Most Famous Band From Every State

August 30, 2017 by Mike Sauter

Source: Northfoto / Shutterstock.com
The United States is one of the largest exporters of modern music. The world loves to listen to American music — most of the top-selling global artists of all time are American.

Many of the biggest bands of all time that are not American — The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and others — moved to the country to be a part of the scene, and to have access to the bigger market, and more performing and recording opportunities. Stars like Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson became worldwide sensations. And Michael Jackson is still one of the top-streamed artist in practically every nation on Earth.

Throughout the history of American pop music, certain parts of the country were the focal points for new genres, attracting like-minded artists and influencing music around the world. This was case with blues in the Mississippi Delta, rap in Los Angeles, Motown in Detroit, folk music in New York’s Greenwich Village, and country music in Nashville. Many of our nation’s most popular artists have origins in these parts, which are usually in the most populous states.

But iconic bands didn’t just form in New York and California. Every state in the nation has made contributions to the American musical machine. Vermont, the second smallest state by population, is home to legendary jam band Phish. Prince, regarded by many as one of the greatest guitarists and performers of all time, was born and raised in Minnesota. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on musical popularity and legacy to identify the greatest band from every state. Who is your state’s musical ambassador?

Click here to see the most famous band in your state.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: Anthony Mooney / Shutterstock.com

1. Alabama
> Band: Lionel Richie
> Biggest hit: All Night Long
> Top-selling album: Can’t Slow Down (10 million)
> Active: 1980’s – current

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Source: musicisentropy / Flickr

2. Alaska
> Band: Portugal. The Man
> Biggest hit: Feel it Still
> Top-selling album: Evil Friends
> Active: 2000’s – current

Source: Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock.com

3. Arizona
> Band: Stevie Nicks
> Biggest hit: Edge of Seventeen
> Top-selling album: Bella Donna (4 million)
> Active: 1980’s – current

Source: Dillan Stradlin / Wikimedia Commons

4. Arkansas
> Band: Johnny Cash
> Biggest hit: Walk the Line
> Top-selling album: At Folsom Prison (3 million)
> Active: 1960’s – 2000’s

Source: Yulia Grigoryeva / Shutterstock.com

5. California
> Band: Metallica
> Biggest hit: Enter Sandman
> Top-selling album: Metallica (The Black Album)
> Active: 1980’s – current

Source: Krista Kennell / Shutterstock.com

6. Colorado
> Band: OneRepublic
> Biggest hit: Counting Stars
> Top-selling album: Good Life (3 million)
> Active: 2000’s – current

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Source: White House photo by Knudsen, Robert L. / Wikimedia Commons

7. Connecticut
> Band: The Carpenters
> Biggest hit: (They Long to Be) Close to You
> Top-selling album: Carpenters
> Active: 1960’s – 1980’s

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Source: Jerry Zitterman / Shutterstock.com

8. Delaware
> Band: George Thorogood & The Destroyers
> Biggest hit: Bad to the Bone
> Top-selling album: Live (1 million)
> Active: 1970’s – current

Source: Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock.com

9. Florida
> Band: Lynyrd Skynyrd
> Biggest hit: Sweet Home Alabama
> Top-selling album: One More from the Road (3 million)
> Active: 1960’s – current

Source: Sterling Munksgard / Shutterstock.com

10. Georgia
> Band: The Allman Brothers Band
> Biggest hit: Ramblin’ Man
> Top-selling album: Eat a Peach (1 million)
> Active: 1960’s – current

Source: Phillyist / Wikimedia Commons

11. Hawaii
> Band: Pepper
> Biggest hit: Stone Love
> Top-selling album: Kona Town
> Active: 2000’s – current

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Source: Perenchio Artists / Wikimedia Commons

12. Idaho
> Band: Paul Revere & The Raiders
> Biggest hit: Kicks
> Top-selling album: Indian Reservation (1 million)
> Active: 1960’s – current

Source: Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock.com

13. Illinois
> Band: Chicago
> Biggest hit: If You Leave Me Now
> Top-selling album: Chicago 17 (6 million)
> Active: 1960’s – current

Source: Vicki L. Miller / Shutterstock.com

14. Indiana
> Band: Michael Jackson
> Biggest hit: Billie Jean
> Top-selling album: Thriller (33 million)
> Active: 1960’s-2000’s

Source: Uncredited / Wikimedia Commons

15. Iowa
> Band: The Everly Brothers
> Biggest hit: All I Have To Do Is Dream
> Top-selling album: A Date With the Everly Brothers
> Active: 1950’s – 2000’s

Source: Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com

16. Kansas
> Band: Kansas
> Biggest hit: Carry on Wayward Son
> Top-selling album: Point of Know Return (4 million)
> Active: 1970’s – current

