Music

The Best Musical Artists From Washington 

Ranker Music
Updated April 11, 2020 1.8k votes 179 voters 4.4k views 102 items

List Rules Only artists born or raised in Washington or bands formed in Washington.

Here are the best artists and bands from Washington. Seattle, the largest city in the state, is known as the birthplace of grunge, which dominated the music industry in the 1990s. Numerous artists in a variety of genres, including hip-hop, folk, punk, and indie music have also come out of the Evergreen State. Although Seattle gets most of the love, plenty of noteworthy acts have also come out of Tacoma and Olympia. You will find the best musical artists from Washington on this list, ranging across decades. 

All your favorite grunge artists come from this state. Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and more got their start performing in local clubs before dominating radio stations around the globe. However, the state has much more to offer than grunge. Before Sir Mix-a-Lot sang about how much he loved big butts, he was just your average kid in Auburn who loved hip-hop. These artists barely scratch the surface of all the great Washington musical artists. 

Do you like wearing flannel, or do you prefer listening to sick beats over the biggest boombox possible? This list has all of the most popular musical artists who have come out of Washington. Vote up the best Washington artists, and feel free to add any other famous musicians, rappers, singers, and bands with Pacific Northwest roots.

list ordered by
1
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Experimental rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: First Rays of the New Rising Sun, Band of Gypsys, Voodoo Child: The Jimi Hendrix Collection, Live at the Fillmore East, Live at Woodstock, + more

James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His mainstream career lasted ...more

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Wild Stories From The Guitar-Shredding Life Of Jimi Hendrix #67 of 668 The Best Rock Vocalistslisted on Members of The 27 Club

2
Nirvana is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Nevermind, In Utero, MTV Unplugged in New York, Bleach, Heart‐Shaped Box, + more

Nirvana was an American grunge band that was formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, ...more

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At Their Peaks, Guns N' Roses And Nirvana Hated Each Other - But They Found Common Ground In Rock #216 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #54 of 466 The Best Current Pop Groups/Singers

3
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Superunknown, Badmotorfinger, Down on the Upside, Louder Than Love, Black Hole Sun, + more

Soundgarden was an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1984 by singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil (both of whom are the only members to appear ...more

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#55 of 419 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #111 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #44 of 318 The Greatest American Rock Bands

4
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Dirt, Alice in Chains, Facelift, Jar of Flies, Black Gives Way to Blue, + more

Alice in Chains (often abbreviated as AIC) is an American rock band from Seattle, Washington, formed in 1987 by guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney, who later recruited ...more

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The Best Alice In Chains Songs of All Time #230 of 419 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #148 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

5
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Ten, Vs., Vitalogy, Binaural, No Code, + more

Pearl Jam is an American rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1990. Since its inception, the band's line-up has comprised Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. The ...more

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The Best Pearl Jam Songs of All Time #137 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #16 of 318 The Greatest American Rock Bands

6
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Wasting Light, The Colour and the Shape, Foo Fighters, One by One, There Is Nothing Left to Lose, + more

Foo Fighters is an American rock band, formed in Seattle in 1994. It was founded by Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl as a one-man project following the death of Kurt Cobain and the resulting ...more

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The Best Foo Fighters Songs of All Time #31 of 419 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #138 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

7
Heart is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen, Heart, These Dreams: Greatest Hits, Bebe Le Strange, + more

Heart is a rock band that first found success in Canada and later in the United States and worldwide. Over the group's history, it has had three primary lineups, with the constant center of the ...more

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#55 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #32 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands #20 of 318 The Greatest American Rock Bands

8
Bing Crosby is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Genre: Traditional pop music, Easy listening & Jazz; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Merry Christmas, Bing Crosby's Christmas Classics, White Christmas, Christmas, Christmas With Bing Crosby, + more

Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby Jr. (; May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer and actor. The first multimedia star, Crosby was a leader in record sales, radio ratings, and ...more

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The Best Bing Crosby Albums of All Time #298 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #61 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

9
Modest Mouse is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: The Moon & Antarctica, Good News for People Who Love Bad News, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, The Lonesome Crowded West, Ocean Breathes Salty, + more

Modest Mouse is an American rock band formed in 1992 in Issaquah, Washington and currently based in Portland, Oregon. The founding members are lead singer/guitarist Isaac Brock, drummer Jeremiah ...more

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The Best Modest Mouse Songs of All Time #776 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #634 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

10
Death Cab for Cutie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Plans, Narrow Stairs, Transatlanticism, We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes, iTunes Originals – Death Cab for Cutie, + more

Death Cab for Cutie is an American alternative rock band, formed in Bellingham, WA, in 1997. The band is composed of Ben Gibbard (vocals, guitar, piano), Nick Harmer (bass), Dave Depper (guitar, ...more

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The Best Death Cab For Cutie Songs #714 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #59 of 604 The Most Hipster Bands

11
Macklemore is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Genre: Alternative hip hop and Pop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Heist, The VS. Redux, The Language of My World, Open Your Eyes, Same Love, + more

Benjamin Hammond Haggerty (born June 19, 1983), known by his stage name Macklemore ( MAK-lə-mor), (formerly Professor Macklemore), is an American rapper and songwriter from Seattle, Washington. ...more

