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Bands/Musicians Rock Stars Who Shockingly Ended Up in LA - And Love It  

Daniel Kohn
18 items

List Rules Only L.A. musical transplants. This doesn't include transplants that you know live in the city already (Axl Rose etc don't make the cut)

Los Angeles may be the hub for all things entertainment and music-wise, but not every rocker, rapper, and artist flocks to the City of Angels. The city has gotten a bad rap over the years by many musicians who complain about the superficial nature of Los Angeles, but it turns out that's a vocal minority. 

At minimum, some musicians give the city a test drive, like Kurt Cobain in the early '90s, before he eventually returned to Seattle. Even Bruce Springsteen gave L.A.a test drive in the late '80s and early '90s before returning to New Jersey. So it's not like big timers haven't given the city a shot. Many of them, including the Boss himself, still loves the place contrary to what naysayers may think.

 The musicians on this list are current residents of Los Angeles as of 2016. Rockers like Jim James and Gary Clark Jr. recently made the move west, while Brits Morrissey and Robbie Williams came seeking the tranquility L.A. offers.

No matter how you look at it, Los Angeles has been, and always will be, a major attraction for aspiring and established musicians. Perhaps even more important than New York City or Nashville, LA has the glitz and glamor of Sunset Strip, along with rustic canyon overtones that define its rock sound; the gang-ridden streets and racial inequality that inspire the grit and funk of its hip hop; and the liquor-soaked nightclubs and drug-stocked streets that fuel the nastiness in its dance music. This (and the weather, obviously) are probably the main reasons why musicians head west.

Thom Yorke is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Rock Stars Who Shockingly Ended Up in LA - And Love It
Photo: ROY J BARON/Shutterstock

Around the time of the formation of Atoms For Peace, Thom Yorke hunkered down in Los Angeles and became a fan of the local beat scene, in particular Flying Lotus and the rest of the Brainfeeder crew. You can hear their influence in Atoms For Peace. Additionally, Yorke has been spotted dining and hanging out in the greater Silver Lake area, a neighborhood to which his Atoms for Peace band mate Flea has deep ties

Genres (Music): Electronic music, Experimental rock, Experimental music, Alternative rock, Art rock, + more

Albums: The Eraser, Harrowdown Hill, Spitting Feathers, The Eraser Rmxs, This, + more

Nationality: England

Labels: TBD Records, XL Recordings

Career Began: Wellingborough, United Kingdom

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#97 on The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years

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Adele is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Rock Stars Who Shockingly Ended Up in LA - And Love It
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain

While many associate Grammy-winning and gazillion-copies-sold singer Adele with her native London, in the spring of 2016, she moved to Beverly Hills, buying a near-$10 million estate. Her pad is in the gated community of  Hidden Valley, near superstars Jennifer Lawrence and Zoe Saldana.

Genres (Music): Southern soul, Neo soul, Rock music, Nashville sound, Rhythm and blues, + more

Albums: 21, 19, Make You Feel My Love, Adele Live at the Royal Albert Hall, Cold Shoulder, + more

Nationality: England

Labels: XL Recordings, Universal Music Group, Columbia

Career Began: Tottenham, London, United Kingdom

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#9 on The Best Singers of All Time

#6 on The Best Female Vocalists Ever

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#1 on The Best Current Female Singers

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Morrissey is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Rock Stars Who Shockingly Ended Up in LA - And Love It
Photo: jdlasica/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0

Following the break up of The Smiths, the Moz father sought refuge in Los Angeles. He's been living the city for a few decades, and though he also has residences in other cities, Morrissey is frequently seen around LA.  He also had an epic night out with Oasis mastermind Noel Gallagher and comedian Russell Brand in the City of Angels.

Genres (Music): Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rockabilly, Pop rock, Alternative rock, + more

Albums: Your Arsenal, Kill Uncle, Vauxhall and I, You Are the Quarry, Ringleader of the Tormentors, + more

Nationality: United Kingdom, England

Labels: Decca Records, Sanctuary Records Group, Reprise Records, Attack Records, RCA Records, + more

Career Began: Stretford, United Kingdom

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#96 on These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

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Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Rock Stars Who Shockingly Ended Up in LA - And Love It
Photo: Black Tea Photography/flickr/CC-BY-ND 2.0

This one is tricky, given that Young made his name living in the Topanga Canyon hills. However, for the better part of the past three decades, the Godfather of Grunge had made his home up in Northern California. In early 2016, Young quietly relocated back to the greater LA area when he bought his girlfriend Daryl Hannah's home in Malibu.


Genres (Music): Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge, Folk rock, Country rock, + more

Albums: Harvest, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush, Tonight's the Night, On the Beach, + more

Nationality: Canada

Labels: ATCO Records, Warner Music Group, Motown Records, Geffen Records, Reprise Records

Career Began: Toronto, Canada

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#36 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#84 on The Best Rock Vocalists

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