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Rhythm and Blues (or simply R&B) is a genre of popular music of African-American origin. In one use, the term is simply a euphemism for "popular music played by and for African-Americans". In 1948 Billboard magazine renamed its "race" chart for records popular in African-American markets the "Rhythm & Blues" chart. The chart was renamed "Soul" in 1969 and simply "Black" in 1982, but the "Rhythm & Blues" name was re-introduced in 1990.

The term is, however, used as the main name for two different musical genres.

The original rhythm and blues was the dominant style of African-American popular music from the late 1940s until the mid-1960s. The Big Band music of the inter-war period was being killed off by wartime conscription, wartime restrictions on long-distance transportation, and a decline in the popularity of live music due to increasing availability of recorded music on the radio or on records. Rhythm and blues was audibly a descendant of big band jazz, but was marked by smaller groups, less complex improvisation, and a renewed focus on the song and singers rather than instrumental pieces and soloists. It was a major influence on early Rock & Roll, and sometimes whether specific 1950s recordings are remembered as R&B or early rock seems to depend solely on the ethnic background of the performer. While early rock'n'roll quickly became dominated by the electric guitar, rhythm and blues usually retained the saxophone, trumpet, or piano as lead instrument, with the guitar playing rhythm parts.

The name "rhythm & blues" was revived in the 1990s for Contemporary R&B, a style based around backing soul or pop vocals with hip-hop influenced instrumental sounds.

R&B is split into or encompasses these genres:

Traditional R&B artists:

Alternative Title(s): Rhythm And Blues