Rhythm and Blues

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Rhythm and Blues, often abbreviated R&B or R'n'B, is a music genre that originated in the 1940s. It originally applied to an upbeat form of the blues which was becoming increasingly popular among black Americans living in northern cities such as Chicago and St Louis. A typical R&B act in the 1950s thru the 1970s consisted of a vocalist (usually with background support), piano, one or more guitars, bass, drums, and (sometimes) saxophone. Lyrics are generally blues-orientated and reflect passions of pain, joy and other emotions. Largely due to Chuck Berry, R&B became almost synonymous with Rock 'n' Roll in the 1950s and the term became used in a wider context to include styles like electric blues, gospel and soul.

In the early 1960s, R&B became very popular in Great Britain where bands like The Rolling Stones, The Who and The Animals became famous exponents. The genre has continued to evolve through the following decades and there are now sub-genres including funk, disco, hip hop, and electronic music.

Besides the above, famous R&B and soul performers include Louis Jordan, Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, James Brown, Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, Etta James, Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.