The Best Bakersfield Sound Bands/Artists 

Updated November 5, 2019 286 votes 161 voters 10.1k views 14 items

In the illustrious history of country music, there have been a handful of cities that have spawned a particular movement that has changed the genre. Bakersfield, Ca is one of those rare cities. Outlaw country music, also known to some as the Bakersfield sound, was a reaction to the slicked up sound that was emanating from Nashville that was more pop friendly. Some of the best outlaw country artists are from the small California outpost. The sound, which is a mix of honky-tonk and rock n roll, created some of the biggest names in country music.

So, who are the best Bakersfield sound artists? It's not an easy question to answer, but at or around the top needs to be Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Both of these universally recognized singers are closely associate with the Bakersfield sound and their legacies have endured over the years. Their music is distinct enough to help the Bakersfield sound become more popular with people outside of the area. While those two musicians are easily the most familiar, there are also a slew of other artists who helped bring the Bakersfield sound to the masses.

This list of Bakersfield sound artists seeks to determine who can be considered the best musician to emerge from the California city. If you think someone is missing from this list, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best Bakersfield sound bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest Bakersfield sound musician ever?" It's up to you to decide who should wear the crown.(14 items)
Merle Haggard is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Bakersfield Sound Bands/Artists
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Merle Ronald Haggard (April 6, 1937 – April 6, 2016) was an American country singer, songwriter, guitarist, and fiddler. Haggard was born in Oildale, California, during the Great Depression. His childhood was troubled after the death of his father, and he was incarcerated several times in his youth. After being released from San Quentin State Prison in 1960, he managed to turn his life around and launch a successful country music career, gaining popularity with his songs about the working class that occasionally contained themes contrary to the prevailing anti-Vietnam War sentiment of much popular music of the time. Between the 1960s and the 1980s, he had 38 number-one hits on the US country ...more on Wikipedia

Genres (Music): Outlaw country, Bakersfield sound, Country

Albums: A Country Christmas With Merle Haggard, I'm a Lonesome Fugitive / Mama Tried, Last of the Breed, A Christmas Present, If We Make It Through December, + more

Nationality: United States of America

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Buck Owens is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Bakersfield Sound Bands/Artists
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Alvis Edgar Owens Jr. (August 12, 1929 – March 25, 2006), professionally known as Buck Owens, was an American musician, singer, songwriter and band leader who had 21 No. 1 hits on the Billboard country music charts with his band the Buckaroos. They pioneered what came to be called the Bakersfield sound, named after Bakersfield, California, the city Owens called home and from which he drew inspiration for what he preferred to call American music.While Owens originally used fiddle and retained pedal steel guitar into the 1970s, his sound on records and onstage was always more stripped-down and elemental. His signature style was based on simple storylines, infectious choruses, a twangy electric ...more on Wikipedia

Genres (Music): Bakersfield sound, Country

Albums: The Buck Owens Collection (1959-1990), Christmas With Buck Owens and His Buckaroos, I Don't Care, Your Tender Loving Care, The Instrumental Hits of Buck Owens and His Buckaroos, + more

Nationality: United States of America

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Dwight Yoakam is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bakersfield Sound Bands/Artists
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kath added

Dwight David Yoakam (born October 23, 1956) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor, known for his pioneering style of country music. First becoming popular in the mid-1980s, Yoakam has recorded more than twenty albums and compilations, charted more than thirty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and sold more than 25 million records. He has recorded five Billboard #1 albums, twelve gold albums, and nine platinum albums, including the triple-platinum This Time. In addition to his many achievements in the performing arts, he is also the most frequent musical guest in the history of The Tonight Show. ...more on Wikipedia

Genres (Music): Rockabilly, Country rock, Country

Albums: Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room, 3 Pears, Come On Christmas, A Long Way Home, If There Was a Way, + more

Nationality: United States of America

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The Buckaroos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Bakersfield Sound Bands/Artists
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The Buckaroos were a Grammy-winning band led by Buck Owens in the 1960s and early '70s, who, along with The Strangers, were heavily involved in the development and presentation of the "Bakersfield sound." Their peak of success was from 1965 to 1970. In 2005, CMT named the Buckaroos No. 2 on its list of the 20 Greatest Country Music Bands. ...more on Wikipedia

Genres (Music): Bakersfield sound, Rockabilly, Country

Albums: Carnegie Hall Concert, The Best of the Buckaroos