Music

The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin 

Ranker Music
Updated May 6, 2019 1.5k votes 149 voters 5.5k views 100 items

List Rules Only artists and groups born, established, or raised in Wisconsin.

Here are the best artists and bands from Wisconsin. Known as America's Dairyland, Wisconsin is home to some of the country's leading dairy producers, but the state is also known for fostering the growth of fantastic musical artists. From rock bands to pop stars and rappers to country music singers, there is certainly nothing cheesy about these notable musical artists from Wisconsin. 

Liberace, one of the most famous pianists of all time, was born and raised in West Allis. Hailing from Milwaukee, electropop band GGOOLLDD made a big impression with their debut EP titled $TANDARD$ in 2014. Other popular Wisconsin artists include Garbage, Violent Femmes, Bon Iver, and K Camp. 

Vote up your favorite bands, singers, composers, and rappers to let everyone know who the best Wisconsin musical acts are. 

list ordered by
1
Les Paul is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Rock and roll; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Chester & Lester, The Legend and the Legacy, Les Paul & Friends: American Made World Played, Masters of the Guitar: Together, Guitar Monsters, + more

Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 12, 2009), known as Les Paul, was an American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor. He was one of the pioneers of ...more

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#12 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #16 of 633 The Greatest Lead Guitarists Of All Time #418 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

2
Violent Femmes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin

Albums: Violent Femmes, Add It Up (1981–1993), Machine, Why Do Birds Sing?, Freak Magnet, + more

{{Infobox musical artist | name = Violent Femmes | image = Violent Femmes 8221.jpg | caption = Violent Femmes, 2006 | background = group_or_band | origin = Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. | genre = | ...more

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The Best Violent Femmes Albums of All Time #192 of 419 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #905 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

3
Bon Iver is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin

Albums: For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Blood Bank, + more

Bon Iver () is an American indie folk band founded in 2006 by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. Vernon released Bon Iver's debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, independently in July 2007. The ...more

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The Best Bon Iver Albums, Ranked #17 of 604 The Most Hipster Bands #293 of 1,062 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time

4
Steve Miller is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
Genre: Blues-rock, Heartland rock & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Circle of Love, Born 2B Blue, Fly Like an Eagle

Steven Haworth Miller (born October 5, 1943) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter, known as leader of the Steve Miller Band. He began his career in blues and blues rock and evolved ...more

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#86 of 668 The Best Rock Vocalists #391 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #92 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time

5
Garbage is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin

Albums: Garbage, Version 2.0, Not Your Kind of People, Bleed Like Me, beautifulgarbage, + more

Garbage is an American rock band formed in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1993. The band consists of Scottish musician and lead singer Shirley Manson and American musicians Duke Erikson, Steve Marker, ...more

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#104 of 419 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #492 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #198 of 466 The Best Current Pop Groups/Singers

6
BoDeans is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin

Albums: Go Slow Down, Black and White, Still, Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams, Outside Looking In, + more

BoDeans is an American rock band. Formed in Waukesha, Wisconsin, BoDeans came to prominence in the 1980s. The band's sound encompasses multiple rock genres, including roots rock, heartland rock, ...more
7
Al Jarreau is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
Genre: Pop music, Rhythm and blues & Jazz; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Ricky Lawson & Friends: First Things 1st, Heart's Horizon, Al Jarreau sings Bill Withers, This Time, Breakin' Away, + more

Alwin Lopez Jarreau (March 12, 1940 – February 12, 2017) was an American singer and musician. He received a total of seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for over a dozen more. Jarreau is ...more

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The Best Al Jarreau Albums of All Time #1,101 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #1,159 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

8
John Altenburgh is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
John Altenburgh

Albums: Old City

John Altenburgh (born John Altenburg, April 20, 1960, Wausau, Wisconsin, United States) is an American jazz and blues pianist, composer, arranger and producer who has made his home in Mosinee, ...more
9
Butch Vig is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
Genre: Rock music, Grunge & Alternative rock; Nationality: United States of America
Bryan David "Butch" Vig (born August 2, 1955), nicknamed the Nevermind Man, is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer, best known as the drummer and co-producer of the ...more
10
Woody Herman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
Genre: Cool jazz, Swing music & Big band; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Herd at Montreux, The Complete Capitol Recordings of Woody Herman, Quadromania Jazz Edition: Woody Herman: Saving Myself for You, Music for Tired Lovers, Big Bands: Woody Herman, + more

Woodrow Charles Herman (May 16, 1913 – October 29, 1987) was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, singer, and big band leader. Leading various groups called "The Herd", Herman ...more

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#442 of 527 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song? #7 of 88 The Greatest Clarinetists of All Time #20 of 189 Famous People Buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

