Music

The Best Musical Artists From New York 

Ranker Music
Updated April 13, 2020 5.8k votes 601 voters 19.3k views 116 items

List Rules Only artists born or raised in New York or bands formed in New York.

Here are the best artists and bands from New York. A mecca of great music, New York City has produced some of the most influential and famous bands and singers of all time. The city has fostered talents of artists in every genre conceivable. The city is the birthplace of disco, hip hop, doo wop, new wave, punk rock, and so much more. The city has given so much to the industry, and in the years to come, even more artists will join the ranks of the most famous musical artists from New York. 

If you browse through your playlists, then chances are very good you will come across some artists who got their start in the Empire State. Lady Gaga, the Beastie Boys, Alicia Keys, Neil Diamond, Vampire Weekend, and numerous other artists grew up in New York. On this list, you will find artists who were either born or raised in the state. Other popular New York artists include 50 Cent, The Strokes, and the Wu-Tang Clan.

New York City is on the same level as Los Angeles, Detroit, San Francisco, and Nashville as far as cities that have produced a great deal of the talent you hear on the radio today. This list of New York musical artists is just a sampling of the talent coming out of the state, so vote for your favorites now. 

list ordered by
1
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Genre: Blue-eyed soul, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Stranger, Piano Man, 52nd Street, Glass Houses, An Innocent Man, + more

William Martin Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and pianist. Commonly nicknamed the "Piano Man" after his first hit and signature song of the same ...more

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The Best Billy Joel Songs of All Time #54 of 265 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriterslisted on Famous Accordionists

2
Ramones is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York

Albums: Ramones, Rocket to Russia, End of the Century, Ramones Mania, Loud, + more

The Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens in 1974. They are often cited as the first true punk rock group. Despite ...more

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Were The Ramones The Most Dysfunctional Band That Stayed Together? #185 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #96 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

3
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York

Albums: Stop Making Sense, Remain in Light, Fear of Music, More Songs About Buildings and Food, Sand in the Vaseline: Popular Favorites, + more

Talking Heads were an American rock band formed in 1975 in New York City and active until 1991. The band comprised David Byrne (lead vocals, guitar), Chris Frantz (drums), Tina Weymouth (bass), ...more

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The Best Talking Heads Albums of All Time #168 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #54 of 314 The Greatest American Rock Bands

4
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Omar A Lopez added Genre: Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again, Duets: The Final Chapter, Greatest Hits, + more

Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), known professionally as The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or Biggie, was an American rapper. He is widely considered to be ...more

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A Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feud #388 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #2 of 255 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

5
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Genre: Hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Watch the Throne, The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint, Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life, + more

Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), known professionally as Jay-Z (stylized as JAY-Z), is an American rapper, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, and record executive. Considered among ...more

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Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About The Life Of Jay-Z #543 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #17 of 255 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

6
Lady Gaga is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Genre: Pop, Dance & Electronic; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Fame, Born This Way, Just Dance, The Edge of Glory, The Fame Monster, + more

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986), known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She is known for her unconventionality, provocative ...more

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Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Lady Gaga #2 of 218 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years #9 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

7
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York

Albums: Paul's Boutique, Licensed to Ill, Check Your Head, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, Hello Nasty, + more

The Beastie Boys were an American hip hop group from New York City formed in 1981. The group comprised Michael "Mike D" Diamond (vocals, drums), Adam "MCA" Yauch (vocals, ...more

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The Best Beastie Boys Songs #227 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #10 of 408 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

8
Simon and Garfunkel is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York

Albums: Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sounds of Silence, Bookends, The Graduate, The Concert in Central Park, + more

Simon & Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They are best known for achieving commercial and critical success in the ...more

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The Best Simon And Garfunkel Songs #372 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #45 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

9
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Genre: Hip hop music, Pop music & Neo soul; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Remixed & Unplugged in A minor, As I Am, Unplugged, Girl On Fire, The Diary of Alicia Keys, + more

Alicia Augello Cook (born January 25, 1981), known professionally as Alicia Keys, is an American musician, singer, and songwriter. A classically-trained pianist, Keys was composing songs by age ...more

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The Best Songs Feat. Alicia Keys #11 of 218 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years #33 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

10
The Strokes is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York

Albums: Is This It, Room on Fire, First Impressions of Earth, Angles, Reptilia, + more

The Strokes are an American rock band formed in New York City in 1998, consisting of Julian Casablancas, Nick Valensi, Albert Hammond, Jr., Nikolai Fraiture and Fabrizio Moretti. Upon the ...more

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The Best Strokes Songs of All Time #385 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #227 of 314 The Greatest American Rock Bands

11
The Velvet Underground ... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York

Albums: The Velvet Underground & Nico, Loaded, The Velvet Underground, White Light/White Heat, Andy Warhol's Velvet Underground Featuring Nico, + more

The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in 1964 in New York City by singer/guitarist Lou Reed, multi-instrumentalist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Angus ...more

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The Best Velvet Underground Albums of All Time #138 of 419 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #268 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

12
Television is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Lom added

Albums: Marquee Moon, Television, Adventure, Live at the Old Waldorf, This Case Is Closed, + more

