Music

The Best Musical Artists From Illinois  

Ranker Music
5.4k votes 203 voters 3.3k views 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. Which singers and bands are from Illinois? 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 famous Illinois musicians. It will not be difficult to find an artist you listen to all the time. 

list ordered by
1
Styx is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal
Styx is an American rock band from Chicago that formed in 1972 and became famous for its albums released in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They are best known for melding hard rock guitar ...more

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#125 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #14 of 283 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Famelisted on Musicians You May Not Know Are Republican

2
The Squids is listed (or ranked) 2 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
3
Disturbed is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Nu metal, Rock music, Metalcore
Disturbed is an American heavy metal band from Chicago, formed in 1994. The band includes vocalist David Draiman, guitarist/keyboardist Dan Donegan, bassist John Moyer and drummer Mike Wengren. ...more

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#807 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #290 of 465 The Best Current Pop Groups/Singers #211 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

4
REO Speedwagon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Rock music, Pop rock, Soft rock
REO Speedwagon (originally styled as R.E.O. Speedwagon) is an American rock band from Champaign, Illinois. Formed in 1967, the band cultivated a following during the 1970s and achieved ...more

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#31 of 283 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame #117 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing The Best REO Speedwagon Albums of All Time

5
Veruca Salt is listed (or ranked) 5 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.

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#1,562 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #517 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #176 of 410 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

6
Chicago is listed (or ranked) 6 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, calling themselves the Chicago Transit Authority in 1968 before shortening the name in 1969. The self-described “rock and ...more

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#88 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #69 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #68 of 352 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

7
Naked Raygun is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Punk rock, Post-hardcore, Hardcore punk
Naked Raygun is an American punk rock/post-punk band formed in Chicago in 1980. Initially active until 1992, the band had several short-lived reunions afterwards and a full-time reformation in

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#1,596 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #1,044 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #7 of 38 Punk Bands with the Best Lyrics

8
Survivor is listed (or ranked) 8 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 and Frankie Sullivan. The band achieved its greatest success in the 1980s, producing many charting singles, especially ...more

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#1,043 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #126 of 465 The Best Current Pop Groups/Singers #443 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

9
Cheap Trick is listed (or ranked) 9 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. The band's classic lineup consisted of vocalist Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen, bassist Tom Petersson, and ...more

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#120 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #203 of 465 The Best Current Pop Groups/Singersfeaturing The Best Cheap Trick Albums of All Time

10
Urge Overkill is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
Didjits is listed (or ranked) 11 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

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#1,378 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #76 of 82 The Best Musical Trios Of All-Time #8 of 17 The Best Bands from Illinois

12
Ministry is listed (or ranked) 12 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

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#715 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #270 of 283 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame #349 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

13
James Young is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Progressive rock, Hard rock
James Vincent Young (born November 14, 1949) is a guitarist, singer and songwriter who is best known for playing lead guitar in the American rock band, Styx. Young began playing keyboard and ...more

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#350 of 655 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #253 of 632 Famous Lead Guitarists

14
Local H is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Local H Experimental rock, Grunge, Post-grunge
Local H is an American rock band originally formed by guitarist and vocalist Scott Lucas, bassist Matt Garcia, drummer Joe Daniels, and lead guitarist John Sparkman in Zion, Illinois in 1990. ...more
15
The Emotions is listed (or ranked) 15 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

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#38 of 100 The Greatest Motown Artists Of All-Time #5 of 100 The Best Sister Bands & Musical Groups, Ranked #90 of 138 The Best Disco Bands/Artists

16
Benny Goodman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Swing music, Big band, Jazz
Benjamin David Goodman (May 30, 1909 – June 13, 1986) was an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as the "King of Swing".In the mid-1930s, Goodman led one of the most popular ...more

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#269 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #2,033 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing The Best Benny Goodman Albums of All Time

17
Buddy Guy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Chicago blues, Electric blues, Blues
George "Buddy" Guy (born July 30, 1936) is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is an exponent of Chicago blues and has influenced eminent guitarists including Eric Clapton, Jimi ...more

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#1,340 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #409 of 1,066 The Best Singers of All Timefeaturing The Best Buddy Guy Albums of All Time

18
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

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#1,346 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #820 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #333 of 354 The Greatest American Rock Bands

19
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
Samuel Cook (January 22, 1931 – December 11, 1964), known professionally as Sam Cooke, was an American singer, songwriter, civil-rights activist and entrepreneur. Influential as both a singer ...more

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#197 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #54 of 1,066 The Best Singers of All Timefeaturing Rising Soul Singer Sam Cooke Perished Under Mysterious Circumstances In 1964 And The Case Is Still Unsolved

20
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 (November 8, 1947 – July 12, 1979), was an American singer-songwriter best known for her 1975 single "Lovin' You" and her five-octave coloratura soprano ...more

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#354 of 1,066 The Best Singers of All Time #109 of 986 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #41 of 171 The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

21
The Buckinghams is listed (or ranked) 21 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

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#542 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #477 of 1,069 The Worst Bands of All Time #81 of 222 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album

22
Ray Manzarek is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Blues-rock, Rock music, Jazz fusion
Raymond Daniel Manzarek Jr. (né Manczarek; February 12, 1939 – May 20, 2013) was an American musician, singer, producer, film director, and author, best known as a member of The Doors ...more

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#448 of 715 The Best Rock Vocalists #564 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alive #95 of 208 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

23
Plain White T's is listed (or ranked) 23 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

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#1,048 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #296 of 322 The Best Pop Rock Bands & Artistsfeaturing The Best Plain White T's Albums, Ranked

24
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Alternative rock
The Smashing Pumpkins (or Smashing Pumpkins) are an American alternative rock band from Chicago, Illinois. Formed in 1988 by frontman Billy Corgan (lead vocals, guitar), D'arcy Wretzky (bass), ...more

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#200 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #81 of 283 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Famefeaturing The Best Smashing Pumpkins Songs of All Time

25
Donny Hathaway is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Illinois
Blues-rock, Pop music, Chicago soul
Donny Edward Hathaway (October 1, 1945 – January 13, 1979) was an American soul singer, keyboardist, songwriter, and arranger. Hathaway has been described as a "soul legend" by Rolling ...more

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#550 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #517 of 1,066 The Best Singers of All Time #105 of 208 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely