Music
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The Best Musical Artists From Illinois

Updated May 24, 2020 13.5k votes 462 voters 10.0k views105 items

List RulesOnly 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. 

  • Styx1
    228
    65

    Styx

    Pop music, Rock music

    AlbumsThe Grand Illusion, Paradise Theatre, Pieces of Eight, Kilroy Was Here, Cyclorama

    Styx is an American rock band from Chicago that formed in 1972 and became famous for its...  more

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  • The Squids2
    165
    88

    The Squids

    Comedy, Punk rock
    The Squids were a Chicago-based punk band that was created by Chicago born singer/songwriter...  more
  • Cheap Trick3
    154
    130

    Cheap Trick

    Pop punk, Glam metal

    AlbumsCheap Trick at Budokan, In Color, Dream Police, Cheap Trick, The Doctor

    Cheap Trick is an American rock band from Rockford, Illinois, formed in 1973. The band's...  more

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  • Plain White T's4
    130
    105

    Plain White T's

    Pop punk, Anti-folk

    AlbumsStop, All That We Needed, Every Second Counts, Come On Over, Hey There Delilah

    Plain White T's is an American pop punk band from Lombard, Illinois formed in 1997 by high...  more

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  • Veruca Salt5
    140
    117

    Veruca Salt

    Grunge, Power pop

    AlbumsEight Arms to Hold You, American Thighs, Blow It out Your Ass It's Veruca Salt, Tonight and the Rest of My Life, Resolver

    Veruca Salt is an American alternative rock band founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1993 by...  more

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  • Didjits6
    129
    106

    Didjits

    Punk rock

    AlbumsHey Judester, Fizzjob, Full Nelson Reilly, Que Sirhan Sirhan, Hornet Pinata

    The Didjits were an American punk rock band formed in Mattoon, Illinois in 1983, comprised...  more

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  • The Jesus Lizard7
    122
    98

    The Jesus Lizard

    Noise rock, Rock music

    AlbumsLiar, Goat, Pure, Puss/Oh, the Guilt

    The Jesus Lizard was an American rock band formed in 1987 in Austin, Texas, United States....  more

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  • Burl Ives8
    Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives (June 14, 1909 – April 14, 1995) was an American singer and actor of...  more
  • Naked Raygun9
    136
    113

    Naked Raygun

    Punk rock, Post-hardcore

    AlbumsJettison, All Rise, Throb Throb, Basement Screams, Last of the Demohicans

    Naked Raygun is an American punk rock/post-punk band formed in Chicago in 1980. Initially...  more

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  • Local H10
    128
    105

    Local H

    Experimental rock, Grunge

    AlbumsPack Up the Cats, The '92 Demos, Half-Life EP, Twelve Angry Months, As Good as Dead

    Local H is an American rock band originally formed by guitarist and vocalist Scott Lucas,...  more
  • REO Speedwagon11
    154
    132

    REO Speedwagon

    Rock music, Pop rock

    AlbumsLive: You Get What You Play For, Good Trouble, Can't Fight This Feeling, The Earth, a Small Man

    REO Speedwagon (originally styled as R.E.O. Speedwagon) is an American rock band from...  more

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  • Disturbed12
    149
    127

    Disturbed

    Nu metal, Rock music

    AlbumsTen Thousand Fists, Believe, The Sickness, Indestructible, Music as a Weapon II

    Disturbed is an American heavy metal band from Chicago, formed in 1994. The band includes...  more

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  • Urge Overkill13
    128
    106

    Urge Overkill

    Alternative rock

    AlbumsSaturation, Exit the Dragon, The Supersonic Storybook, Americruiser, Rock & Roll Submarine

    Urge Overkill is an alternative rock band, formed in Chicago, United States, consisting of...  more
  • Survivor14
    128
    110

    Survivor

    Melodic Rock, Rock music

    AlbumsEye of the Tiger, Reach, Survivor, Vital Signs, When Seconds Count

    Survivor is an American rock band formed in Chicago in 1978 by Jim Peterik and Frankie...  more

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    #231 of 263 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands#53 of 294 The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s

  • The Smashing Pumpkins15
    161
    148

    The Smashing Pumpkins

    Shoegazing, Gothic rock

    AlbumsSiamese Dream, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Oceania, Gish, Adore

    The Smashing Pumpkins (or Smashing Pumpkins) are an American alternative rock band from...  more

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  • Chicago16
    148
    134

    Chicago

    Ballad, Ska

    AlbumsChicago Transit Authority, Chicago II, Chicago Christmas: What's It Gonna Be, Santa?, Chicago IX: Chicago's Greatest Hits

    Chicago is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois, calling themselves the...  more

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  • Ministry17
    124
    109

    Ministry

    Doom metal, New Wave

    AlbumsPsalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs, The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste, The Land of Rape and Honey, Animositisomina, Houses of the Molé

    Ministry is an American industrial metal band founded by lead singer Al Jourgensen in 1981....  more

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  • The Emotions18
    108
    92

    The Emotions

    Disco, Rhythm and blues

    AlbumsSo I Can Love You, Flowers, Rejoice, Best of My Love: The Best of the Emotions, Untouched

    The Emotions are an American female Soul/R&B singing group from Chicago, Illinois, originally...  more

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  • Ray Manzarek19
    109
    96

    Ray Manzarek

    Blues-rock, Rock music

    AlbumsThe Golden Scarab, Carmina Burana (Ray Manzarek), The Whole Thing Started With Rock & Roll Now It's Out of Control, The Doors Myth And Reality, Bleeding Paradise

    Raymond Daniel Manzarek Jr. (né Manczarek; February 12, 1939 – May 20, 2013) was an American...  more

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  • Minnie Riperton20
    105
    99

    Minnie Riperton

    Pop music, Rock music

    AlbumsAdventures in Paradise, Come to My Garden, Her Chess Years (feat. The Gems & Rotary Connection), Stay in Love, Minnie

    Minnie Julia Riperton-Rudolph (November 8, 1947 – July 12, 1979), was an American...  more

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  • Buddy Guy21
    103
    100

    Buddy Guy

    Chicago blues, Electric blues

    AlbumsDamn Right, I've Got the Blues, A Man & the Blues, Sweet Tea, Bring 'Em In

    George "Buddy" Guy (born July 30, 1936) is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is an...  more

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  • Coven22
    83
    77

    Coven

    Rock music, Shock rock

    AlbumsWitchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls, Coven, Blood on the Snow, Metal Goth Queen - Out of the Vault

    Coven is an American metal band formed in the late 1960s, composed of vocalist Jinx Dawson,...  more

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  • James Young23
    84
    81

    James Young

    Progressive rock, Hard rock

    AlbumsCity Slicker, Out on a Day Pass, Raised by Wolves

    James Vincent Young (born November 14, 1949) is a guitarist, singer and songwriter who is best...  more
  • Miles Davis24
    91
    94

    Miles Davis

    Jazz rap, Avant-garde jazz

    AlbumsBitches Brew, Kind of Blue, Agharta, Birth of the Cool, Sketches of Spain

    Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz trumpeter,...  more

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  • Sam Cooke25
    92
    96

    Sam Cooke

    Pop music, Rhythm and blues

    AlbumsNight Beat, Shake, Touch the Hem of His Garment: 23 Gospel Gems, Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963

    Samuel Cook (January 22, 1931 – December 11, 1964), known professionally as Sam Cooke, was an...  more

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