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Source: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

17. Kentucky
> Band: Loretta Lynn
> Biggest hit: Coal Miner’s Daughter
> Top-selling album: Coal Miner’s Daughter (0.5 million)
> Active: 1960’s – current

Source: Maurice Seymour / Wikimedia Commons

18. Louisiana
> Band: Jerry Lee Lewis
> Biggest hit: Great Balls of Fire
> Top-selling album: N/A
> Active: 1950’s – current

Source: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

19. Maine
> Band: Ray LaMontagne
> Biggest hit: Jolene
> Top-selling album: Trouble (0.5 million)
> Active: 2000’s – current

Source: Lia Koltyrina / Shutterstock.com

20. Maryland
> Band: Good Charlotte
> Biggest hit: The Anthem
> Top-selling album: The Young and the Hopeless (3 million)
> Active: 1990’s – current

Source: Yulia Grigoryeva / Shutterstock.com

21. Massachusetts
> Band: Aerosmith
> Biggest hit: I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
> Top-selling album: Toys in the Attic (8 million)
> Active: 1970’s – current

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Source: Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock.com

22. Michigan
> Band: Stevie Wonder
> Biggest hit: Superstition
> Top-selling album: Songs in the Key of Life (10 million)
> Active: 1960’s – current

Source: Northfoto / Shutterstock.com

23. Minnesota
> Band: Prince & The Revolution
> Biggest hit: Purple Rain
> Top-selling album: Purple Rain (13 million)
> Active: 1970’s – 2010’s

Source: Masahiro Sumori / Wikimedia Commons

24. Mississippi
> Band: Bo Diddley
> Biggest hit: I’m a Man
> Top-selling album: N/A
> Active: 1940’s – 2000’s

Source: Heinrich Klaffs / Wikimedia Commons

25. Missouri
> Band: Tina Turner
> Biggest hit: What’s Love Got to Do with It?
> Top-selling album: Private Dancer (5 million)
> Active: 1950’s – current

Source: Courtesy of silkworm.net

26. Montana
> Band: Silkworm
> Biggest hit: Nerves
> Top-selling album: Firewater
> Active: 1980’s – 2000’s

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Source: DouglasRome / Shutterstock.com

27. Nebraska
> Band: 311
> Biggest hit: Amber
> Top-selling album: 311
> Active: 1990’s – current

Source: Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock.com

28. Nevada
> Band: The Killers
> Biggest hit: Mr. Brightside
> Top-selling album: Hot Fuss (3 million)
> Active: 2000’s – current

Source: mtarvainen / Flickr

29. New Hampshire
> Band: G.G. Allin
> Biggest hit: Bite it You Scum
> Top-selling album: N/A
> Active: 1970’s – 1990’s

Source: Jack Fordyce / Shutterstock.com

30. New Jersey
> Band: Bruce Springsteen
> Biggest hit: Dancing in the Dark
> Top-selling album: Born in the U.S.A. (15 million)
> Active: 1960’s – current

Source: Benoit Daoust / Shutterstock.com

31. New Mexico
> Band: The Shins
> Biggest hit: New Slang
> Top-selling album: Chutes Too Narrow (0.5 million)
> Active: 1990’s – current

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Source: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock.com

32. New York
> Band: Bob Dylan
> Biggest hit: Like a Rolling Stone
> Top-selling album: Blonde On Blonde (2 million)
> Active: 1950’s – current

Source: Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

33. North Carolina
> Band: James Taylor
> Biggest hit: Fire and Rain
> Top-selling album: Sweet Baby James (3 million)
> Active: 1960’s – current

Source: Ninian Reid / Flickr

34. North Dakota
> Band: Bobby Vee
> Biggest hit: Take Good Care Of My Baby
> Top-selling album: Come Back When You Grow Up (0.5 million)
> Active: 1950’s – 2010’s

Source: Northfoto / Shutterstock.com

35. Ohio
> Band: Nine Inch Nails
> Biggest hit: Closer
> Top-selling album: The Downward Spiral (4 million)
> Active: 1980’s – current

Source: Sterling Munksgard / Shutterstock.com

36. Oklahoma
> Band: The Flaming Lips
> Biggest hit: She Don’t Use Jelly
> Top-selling album: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robot
> Active: 1980’s – current

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Source: Scandore/Shayne / Wikimedia Commons

37. Oregon
> Band: The Kingsmen
> Biggest hit: Louie, Louie
> Top-selling album: The Kingsmen In Person
> Active: 1950’s – current

Source: MATT BECKER / Wikimedia Commons

38. Pennsylvania
> Band: Poison
> Biggest hit: Every Rose Has Its Thorn
> Top-selling album: Open Up And Say … Ahh (5 million)
> Active: 1980’s – current

