Music

The Best Musical Artists From California 

Ranker Music
Updated February 14, 2020 5.4k votes 580 voters 17.7k views 224 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
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Alternative Rock, Funk Metal
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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#46 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #21 of 350 The Greatest American Rock Bandsfeaturing The Best Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs

2
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap
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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#216 of 275 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #313 of 1,057 The Best Singers of All Timefeaturing A Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feud

3
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap
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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#51 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #30 of 411 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90sfeaturing The Best Songs Feat. Dr. Dre

4
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal
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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#32 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #12 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing The Best Metallica Songs of All Time

5
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk
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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#19 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #8 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing The Best Doors Albums of All Time

6
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music
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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#48 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #14 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing The Time GnR And Metallica Joined Forces To Put On One Of The Worst Concerts In Music History

7
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Pop punk, Rock music, Alternative rock
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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#126 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #40 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing Insane Stories From The Heyday Of Green Day

8
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap
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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#123 of 284 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame #42 of 411 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90sfeaturing The Best Songs on Snoop Dogg's Album 'I Wanna Thank Me'

9
The Beach Boys is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop
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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#26 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #19 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing The Best Beach Boys Songs of All Time

10
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Pop punk, Rock music, Garage rock
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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#119 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #69 of 350 The Greatest American Rock Bands

11
Creedence Clearwater Rev... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Swamp pop
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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#40 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #15 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing The Best Creedence Clearwater Revival Albums of All Time

12
Sublime is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music
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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#228 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #38 of 411 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

13
The Eagles is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Rhythm and blues
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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#2 of 329 The Best Bands With Animal Names #8 of 88 Acts You'd Like To See As The Super Bowl Half Time Showfeaturing The Best Eagles Songs of All Time

14
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop
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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#190 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #169 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best Songs Ft. Kendrick Lamar

15
Journey is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Rock music, Jazz fusion, Pop rock
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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#75 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #39 of 179 The Best Hair Metal Bands Of All Time

16
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal
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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#20 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #6 of 179 The Best Hair Metal Bands Of All Timefeaturing The Best Van Halen Songs of All Time

17
The Offspring is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Pop punk, Ska punk, Rock music
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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#163 of 465 The Best Current Pop Groups/Singers #207 of 222 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Albumfeaturing Whatever Happened To '90s Band The Offspring?

18
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop
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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#757 of 1,148 The Best Actors in Film History #1,354 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best Ice Cube Movies

19
Blink-182 is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Pop punk, Rock music, Skate punk
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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#597 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #188 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing One Of Blink-182’s Lead Singers Left The Band To Become An Outspoken UFO Researcher

20
Linkin Park is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Alternative rock, Hip hop, Alternative metal
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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#93 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #122 of 350 The Greatest American Rock Bandsfeaturing The Best Linkin Park Songs of All Time

21
Grateful Dead is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock
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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#86 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #105 of 350 The Greatest Classic Rock Bandsfeaturing The Best Grateful Dead Songs of All Time

22
Tool is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal
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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#155 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #240 of 350 The Greatest Classic Rock Bandsfeaturing The Best Tool Albums of All-Time

23
The Byrds is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Jangle pop, Pop music, Raga rock
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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#97 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #40 of 350 The Greatest American Rock Bandsfeaturing The Best Byrds Albums of All Time

24
No Doubt is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music
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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#425 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #172 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing The Best No Doubt Songs of All Time

25
Jane's Addiction is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal
Jane's Addiction is an American rock band from Los Angeles, formed in 1985. The band consists of vocalist Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, drummer Stephen Perkins and bassist Chris Chaney. ...more

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#455 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #147 of 284 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Famefeaturing The Best Jane's Addiction Albums, Ranked