462 voters

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


    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

    More Styx 

    #122 of 392 The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands Of All Time#12 of 93 The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen

  • The Squids2

    The Squids

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

    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

    More Cheap Trick 

    The Best Cheap Trick Albums of All Time#67 of 265 Rank the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

  • Plain White T's4

    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

    More Plain White T's 

    The Best Plain White T's Albums, Ranked#23 of 28 The Best Bands with White in the Name

  • Veruca Salt5

    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

    More Veruca Salt 

    #127 of 158 The Best Female Rock Singers#41 of 151 The Greatest Chick Rock Bands Ever

  • Didjits6


    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

    More Didjits 

    #109 of 110 The Best Musical Trios Of All-Time#8 of 17 The Best Bands from Illinois

  • The Jesus Lizard7

    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

    More The Jesus Lizard 

    #132 of 139 Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums#30 of 32 The Best Bands Named After Things from the Bible

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

    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

    More Naked Raygun 

    #110 of 389 The Best Punk Bands Of All Time#14 of 44 Punk Bands with the Best Lyrics

  • Local H10

    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

    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

    More REO Speedwagon 

    The Best REO Speedwagon Albums of All Time#257 of 416 The Best Pop Rock Bands & Artists

  • Disturbed12


    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

    More Disturbed 

    #1031 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time#76 of 383 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

  • Urge Overkill13

    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


    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

    More Survivor 

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

  • The Smashing Pumpkins15

    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

    More The Smashing Pumpkins 

    The Best Smashing Pumpkins Songs of All Time#15 of 15 Bands Whose Whole Thing Is Hating Each Other

  • Chicago16


    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

    More Chicago 

    #49 of 219 The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s#40 of 106 Which Bands Or Musicians Do You Most Want To See Before They (Or You) Kick The Bucket?

  • Ministry17


    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

    More Ministry 

    #229 of 355 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame#227 of 541 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time

  • The Emotions18

    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

    More The Emotions 

    #38 of 100 The Greatest Motown Artists Of All-Time#4 of 100 The Best Sister Bands & Musical Groups, Ranked

  • Ray Manzarek19

    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

    More Ray Manzarek 

    #84 of 193 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely#576 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

  • Minnie Riperton20

    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

    More Minnie Riperton 

    #99 of 602 The Best Female Vocalists Ever#34 of 104 The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

  • Buddy Guy21

    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

    More Buddy Guy 

    The Best Buddy Guy Albums of All Time#383 of 739 The Best Singers of All Time

  • Coven22


    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

    More Coven 

    #211 of 279 The Greatest American Rock Bands#122 of 221 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album

  • James Young23

    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

    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

    More Miles Davis 

    The Best Miles Davis Albums of All Time#12 of 66 The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

  • Sam Cooke25

    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

    More Sam Cooke 

    Rising Soul Singer Sam Cooke Perished Under Mysterious Circumstances In 1964 And The Case Is Still Unsolved#47 of 603 The Best Rock Vocalists