Music

The Best Musical Artists From California  

Ranker Music
3.3k votes 255 voters 9.5k 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
The Beach Boys is listed (or ranked) 1 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
2
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 2 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
3
Creedence Clearwater Revival is listed (or ranked) 3 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
4
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
Blink-182 is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 7 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
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
Journey is listed (or ranked) 9 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
10
The Byrds is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
Grateful Dead is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
Linkin Park is listed (or ranked) 13 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
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 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
15
The Offspring is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
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
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
Sublime is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
Mötley Crüe is listed (or ranked) 20 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
21
Merle Haggard is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Outlaw country, Bakersfield sound, Country
Merle Ronald Haggard is an American country and Western song writer, singer, guitarist, fiddler, and instrumentalist. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band The Strangers helped create the ...more
22
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop
John Cameron Fogerty is an American musician, songwriter, and guitarist, early in his career best known as the lead singer and lead guitarist for the band Creedence Clearwater Revival and later ...more
23
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll
Etta James was an American singer. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz and gospel. Starting her career in 1954, she gained fame with ...more
24
Cher is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop music, Rock music, Dance-pop
Cher is an American singer, songwriter, actress, model, fashion designer, television host, comedian, dancer, businesswoman, philanthropist, author, film producer, director, and record producer. ...more
25
P!nk is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From California
Hip hop music, Synthpunk, Pop punk
Alecia Beth Moore, better known by her stage name P!nk, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Originally a member of the girl group Choice, she rose to fame as an R&B artist with ...more