Definition of rhythm and blues in US English:

rhythm and blues

(also R & B)


  • A form of popular music of African-American origin that arose during the 1940s from blues, with the addition of driving rhythms taken from jazz. It was an immediate precursor of rock and roll.

    • ‘We have pop, hip hop, R & B - something for everybody because we're not just going in one direction.’
    • ‘This is not just urban, this is not just R & B, this is music for the soul.’
    • ‘But with rhythm and blues and soul music you don't often get the best lyrics, so for that I kind of prefer Leonard Cohen, or Bob Dylan.’
    • ‘I've just moved to London and I'm now working at the hottest record spot for R & B and hip hop tunes called Blendz Records.’
    • ‘He was not just a straight-ahead, three-chord folkie, but he created a harmonic fusion of folk, jazz, rhythm and blues, and soul stylings.’
    • ‘Second, while many festivals seek to preserve the Delta blues, most feature a variety of musical styles, including rhythm and blues, soul, gospel, and rock and roll.’
    • ‘George Benson, the man who some 30 plus years ago made the crossover from jazz to rhythm and blues, soul and pop, belongs very much in the latter category.’
    • ‘Our sound is a crazy blend of hip hop, R & B and electronic sounds.’
    • ‘To my ears, Malian music is a direct precursor of American rhythm and blues, and listening to Doumbia is a lesson in the roots of classic R&B ballads.’
    • ‘The initial musical spark was built around a mixture of highly incongruous styles, including medieval folk, bossa nova, soul, rhythm and blues, and jazz.’
    • ‘For just as with rhythm and blues, hip hop is also riddled with racial, ethnic, class, gender, and generational contradictions.’
    • ‘This combination of R & B, two step and jazz flavours provides a backdrop for one of the most exciting voices to have emerged in recent years.’
    • ‘Off ice, Evora listens to rhythm and blues, alternative and techno music, while Ladwig will listen to anything.’
    • ‘An important nerve in reggae's musical spinal cord came directly from African American rhythm and blues and soul music and the evolving folk music movement.’
    • ‘On my album there are a few vibes like an R & B and a reggae vibe, but mainly hip hop.’
    • ‘Is Edgar merely poking fun at modern hip hop / R & B's macho posturing?’
    • ‘Adapting quickly to new circumstances, he decided to stock up on rap, rhythm and blues, and jazz cassettes to market to African Americans in Harlem.’
    • ‘Ollie Bayston's voice veers between Robert Smith and Richard Ashcroft while beating out electric piano riffs, which borrow from 60's and 70's rhythm and blues.’
    • ‘We want house music and rhythm and blues and spicy barbecue.’
    • ‘The Rolling Stones evolved from Richards' and Jagger's teenage enthusiasm for black American rhythm and blues.’


rhythm and blues

/ˈrɪðəm ænd/