What’s more American than a group of friends taking up instruments in a garage and starting a band with dreams of making it big? And while not all of these groups become popular or even mildly successful, many have tapped into something special and gone on to find success both at home and abroad.
The music industry often lures bands to its hubs, including Nashville, Los Angeles, and New York City. Yet far fewer bands actually started in these cities. Every state in the country has produced great music groups, many of whom continue to show home pride as they ride the waves of success.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on musical popularity and artist legacy to identify the greatest band from every state. While not all bands have reached the same level of overall success, the bands on this list have risen above their in-state competition to become the musical ambassadors for their slice of the nation.
The states of origin of some bands may surprise casual fans. For instance, how many fans are aware that the rock band Poison got their start in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, before moving to Los Angeles early in their career? Similarly, the dark, brooding image of industrial rock giants Nine Inch Nails may not fit with the blue-collar image of their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.
Yet the majority of groups on our list go the extra mile when it comes to hometown and home-state pride. The bands Alabama and Kansas named themselves after their respective states. New Orleans-based heavy metal band Down named one of its most popular records “Nola,” a reference to New Orleans, Louisiana. Texas heroes ZZ Top may be best known for the hit “La Grange” – named after a small town outside of the group’s home base of Houston.
Other artists have even found success singing about American locales that they didn’t personally come from. While most people identify Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band with New Jersey – “E Street” actually referring to a street in Belmar, NJ – The Boss scored a major hit with his downbeat “Streets of Philadelphia.” Lynyrd Skynyrd, on the other hand, is perhaps best known for “Sweet Home Alabama,” yet the band actually hails from Florida.