250 Greatest R&b Songs Of The 80s And 90s

The R&B genre is a collective amalgamation of funk, soul, rhythm and blues, dance, pop and hip-hop. The 80s and 90s were memorable decades for R&B. Here’s an epic showcase of the best songs from that era.
250 Greatest R&B Songs of the 80s and 90s
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While R&B started taking roots in the late 60s, it emerged into its own towards the late 70s during the disco dominance. With advance in technology in the 70s, the electronic sound flourished propelling disco to new heights. The early sounds of R&B attribute to the genius of Quincy Jones an American record producer, composer, conductor and arranger who created a new dance oriented sound in black music adding sophisticated electronic elements. The lush vocal arrangements and smooth musical structure form the distinctive R&B sound. Quincy Jones took recording production to new levels through the 80s. The R&B sound we

hear in present day songs owes a lot to Quincy Jones’s creative vision.

R&B in the 80s and 90s

The drum machine-backed rhythms have become trademark in R&B songs. Dance inspired R&B has become excessively in present times. The 80s and 90s are considered the quintessential decades for R&B. Some of the best R&B songs emerged in these decades. With electronic influences fusing new sounds the trend of R&B-hip-hop became prominent in the 90s.

The disco sound in the late 70s made way to a lush R&B sound that has gone on to become one of the most popular mainstream genres in music. A number of R&B songs have gone onto become chart toppers in various countries, which speaks volumes of a commercially accessible sound in the realms of mainstream.

One of the first music albums to showcase the R&B sound with elements of dance, funk, disco and soul was Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall in 1979. Many music pundits consider the sound on this album that paved the way for contemporary R&B. While the music sensibilities in R&B have evolved over the years, it’s the lush vocal arrangements that remain rooted to the genre.

While the 80s had memorable dance-laced R&B songs, the 90s made way for the smooth sound of R&B ballads and R&B-hip-hop.  The use of synthesizers and saxophones gave unique identity to R&B songs in the 80s and 90s. The hip hop sound that emerged in R&B with stinging venom in the mid-90s created a new direction for contemporary R&B. Many R&B vocalists are known for their innovative use of melisma. R&B singers known for their unique and innovative use of melisma are mentiond below.

  • Stevie Wonder
  • Deniece Williams
  • Michael Jackson
  • Whitney Houston
  • Mariah Carey
  • R Kelly
  • Craig David
  • Christina Aguilera
  • Byonce

While the flavor of R&B songs has evolved dramatically since the year 2000, it’s the essence of the 80s and 90s that is clearly the soul of modern day R&B.

The space below showcases an epic list of the best R&B dance songs, R&B/Soul songs, R&B- Hip-Hop and R&B ballads.

