Music

The Best Musical Artists From Alabama 

Ranker Music
Updated January 27, 2020 2k votes 145 voters 5.8k views 103 items

List Rules Only artists born or raised in Alabama or bands formed in Alabama.

Here are the best artists and bands from Alabama. Alabama has had a thriving music scene for well over a century now. The state has played an important role in the development of numerous musical genres. Folk, gospel, country, and blues would not be where they are today if it were not for the hard work of all the talented musicians who have come out of the Yellowhammer State. If you thought the state was only known for "Sweet Home Alabama," then think again. 

Many of the best musical artists from Alabama have already been inducted into the state's Music Hall of Fame. Nat King Cole, Hank Williams, and The Commodores are just a few of the big names that have been honored by their fellow Alabamians. There are plenty of other acts that may soon join these artists in the Hall of Fame, such as Gucci Mane, Yelawolf, and The Band Perry. Other popular Alabama artists include Lionel Richie, Gucci Mane, Alabama Shakes, and Debby Ryan.

The Alabama Music Hall of Fame is one thing, but which singers do you think deserve to be at the top of this list? The most famous Alabama musical artists are found below, and you have the power to decide who should be considered the best. Whether you're a hardcore music lover or just a casual listener, your input is desired. 

list ordered by
1
Hank Williams is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Genre: Outlaw country, Western music & Folk music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Cold, Cold Heart, Beyond the Sunset, Three Hanks: Men With Broken Hearts, Hillbilly Hero, + more

Hiram King "Hank" Williams (September 17, 1923 – January 1, 1953) was an American singer-songwriter and musician. Regarded as one of the most significant and influential American ...more

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The Best Hank Williams Songs #252 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #232 of 541 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time

2
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Genre: Adult contemporary music, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Can't Slow Down, Tuskegee, Coming Home, Dancing on the Ceiling, Renaissance, + more

Lionel Brockman Richie Jr. (born June 20, 1949) is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer. Richie's style of ballads with the Commodores and in his solo career launched him ...more

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The Best Lionel Richie Albums of All Time #32 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #127 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

3
Nat King Cole is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Genre: Jump blues, Swing music & Traditional pop music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Merry Christmas, The Magic of Christmas, The Nat King Cole Christmas Album, Merry Christmas, Christmas Favorites, + more

Nathaniel Adams Coles (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965), known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American jazz pianist and vocalist. He recorded over one hundred songs that became hits ...more

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4
Alabama is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama

Albums: Christmas Vol. II, Alabama Christmas, Feels So Right, Christmas With The Judds & Alabama, Mountain Music, + more

Alabama is an American country and Southern rock band formed in Fort Payne, Alabama, in 1969. The band was founded by Randy Owen (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and his cousin Teddy Gentry (bass, ...more

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#576 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #153 of 279 The Greatest American Rock Bands #213 of 263 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

5
Jason Isbell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Genre: Rock music, Progressive country & Alternative country; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Sirens of the Ditch, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Here We Rest, Southeastern, Live From Alabama, + more

Michael Jason Isbell (; born February 1, 1979) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist from Green Hill, Alabama, in Lauderdale County. He is known for his solo career, his work with the ...more

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6
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama

Albums: Commodores, Midnight Magic, In the Pocket, Hits, Volume I, + more

The Commodores are an American funk/soul band, which was at its peak in the late 1970s through the mid 1980s. The members of the group met as mostly freshmen at Tuskegee Institute in 1968, and ...more

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#98 of 372 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #225 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #373 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

7
Jimmy Buffett is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Genre: Tropical rock, Western music & Pop music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Christmas Island, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, Son of a Son of a Sailor, Live at Texas Stadium, + more

James William Buffett (born December 25, 1946) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, author, actor, and businessman. He is best known for his music, which often portrays an "island ...more

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The Best Jimmy Buffett Albums of All Time #54 of 372 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #125 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time

8
Emmylou Harris is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Folk music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Light of the Stable, Anthology: The Warner/Reprise Years, Red Dirt Girl, Stumble Into Grace, At the Ryman, + more

Emmylou Harris (born April 2, 1947) is an American singer, songwriter, and musician. She has released dozens of albums and singles over the course of her career and won 14 Grammys, the Polar ...more

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The Best Emmylou Harris Albums of All Time #133 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #249 of 372 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

9
Alabama Shakes is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama

Albums: Boys & Girls, iTunes Session, Alabama Shakes, Heavy Chevy, Hold On

Alabama Shakes is an American rock band formed in Athens, Alabama, in 2009. The group consists of lead singer and guitarist Brittany Howard, guitarist Heath Fogg, bassist Zac Cockrell, keyboard ...more

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10
Wilson Pickett is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Genre: Southern soul, Rock music & Rhythm and blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Exciting Wilson Pickett, The Sound of Wilson Pickett, Take Your Pleasure, Funky Situation, Right On, + more

Wilson Pickett (March 18, 1941 – January 19, 2006) was an American singer and songwriter. A major figure in the development of American soul music, Pickett recorded over 50 songs which made the ...more

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#423 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #198 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song? #396 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time

11
Tammy Wynette is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Genre: Nashville sound and Country; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Let's Build A World Together, D-I-V-O-R-C-E, We Go Together, Christmas With Tammy, Honky Tonk Angels, + more

