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To celebrate Black Music Month, I have for you today a list of the biggest white artists in the history of Billboard's
R&B chart. That may seem to be an odd way to celebrate Black Music Month, but it dramatises that black music
has influenced countless artists in a wide range of genres.
Elvis Presley, whose hits "Hound Dog" and "Crying In The Chapel" were remakes of earlier R&B hits, is the
most successful white artist in the history of the R&B chart, which is now called Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
Twenty-one white artists rank among the top 500 R&B hit-makers in chart history in chart researcher Joel
Whitburn's indispensable book Hot R&B Songs 1942-2010.
The roster includes numerous blue-eyed soul singers (George Michael, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Robin Thicke,
Justin Timberlake), a rap icon (Eminem), disco stars (KC & the Sunshine Band), a pop provocateur (Madonna),
funk stars (Teena Marie, Average White Band), Latino crossover stars (Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Fat Joe, Jennifer
Lopez, Angela Bofill) and instrumentalists (Herb Alpert, Kenny G).
Here's a complete list of white artists who rank among the top 500 R&B hit-makers in chart history in Hot R&B
Songs 1942-2010. At the end of each entry, I tell you where that act ranks among the top 500.
# 01. Elvis Presley.
The king of rock and roll had 24 top 10 R&B hits, from 1956's "Heartbreak Hotel" to 1963's "(You're The) Devil In Disguise." Six of them, including
"Hound Dog," reached #1. Blues singer Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton had a #1 R&B hit with "Hound Dog" in 1953. Top 500 ranking: #46.
02. Johnny Otis.
Otis amassed 17 top 10 R&B hits, from 1948's "That's Your Last Boogie," a Joe Swift hit on which Otis and his orchestra were featured, to 1958's classic
"Willie And The Hand Jive." Eleven of the hits were collabos with Little Esther and/or Mel Walker. Otis was born John Veliotes in Vallejo, Calif. to Greek
parents. His son, Shuggie Otis, wrote the Brothers Johnson's 1977 smash "Strawberry Letter 23." Top 500 ranking: #141
03. Teena Marie.
Marie had seven top 10 R&B hits, from 1979's "I'm A Sucker For Your Love" to 1991's "If I Were A Bell." "Ooo La La La" reached #1 R&B in 1988. Rick
James discovered Marie and sang a backing vocal on "I'm A Sucker For Your Love." Marie, who was born Mary Brockert, charted with collabos with Baby,
Gerald Levert and Faith Evans. Top 500 ranking: #158.
04. KC & the Sunshine Band.
The disco group included both black and white members, but leader Harry Wayne Casey is white. The group had seven top 10 R&B hits, from 1975's "Get
Down Tonight" to 1979's "Do You Wanna Go Party." Casey co-wrote all seven songs with Richard Finch. (They also co-wrote three top 10 R&B hits,
including "Rock Your Baby," for George McCrae.) K.C. was featured on Teri DeSario's hit remake of Barbara Mason's "Yes, I'm Ready" and on a chart hit by
The 2 Live Crew. Top 500 ranking: #177.
The rap icon, a protégé of Dr. Dre, has had three top 10 R&B hits: the Oscar-winning "Lose Yourself," Drake's "Forever," on which he was featured along
with Kanye West and Lil Wayne, and "Love The Way You Lie" (featuring Rihanna). Eminem was born Marshall Mathers. Top 500 ranking: #205.
To find out the remainder of the 21 artists listed, all you need to do is click here