250 Greatest R&B Songs of the 80s and 90s

  1. End of The Road- Boyz 2 Men (1991)
  2. Endless Love- Lionel Richie and Diana Ross (1981)
  3. I Believe I Can Fly- R. Kelly (1996)
  4. Billie Jean- Michael Jackson (1982)
  5. I Just Called To Say I Love You- Stevie Wonder (1984)
  6. I Will Always Love You- Whitney Houston (1992)
  7. The Boy Is Mine- Brandy and Monica (1998)
  8. All My Life- K-Ci & Jojo (1997)
  9. This Is How We Do It- Montell Jordan (1995)
  10. No Diggity- Blackstreet featuring Dr.Dre, Queen Pen (1996)
  11. Feels Good- Tony! Toni! Tone! (1990)
  12. No Scrubs- TLC (1999)
  13. Remember The Time- Michael Jackson (1991)
  14. My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)- En Vogue (1992)
  15. Sittin’ Up In My Room- Brandy (1995)
  16. Real Love- Mary J. Blige (1992)
  17. I’ll Make Love To You- Boyz 2 Men (1992)
  18. Pony- Ginuwine (1996)
  19. Un-Break My Heart- Toni Braxton (1996)
  20. Part Time Lover- Stevie Wonder (1985)
  21. That’s The Way Love Goes- Janet Jackson (1991)
  22. Waterfalls- TLC (1994)
  23. You Make Me Wanna…- Usher (1997)
  24. What’s Love Got To Do With It- Tina Turner (1984)
  25. Motownphilly- Boyz 2 Men (1991)
  26. Bump N’ Grind- R. Kelly (1993)
  27. Where My Girls At- 702 (1999)
  28. I Wanna Dance With Somebody- Whitney Houston (1987)
  29. Forget Me Nots- Patrice Rushen (1982)
  30. Say My Name- Destiny’s Child (1998)
  31. I Feel For You- Chaka Khan (1984)
  32. Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)- Soul 2 Soul (1989)
  33. Freak Like Me- Adina Howard (1995)
  34. Give Me The Night- George Benson (1980)
  35. I Love Your Smile- Shanice (1991)
  36. Always Be My Baby- Mariah Carey (1995)
  37. Just Kickin’ It- Xscape (1993)
  38. All Around The World- Lisa Stansfield (1989)
  39. Poison- Bell Biv DeVoe (1990)
  40. If I Ever Fall In Love- Shai (1992)
  41. Ain’t Nobody- Chaka Khan and Rufus (1983)
  42. Love Like This- Faith Evans (1999)
  43. Are You That Somebody- Aaliyah (1998)
  44. No Ordinary Love- Sade (1992)
  45. Creep- TLC (1994)
  46. Rub You The Right Way- Johnny Gill (1990)
  47. One Sweet Day- Boyz 2 Men and Mariah Carey (1995)
  48. I Wanna Sex You Up- Color Me Baad (1991)
  49. Bills Bills Bills- Destiny’s Child (1999)
  50. Word Up!- Cameo (1986)
  51. Hey Mr. D.J.- Zhane (1994)
  52. Giving You The Benefit- Pebbles (1990)
  53. I’m So Into You- SWV (1992)
  54. Baby, Come To Me- Patti Austin and James Ingram (1981)
  55. Freak Me- Silk (1992)
  56. Come and Talk To Me- Jodeci (1991)
  57. Gett Off- Prince (1991)
  58. I’m Your Baby Tonight- Whitney Houston (1990)
  59. My Prerogative- Bobby Brown (1988)
  60. I Miss You- Aaron Hall (1993)
  61. Only You- 112 Featuring Notorious BIG and Mase  (1996)
  62. You’re Makin Me High- Toni Braxton (1996)
  63. On My Own- Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald (1986)
  64. Doo Wop (That Thing)- Lauryn Hill (1998)
  65. Twisted- Keith Sweet (1996)
  66. Not Gon’ Cry- Mary J. Blige (1995)
  67. I Wanna Love You- Jade (1995)
  68. Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’- Michael Jackson (1982)
  69. Can You Stop the Rain?- Peabo Bryson (1991)
  70. Back At One- Brian McKnight (1999)
  71. I Swear- All-4-One (1994)
  72. Vision of Love- Mariah Carey (1990)
  73. Candy Rain- Soul For Real (1995)
  74. The First Night- Monica
  75. Don’t Walk Away- Jade (1992)
  76. Power of Love/Love Power- Luther Vandross (1991)
  77. Freeway of Love- Aretha Franklin (1985)
  78. Another Sad Love Song- Toni Braxton (1993)
