There is no shortage of incredible music in the United States. Pretty much every part of the country has produced a slew of fantastic artists, so it can sometimes be hard to remember the most famous band from every state.
Some of the most recognizable music groups are forever tied to the region from which they came. Can anyone mention the Seattle grunge sound of the 1990s without bringing up Nirvana? Is it even possible to separate Motown, based out of Michigan, from The Temptations? However, some US states and their famous bands aren't so instantly forthcoming. New Jersey has Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, but also Bon Jovi. In California, fans have to pick between The Grateful Dead, The Beach Boys, The Eagles, The Doors, and Metallica. The competition is fierce in large, densely populated states, but one band usually manages to rise above the rest in terms of notoriety.
- 1Rock music, Rock and roll
Legendary country singer Johnny Cash formed his band, The Tennessee Three, in Memphis, TN in the mid-1950s. The band played with Cash for over two decades, and produced hits such as "I Walk the Line" and "Folsom Prison Blues."
Albums: The Essential Sun Singles, The Complete Original Sun Singles, So Doggone Lonesome / Folsom Prison Blues, The Sound Must Go On, The Sound Behind Johnny Cash
Prince put together his signature band, Prince and the Revolution, in his much-loved birthplace of Minneapolis, MN in 1983. The funk rock stylings of the group led to two studio albums and two movie soundtracks. Their biggest success came in 1984 with the Grammy award winning record Purple Rain.
- 3Rock music, Grunge
It's impossible to discuss the Seattle grunge scene of the '90s without bringing up Nirvana. The power trio formed in the late 1980s out of Aberdeen, WA. They made three studio albums together and achieved enormous mainstream success off of hits such as "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Lithium."
Albums: Nevermind, In Utero, MTV Unplugged in New York, Bleach, Heart‐Shaped Box
- 4Glam metal, Blues-rock
Aerosmith, AKA The Bad Boys of Boston, formed in Boston, MA in 1970. They went on to become one of the most storied bands in rock history, and have sold over 150 million albums to date. From these albums came 21 Billboard Top 40 hits, including "Dream On," "Walk This Way," and "Janie's Got a Gun."
Albums: Toys in the Attic, Pump, Permanent Vacation, Aerosmith, Get a Grip
- 5Blues-rock, New Wave
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers came out of Gainesville, FL in 1976. The rock band is known for several radio hits such as "American Girl," "Refugee," and "Mary Jane's Last Dance."
Albums: The Last DJ, Damn the Torpedoes, Into the Great Wide Open, Southern Accents, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
- 6Blues-rock, Boogie rock
The bearded rockers got their start in 1969 in Houston, TX. ZZ Top found mainstream success in the 1980s with mega-hits like "Legs," "Gimme All Your Lovin'," and "Sharp Dressed Man."
Albums: Tres Hombres, Eliminator, Rio Grande Mud, Greatest Hits, Fandango!
- 7Heartland rock, Rock music
Formed in the 1970s out of Topeka, KS, the prog-rock band produced eight gold albums. Their songs "Dust in the Wind" and "Carry On Wayward Son" are classic rock radio staples and Billboard chart-toppers.
Albums: Point of Know Return, Leftoverture, Kansas, The Best of Kansas, Freaks of Nature
Bruce Springsteen and New Jersey go hand in hand. The Boss selected the members of his band from clubs around the Garden State, and paid special attention to the esteemed music scene of 1970s Asbury Park. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers went on to record several of the most popular albums in rock history, including Born to Run, The River, and Born in the USA.
Albums: Born to Run, The Rising, Tunnel of Love, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
- 9Dark ambient, Industrial metal
Frontman Trent Razor founded the gritty industrial band Nine Inch Nails out of Cleveland, OH in the late 1980s. The Grammy award winning band achieved mainstream success in 1994 with their concept album The Downward Spiral.
Albums: The Downward Spiral, The Fragile, With Teeth, Pretty Hate Machine, Year Zero
- 10Bubblegum pop, Motown Sound
Brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael formed The Jackson 5 out of Gary, IN in the mid-1960s. They quickly became one of the signature acts of the Motown sound and had four number one singles, including "ABC" and "I Want You Back."
Albums: Christmas Album, 20th Century Masters: The Christmas Collection: The Best of Jackson 5, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, ABC, The Jacksons
- 11Doo-wop, Rock music
Detroit is the birthplace of Motown, and there was no bigger Motown act than the R&B vocal group The Temptations. The Grammy award winners helped to define the sound of a generation with hits like "My Girl," "Just My Imagination," and "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone."
Albums: The Temptations Christmas Card, The Very Best of Christmas, The Temptations Sing Smokey, Diana Ross & The Supremes Join The Temptations, Meet The Temptations
- 12Country pop, Pop music
You know a band has love for their home state when the two share a name. Alabama was one of the most successful bands of the 1980s with 27 number one hits. The southern boys were able to take their country roots and achieve crossover mainstream success to the tune of over 70 million album sales.
