The Best Bakersfield Sound Bands/Artists 

Updated November 5, 2019 275 votes 150 voters 9.6k 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)
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The Buckaroos is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Bakersfield Sound Bands/Artists
Photo:  Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)

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

Labels: Capitol Records

Career Began: Bakersfield, California, United States of America

Leonard Raymond Sipes (September 28, 1930 – March 14, 2000), better known as Tommy Collins, was an American country music singer and songwriter. Active primarily during the 1950s through the 1970s, Collins was instrumental in helping create the Bakersfield sound of the country music genre. He enjoyed a string of hits during the mid-1950s including "It Tickles" and "Watcha Gonna Do Now". He also wrote several songs for other artists, including "If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin')", which was a top 10 hit for Faron Young in 1954 and a No. 1 hit by George Strait in 1988. After several years in the ministry, Collins returned to recording. In 1965, he had a comeback hit with "If You Can't ...more on Wikipedia

Genres (Music): Bakersfield sound, Country

Labels: Columbia, Capitol Records

AlanSmith1 added

Joe Cecil "Red" Simpson (March 6, 1934 – January 8, 2016) was an American country singer-songwriter best known for his trucker-themed songs. ...more on Wikipedia

Genres (Music): Country

Albums: The Best of Red Simpson, Roll Truck Roll, Truck Drivin' Fool, Man Behind the Badge/Roll Truck Roll

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: Capitol Records

Career Began: Higley, Arizona, United States of America

Jean Shepard is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Bakersfield Sound Bands/Artists
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/CC-BY

Ollie Imogene "Jean" Shepard (November 21, 1933 – September 25, 2016) was an American honky tonk singer-songwriter who pioneered for women in country music. Shepard released a total of 73 singles to the Hot Country Songs chart, one of which reached the No. 1 spot. She recorded a total of 24 studio albums between 1956–81, and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955. After Kitty Wells' 1952 breakthrough, Shepard quickly followed, and a national television gig and the Opry helped make her a star when few female country singers had enduring success. Her first hit, "A Dear John Letter", a 1953 duet with Ferlin Husky, was the first post-World War II record by a woman country artist to sell ...more on Wikipedia

Genres (Music): Bakersfield sound, Honky-tonk, Country

Albums: A Satisfied Mind, Dear John, This Is Jean Shepard, Lonesome Love, Songs of a Love Affair, + more

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: United Artists Records, Capitol Records

Career Began: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, United States of America