Music

The Best Musical Artists From California 

Ranker Music
Updated July 15, 2020 8.7k votes 748 voters 24.6k views 217 items

List Rules Only artists born or raised in California and groups formed in California.

Here are the best artists and bands from California. From the San Francisco Bay to the coast of San Diego, there is a lot to love about the Golden State. With almost 40 million residents, it is no surprise to see that California has produced some of the most influential singers and bands of all time. These are the most popular musical artists from California in every genre imaginable. 

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are the best example of the California lifestyle. Anthony Kiedis, Flea, and the rest of the boys love California so much, they've written numerous songs about it. However, it is more than just rock that has come out of the state. The Bakersfield Sound is well-known around the globe, and country acts from Buck Owens to Merle Haggard have honed their styles in the heart of California. Home to West Coast hip hop, some of the greatest rappers of all time, like Tupac, Snoop Dogg, and Dr. Dre, were either born or raised in Los Angeles. 

The most famous musical artists from California are on this list, and they have all impacted the world in some way. Which ones do you listen to regularly? Vote up the best California artists, and feel free to add any other musicians, rappers, singers, and bands with CA roots.

list ordered by
1
The Beach Boys is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Pet Sounds, Surfin' USA, Ultimate Christmas, Endless Summer, Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys, + more

The Beach Boys are an American rock and roll band. Formed in 1961, they gained popularity for their close vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting a California youth culture of surfing, girls, and ...more

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The Best Beach Boys Songs of All Time #229 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #64 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

2
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Californication, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Stadium Arcadium, Mother's Milk, By the Way, + more

Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1983. The group's musical style primarily consists of rock with an emphasis on funk, as well as elements from other ...more

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The Best Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs #223 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #21 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

3
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, Metallica, …and Justice for All, Kill 'Em All, + more

Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles by vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, and has been based in San Francisco for most ...more

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The Best Metallica Songs of All Time #282 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #25 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

4
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Genre: Hip hop music, Political hip hop & Gangsta rap; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, Still I Rise, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z..., + more

Tupac Amaru Shakur ( TOO-pahk shə-KOOR; born Lesane Parish Crooks, June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. He is ...more

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Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About Tupac Shakur #163 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Yearslisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

5
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: The Doors, L.A. Woman, Strange Days, Morrison Hotel, Light My Fire, + more

The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger. The band took its ...more

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The Best Doors Albums of All Time #308 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #23 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

6
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Genre: Hip hop music, Rap music & Gangsta rap; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Chronic, 2001, Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang / Let Me Ride, California Love, The Chronicle: The Best of the Works..., + more

Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), known professionally as Dr. Dre, is an American rapper, record producer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and ...more

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The Best Songs on Dr. Dre's The Chronic #425 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #5 of 223 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

7
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Appetite for Destruction, G N' R Lies, Use Your Illusion I, Chinese Democracy, Use Your Illusion II, + more

Guns N' Roses is an American hard rock band formed in Los Angeles, in 1985. The classic lineup as signed to Geffen Records in 1986 consisted of vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm ...more

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The Time GnR And Metallica Joined Forces To Put On One Of The Worst Concerts In Music History #51 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #14 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

8
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Genre: Hip hop music, Pop music & Gangsta rap; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal, Snoop Dogg Presents Christmas in tha Dogg House, Welcome To The Dogg House, + more

Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. (born October 20, 1971), known professionally as Snoop Dogg, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, media personality, entrepreneur, and actor. His ...more

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The Best Snoop Dogg Songs of All Time #133 of 372 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Famelisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

9
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: American Idiot, Dookie, 21st Century Breakdown, ¡Dos!, Insomniac, + more

Green Day is an American rock band formed in 1986 by lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt. For much of the band's career, they have been a trio with drummer ...more

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The Best Green Day Songs of All Time #233 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #56 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

10
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Genre: Hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: good kid, m.A.A.d city, Section.80, Overly Dedicated, Memories Back Then, + more

Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer. He is regarded as one of the most skillful and successful hip hop artists of his ...more

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The Best Songs Ft. Kendrick Lamar #172 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #39 of 120 Current Singers You Most Wish You Could Sound Like

11
The Eagles is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Trying to Get to You / Please, Please, Kiss Them for Me / Ladies in the Sky

The Eagles were a 1950s rhythm and blues vocal group from the Washington, D.C. area. They recorded the original version of "Tryin' to Get to You", better known through the versions by ...more

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The Eagles Sure Have A Lot Of Behind-The-Scenes Drama For A Band That Wants You To 'Take It Easy' #862 of 1,020 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time #4 of 15 Bands Whose Whole Thing Is Hating Each Other

