925 voters

The Best Musical Artists From California

Updated December 1, 2020 14.6k votes 925 voters 30.3k views218 items

List RulesOnly 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.

  • The Beach Boys1

    The Beach Boys

    Pop music, Rock music

    AlbumsPet Sounds, Surfin' USA, Ultimate Christmas, Endless Summer, Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys

    The Beach Boys are an American rock and roll band. Formed in 1961, they gained popularity for... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More The Beach Boys 

    The Best Beach Boys Albums of All TimeThe Best Beach Boys Songs of All Time

  • The Doors2

    The Doors

    Blues-rock, Rock music

    AlbumsThe Doors, L.A. Woman, Strange Days, Morrison Hotel, Light My Fire

    The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, with vocalist Jim... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More The Doors 

    The Best Doors Albums of All TimeThe Best Songs on The Doors' Self-Titled Debut Album

  • Metallica3


    Thrash metal, Rock music

    AlbumsMaster of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, Metallica, …and Justice for All, Kill 'Em All

    Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Metallica 

    The Best Metallica Songs of All TimeFascinating Facts From The Making Of Metallica's 'Master Of Puppets'

  • Guns N' Roses4

    Guns N' Roses

    Glam metal, Blues-rock

    AlbumsAppetite for Destruction, G N' R Lies, Use Your Illusion I, Chinese Democracy, Use Your Illusion II

    Guns N' Roses is an American hard rock band formed in Los Angeles, in 1985. The classic lineup... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Guns N' Roses 

    Behind The Scenes Of Guns N’ Roses Hit Single ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’The Best Guns N' Roses Songs of All Time

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers5

    Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Alternative Rock, Funk Metal

    AlbumsCalifornication, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Stadium Arcadium, Mother's Milk, By the Way

    Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1983. The group's... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Red Hot Chili Peppers 

    The Best Red Hot Chili Peppers SongsThe Best Bands Like Red Hot Chili Peppers

  • Tupac Shakur6

    Tupac Shakur

    Hip hop music, Political hip hop

    AlbumsAll 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...

    Tupac Amaru Shakur ( TOO-pahk shə-KOOR; born Lesane Parish Crooks, June 16, 1971 – September... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Tupac Shakur 

    11 Conspiracy Theories About The Murder Of Tupac ShakurA Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feud

  • Green Day7

    Green Day

    Pop punk, Rock music

    AlbumsAmerican Idiot, Dookie, 21st Century Breakdown, ¡Dos!, Insomniac

    Green Day is an American rock band formed in 1986 by lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Green Day 

    The Best Green Day Songs of All TimeThe Best Green Day Albums of All Time

  • Snoop Dogg8

    Snoop Dogg

    Hip hop music, Pop music

    AlbumsDoggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal, Snoop Dogg Presents Christmas in tha Dogg House, Welcome To The Dogg House

    Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. (born October 20, 1971), known professionally as Snoop Dogg, is an... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Snoop Dogg 

    The Best Snoop Dogg Music Videos#58 of 70 The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

  • Dr. Dre9

    Dr. Dre

    Hip hop music, Rap music

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

    Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), known professionally as Dr. Dre, is an American... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Dr. Dre 

    The Best Songs on Dr. Dre's The ChronicThe Best Dr. Dre Albums, Ranked

  • The Eagles10

    The Eagles

    Rhythm and blues

    AlbumsTrying 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... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More The Eagles 

    The Eagles Sure Have A Lot Of Behind-The-Scenes Drama For A Band That Wants You To 'Take It Easy'#17 of 106 Which Bands Or Musicians Do You Most Want To See Before They (Or You) Kick The Bucket?

