Photo: Metaweb/CC-BY
Music

The Best Bands from Illinois 

Clark Benson
Updated June 8, 2017 46.2k views 17 items

Chicago bands and Illinois bands in general. As a native Chicagoan who went to school in Champaign, i feel entitled to weigh in on this matter. That said, i'm probably missing the boat on some less prominent Chicago bands of the late nineties and "oughts".

One side note to this list - for the most part, i have a thing where i can tell by a band name if i WON"T like a band, it's about 95% accurate for bands that have albums out, and probably even more for all bands. the two times in my life where i have been most wrong about band names happened when i was still living in Illinois back in 1991. I saw a band whose name i hated but who had some local buzz at the Lounge Ax - they were called the Vulgar Boatmen. As predicted, they totally weren't for me. So, having broken my rule and gone out to see a band with a horrible name, i decided i wasn't going to get burned twice. The next two young bands i blew off, for "lame band name reasons" were called Uncle Tupelo and the Smashing Pumpkins.

doh!
1
Wilco is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois
2
Ranker Video
3
Cheap Trick is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois
4
Naked Raygun is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois
5
Ministry is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois
6
Liz Phair is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois
7
Styx is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois
Yes, Styx has spit out quite a bit of garbage over the years, but "the hits" and "the almost hit album tracks" add up. i would even go see an original Styx reunion, but i think 2 of them are now dead or something.

More Styx 

#99 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #4 of 417 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #192 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

8
Ranker Video
9
The Jesus Lizard is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois
10
Uncle Tupelo is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois
Would probably rank a bit higher but I never saw live...

More Uncle Tupelo 

#1,372 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #17 of 331 The Best Americana Bands & Artists of All Time #70 of 180 The Best Country Rock Bands and Artists

11
The Sea and Cake is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois
12
Trouble is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois
13
Tortoise is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois
14
Local H is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois
15
REO Speedwagon is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois
see my comment about Styx and multiply it X5 or so. REO defined cheesy AOR in the 70s, but they did have a couple of classic FM tracks in the mix, particularly "Golden Country" and "Ridin' The Storm Out"

More REO Speedwagon 

The Best REO Speedwagon Albums of All Time #102 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #8 of 417 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

16
Chicago is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois
17
Big Black is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Bands from Illinois