Bands/Musicians The Best Musical Artists From California  

Ranker Music
2.5k votes 199 voters 6.5k 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.

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list ordered by
1
44 21
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal
Metallica is an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California. Metallica was formed in 1981 when vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield responded to an advertisement posted by drummer ...more
2
44 22
The Beach Boys is listed (or ranked) 2 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
3
39 18
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
50 28
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Classic rock, Jazz-funk, Rock music
The 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
5
47 27
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 5 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. Green Day's members include Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool. Green Day was originally part of the punk scene at the DIY ...more
6
31 14
Creedence Clearwater Revival is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Swamp pop
Creedence Clearwater Revival was an American rock band active in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The band consisted of lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and primary songwriter John Fogerty, rhythm ...more
7
39 22
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
33 17
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal
Van Halen is an American rock band formed in Pasadena, California, in 1974. From 1975 until 1985, the band comprised guitarist Eddie Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen, ...more
9
34 20
The Eagles is listed (or ranked) 9 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
10
38 24
Linkin Park is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop music, Nu metal, Rock music
Linkin Park is an American rock band from Agoura Hills, California. Formed in 1996, the band rose to international fame with their debut album Hybrid Theory, which was certified Diamond by the ...more
11
30 17
Blink-182 is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
30 17
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
26 14
Tool is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal
Tool is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1990, the group's line-up includes drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, and vocalist Maynard James Keenan. Since 1995, ...more
14
29 18
Mötley Crüe is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal
Mötley Crüe is an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1981. The group was founded by bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee, who were later joined by ...more
15
28 18
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop
O'Shea Jackson, Sr., better known by his stage name Ice Cube, is an American rapper, record producer, actor, and filmmaker. He began his career as a member of the hip-hop group C.I.A. and later ...more
16
28 18
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap
Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known by his stage names 2Pac and briefly as Makaveli, was an American rapper, songwriter, and actor. Shakur has sold over 75 million records worldwide, making him one ...more
17
23 15
Grateful Dead is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock
The Grateful Dead is an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. The band was known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, ...more
18
23 15
The Byrds is listed (or ranked) 18 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 line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the ...more
19
30 22
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap
Andre Romelle Young, known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American record producer, rapper and entrepreneur. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics. ...more
20
19 12
Sublime is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music
Sublime was an American ska punk and alternative rock band from Long Beach, California, formed in 1988. The band's line-up, unchanged until their breakup, consisted of Bradley Nowell, Eric ...more
21
21 14
The Offspring is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Pop punk, Ska punk, Rock music
The Offspring is an American rock band formed in Huntington Beach, California in 1984. Since its formation, the band's line-up has included Dexter Holland (lead vocals, guitar), Noodles (lead ...more
22
21 14
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 22 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 in 1992 consisting of Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson, Brian Bell, and Scott Shriner. The line-up has changed three times since its formation ...more
23
23 17
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap
Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr, best known by his stage name Snoop Dogg, is an American recording artist and actor from Long Beach, California. His music career began in 1992, when he was discovered ...more
24
14 9
Sly & the Family Stone is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Psychedelic soul, Rock music, Rhythm and blues
Sly and the Family Stone was an American band from San Francisco. Active from 1967 to 1983, the band was pivotal in the development of soul, funk, and psychedelic music. Headed by singer, ...more
25
22 17
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop music, Political hip hop, West Coast hip hop
Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, better known as Kendrick Lamar, is an American hip hop recording artist from Compton, California. In 2004, Lamar signed to Carson-based independent record label, Top ...more