  • Kendrick Lamar11

    Albumsgood kid, m.A.A.d city, Section.80, Overly Dedicated, Memories Back Then

    Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is an American rapper, songwriter, and record... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Kendrick Lamar 

    The Best Kendrick Lamar Albums, Ranked#4 of 235 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

  • Creedence Clearwater Revival12

    Creedence Clearwater Revival

    Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul

    AlbumsGreen River, Cosmo's Factory, Willy and the Poor Boys, Bayou Country, Pendulum

    Creedence Clearwater Revival (often referred to as Creedence or CCR) was an American rock band... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Creedence Clearwater Revival 

    The Best Creedence Clearwater Revival Albums of All Time#4 of 139 Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

  • Sublime13


    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop

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

    Sublime was an American ska punk band from Long Beach, California, formed in 1988. The band's... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Van Halen14

    Van Halen

    Glam metal, Rock music

    AlbumsVan Halen, 1984, Diver Down, OU812, Van Halen II

    Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. Credited with... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Van Halen 

    12 Awesome Stories About Eddie Van Halen That Sound Made Up - But Aren'tThe Best Van Halen Songs of All Time

  • The Byrds15

    The Byrds

    Jangle pop, Pop music

    AlbumsSweetheart of the Rodeo, Mr. Tambourine Man, Younger Than Yesterday, Turn! Turn! Turn!, Fifth Dimension

    The Byrds were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More The Byrds 

    The Most Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About The Byrd's 'Sweetheart Of The Rodeo'The Best Byrds Albums of All Time

  • Journey16


    Rock music, Jazz fusion

    AlbumsEscape, Frontiers, Evolution, Journey, Departure

    Journey is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1973, composed of former... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Journey 

    #144 of 265 Rank the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Inductees#36 of 263 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

  • Blink-18217


    Pop punk, Rock music

    AlbumsEnema of the State, Dude Ranch, blink-182, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, Cheshire Cat

    Blink-182 is an American rock band formed in Poway, a suburb of San Diego, California in 1992.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Blink-182 

    The Best Bands Like Blink-182One Of Blink-182’s Lead Singers Left The Band To Become An Outspoken UFO Researcher

  • Linkin Park18

    Linkin Park

    Alternative rock, Hip hop

    AlbumsHybrid Theory, Living Things, Meteora, Minutes To Midnight, Burn It Down

    Linkin Park is an American rock band from Agoura Hills, California. The band's current lineup... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Linkin Park 

    The Best Linkin Park Songs of All TimeThe Best Linkin Park Albums of All Time

  • Rage Against the Machine19

    Rage Against the Machine

    Crossover thrash, Nu metal

    AlbumsRage Against the Machine, Evil Empire, The Battle of Los Angeles, Renegades, Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium

    Rage Against the Machine is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Rage Against the Machine 

    The Best Rage Against The Machine SongsThe Best Rage Against The Machine Albums of All Time

  • Ice Cube20

    Ice Cube

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop

    AlbumsAmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate, Lethal Injection, Laugh Now

    O'Shea Jackson (born June 15, 1969), known professionally as Ice Cube, is an American rapper,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Ice Cube 

    The Best Ice Cube SongsThe Best Ice Cube Movies

  • Weezer21


    Pop punk, Rock music

    AlbumsPinkerton, Weezer, Weezer, Weezer, Raditude

    Weezer is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1992. Since 2001, the... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Weezer 

    #102 of 363 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame#139 of 279 The Greatest American Rock Bands

  • No Doubt22

    No Doubt

    Pop punk, New Wave

    AlbumsTragic Kingdom, Rock Steady, Icon, Don't Speak, Everything in Time (B-Sides

    No Doubt is an American rock band from Anaheim, California, formed in 1986. Since 1989, the... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More No Doubt 

    The Best No Doubt Songs of All TimeThe Best No Doubt Albums of All Time

  • The Offspring23

    The Offspring

    Pop punk, Ska punk

    AlbumsSmash, Americana, The Offspring, Hit That, Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)

    The Offspring is an American rock band from Garden Grove, California, formed in 1984.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More The Offspring 

    The Best Offspring Albums of All TimeWhatever Happened To '90s Band The Offspring?

  • Sly & the Family Stone24

    Sly & the Family Stone

    Psychedelic soul, Rock music

    AlbumsThere's a Riot Goin' On, Stand!, Greatest Hits, Fresh, Anthology

    Sly and the Family Stone was an American band from San Francisco. Active from 1966 to 1983, it... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Grateful Dead25

    Grateful Dead

    Blues-rock, Rock music

    AlbumsAmerican Beauty, Europe '72 (disc 1), Aoxomoxoa, Workingman's Dead, Terrapin Station

    The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. The band... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Grateful Dead 

    The Best Grateful Dead Songs of All TimeWild Stories You Haven't Heard About The Grateful Dead