Television is an American rock band, formed in New York City in 1973 and considered influential in the development of punk and alternative music. Television was a fixture of the 1970s New York ...more

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#303 of 419 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #792 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #148 of 314 The Greatest American Rock Bands

13
Blondie is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York

Albums: Parallel Lines, Heart of Glass, Blondie, Eat to the Beat, The Platinum Collection, + more

Blondie is an American rock band founded by singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein. The band were pioneers in the early American new wave and punk scenes of the mid-late 1970s. Its first ...more

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#61 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #70 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #58 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

14
Run–DMC is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York

Albums: Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C., King of Rock, Down With the King, Tougher Than Leather, + more

Run-DMC was an American hip hop group from Hollis, Queens, New York, founded in 1981 by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell. Run-DMC is widely acknowledged as one of the most ...more

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#275 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #214 of 314 The Greatest American Rock Bands #222 of 367 The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s

15
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Genre: Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul & Spoken word; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Transformer, Berlin, New York, Rock 'n' Roll Animal, Andy Warhol's Velvet Underground Featuring Nico, + more

Lewis Allan Reed (March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013) was an American musician, singer, songwriter and poet. He was the lead guitarist, singer and principal songwriter for the rock band the Velvet ...more

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Wild Stories About The Insane Life Of Music Pioneer Lou Reed #212 of 668 The Best Rock Vocalists #650 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

16
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York

Albums: Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, Wu-Tang Forever, 8 Diagrams, The W, The Swarm, + more

Wu-Tang Clan is an American hip hop group formed in the New York City borough of Staten Island in 1992, originally composed of rapper-producer RZA and rappers GZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Method Man, ...more

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The Best Wu-Tang Clan Songs #740 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #592 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

17
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Genre: Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul & Pop music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Tapestry, Wrap Around Joy, Music, Love Makes the World, Colour of Your Dreams, + more

Carole King (born Carol Joan Klein, February 9, 1942) is an American singer-songwriter who has been active since 1958, initially as one of the staff songwriters at the Brill Building and later ...more

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The Best Carole King Albums of All Time #75 of 265 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #65 of 419 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

18
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Genre: Ballad, Swing music & Traditional pop music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Côte d'Azur Concerts on Verve, Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas, Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas, The Stockholm Concert, Porgy & Bess, + more

Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996) was an African-American jazz singer sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella. She was noted for her ...more

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The Best Ella Fitzgerald Albums of All Time #6 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #14 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

19
Kiss is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York

Albums: Destroyer, Icon, Revenge, Love Gun, Crazy Nights, + more

Kiss (often stylized as KIϟϟ) is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley. Well known for its members' face paint ...more

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The Best KISS Songs of All Time #379 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #67 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

20
Johnny Thunders & th... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Lom added

Albums: L.A.M.F. The Lost '77 Mixes, So Alone, Down to Kill, Too Much Junkie Business, L.A.M.F., + more

The Heartbreakers, also known as Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers to distinguish them from Tom Petty's band, also known as The Heartbreakers, were an American punk rock band, formed in New ...more

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#194 of 314 The Greatest American Rock Bands #1,084 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #75 of 390 The Best Punk Bands Of All Time

21
Nas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Genre: Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album, It Was Written, Stillmatic, + more

Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, better known as Nas, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer and actor. He is the son of jazz musician Olu Dara. Since 1994, Nas has released eight ...more

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The Best Nas Songs #511 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #10 of 255 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

22
Richard Hell & The V... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Lom added

Albums: Destiny Street, Funhunt: Live at CBGB's & Max's, Time, The Kid With the Replaceable Head, Blank Generation, + more

Richard Hell and the Voidoids were an American punk rock band, formed in New York City in 1976 and fronted by Richard Hell, a former member of the Neon Boys, Television and The Heartbreakers.

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#209 of 314 The Greatest American Rock Bands #1,091 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #78 of 390 The Best Punk Bands Of All Time

23
Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York

Albums: Daydream Nation, Goo, Dirty, Sonic Nurse, Sister, + more

Sonic Youth was an American rock band based in New York City, formed in 1981. Founding members Thurston Moore (guitar, vocals), Kim Gordon (bass, vocals, guitar) and Lee Ranaldo (guitar, vocals) ...more

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The Best Sonic Youth Songs of All Time #218 of 419 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #360 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

24
Lana Del Rey is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Genre: Alternative pop and Rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Born to Die, Paradise, Lana Del Rey, Die for Me, Kill Kill, + more

Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, known by her stage name Lana Del Rey, is an American singer-songwriter. Del Rey started songwriting at the age of 18 and signed her first recording contract with 5 ...more

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What's The Deal With Pop Princess Lana Del Rey? #225 of 265 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #5 of 218 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years

25
Cyndi Lauper is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Genre: Adult contemporary music, New Wave & Pop music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: She's So Unusual, True Colors, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Merry Christmas... Have a Nice Life!, A Night to Remember, + more

Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper (born June 22, 1953) is an American singer, songwriter, actress and activist. Her career has spanned over 40 years. Her album She's So Unusual (1983) was the first ...more

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The Best Cyndi Lauper Albums of All Time #170 of 419 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #94 of 668 The Best Rock Vocalists