12
Creedence Clearwater Rev... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Green River, Cosmo's Factory, Willy and the Poor Boys, Bayou Country, Pendulum, + more

Creedence Clearwater Revival (often referred to as Creedence or CCR) was an American rock band active in the late 1960s and early 1970s which consisted of lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and ...more

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The Best Creedence Clearwater Revival Albums of All Time #45 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #7 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

13
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Van Halen, 1984, Diver Down, OU812, Van Halen II, + more

Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. Credited with "restoring hard rock to the forefront of the music scene", Van Halen is known for its ...more

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The Best Van Halen Songs of All Time #162 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #19 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

14
Sublime is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Sublime: 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, 40oz. to Freedom, Sublime Acoustic: Bradley Nowell & Friends, Robbin' the Hood, Second-Hand Smoke, + more

Sublime was an American ska punk band from Long Beach, California, formed in 1988. The band's line-up, unchanged until their breakup, consisted of Bradley Nowell (vocals and guitar), Eric Wilson ...more

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#446 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #448 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #805 of 1,020 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time

15
Linkin Park is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Hybrid Theory, Living Things, Meteora, Minutes To Midnight, Burn It Down, + more

Linkin Park is an American rock band from Agoura Hills, California. The band's current lineup comprises vocalist/keyboardist/rhythm guitarist Mike Shinoda, lead guitarist Brad Delson, bassist ...more

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The Best Linkin Park Songs of All Time #282 of 372 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #192 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

16
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Genre: Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop & Political hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate, Lethal Injection, Laugh Now, + more

O'Shea Jackson (born June 15, 1969), known professionally as Ice Cube, is an American rapper, actor, producer, director and writer. Ice Cube initially gained recognition in 1984 as a member of ...more

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The Best Ice Cube Movies #885 of 1,030 The Best Actors in Film History #6 of 223 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

17
Journey is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Escape, Frontiers, Evolution, Journey, Departure, + more

Journey is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1973, composed of former members of Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch. The band has gone through several phases; its strongest ...more

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#220 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #40 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #35 of 263 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

18
The Byrds is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Mr. Tambourine Man, Younger Than Yesterday, Turn! Turn! Turn!, Fifth Dimension, + more

The Byrds were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple lineup changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn (known as Jim ...more

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The Most Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About The Byrd's 'Sweetheart Of The Rodeo' #92 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #104 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

19
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Pinkerton, Weezer, Weezer, Weezer, Raditude, + more

Weezer is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1992. Since 2001, the band has consisted of Rivers Cuomo (lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards), Patrick Wilson (drums), Brian ...more

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#92 of 372 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #332 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #248 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

20
Blink-182 is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Enema of the State, Dude Ranch, blink-182, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, Cheshire Cat, + more

Blink-182 is an American rock band formed in Poway, a suburb of San Diego, California in 1992. The band currently consists of bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker, while ...more

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One Of Blink-182’s Lead Singers Left The Band To Become An Outspoken UFO Researcher #637 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #260 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

21
Grateful Dead is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: American Beauty, Europe '72 (disc 1), Aoxomoxoa, Workingman's Dead, Terrapin Station, + more

The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. The band is known for its eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, country, jazz, bluegrass, ...more

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The Best Grateful Dead Songs of All Time #193 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #105 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

22
No Doubt is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Tragic Kingdom, Rock Steady, Icon, Don't Speak, Everything in Time (B-Sides, + more

No Doubt is an American rock band from Anaheim, California, formed in 1986. Since 1989, the band has consisted of lead vocalist Gwen Stefani, bassist and keyboardist Tony Kanal, guitarist and ...more

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The Best No Doubt Songs of All Time #93 of 372 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #200 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

23
The Offspring is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Smash, Americana, The Offspring, Hit That, Pretty Fly (For a White Guy), + more

The Offspring is an American rock band from Garden Grove, California, formed in 1984. Originally formed under the name Manic Subsidal, the band has consisted of lead vocalist and guitarist Bryan ...more

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The Best Offspring Albums of All Time #175 of 372 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #207 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

24
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Genre: Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop & Gangsta rap; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Eazy-Duz-It, It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, Eternal E, Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin’ Compton, 5150: Home 4 tha Sick, + more

Eric Lynn Wright (September 7, 1964 – March 26, 1995), known professionally as Eazy-E, was an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. Dubbed the "Godfather of Gangsta Rap", ...more

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#1,500 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #57 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song? #666 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

25
Tool is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California

Albums: Ænima, Lateralus, 10, 000 Days, Undertow, + more

Tool is an American rock band from Los Angeles. Formed in 1990, the group's line-up includes drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, and vocalist Maynard James Keenan. Justin Chancellor has ...more

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The Best Tool Albums of All-Time #288 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #141 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time