Tammy Wynette (; born Virginia Wynette Pugh; May 5, 1942 – April 6, 1998), was an American country music singer-songwriter and one of country music's best-known artists and biggest-selling ...more

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#93 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song? #92 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time #276 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

12
Jason Isbell and the 400... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama

Albums: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Live From Alabama, Live at Twist & Shout

13
Drive-By Truckers is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama

Albums: Southern Rock Opera, Decoration Day, The Dirty South, Brighter Than Creation's Dark, The Big To-Do, + more

The Drive-By Truckers are an alternative country/Southern rock band based in Athens, Georgia. Two of five current members (Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley) are originally from The Shoals region ...more

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#1,112 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #8 of 25 The Best Folk Artists Of 2020 #17 of 329 The Best Americana Bands & Artists of All Time

14
Clarence Carter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Genre: Soul music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Testifyin' / This Is Clarence Carter, This Is Clarence Carter, Messin' With My Mind, Patches, Dr. C.C., + more

Clarence George Carter (born January 14, 1936) is an American blues and soul singer, musician, songwriter and record producer. His most successful records included "Slip Away" (1968), ...more

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#147 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #200 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands #1,182 of 1,060 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

15
Percy Sledge is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Percy Sledge Genre: Rhythm and blues and Soul music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: When a Man Loves a Woman, When a Man Loves a Women, 3 for 3, Collection, It Tears Me Up: The Best of Percy Sledge, + more

Percy Tyrone Sledge (November 25, 1941 – April 14, 2015) was an American R&B, soul and gospel singer. He is best known for the song "When a Man Loves a Woman", a No. 1 hit on both ...more

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16
Brittany Howard is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Brittany Howard (born October 2, 1988) is an American musician, best known as lead vocalist and guitarist of American rock bands Alabama Shakes and Thunderbitch. She began playing the guitar at ...more

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#134 of 198 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years #423 of 603 The Best Rock Vocalists #5 of 34 The Greatest Black Female Rock Singers

17
Eddie Floyd is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Genre: Southern soul, Rhythm and blues & Soul music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Knock on Wood, The Best Of, Rare Stamps, Rare Stamps, Things Get Better / Good Love, + more

Edward Lee Floyd (born June 25, 1937) is an American soul-R&B singer and songwriter, best known for his work on the Stax record label in the 1960s and 1970s including the number 1 R&B ...more

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#105 of 151 The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time #129 of 177 The Greatest R&B Artists of All Time #11 of 19 The Best Southern Soul Bands/Artists

18
St. Paul and The Broken ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
St. Paul and The Broken Bones is a six-piece soul band based in Birmingham, Alabama, United States, that formed in 2012. The band is composed of Paul Janeway (vocals), Browan Lollar (guitar), ...more
19
Tommy Shaw is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Tommy Shaw Genre: Glam metal, Rock music & Bluegrass; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: 7 Deadly Zens, Girls With Guns, Ambition, The Great Divide, What If, + more

Tommy Roland Shaw (born September 11, 1953) is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, and performer best known as the front man and guitarist for the rock band Styx. In between his stints ...more

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#151 of 266 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #169 of 668 The Best Rock Vocalists #249 of 510 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time

20
Jamey Johnson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Genre: Country; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Living for a Song - A Tribute to Hank Cochran, The Dollar, That Lonesome Song, The Guitar Song, In Color

Jamey Johnson (born July 14, 1975) is an American country music artist. Signed to BNA Records in 2005, Johnson made his debut with his single "The Dollar", the title track to his 2006 ...more

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21
Jim Nabors is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama

Albums: Songs of Inspiration, Jim Nabors' Christmas Album, Hymns and Country Favorites, When He Spoke (disc 1), More Songs of Inspiration, + more

James Thurston Nabors (June 12, 1930 – November 30, 2017) was an American actor, singer, and comedian. Nabors was born and raised in Sylacauga, Alabama, but he moved to southern California ...more

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22
Wet Willie is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama

Albums: Back to Back: At Their Best, Drippin' Wet, Dixie Rock, Wet Willie II, Wet Willie, + more

Wet Willie is an American band from Mobile, Alabama, U.S. They are best known for their hit "Keep On Smilin'," reaching #10 on the Billboard Chart in August 1974, but had a number of ...more
23
The Band Perry is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama

Albums: The Band Perry, Pioneer, The Band Perry, Better Dig Two, If I Die Young, + more

The Band Perry is an American country music group composed of siblings Kimberly Perry, Reid Perry, and Neil Perry. They signed to Republic Nashville in August 2009 and released their self-titled ...more

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24
John Paul White is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
John Paul White Genre: Folk music and Country; Nationality: United States of America
John Paul White is an American singer-songwriter, and was a member of the Grammy Award-winning duo The Civil Wars. He also co-wrote Jason Aldean's 2008 single "Relentless" with James
25
Martha Reeves is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Martha Reeves Genre: Pop music, Rhythm and blues & Rock and roll; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Dancing in the Street, In the Midnight Hour, Greatest Hits

Martha Rose Reeves (born July 18, 1941) is an American R&B and pop singer and former politician, and is the lead singer of the Motown girl group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. They scored ...more

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