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The Best Musical Artists From Illinois

Updated May 24, 2020 14.0k votes 500 voters 11.7k 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. 

  • 1


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

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  • 2

    The Squids

    Comedy, Punk rock
    The Squids were a Chicago-based punk band that was created by Chicago born singer/songwriter...  more
  • 3

    Naked Raygun

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

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

  • 4


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

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  • 5

    Plain White T's

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

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  • 6

    Cheap Trick

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

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  • 7


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

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  • 8

    Veruca Salt

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

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  • 9

    Urge Overkill

    Alternative rock
    Urge Overkill is an alternative rock band, formed in Chicago, United States, consisting of...  more
  • 10

    The Jesus Lizard

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

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  • 11

    Local H

    Experimental rock, Grunge
    Local H is an American rock band originally formed by guitarist and vocalist Scott Lucas,...  more
  • 12
    Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives (June 14, 1909 – April 14, 1995) was an American singer and actor of...  more
  • 13

    REO Speedwagon

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

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  • 14

    Ray Manzarek

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

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  • 15


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

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    #90 of 465 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s#232 of 263 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

  • 16


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

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  • 17

    The Emotions

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

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  • 18


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

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  • 19

    The Smashing Pumpkins

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

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  • 20

    Minnie Riperton

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

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  • 21


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

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    #119 of 221 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album#217 of 279 The Greatest American Rock Bands

  • 22

    Buddy Guy

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

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  • 23

    Miles Davis

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

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  • 24

    James Young

    Progressive rock, Hard rock
    James Vincent Young (born November 14, 1949) is a guitarist, singer and songwriter who is best...  more
  • 25

    Sam Cooke

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

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