Source: MGM Records / Wikimedia Commons

39. Rhode Island
> Band: The Cowsills
> Biggest hit: The Rain, The Park And Other Things
> Top-selling album: The Cowsills
> Active: 1960’s – current

Source: Eugene Parciasepe / Shutterstock.com

40. South Carolina
> Band: Hootie & the Blowfish
> Biggest hit: Only Wanna Be With You
> Top-selling album: Cracked Rear View (16 million)
> Active: 1980’s – 2010’s

Source: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

41. South Dakota
> Band: Shawn Colvin
> Biggest hit: Sunny Came Home
> Top-selling album: A Few Small Repairs (1 million)
> Active: 1970’s – current

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Source: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Wikimedia Commons

42. Tennessee
> Band: Elvis Presley
> Biggest hit: Jailhouse Rock
> Top-selling album: Elvis’ Christmas Album (10 million)
> Active: 1950’s – 1970’s

Source: Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock.com

43. Texas
> Band: ZZ Top
> Biggest hit: La Grange
> Top-selling album: Eliminator (10 million)
> Active: 1960’s – current

Source: Ryan Muirhead / Wikimedia Commons

44. Utah
> Band: The Used
> Biggest hit: The Taste of Ink
> Top-selling album: Maybe Memories
> Active: 2000’s – current

Source: Dan Shinneman / Wikimedia Commons

45. Vermont
> Band: Phish
> Biggest hit: Farmhouse
> Top-selling album: Junta (1 million)
> Active: 1980’s – current

Source: Atl360Pic / Shutterstock.com

46. Virginia
> Band: Dave Matthews Band
> Biggest hit: Crash Into Me
> Top-selling album: Crash (7 million)
> Active: 1990’s – current

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Source: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

47. Washington
> Band: Nirvana
> Biggest hit: Smells Like Teen Spirit
> Top-selling album: Nevermind (10 million)
> Active: 1980’s – 1990’s

Source: Shawn Collins / Flickr

48. West Virginia
> Band: Asleep at the Wheel
> Biggest hit: The Letter That Johnny Walker Read
> Top-selling album: Texas Gold
> Active: 1970’s – current

Source: Theresa C. Sanchez / Flickr

49. Wisconsin
> Band: Violent Femmes
> Biggest hit: Blister In The Sun
> Top-selling album: Violent Femmes (1 million)
> Active: 1980’s – current

Source: Ryan Taylor / Flickr

50. Wyoming
> Band: Teenage Bottlerocket
> Biggest hit: Skate Or Die
> Top-selling album: They Came from the Shadows
> Active: 2000’s – current

Detailed Findings and Methodology

Music is usually autobiographical in nature, and a band’s home state often serves as a backdrop to many songs. With several songs specifically about New Jersey locations and many more vague references to the state in his songs — not to mention his backing band is named after a street in Belmar — people often identify Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band with New Jersey.

In creating this list of the most famous artists, 24/7 Wall St. considered a crowdsourced list of band greatness. However, to properly reflect fame, we also considered current searches for artists. Fame is fleeting, and for this reason, modern artists often tended to win out over bands that some might consider to be more important or influential.

For example, California is home to many bands, including classic rock legends Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, and The Beach Boys. This list, however, incorporates current search popularity, and based on this measure metal band Metallica is currently the most famous with almost twice as many searches as the classic rock bands.

Our definition of band includes individuals and solo artists who at some point in their career performed in a band. Stevie Nicks, for example, performs almost always as part of a group.

Bands and artists are considered to be from the state where they were formed or got their start, not necessarily where they were born or grew up. While Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan was born in Minnesota, Dylan got his start in New York City, and for that reason he is listed as New York’s most famous artist. However, where someone truly got started is not always clear.

To determine the most famous band from each state, 24/7 Wall St. considered lists of the greatest American musicians and rankings of the greatest musicians in the world. These lists were generated on Ranker.com, Ranker.com, a crowdsourced list generator that produced a list of the greatest bands in the world. We also measured popularity based on total views of the artists’ Wikipedia pages over the last two years. While we generally relied on lists put together by Ranker, we included artists who had substantially higher Wikipedia page views than the top-ranked band on Ranker. For individual names to count on this list they needed to often perform as part of a group. The state listed is not necessarily where an artist or group were born, but where they got their start as musicians. Years active listed are based on the artist’s solo career. The top selling album is based on RIAA certifications, and exclude best of and other compilation albums. Because RIAA certification at the platinum level round to the millions of record sales, these do not necessarily reflect the top selling album, but rather one of the top selling records.

Bands included on this list were selected based exclusively on this methodology. This article includes affiliate links, and 24/7 Wall St. may get a share of the revenue from sales.