Music

The Best Musical Artists From New York  

Ranker Music
4.3k votes 418 voters 11.9k views 113 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
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

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

Labels: Warner Music Group, EMI, Sire Records, Warner Bros. Records

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#76 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #65 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing The Best Talking Heads Albums of All Time

2
Ramones is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Pop punk, Rock music, Classic Punk

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

Labels: Radioactive Records, Chrysalis Records, Philips Records, Sire Records, Beggars Banquet Records

Career Began: Forest Hills, New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#83 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #45 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing Were The Ramones The Most Dysfunctional Band That Stayed Together?

3
Television is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Lom added
Art rock, Art punk, Post-punk

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

Labels: Elektra Records, ROIR, Capitol Records

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#784 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #152 of 283 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame #302 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

4
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

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

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: Sony Masterworks, Sony Classical Records, Columbia

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#29 of 455 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Yearsfeaturing The Best Billy Joel Songs of All Timelisted on Famous Accordionists

5
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

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

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: Priority Records, EMI, Ode Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Epic Records, + more

Career Began: Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#139 of 455 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #10 of 298 The Greatest Living Rock Songwritersfeaturing The Best Carole King Albums of All Time

6
Johnny Thunders & th... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Lom added
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Classic Punk

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

Labels: Jungle Records, Track Records

Career Began: New York, United States of America

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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#900 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #116 of 222 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album #42 of 294 The Best Punk Bands Of All Time

7
Richard Hell & The V... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Lom added
Rock music, Punk rock

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

Labels: Radar Records, Red Star Records, Sire Records, ROIR

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#1,059 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #101 of 222 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album #46 of 294 The Best Punk Bands Of All Time

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

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

Labels: Columbia

Career Began: Forest Hills, New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#11 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #43 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing The Best Simon And Garfunkel Songs

9
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

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

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: Decca Records, Verve Music Group, Reprise Records, Pablo Records, Capitol Records

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#66 of 455 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #60 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best Ella Fitzgerald Albums of All Time

10
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Hip hop

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

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: Atlantic Records, Def Jam Recordings, The Island Def Jam Music Group, Universal Music Group, Roc-A-Fella Records, + more

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#229 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing Every Athlete Signed To Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports, Rankedlisted on Musical Guests of the Jay Leno Show

11
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop

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

Labels: Def Jam Recordings, Rat Cage Records, Grand Royal, Capitol Records

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#171 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #71 of 505 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80sfeaturing The Best Beastie Boys Albums of All Time

12
Kiss is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

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

Labels: Roadrunner Records, Kiss Records, Mercury, Sanctuary Records Group, Universal Music Group, + more

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#85 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #55 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing The Best KISS Songs of All Time

13
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Omar A Lopez added
Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: Atlantic Records, Uptown Records, Bad Boy Records

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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#238 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #413 of 465 The Best Current Pop Groups/Singersfeaturing A Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feud

14
Lady Gaga is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Pop, Dance, Electronic

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

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: Universal Music Group, Interscope Records, KonLive Distribution, Streamline Records

Career Began: Yonkers, New York, United States of America

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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15
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Hip hop music, Pop music, Neo soul

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

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: Star Mark Compilations, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, LaFace Records, Sony Music Entertainment, BMG JAPAN, + more

Career Began: Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#31 of 455 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #230 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing All The Famous Men Alicia Keys Has Dated

16
The Velvet Underground ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Noise rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

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

Labels: Atlantic Records, Verve Music Group, Mercury, Polydor Records, Sire Records, + more

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#62 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #115 of 283 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Famefeaturing The Best Velvet Underground Albums of All Time

17
Blondie is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave

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

Labels: Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI, Epic Records, Chrysalis Records, Sanctuary Records Group, + more

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#73 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #106 of 986 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #84 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

18
The Strokes is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Garage rock, Power pop, Alternative rock

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

Labels: Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Rough Trade Records, RCA Records

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#236 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #193 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing The Best Strokes Songs of All Time

19
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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

Labels: Loud Records, Various Wu-Recording Labels, Universal Motown Republic Group, Sony Music Entertainment, SRC Records, + more

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#510 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #885 of 1,066 The Best Singers of All Timefeaturing 9 Stories That Led The FBI To Think The Wu Tang Clan Was An Organized Crime Syndicate

20
Run–DMC is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

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

Labels: Def Jam Recordings, Arista Records, Profile Records

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#316 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #130 of 505 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s #32 of 139 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s

21
Nas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: Def Jam Recordings, Ill Will Records, Columbia

Career Began: Queensbridge, New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#420 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #201 of 410 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90sfeaturing The Best Nas Songs

22
Cyndi Lauper is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Adult contemporary music, New Wave, Pop music

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

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: Downtown Records, Portrait Records, Edel AG, Epic Records, Daylight Records

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#76 of 455 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #379 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best Cyndi Lauper Albums of All Time

23
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word

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

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: Matador Records, Reprise Records, Sire Records, MGM Records, Warner Bros. Records, + more

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#138 of 455 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #129 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing Wild Stories About The Insane Life Of Music Pioneer Lou Reed

24
Lana Del Rey is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Alternative pop, Rock

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

Nationality: United States of America

Labels: Polydor Records, Interscope Records, 5 Points, Stranger

Career Began: Lake Placid, New York, United States of America

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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#135 of 455 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #385 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing What's The Deal With Pop Princess Lana Del Rey?

25
Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From New York
Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

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

Labels: Homestead Records, Blast First, SST Records, Matador Records, Enigma Records, + more

Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America

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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#189 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #30 of 283 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Famefeaturing The Best Sonic Youth Songs of All Time