  79. Too Close- Next (1997)
  80. Emotions- Mariah Carey (1991)
  81. U Know What's Up - Donell Jones (1999)
  82. Unpretty- TLC (1999)
  83. Get Down On It- Kool &The Gang (1981)
  84. Love Takes Time- Mariah Carey (1990)
  85. Water Runs Dry- Boyz 2 Men (1994)
  86. Fantasy- Mariah Carey (1994)
  87. Love Come Down- Evelyn Champagne King (1982)
  88. Honey- Mariah Carey (1997)
  89. Whip Appeal- Babyface (1989)
  90. If This World Were Mine- Luther Vandross and Cheryl Lynn (1982)
  91. Nice and Slow- Usher (1997)
  92. Baby- Brandy (1994)
  93. Back and Forth- Aaliyah (1994)
  94. Let’s Groove- Earth, Wind & Fire (1981)
  95. Just Got Paid- Johnny Kemp (1986)
  96. Let the Beat Hit 'Em - Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam (1991)
  97. Weak- SWV (1992)
  98. Sweet Love- Anita Baker (1985)
  99. Every Little Step- Bobby Brown (1988)
  100. Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)- (1984)
  101. Anniversary- Tony! Toni! Tone! (1993)
  102. No, No, No Part 2- Destiny’s Child (1998)
  103. When Doves Cry- Prince (1984)
  104. Shake You Down- Gregory Abbott (1986)
  105. I Wanna Be Down- Brandy (1994)
  106. Cherish- Kool & The Gang (1985)
  107. Masterpiece- Atlantic Starr (1991)
  108. Cool It Now- New Edition (1984)
  109. When Can I See You Again?- Babyface (1993)
  110. Let’s Hear it For The Boy- Deniece Williams (1984)
  111. All The Things (Your Man Won't Do)- Joe (1997)
  112. Right Here- SWV (1991)
  113. Body and Soul- Anita Baker (1994)
  114. Forever My Lady- Jodeci (1991)
  115. Don’t Let Go- En Vogue (1996)
  116. You are My Lady- Freddie Jackson (1985)
  117. Hit Me Off- New Edition (1996)
  118. Shower Me With Your Love- Surface (1988)
  119. I Wanna Know- Joe (1999)
  120. Give It To Me Baby- Rick James (1981)
  121. Nobody's Supposed to Be Here - Deborah Cox (1998)
  122. On and On- Erykah Badu (1997)
  123. Count on Me- Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans (1995)
  124. My, My, My- Johnny Gill (1990)
  125. Let It Whip- Dazz Band (1982)
  126. She’s A Bad Mama Jama (She’s Built, She’s Stacked - Carl Carlton (1982)
  127. Have You Ever?- Brandy (1998)
  128. Every Time I Close My Eyes- Babyface (1996)
  129. Secret Lovers- Atlantic Starr (1985)
  130. Nobody- Keith Sweat and Athena Cage (1996)
  131. I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)- Hi-Five (1990)
  132. When I Think of You- Janet Jackson (1985)
  133. Never Too Much- Luther Vandross (1981)
  134. Humpin' Around - Bobby Brown (1992)
  135. Don’t Take it Personal (Just One of Dem Days )- Monica (1995)
  136. I Have Nothing- Whitney Houston (1992)
  137. Any Time, Any Place- Janet Jackson (1994)
  138. Baby-Baby-Baby- TLC (1992)
  139. Lies- En Vogue (1990)
  140. Heartbreaker- Mariah Carey (1999)
  141. Friends and Lovers- Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson (1985)
  142. New Attitude- Patti LaBelle (1985)
  143. Stomp- The Brothers Johnson (1980)
  144. On Bended Knee - Boyz 2 Men (1994)
  145. Can We Talk?- Tevin Campbell (1993)
  146. Little Walter- Tony! Toni! Tone! (1988)
  147. I Like It- DeBarge (1982)
  148. All Night Long (All Night)- Lionel Richie (1983)
  149. Here and Now- Luther Vandross (1989)
  150. Dreamlover- Mariah Carey (1993)
  151. Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ Out But The Rent - Gwen Guthrie (1986)
  152. She's Playing Hard to Get- Hi-Five (1992)
  153. You're the One- SWV (1995)
  154. Nightshift- Commodores (1985)
  155. Don't Leave Me- Blackstreet

