The term was used by Record companies to refer to recordings marketed predominantly to Afro- Americans, at a time when “urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy insistent beat” was becoming more popular.
Ray Charles, BB King, Ruth Brown, James Brown, Joe Turner were among the greatest R&B talents.
Motown was the first black music label to sign onto R&B in the 60s.
Starting in the 60s, this style of music then contributed to the development of “Rock & Roll”
R&B became used, particularly by white groups, to refer to music styles that developed from and incorporated electric blues, as well as gospel and soul music.
By the 1970s, R&B was being used as a blanket term to describe soul and funk.
With the transition from soul to R&B in the early to mid 80s, solo singer Luther Vandross and new stars like Prince (“Purple Rain”) and the Late Michael Jackson (“Thriller”) (May God Rest His Soul) took over, and dominated throughout the 80s.
Since the 1990s, the term “Contemporary R&B” is now mainly used to refer to a modern version of soul and funk- influenced pop music.
R&B developed from various changes that took place in the US just prior to and during World War II
The most influential change was the mass migration of African Americans from the rural South to the Midwest, Northeast and West Coast.
Seeking to escape racial oppression and in need of high-paying jobs, hundreds of thousands of Afro-Americans migrated from the South to cities like Chicago, New York, Detroit and L.A bringing with them music of the South.
The Southern sound, principally Blues and Gospel, was transformed to create the urban sounds of R&B