11
Lyle Mays is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
Genre: Jazz fusion, Jazz & Contemporary classical music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Pat Metheny Group in Concert, As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls, Unity Village Concert, Fictionary, + more

Lyle David Mays (born November 27, 1953) is an American jazz pianist and composer best known as a member of the Pat Metheny Group. Metheny and Mays composed and arranged nearly all of the ...more
12
Ben Sidran is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
Genre: Rock music and Jazz; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison, The Essential: Groove Master Selection, Don't Let Go, Bop City, Too Hot to Touch, + more

Ben Hirsh Sidran (born August 14, 1943) is an American jazz and rock keyboardist, producer, label owner, and music writer. Early in his career he was a member of the Steve Miller Band.
13
Clyde Stubblefield is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin

Albums: The Revenge Of The Funky Drummer

Clyde Austin Stubblefield (April 18, 1943 – February 18, 2017) was an American drummer best known for his work with James Brown. A self-taught musician, he was influenced by the sound of natural ...more

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#193 of 576 The Best Drummers Of All Time #4 of 25 The 25 Most Popular & Influential Black Drummers #81 of 94 Celebrities Who Died in 2017

14
Richard Davis is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
Richard Davis

Albums: Heavy Sounds, Live at the Elvehjem Art Museum, Dealin', As One, Muses for Richard Davis, + more

Richard Davis (born April 15, 1930) is an American jazz bassist. Among his best-known contributions to the albums of others are Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch!, Andrew Hill's Point of Departure, and ...more
15
Viola Smith is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
Viola Smith
Viola Smith is an American drummer best known for her work in orchestras, swing bands, and popular music in the 1930s and 1940s. She was one of the first professional female drummers.
16
Carl Allen is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin

Albums: Testimonial

Carl Allen (born April 25, 1961) is an American jazz drummer. Allen attended William Paterson University.He has worked with a wide variety of musicians, including Freddie Hubbard, Jackie McLean, ...more
17
Cory Chisel and The Wand... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons

Albums: Cabin Ghosts, Old Believers, Death Won't Send a Letter

Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons are an Americana, folk rock band that started in Appleton, Wisconsin. The band consists of Cory Chisel and Adriel Denae. Past members include Rick Setser, Paul ...more
18
The Robbs is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
The Robbs
The Robbs were an American 1960s pop/rock band from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. They are best known for being the house band on Dick Clark's mid-1960s show Where The Action Is. They are also known ...more
19
Liberace is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin

Albums: The Best of Liberace, 16 Most Requested Songs, Concertos for You, Great Motion Picture Themes, Volume 1, + more

Władziu Valentino Liberace (May 16, 1919 – February 4, 1987) was an American pianist, singer and actor. A child prodigy born in Wisconsin to parents of Italian and Polish origin, Liberace ...more

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#130 of 527 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song? #747 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #121 of 469 The Greatest Entertainers of All Time

20
Bill Miller is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin

Albums: Ghostdance, Spirit Wind East, Spirirt Songs - The Best Of Bill Miller, Raven in the Snow, Reservation Road, + more

Bill Miller (born January 23, 1955) is a Native American singer/songwriter and artist of Mohican heritage. He is a guitarist, player of the Native American flute and painter.
21
Jerry Harrison is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
Genre: Indie pop, New Wave & Rock and roll; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Casual Gods, Walk on Water, The Red and the Black

Jeremiah Griffin Harrison (born February 21, 1949) is an American songwriter, musician, producer, and entrepreneur. He achieved fame as the keyboardist and guitarist for the New Wave band ...more
22
Justin Vernon is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin

Albums: Self Record, Hazeltons, Home Is, A Decade with Duke

Justin DeYarmond Edison Vernon (born April 30, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He is best known as the primary songwriter and frontman of indie folk ...more

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#99 of 120 Current Singers You Most Wish You Could Sound Like #445 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #93 of 104 New American Idol Judge Picks

23
Volcano Choir is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
Volcano Choir

Albums: Repave, Unmap

Volcano Choir is an American indie rock band from Wisconsin, formed in 2005. The band began as a collaboration between Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and members of Collections of Colonies of Bees. ...more
24
K Camp is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin

Albums: In Due Time

Kristopher Campbell, better known by his stage name K Camp, is an American rapper from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is best known for "Money Baby" and "Cut Her Off". He signed a ...more
25
Skylar Grey is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Wisconsin
Genre: Hip hop music, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Buried Sessions, Like Blood Like Honey, Don't Look Down, O'Dark: Thirty EP, ITunes Session, + more

Holly Brook Hafermann (born February 23, 1986), known professionally as Skylar Grey, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and model from Mazomanie, Wisconsin. In 2004, at the age ...more