Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated as R&B or R'n'B, is a genre of
popular music that originated in
African-American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban
African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking,
jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular.
In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, one or more saxophones, and sometimes background vocalists. R&B lyrical themes often encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy, as well as triumphs and failures in terms of relationships, economics, and aspirations.
The term "rhythm and blues" has undergone a number of shifts in meaning. In the early 1950s, it was frequently applied to
blues records. Starting in the mid-1950s, after this style of music contributed to the development of
rock and roll, the term "R&B" became used to refer to music styles that developed from and incorporated
electric blues, as well as
soul music. In the 1960s, several British rock bands such as the
the Who and
the Animals were referred to and promoted as being R&B bands; posters for the Who's residency at the
Marquee Club in 1964 contained the slogan, "Maximum R&B". Their mix of rock and roll and R&B is now known as "
British rhythm and blues". By the end of the 1970s, the term "rhythm and blues" had changed again and was used as a blanket term for soul and
funk. In the late 1980s, a newer style of R&B developed, becoming known as "
contemporary R&B". It combines rhythm and blues with elements of
hip hop, and
electronic music. (
There's a Riot Goin' On (sometimes referred to as Riot) is the fifth
studio album by American
Sly and the Family Stone. It was recorded from 1970 to 1971 at
Record Plant Studios in
Sausalito, California and released later that year on November 1 by
Epic Records. The recording was dominated by band frontman
Sly Stone during a period of elevated drug use and intra-group tension.
For the album, Sly and the Family Stone departed from the optimistic
psychedelic soul of their previous music and explored a darker, more challenging sound, employing edgy funk rhythms, primitive
drum machines, extensive
overdubbing, and a dense
mix. Conceptually and lyrically, There's a Riot Goin' On embraced
pessimism, and disillusionment with both Stone's fame and
1960s counterculture amid a turbulent political climate in the United States at the turn of the 1970s, influenced by the decline of the
civil rights movement and the rise of the
Black Power movement. The album's title was originally planned to be Africa Talks to You, but it changed in response to
Marvin Gaye's album
What's Going On (1971), released six months before Riot.
A commercial success, There's a Riot Goin' On topped the
Billboard Pop Album and
Soul Album charts, while its lead single "
Family Affair" reached number-one on the
Pop Singles chart. The album was eventually certified
platinum by the
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of at least one million copies in the US. Originally released to mixed reviews, the album has since been praised as one of the greatest and most influential recordings of all time, having impacted the funk,
hip hop genres in particular. It ranks frequently and highly in many publications' best-album lists, including
Rolling Stone's "
500 Greatest Albums of All Time", on which it placed 99th in 2003 and 82nd in 2020. (
The Supremes were a successful American
female singing trio. Active from 1959 until 1977, the Supremes performed, at various times,
show tunes, and
Motown Records' signature acts, The Supremes were the most successful
African American musical act of the 1960s,
 recording twelve
American number-one hits between 1964 and 1969.
 Many of these singles were written and produced by Motown's main songwriting and production team,
Holland-Dozier-Holland. The crossover success of the Supremes during the mid-1960s paved the way for future black
R&B acts to gain mainstream audiences both in the
United States and overseas.
Michigan in 1959, The Supremes began as a quartet called The Primettes. Founding members
Diana Ross and
Betty McGlown, all from the
public housing project in Detroit,
 were the sister act to The Primes (later known as
 In 1960,
Barbara Martin replaced McGlown, and the group signed with Motown in 1961 as The Supremes. Martin left in early 1962, and Ross, Ballard and Wilson carried on as a trio. Achieving success in the mid-1960s with Ross as lead singer, Motown president
Berry Gordy renamed the group Diana Ross & the Supremes in 1967 and replaced Ballard with
Cindy Birdsong. Ross left the group for a successful solo career in 1970 and was replaced by
Jean Terrell. After 1972, the lineup of the Supremes changed frequently, with
Scherrie Payne and
Susaye Greene all becoming members before the group ended its eighteen-year existence in 1977.