Music

The Best Musical Artists From Alabama  

Ranker Music
758 votes 41 voters 100 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
Nat King Cole is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Jump blues, Swing music, Traditional pop music
Nathaniel Adams Coles, known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American singer who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. He was widely noted for his soft, baritone voice, ...more
2
Hank Williams is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Outlaw country, Western music, Folk music
Hiram King "Hank" Williams, Sr. was an American singer-songwriter and musician. Regarded as one of the most significant and influential singers and songwriters of the 20th Century, ...more
3
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music
Lionel Brockman Richie, Jr. is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer and actor. Beginning in 1968, he was a member of the musical group Commodores signed to Motown Records. ...more
4
Emmylou Harris is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music
Emmylou Harris is an American singer and songwriter. She has released many popular albums and singles over the course of her career, and as of 2015 she has won 13 Grammys as well as numerous ...more
5
Percy Sledge is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Rhythm and blues, Soul music
Percy Tyrone Sledge was an American Blues and Soul singer. He is best known for the song "When a Man Loves a Woman", a No. 1 pop and soul hit in 1966. It was awarded a million-selling, ...more
6
Commodores is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music
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
7
Alabama is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Country pop, Pop music, Rock music
Alabama is an American country, Southern rock and bluegrass band formed in Fort Payne, Alabama in 1969. The band was founded by Randy Owen and his cousin Teddy Gentry, soon joined by their other ...more
8
The Band Perry is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Country pop, Rock music, Bluegrass
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
9
Tammy Wynette is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Nashville sound, Country
Virginia Wynette Pugh, known professionally by her stage name Tammy Wynette, was an American country music singer-songwriter and one of country music's best-known artists and biggest-selling ...more
10
Jimmy Johnson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Jimmy Johnson is a member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section who was attached to FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama for a period in the 1960s. In 1969, with the backing of Atlantic Records ...more
11
Jimmy Buffett is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Tropical rock, Western music, Pop music
James William "Jimmy" Buffett is an American singer–songwriter, author, actor, and businessman. He is best known for his music, which often portrays an "island escapism" ...more
12
Jason Isbell is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Rock music, Progressive country, Alternative country
Jason Isbell is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist from Green Hill, Alabama, in Lauderdale County. He is best known for his solo career, and as a former member of the Drive-By Truckers ...more
13
Tommy Shaw is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Glam metal, Rock music, Bluegrass
Tommy Roland Shaw is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, and performer best known for his work with the rock band Styx. In between his stints with Styx, he has played with other groups ...more
14
John Paul White is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
John Paul White Folk music, Country
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
15
Brittany Howard is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Brittany Howard is a member of the musical group Alabama Shakes.
16
Brother Cane is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Rock music, Southern rock, Hard rock
Brother Cane is an American hard rock band that released three albums in the 1990s. The band was formed in 1990 by singer/guitarist Damon Johnson and bassist Glenn Maxey. Joined by guitarist ...more
17
Alabama Shakes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Americana, Blues-rock, Rock music
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
18
Eddie Levert is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music
Edward "Eddie" Levert is an American singer, and is the lead vocalist of the soul/funk/R&B vocal group, The O'Jays. Levert was born in Bessemer, Alabama, but was raised in Canton, ...more
19
Drive-By Truckers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Rock music, Alternative rock, Alternative country
Drive-By Truckers are an alternative country/Southern rock band based in Athens, Georgia, though two out of five current members are originally from The Shoals region of Northern Alabama, and ...more
20
Big Mama Thornton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Rhythm and blues, Texas blues
Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton was an American rhythm and blues singer and songwriter. She was the first to record Leiber and Stoller's "Hound Dog" in 1952, which became her ...more
21
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues
Dinah Washington, was an American singer and pianist, who has been cited as "the most popular black female recording artist of the '50s". Primarily a jazz vocalist, she performed and ...more
22
Clarence Carter is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Soul music
Clarence George Carter is an American blues and soul singer, musician, songwriter and record producer. His most successful records included "Slip Away", "Back Door Santa",
23
Wilson Pickett is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Southern soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues
Wilson Pickett was an American R&B, soul and rock and roll singer and songwriter. A major figure in the development of American soul music, Pickett recorded over 50 songs which hit the US ...more
24
Spooner Oldham is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
Dewey Lindon "Spooner" Oldham is an American songwriter and session musician. An organist, he recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and at FAME Studios on such hit R&B songs as ...more
25
David Hood is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Alabama
David Hood, is a bassist from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He also plays the trombone and is a member of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Hood started his career playing with The Mystics and as a ...more