Albums: Christmas Vol. II, Alabama Christmas, Feels So Right, Christmas With The Judds & Alabama, Mountain Music
- 13New Wave, Rock music
While Talking Heads will forever be associated with the legendary NYC new wave punk scene of the 1970s, that's not where the band got their start. David Byrne, Christ Frantz, and Tina Weymouth met while attending the Rhode Island School of Design. The band found immediate success with their debut album Talking Heads: 77, which featured the hit single "Psycho Killer."
Albums: Stop Making Sense, Remain in Light, Fear of Music, More Songs About Buildings and Food, Sand in the Vaseline: Popular Favorites
- 14Jangle pop, Heartland rock
Hootie & the Blowfish met when the members were freshmen at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. Darius Rucker and the gang found immediate success with the release of their debut album, Cracked Rear View, in 1994. The album sold over 16 million copies worldwide and featured four hit singles: "Hold My Hand," "Let Her Cry," "Only Wanna Be with You," and "Time."
Albums: Cracked Rear View, Hootie & the Blowfish, Fairweather Johnson, Musical Chairs, Kootchypop
- 15Ballad, Ska
Chicago came out of Chicago, IL in the mid-1960s. The ballad-generating soft-rockers are one of the best-selling bands of all time. Chicago has sold over 100 million records worldwide and has managed to land 20 top ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100.
Albums: Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago II, Chicago Christmas: What's It Gonna Be, Santa?, Chicago IX: Chicago's Greatest Hits
- 16Rock music, Gothic metal
Singer Amy Lee and guitarist Ben Moody formed the Christian-turned-goth band Evanescence in Little Rock, AR in the mid-1990s. Their Grammy winning debut album, Fallen, sold 17 million copies.
Albums: Fallen, My Immortal, The Open Door, Evanescence, Bring Me to Life
- 17Pop punk, Synthpop
Indie rockers The Killers partnered up in 2001 in Las Vegas, NV. The band has sold over 22 million albums worldwide on the strength of their radio-friendly pop songs "Mr. Brightside" and "Somebody Told Me."
Albums: Sam’s Town, Hot Fuss, Day & Age, Mr Brightside, Battle Born
- 18Blues-rock, Boogie rock
George Thorogood & The Destroyers performed their first gig together at The University of Delaware in 1973. The group went on to make over 20 albums and sell 15 million records internationally on the strength of their hits "Bad to the Bone" and "I Drink Alone."
Albums: 30 Years Greatest, The Baddest of George Thorogood and the Destroyers, I Drink Alone, Anthology, 30th Anniversary Tour: Live
- 19Rock music, World music
The Dave Matthews Band formed out of Charlottesville, VA in the early 1990s. The jam band's first album, Under the Table and Dreaming, produced the radio hits "What Would You Say," "Satellite," and "Ants Marching." Known for their impressive live shows, DMB continues to be one of the biggest concert draws in the US.
Albums: Under the Table and Dreaming, Crash, Before These Crowded Streets, Everyday, Big Whiskey & The GrooGrux King
- 20Glam metal, Rock music
Bret Michaels and the boys from Poison got their start in Mechanicsburg, PA in 1983. The notorious hair band has sold over 45 million records and has 10 top 40 Billboard hits, including "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and "Nothin' but a Good Time."
Albums: Flesh & Blood, Look What the Cat Dragged In, Open Up and Say... Ahh!, Poison's Greatest Hits 1986-1996, Native Tongue
- 21Nu metal, Rock music
3 Doors Down began in the mid-1990s in Escatawpa, MS. The post-grunge alt-rockers reached the top of the charts with their very first single, "Kryptonite," in 2000. Surprisingly, the band was one of the few acts willing to perform at President Trump's inauguration in 2017.
Albums: The Better Life, Seventeen Days, Away From the Sun, 3 Doors Down, The Greatest Hits
- 22Alternative rock, Punk rock
Violent Femmes got their start in Milwaukee, WI in 1980. The folk-punk trio catapulted to immediate success with their 1983 self-titled album that featured their biggest hit, "Blister in the Sun."
Albums: Violent Femmes, Add It Up (1981–1993), Machine, Why Do Birds Sing?, Freak Magnet
- 23Rock music, Rap metal
Reggae rockers 311 formed out of Omaha, NE in the late 1980s. Their biggest mainstream success was their self-titled 1995 album, which produced the mega-hits "Down" and "All Mixed Up."
Albums: 311, From Chaos, Evolver, Universal Pulse, Don't Tread on Me
- 24Adult contemporary music, Pop music
The brother and sister duo from New Haven, CT helped to define the soft rock era of the 1970s. The Grammy and Oscar winners comprised one of the best-selling groups of all time with over 90 million records sold. They topped the charts with songs like "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and "We've Only Just Begun."
Albums: Christmas Portrait, An Old-Fashioned Christmas, Christmas Collection, Close to You, Lovelines
- 25Pop music, Worldbeat
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel met in Queens, NY in the 1950s. At the time of their first encounter, both of the now-acclaimed musicians were in elementary school. They learned to make beautiful harmonies together and became one of the best-selling duos in musical history with hits like "Mrs. Robinson" and "The Sound of Silence."
Albums: Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sounds of Silence, Bookends, The Graduate, The Concert in Central Park