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#1,526 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #111 of 255 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #119 of 214 The Best New School Rappers

12
Melvins is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Prick, Houdini, Stag, Stoner Witch, Bullhead, + more

Melvins are an American rock band whose early work was key to the development of both grunge and sludge metal. The band formed in 1983 in Montesano, Washington. They have mostly performed as a ...more

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#360 of 419 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #1,136 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #313 of 408 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

13
Kenny Loggins is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Genre: Blue-eyed soul, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: December, Footloose, Celebrate Me Home, Whenever I Call You Friend, Keep the Fire, + more

Kenneth Clark Loggins (born January 7, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. His early songs were recorded with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1970, which led to seven albums ...more

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The Best Kenny Loggins Albums of All Time #108 of 265 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #52 of 419 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

14
Temple of the Dog is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Temple of the Dog, Hunger Strike, Say Hello 2 Heaven

Temple of the Dog was an American rock band that formed in Seattle, Washington in 1990. It was conceived by vocalist Chris Cornell of Soundgarden as a tribute to his friend, the late Andrew ...more

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#428 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #80 of 408 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s #132 of 320 The Best Bands With Animal Names

15
The Presidents of the Un... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: The Presidents of the United States of America, These Are the Good Times People, Freaked Out and Small, Froggystyle, Love Everybody, + more

The Presidents of the United States of America (occasionally referred to as PUSA, The Presidents or Pot USA) was an American alternative rock power trio band. The band formed in Seattle, ...more

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#676 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #827 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #95 of 408 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

16
Screaming Trees is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Dust, Uncle Anesthesia, Other Worlds, Sweet Oblivion, Buzz Factory, + more

Screaming Trees was an American rock band formed in Ellensburg, Washington in 1985 by vocalist Mark Lanegan, guitarist Gary Lee Conner, bass player Van Conner and drummer Mark Pickerel. Pickerel ...more

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The Best Screaming Trees Albums #475 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #226 of 408 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

17
Brandi Carlile is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Genre: Pop music, Folk music & Folk rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Story, Brandi Carlile, Give Up the Ghost, Bear Creek, We're Growing Up, + more

Brandi M. Carlile (born June 1, 1981) is an American three-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and producer whose music spans multiple genres. As of 2018, Carlile has released six studio ...more

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The Best Brandi Carlile Albums of All Time #143 of 218 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years #256 of 620 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time

18
Fleet Foxes is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes (EP), Fleet Foxes, Sun Giant, Helplessness Blues / Grown Ocean, + more

Fleet Foxes is a Grammy-nominated American indie folk band that was formed in Seattle, Washington. It is signed to the Sub Pop and Bella Union record labels. The band came to prominence in 2008 ...more

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The Best Fleet Foxes Albums, Ranked #1,217 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #1,141 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

19
Band of Horses is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Everything All the Time, Cease to Begin, Mirage Rock, Tour EP, Infinite Arms, + more

Band of Horses is an American rock band formed in 2004 in Seattle by Ben Bridwell. The band has released five studio albums, the most successful of which is 2010's Grammy-nominated Infinite ...more

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The Best Band Of Horses Songs #1,681 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #882 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

20
The Postal Service is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Give Up, Against All Odds, We Will Become Silhouettes, The District Sleeps Alone Tonight, Such Great Heights, + more

The Postal Service was an American indie band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 2001. The band consisted of vocalist Ben Gibbard, producer Jimmy Tamborello, with Jenny Lewis on background ...more

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#45 of 103 The Best Musical Duos #14 of 604 The Most Hipster Bands #22 of 78 The Best Music Side Projects

21
The Wailers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Catch a Fire, Burnin', Reggae Greats, African Herbsman, Rasta Revolution, + more

22
Mudhoney is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Superfuzz Bigmuff, Since We've Become Translucent, Piece of Cake, Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, Mudhoney, + more

Mudhoney are an American alternative rock band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1988. Following the demise of Green River, Mudhoney's members are singer and rhythm guitarist Mark Arm, lead ...more

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#293 of 318 The Greatest American Rock Bands #597 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #268 of 408 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

23
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Operation: Mindcrime, Empire, Promised Land, American Soldier, Operation: Mindcrime II, + more

Queensrÿche is an American heavy metal band. It formed in 1980 in Bellevue, Washington, out of the local band The Mob. The band has released 15 studio albums, one EP, and several DVDs, and ...more

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#272 of 419 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #475 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #289 of 318 The Greatest American Rock Bands

24
Mad Season is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Albums: Above, River of Deceit, Live, I Don't Know Anything, Long Gone Day

Mad Season can refer to: Mad Season (band) Mad Season (album), an album by the band Matchbox Twenty "Mad Season" (song), title song of the album

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#1,379 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #4 of 78 The Best Music Side Projects #32 of 70 The Best Supergroups Ever Made

25
Sir Mix-a-Lot is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Genre: Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop & West Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Swass, Baby Got Back, Mack Daddy, Chief Boot Knocka, Daddy's Home, + more

Anthony L. Ray (born August 12, 1963), better known by his stage name Sir Mix-a-Lot, is an American rapper, songwriter, and recording producer. He is best known for his 1992 hit song "Baby ...more

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#126 of 255 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #66 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #31 of 54 The Best '80s Rappers