Bands/Musicians The Best Musical Artists From Illinois  

Ranker Music
1.8k votes 50 voters 102 items

List Rules Only artists born or raised in Illinois or bands formed in Illinois.

Here are the best artists and bands from Illinois. Illinois has a vast musical heritage, and much of it centers around Chicago. The most important contribution the city has made to the music industry is the development of electric blues music. This is affectionately referred to as Chicago-style blues. The city also played a vital role in the formation of jazz and house music. Modern R&B and hip hop would not be where they are today if it wasn't for the artists who came out of the state. It can be tough narrowing down the best musical artists from Illinois because there are so many to choose from. 

Hip hop fans know Chicago is where Kanye West grew up. It is the home of classic rock acts, such as REO Speedwagon, Styx, and Cheap Trick. It is also home to more modern rock. Fall Out Boy and Disturbed both came out of the Prairie State. From heavy metal to sunshine pop, there are plenty of venues around Illinois where acts can hone their craft and develop the skills necessary to tour around the globe. Other popular Illinois artists include Juice WRLD, Chance the Rapper, The Smashing Pumpkins, and of course, the rock band Chicago. 

Vote for your favorites on this list of Illinois musical artists. It will not be difficult to find an artist you listen to all the time. 

list ordered by
1
17 1
The Squids is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Darby added Comedy, Punk rock
The Squids were a Chicago-based punk band that was created by Chicago born singer/songwriter Joey Spatafora and William LaTour also known as LaTour. The Squids broke up in 2005. and toured and ...more
2
27 3
Styx is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal
Styx is an American rock band from Chicago that became famous for its albums from the mid-1970s and early 1980s. They are best known for melding the style of pop rock with the power of hard-rock ...more
3
22 3
Didjits is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Punk rock
The Didjits were an American punk rock band formed in Mattoon, Illinois in 1983, comprised Rick Sims on guitar/vocals, Doug Evans on bass, and Rick's brother Brad Sims, on drums. Didjits were ...more
4
22 4
Veruca Salt is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Grunge, Power pop, Post-grunge
Veruca Salt is an American alternative rock band founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1993 by vocalist-guitarists Nina Gordon and Louise Post, drummer Jim Shapiro and bassist Steve Lack.
5
21 6
REO Speedwagon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Rock music, Pop rock, Soft rock
REO Speedwagon is an American rock band. Formed in 1967, the band cultivated a following during the 1970s and achieved significant commercial success throughout the 1980s. Hi Infidelity ...more
6
20 6
Naked Raygun is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Punk rock, Post-hardcore, Hardcore punk
Naked Raygun is a Chicago-based punk rock/post-punk group. Initially active from 1980 to 1992, Naked Raygun had several short-lived reunions afterwards and a full-time reformation in 2006.
7
19 5
Survivor is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Melodic Rock, Rock music, Pop rock
"Survivor" is an American rock band formed in Chicago in 1978 by Jim Peterik. The band achieved its greatest success in the 1980s with its arena rock sound, which garnered many ...more
8
19 7
Urge Overkill is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Alternative rock
Urge Overkill is an alternative rock band, formed in Chicago, United States, consisting of Nathan Katruud, who took the stage name Nash Kato, and Eddie "King" Roeser. They are widely ...more
9
19 7
Ministry is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Doom metal, New Wave, Synthpop
Ministry is an American industrial metal band founded by lead singer Al Jourgensen in 1981. Originally a new wave synthpop outfit, Ministry changed its style to industrial metal in the ...more
10
18 6
Chicago is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Ballad, Ska, Rock music
Chicago is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois. The self-described "rock and roll band with horns" began as a politically charged, sometimes experimental, rock ...more
11
19 8
Cheap Trick is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Pop punk, Glam metal, New Wave
Cheap Trick is an American rock band from Rockford, Illinois, formed in 1973. As of 2010, the band currently consists of Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Daxx Nielsen, who replaced ...more
12
18 8
Local H is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Experimental rock, Grunge, Post-grunge
Local H is an American alternative rock duo formed by guitarist/vocalist Scott Lucas and drummer Joe Daniels in Zion, Illinois, in 1990. The members all met in high school in 1987 and founded ...more
13
16 8
The Buckinghams is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Sunshine pop, Rock and roll
In 1965, Dan Bellocs Holiday Ballroom in Chicagoregularly featured two popular groups with strong followings: The Pulsations and The Centuries. The Pulsations had two lead singers, George LeGros ...more
14
16 8
Plain White T's is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Pop punk, Anti-folk, Pop music
Plain White T's is an American pop punk band from Lombard, Illinois formed in 1997 by high school friends Tom Higgenson, Dave Tirio, Ken Fletcher and Steve Mast. The group had a mostly ...more
15
19 12
Disturbed is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Nu metal, Rock music, Metalcore
Disturbed is a band from Chicago, Illinois. The band's members are vocalist David Draiman, guitarist Dan Donegan, bassist John Moyer, and drummer Mike Wengren. Former band members are bassist ...more
16
17 10
Tortoise is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Rock music, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock
Tortoise is an American post-rock band formed in Chicago, Illinois, in 1990.
17
16 9
The Imports is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
The Imports Punk rock, Post-punk
One of Chicago's first punk rock bands, The Imports influenced the burgeoning midwest alternative music scene in 1980, out of which sprang acts such as Big Black, Ministry, Naked Raygun, and ...more
18
16 9
The Jesus Lizard is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Noise rock, Rock music, Grunge
The Jesus Lizard was an American rock band formed in 1987 in Austin, Texas, United States. They were "a leading noise rock band in the American independent underground…[who] turned out a ...more
19
14 7
The Emotions is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Disco, Rhythm and blues, Soul music
The Emotions are an American female Soul/R&B singing group from Chicago, Illinois, originally consisting of three sisters; Wanda Hutchinson, Shelia Hutchinson and Jeanette Hutchinson. The ...more
20
15 9
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues
Minnie Julia Riperton-Rudolph, known professionally as Minnie Riperton, was an American singer-songwriter best known for her 1975 single "Lovin' You". They had two children: music ...more
21
15 10
Ray Manzarek is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Blues-rock, Rock music, Jazz fusion
Raymond Daniel Manczarek Jr., known as Ray Manzarek, was an American musician, singer, producer, film director, and author, best known as a founding member and keyboardist of The Doors from 1965 ...more
22
13 8
OK Go is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Indie, Rock music, Alternative dance
OK Go is an American alternative rock band originally from Chicago, Illinois, now based in Los Angeles, California. The band is composed of Damian Kulash, Tim Nordwind, Dan Konopka and Andy ...more
23
12 7
Big Black is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Noise rock, Industrial rock, Industrial music
Big Black was an American punk rock band from Evanston, Illinois, active from 1981 to 1987. Founded by singer and guitarist Steve Albini, the band's initial lineup also included guitarist ...more
24
16 12
The Tossers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Celtic punk, Punk rock
The Tossers are a six-piece Celtic punk band from Chicago, Illinois formed in July 1993. They have toured with Murphy's Law, Streetlight Manifesto, Catch 22, Dropkick Murphys, The Reverend ...more
25
16 12
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music
Jennifer Kate Hudson is an American singer, actress and spokesperson. She rose to fame in 2004 as a finalist on the third season of American Idol, coming in seventh place. As an actress, she ...more