Bands/Musicians The Best Musical Artists From Washington  

Ranker Music
597 votes 35 voters 100 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 musicians, rappers, singers, and bands with Pacific Northwest roots.

list ordered by
1
14 2
Nirvana is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock
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
2
17 5
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal
Soundgarden is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1984 by singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Matt Cameron ...more
3
13 3
Heart is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Pop music, Rock music, Folk rock
Heart is an American rock band that first found success in Canada and later in the United States and worldwide. Over the group's four-decade history, the band has had three primary lineups, with ...more
4
14 4
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal
Alice in Chains is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1987 by guitarist and songwriter Jerry Cantrell and original lead vocalist Layne Staley. The initial lineup was rounded ...more
5
13 4
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most ...more
6
9 1
Fleet Foxes is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Indie pop, Folk music, Folk rock
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
7
10 2
The Wailers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Pop music, Ska, Rock music
8
10 2
Brandi Carlile is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Pop music, Folk music, Folk rock
Brandi M. Carlile is an American alternative country and folk rock singer-songwriter. She has released several albums including The Story, Give Up the Ghost and Live at Benaroya Hall with the ...more
9
13 5
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge
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
10
11 4
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge
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
11
13 6
Macklemore is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hip hop music in the Pacific Northwest
Benjamin Hammond Haggerty (born June 19, 1983), known by his stage name Macklemore, and formerly Professor Macklemore, is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter, from Seattle, Washington. He ...more
12
10 4
Sir Mix-a-Lot is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, West Coast hip hop
Anthony Ray, better known by his stage name Sir Mix-a-Lot, is an American MC and producer based in Seattle, Washington.
13
10 4
Temple of the Dog is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Blues-rock, Rock music, Grunge
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
14
10 4
The Presidents of the United S... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Pop punk, Noise rock, Rock music
The Presidents of the United States of America, sometimes referred to as PUSA, The Presidents or Pot USA, is a twice Grammy-nominated American alternative rock band. The band formed in Seattle, ...more
15
10 4
Death Cab for Cutie is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Indie pop, Emo, Alternative rock
Death Cab for Cutie is an American alternative rock band, formed in Bellingham, Washington in 1997. The band comprises Ben Gibbard, Nick Harmer and Jason McGerr. In 2014, founding guitarist and ...more
16
6 1
Kenny Loggins is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music
Kenneth Clark "Kenny" Loggins is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is known for soft rock music beginning in the 1970s, and later for writing and performing for movie ...more
17
9 4
Bing Crosby is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Traditional pop music, Easy listening, Jazz
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby, Jr. was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark warm bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, ...more
18
8 4
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal
Queensrÿche is an American progressive heavy metal band formed in 1982 in Bellevue, Washington out of the local band The Mob. The band has released 14 studio albums, one EP and several ...more
19
7 3
Band of Horses is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Rock music, Alternative country, Indie rock
Band of Horses, originally known briefly as Horses, is an American rock band formed in 2004 in Seattle by Ben Bridwell. The band has released four studio albums, the most successful of which is ...more
20
6 2
James Otto is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Country
James Allen Otto is an American country music artist who is a member of the MuzikMafia, a group of country musicians known for their "country music without prejudice". Otto began his ...more
21
6 2
Bikini Kill is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Riot grrrl, Alternative rock, Punk rock
Bikini Kill was an American punk rock band formed in Olympia, Washington in October 1990. The group consisted of singer and songwriter Kathleen Hanna, guitarist Billy Karren, bassist Kathi ...more
22
6 2
Sanctuary is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Thrash metal, Power metal, Heavy metal
Sanctuary is an American Heavy metal band founded in Seattle in 1985. They split up in 1992, but reformed 18 years later. The band consists of Warrel Dane, Lenny Rutledge, Jim Sheppard, and Dave ...more
23
4 0
Mount Eerie is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Indie pop, Black metal, Indie folk
Mount Eerie is the musical project of Anacortes, Washington-based songwriter and producer Phil Elverum. Elverum is the principal member of the band, but has collaborated with many other ...more
24
4 0
The Lonely Forest is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
The Lonely Forest Rock music, Alternative rock, Indie rock
The Lonely Forest was an American indie rock band formed in Anacortes, Washington in 2005. The four piece ensemble, consisting of members John Van Deusen, Tony Ruland, Braydn Krueger, and Eric ...more
25
8 5
Judy Collins is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Pop music, Folk music, Rock and roll
Judith Marjorie "Judy" Collins is an American singer and songwriter known for her eclectic tastes in the material she records and for her social activism. Collins' debut album A Maid ...more