It might not be the most popular in the music universe. Still, rhythm and blues, abbreviated RnB, has a long and colourful history and has managed to appropriate millions of followers worldwide.
Thought to have originated in Africa-American communities in the 1940s, the genre has since traversed the world, embracing just about anything in its path. As a result, it is nearly impossible to point to a country on the map where the genre has not somehow reached.
Rom South Africa to the United States to Nigeria, you have RnB singers. While some artists do their things solo, others are happy to link up with musical like-minds to create.
However, in this post, the focus is on duets and the magic they have managed to create over time. Therefore, while the opinion here is “top 20,” the fact remains that opinion will always be subjective.
Well, here go the Top 20 R&B duets of all time.
1. Your Precious Love - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
1. “Your Precious Love” – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
He may have died tragically in the hands of his father, but Mavin Gaye’s legacy is very much alive. The “Sexual Healing” hitmaker also left behind several other tunes that are winners today.
One such tune is “Your Precious Love,” a collaborative work with Tammi Terrell. Released in 1967, this soulful tune will easily win the hearts of music lovers to this day. Not to the missed is the musical synergy between both singers.
2. Endless Love - Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
2. “Endless Love” – Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
“Endless Love” is what it is – a tale of the possibility of endless love. On this number, two iconic singers, Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, linked up, putting together a jam of incontrovertible resonance.
This number is particularly charming because the intervening years have not eroded its charms, far from it. So you can rock this number with a lover and sans regrets.
3. Fire And Desire - Rick James & Teena Marie
3. “Fire And Desire” – Rick James & Teena Marie
Released in 1981, “Fire And Desire” is a duet by Rick James and Teena Marie. The result of this timeless partnership is of strong appeal years after it was released.
“Fire And Desire” can fire up your bones and make you forget the troubling realities around you and focus on the good times – with that soul for whom your heartbeats. It’s hard not to love it.
4. You’re All I Need To Get By - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell (1968)
4. “You’re All I Need To Get By” – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell (1968)
Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell scored another winner with “You’re All I Need To Get By.” Besides its sonic appeal, this song already reveals the fierce musical synergy behind the number of songsters.
The only regret is that it’s impossible to get both singers on the same number again. But, as the saying goes, life happens. Yet there’s no denying “You’re All I Need To Get By” is a priceless legacy.
5. Endless Love - Luther Vandross & Mariah Carey
5. “Endless Love” – Luther Vandross & Mariah Carey
“Endless Love” was a winning tune by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross. In 1994, however, Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey linked up to release a cover of that number. And it was a big win.
The song, which was part of the 1994 album “Songs,” was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category.
6. On My Own - Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald
6. “On My Own” – Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald
Patti LaBelle is no stranger to the charts. But her “On My Own” with Michael McDonald further established her reputation as a singer worth hearing. The days of the LaBelle group might be over, but the creation of one of its members resonates to this day.
Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald had a unique partnership, an “On My Own” is a mere testament of how good they are as a duo.
7. With You, I’m Born Again - Billy Preston & Syreeta
7. “With You, I’m Born Again” – Billy Preston & Syreeta
Released in1980, “With You, I’m Born Again” by Billy Preston and Syreeta is a song of great emotional appeal that will still resonate with many today. If you’re confused by the title of the song, you might want to know right away that this is no gospel risotto.
It is yet a number to vibe with – especially if you want your soul renewed with the waters of the spirit of your lovers. Hands together for this one.
8. Baby, Come To Me - Patti Austin & James Ingram
8. “Baby, Come To Me” – Patti Austin & James Ingram
Released in 1982, “Baby, Come To Me” by Patti Austin and James Ingram is one number that will easily resonate with lovers out there. So if you’re a believer in the letters of love, you should be in great company with this number.
Patti Austin and James Ingram hit id off on this one. The default reaction to this number is to serenade a lover with it. Not bad.
9. The Closer I Get To You - Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway
9. “The Closer I Get To You” – Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway
“The Closer I Get To You” heralds the coming of love and amity, and one can only welcome the same. This number was put together by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway in 1978.
Decades may have elapsed, but the appeal of this number remains. “The Closer I Get To You” is best shared with a lover. And it’s irrelevant whether it’s Valentine’s day at the time of sharing or not.
10. Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
10. “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
Ah, the third entry for Marvin, and it might begin to appear that…. never mind! Marvin Gaye left some killer RnB gems that can still outcharm some modern drops. The man earned his stripes before his brutal murder.
And it’s incontrovertible that he was pure magic performing alongside Tammi Terrell. Listen!
11. Make It Last Forever - Keith Sweat & Jacci McGhee
11. “Make It Last Forever” – Keith Sweat & Jacci McGhee
When “Make It Last Forever” was released in 1988 by Keith Sweat and Jacci McGhee, fans had a semblance of an emollient on their souls. Decades have passed, and this song can still do its magic to the psyche of those who would listen.
Just tap into the charms of this number and make the good times last forever – in your soul.
12. Found A Cure - Ashford & Simpson
12. “Found A Cure” – Ashford & Simpson
Ashford & Simpson “Found A Cure” for your boredom with a song released in 1979. So if you’re still getting bored in 2022, you’re out of touch – literally. Lol. The joke aside, Ashford & Simpson have got a mini-classic in their “Found A Cure” tune.
And no, you don’t need to be an RnB nut to appreciate the charms of this number. You can have a blast with it right here.
13. Reunited - Peaches & Herb
13. “Reunited” – Peaches & Herb
Released in 1979, “Reunited” brought together Peaches and Herb. The names of both artists bring images of food to mind. And that’s what you get in their song, really – food for the soul.
“Reunited” was one of the biggest songs of 1979 and was ultimately nominated for a Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1980.
14. Hold Me - Whitney Houston & Teddy Pendergrass
14. “Hold Me” – Whitney Houston & Teddy Pendergrass
Memories of Whitney Houston leap into life with this duet featuring Teddy Pendergrass. Released in 1984, you can comfortably hold on to this song today without regrets.
Hold Me” is a number to retain on the playlist – and no, it’s not just for the RnB crowd out there. A love of music and a good time is all you need to vibe with this.
15. My Boo - Usher & Alicia Keys
15. “My Boo” – Usher & Alicia Keys
Having Usher and Alicia Keys on the same number is nothing short of a benediction, and that’s what they unleashed with their “My Boo” tune of 2004. Of course, love is the message here, but the duo manages to spare the listener that soppiness that saps away the power of most songs.
“My Boo” is a song you can vibe with any day without boredom intruding.
16. You Don’t Have To Cry - René & Àngela
16. “You Don’t Have To Cry” – René & Àngela
“You Don’t Have To Cry,” croon René and Àngela in this winning RnB tune released in 1985. Over three decades may have passed since the song’s release, but the years have not sapped the appeal of this number.
René and Àngela have such a great musical connection that it’s easy to want to hear them over and over. Fortunately, they have got other songs that are not part of our list.
17. No Air - Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown (2006)
17. “No Air” – Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown (2006)
“No Air,” ironically, actually pumps up the listener. It’s elevating on many levels and ought to be on the playlist of anyone who loves a good time. If you should count yourself among, then welcome to the world of Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown. You should love their energy.
18. Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This - Rachelle Ferrell & Will Downing
18. “Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This” – Rachelle Ferrell & Will Downing
Released in 1994, “Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This” by Rachelle Ferrell and Will Downing easily grows on the listener. This unapologetically searing number will make a grand addition to your playlist, as well as a subject for deep conversation.
19. Where Do We Go From Here? - Stacy Lattisaw & Johnny Gill
19. “Where Do We Go From Here?” – Stacy Lattisaw & Johnny Gill
From the title of the song, it might appear that a question is being asked. From listening to this song, though, you’re most likely to have an answer in one aspect of life or the other.
Stacy Lattisaw and Johnny Gill killed this 1990 release and cannot but love it
20. Reservations For Two - Dionne Warwick & Kashif
20. “Reservations For Two” – Dionne Warwick & Kashif
“Reservations For Two” brought together Dionne Warwick and Kashif in 1987. The years have passed, but their collaborative tune has not lost its luster. So, like when it was released, you can still listen to it today without being taken prisoner by boredom.
Dionne Warwick and Kashif melded emotional lyrics that will carry just about any soul on a good day. It’s just a pity the days of their fire are over, and not much is heard about them again.
The idea of a list – list almost every other subject out there – will remain subjective. That notwithstanding, we’re confident you will love the list we have put out.