 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1981, however, it is one of the greatest live party jams of all-time. Now in its fifth decade, Maze continues to be one of the top touring attractions in R&B, and is a favorite of the annual Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, 07 of 10 The Commodores The Commodores. Echoes/Redferns Formed in 1968 on the campus of Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, The Commodores were one of the most successful R&B acts in he mid 1970s and early 1980s. Prior to releasing their first album Machine Gun on Motown Records in 1974, the band toured in 1971 as the opening act for The Jackson Five. With Lionel Richie as lead vocalist, the group recorded four number one albums, and six number one singles, including "Three Times Lady" (1978), "Easy" (1977), and "Still" (1979). After Richie left for a solo career, The Commodores won their first Grammy Award in 1986: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for "Nightshift." 08 of 10 Rufus featuring Chaka Khan Rufus featuring Chaka Khan. Michael Marks/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images Rufus featuring Chaka Khan recorded four gold and two platinum albums, including four number one albums, in the 1970s. The band hit the top of the Billboard R&B singles chart five times, including "Sweet Thing" (1975), "Do You Love What You Feel," (1979) and "Ain't Nobody" (1983) which won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Their first hit single, "Tell Me Something Good," composed by Stevie Wonder, also won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Khan left the group for a solo career in 1978, however she reunited with the band for the 1983 album, Stompin' at the Savoy – Live. 09 of 10 Cameo Cameo. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images In 1974, Larry Blackmon formed the group New York City Players which became one of the greatest funk bands known as Cameo. From 1979-1988, the group recorded eight gold and one platinum albums. It also reached number one on the Billboard R&B singles chart four times, including two consecutive chart topping songs in 1987, "Word Up!" and "Candy." In 1987 and 1988, Cameo won an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Band/Duo/Group, and two Soul Train Music Awards: Best R&B/Soul Single - Group, Band or Duo ("Word Up!"), and Best R&B/Soul Album - Group, Band or Duo (Word Up!) 10 of 10 The Ohio Players The Ohio Players. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images The Ohio Players dominated the mid 1970s with four consecutive number one albums on the Billboard R&B chart (including three platinum) Skin Tight (1974), Fire (1974), Honey (1975), and Contradiction (1976). The band also recorded five chart topping singles, including "Funky Worm" (1973), "Sweet Sticky Thing" (1975), "Love Rollercoaster" (1975). In addition to their distinctive, funkified sound, The Ohio Players were famous for the most erotic album covers.