Music

The Best Musical Artists From California  

Ranker Music
4.7k votes 509 voters 14.6k views 101 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
2
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 2 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
3
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 3 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
4
The Beach Boys is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
Creedence Clearwater Revival is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
The Eagles is listed (or ranked) 8 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
9
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 9 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
10
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
Journey is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 13 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
14
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
Linkin Park is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
Grateful Dead is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
Blink-182 is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
Sublime is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
The Byrds is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
The Offspring is listed (or ranked) 20 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
21
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 21 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
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
23
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll
Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American singer who performed in various genres, including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz and gospel. ...more
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