The Best Musical Artists From Texas

Over 1.7K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Musical Artists From Texas
Voting Rules
Only artists born or raised in Texas or bands formed in Texas.

Here are the best artists and bands from Texas. Everything's bigger in Texas. Apparently, that also applies to the fame of some of the biggest artists in music over the years. Beyoncé and Willie Nelson are more than just some of the best musical artists from Texas. They are the best musical artists in the entire world, and they are only the tip of some of the singers and bands that got their start in the Lone Star State. 

Pop icons like Jessica Simpson and Demi Lovato first crooned their way to success for Texan audiences before finding fame on a larger scale. Some of the heaviest acts in rock have also come out of Texas. Pantera, The Mars Volta, ZZ Top, and plenty of other bands played smaller gigs in Austin, Houston, and Dallas before touring the rest of the United States. Texas has a massive population, so it only makes sense for at least a few global superstars to have been born and raised within its borders. Other popular Texas artists include Destiny's Child, Nelly, Khalid, and the Dixie Chicks. 

The most famous Texas musical artists span through every genre and era. No matter what type of music you like, there will be artists on this list you keep in regular rotation. Take your time reading through this list and voting for your favorites.

Most divisive: Khalid
Ranked by
  • ZZ Top
    Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music
    384 votes
    • Albums: Tres Hombres, Eliminator, Rio Grande Mud, Greatest Hits, Fandango!

    With their signature blend of blues, hard rock, and a dash of humor, ZZ Top has been a cornerstone of the Texas music scene since their formation in 1969. Their distinctive look, featuring long beards and sunglasses, has become iconic in the world of rock 'n' roll. Over the course of their illustrious career, they've produced chart-topping hits such as "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Gimme All Your Lovin'," earning them a well-deserved spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band's longevity and influence on future generations of Texas musicians speak to their status as one of the Lone Star State's all-time greats.

  • Willie Nelson
    Outlaw country, Americana, Traditional pop music
    391 votes
    • Albums: Heroes, Pretty Paper, Countryman, Last of the Breed, The Red Headed Stranger

    From his humble beginnings as a songwriter for other artists, Willie Nelson has evolved into a beloved cultural icon whose career spans six decades. With an instantly recognizable voice and a unique guitar-playing style, Nelson's music transcends genres and generations, making him one of the most enduring artists from Texas. His work as a leader of the outlaw country movement solidified his place in music history, and songs like "On the Road Again" and "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" are considered classics by fans around the world. Beyond his contributions to music, Nelson is also known for his activism and impact on American culture, solidifying his status as a true Texas legend.

  • George Strait
    383 votes
    • Albums: Pure Country, The Road Less Traveled, Merry Christmas Strait to You, Fresh Cut Christmas, Merry Christmas Wherever You Are

    Known as the "King of Country," George Strait is a Texas native whose impact on the genre cannot be overstated. With a record-breaking 60 number-one hits under his belt, Strait has become one of the best-selling artists of all time. His smooth vocal style and unwavering commitment to traditional country music have endeared him to fans and earned him countless awards, including induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. George Strait's incredible success and lasting influence on the genre make him an undeniable Texas musical great.

  • Waylon Jennings
    Outlaw country, Country rock, Progressive country
    277 votes
    • Albums: Dreaming My Dreams, A Man Called Hoss, Good Hearted Woman, White Mansions - A Tale of the American Civil War 1861-1865, This Is Country

    A pioneer of the outlaw country movement, Waylon Jennings left an indelible mark on the genre with his gritty, no-nonsense approach to songwriting and performing. His close friendship and collaborations with other legends like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash further cemented his role as one of country music's most influential figures. Tracks such as "Luckenbach, Texas" and "Good Hearted Woman" are timeless examples of Jennings' storytelling prowess and unapologetically rebellious spirit. His legacy lives on in the countless artists who have followed in his footsteps, establishing him as a true Texas musical icon.

  • Roy Orbison
    Country pop, Pop music, Rock music
    246 votes
    • Albums: The Essential Roy Orbison, King of Hearts, Mystery Girl, Crying, The Orbison Way

    With a haunting voice that could soar effortlessly through four octaves, Roy Orbison left an indelible mark on the music world, becoming one of the most influential artists to emerge from Texas. Orbison rose to fame in the early 1960s with hits like "Crying" and "Only the Lonely," and his unique blend of rockabilly, pop, and country earned him legions of fans. His emotive songwriting approach and dark, enigmatic image set him apart from his contemporaries, and his music continues to inspire new generations of musicians. As a member of the Traveling Wilburys supergroup and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Orbison's place among Texas's musical elite is well-deserved.

  • Don Henley
    Pop music, Rock music, Country rock
    199 votes
    • Albums: The End of the Innocence, Building the Perfect Beast, I Can't Stand Still, End of the Innocence, Dirty Laundry

    A founding member of the legendary rock band The Eagles, Don Henley hails from the small Texas town of Linden. In addition to his integral role in the success of the Eagles, Henley went on to forge a fruitful solo career with hits like "The Boys of Summer" and "The Heart of the Matter." His distinctive voice and impressive songwriting abilities have made him an enduring figure in the world of popular music, and his work with the Eagles has earned him a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Don Henley's lifelong dedication to his craft and lasting impact on the music industry make him a proud representative of Texas's musical heritage.