    (1996)
  156. The Right Stuff- Vanessa Williams (1988)
  157. If You Love Me- Brownstone (1995)
  158. Caravan of Love- Isley-Jasper-Isley (1985)
  159. Let’s Get Serious- Jermaine Jackson (1980)
  160. Kissing You- Keith Washington (1991)
  161. Solid- Ashford and Simpson (1984)
  162. Knockin' Da Boots- H-Town (1993)
  163. In My Bed- Dru Hill (1996)
  164. Being With You- Smokey Robinson (1981)
  165. Yearning For Your Love- The Gap Band (1981)
  166. Love Shoulda Brought You Home- Toni Braxton (1992)
  167. Save the Best for Last- Vanessa Williams (1992)
  168. Free Your Mind- En Vogue (1992)
  169. All This Love- DeBarge (1982)
  170. Lady- D'Angelo (1995)
  171. Mercedes Boy- Pebbles (1987)
  172. Fortunate- Maxwell (1999)
  173. Don't Wanna Change the World- Phyllis Hyman (1991)
  174. How Deep is Your Love?- Dru Hill (1998)
  175. Shining Star- The Manhattans (1980)
  176. Joanna- Kool & The Gang (1983)
  177. Exhale (Shoop Shoop)- Whitney Houston (1995)
  178. Tell Me What You Want Me to Do- Tevin Campbell (1991)
  179. One in a Million- Aaliyah (1996)
  180. I'll Give All My Love to You- Keith Sweat (1990)
  181. I’m Your Angel- R.Kelly and Celine Dion (1998)
  182. Dream on Dreamer- Brand New Heavies (1994)
  183. I’ve Learned To Respect The Power of Love- Stephanie Mills (1985)
  184. Don’t Be Cruel- Bobby Brown (1988)
  185. I Belong to You (Every Time I See Your Face)- Rome (1997)
  186. Dancing In The Sheets- Shalamar (1984)
  187. Breathe Again- Toni Braxton (1993)        
  188. Oooh La La La- Teena Marie (1988)
  189. Enchantment- I Know Your Hot Spot (1982)
  190. Running Back to You- Vanessa Williams (1991)
  191. What About Your Friends?- TLC (1992)
  192. Mr. Telephone Man- New Edition (1984)
  193. You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)- Jeffrey Osborne (1986)
  194. Tell Me- Groove Theory (1995)
  195. I Like- Guy (1988)
  196. Save The Overtime- Gladys Knight and The Pips (1983)
  197. Let's Ride- Montell Jordan (1998)
  198. I Belong to You- Toni Braxton (1993)
  199. Touch Me, Tease Me- Case Featuring Foxy Brown, Mary J. Blige (1996)
  200. Between The Sheets- The Isley Brothers (1983)
  201. Romantic- Karyn White (1992)
  202. You, Me and He- Mtume (1984)
  203. This is for the Lover in You- Babyface (1996)
  204. Caught Out There- Kelis (1999)
  205. My Love is Your Love- Whitney Houston (1998)
  206. Looking For A New Love- Jody Watley (1982)
  207. Show Me The Way- Regina Belle (1987)
  208. Let's Chill- Guy (1990)
  209. Slow Hand- Pointer Sisters (1981)
  210. Sweet Lady- Tyrese (1998)
  211. They Don't Know- Jon B. (1997)
  212. Return of the Mack- Mark Morrison (1996)
  213. I'm Ready- Tevin Campbell (1993)
  214. Oh Sheila- Ready For The World (1985)
  215. Red Light Special- TLC (1994)
  216. For Your Love- Stevie Wonder (1995)
  217. Anytime- Brian McKnight (1997)
  218. I Just Can’t Stop Loving You- Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett (1987)
  219. Never Gonna Let You Go- Tina Moore (1995)
  220. Stroke You Up- Changing Faces (1994)
  221. Your Smile- Rene & Angela (1985)
  222. Candy- Cameo (1986)
  223. How Can I Ease the Pain?- Lisa Fischer (1991)
  224. Thong Song- Sisqo (1999)
  225. I'm Still in Love with You- New Edition (1996)
  226. Do Me Right- Guy (1990)
  227. Somebody Loves You Baby (You Know Who It Is)- Patti LaBelle (1991)
  228. You Remind Me- Mary J. Blige (1991)
  229. Exclusivity- Damian Dame (1991)
  230. Don't Wanna Fall in Love- Jane Child (1992)
  231. All I Want Is Forever- Regina Belle and J.T. Taylor (1989)
  232. Lovergirl- Teena Marie (1984)
  233. Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)- R. Kelly feat. Ronald Isley & Ernie Isley (1995)
  234. Groove Thang – Zhane (1992)
  235. How ‘Bout Us- Champaign (1981)
  236. The Best Things In Life Are Free- Luther Vandross & Janet Jackson (1992)
  237. Do Me!-  Bell Biv Devoe (1989)
  238. He's Mine- Mokenstef (1995)
  239. Happily Ever After- Case (1999)
  240. Someone to Love- Jon B. & Babyface (1995)
  241. If- Janet Jackson (1993)
  242. So You Like What You See?- Samuelle (1990)
  243. Together Again- Janet Jackson (1997)
  244. If Your Girl Only Knew- Aaliyah (1996)
  245. Brown Sugar- D'Angelo (1995)
  246. Don't Be Afraid- Aaron Hall (1991)
  247. I Can't Sleep Baby (If I)- R. Kelly (1995)
  248. Breakin' My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)- Mint Condition (1991)
  249. Encore- Cheryl Lynn (1983)
  250. Hold You Tight- Tara Kemp (1991)


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