The most famous band of all time from every state

Great music can be found all across these United States. And every state has a famous band that hails from it.

To determine the most famous band from every state, Business Insider looked at reputation, record sales, and awards, considering each band within its own era, so just because a band is popular now doesn't mean it's nudged out the biggest band from another decade.

We stuck to bands only — no solo artists here — but used the term "band" loosely, including any musical act consisting of more than one person. We focused mostly on the state where each band originally formed, but also considered where their music was popularized, as well as artists' hometowns.

Check out which band is making your state proud:

The most popular band from each state
See Gallery
The most popular band from each state

ALABAMA: Alabama

One of the most successful bands of all time, Alabama has sold over 73 million records and has seven multiplatinum albums and two Grammys. The band sold more records during the '80s than any other band. Not only is their success impressive by any measure, but they also did a lot to make country music popular in the mainstream.

Photo Credit: Reuters 

ALASKA: Portugal. The Man

Portugal. The Man released their debut album, "Waiter: You Vultures!" in 2006 and booked their first headlining tour the next year. The rock band released three more albums — including breakout record "The Satanic Satanist" — before signing with Atlantic Records in 2009. Danger Mouse, known for working with artists like Beck and The Black Keys, produced Portugal. The Man's 2013 album, "Evil Friends."

 (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

ARIZONA: Alice Cooper

The first of the many shock-rock bands of the '70s, Alice Cooper kept fans entranced with their gender-bending outfits and dark onstage theatrics — concert-goers could expect performances to include stunts like Cooper's faux-beheading via guillotine. But it's the music that kept fans coming back for more, and their riff-heavy brand of hard rock produced a string of hits including "School's Out" and "Be My Lover." Alice Cooper was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

ARKANSAS: Evanescence

Despite the goth-metal style that now defines Evanescence, they got their start as a Christian rock band. In fact, their 2003 debut album, "Fallen," which produced hits "Bring Me to Life" and "My Immortal" and won the band two Grammys, was released during their religious days, reaching No. 1 on Billboard's Top Contemporary Christian chart.

However, following a profanity-laden article in Entertainment Weekly in which band founders Amy Lee and Ben Moody renounced their affiliation with Christian music, polarizing many Christian fans, Evanescence turned toward a more secular fan base.

(REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal)

CALIFORNIA: The Grateful Dead

Being that the heart of the music industry is in California, there's no shortage of well-known and respected bands that call the state home: The Beach Boys, the Eagles, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Metallica, among many others. But no one can claim a following quite like the Grateful Dead.

The Dead popularized the concept of the jam band, performing long, free-flowing shows to legions of dedicated fans that followed them across the country in the '60s and '70s. Their most popular songs include "Truckin'," "Box of Rain," and "Uncle John's Band."

(Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

CONNECTICUT: The Carpenters

Brother and sister team Richard and Karen Carpenter endeared themselves to the world throughout the 1970s with classic hits like "Top of the World" and "Rainy Days and Mondays." The pair went on to win three Grammys and an Oscar, and they hosted their own variety show on NBC for a short period. Though Karen died in 1983, her legacy lives on through a previously unreleased solo album, which came out in 1996.

(Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)

DELAWARE: George Thorogood and the Destroyers

Though often looked down on by blues purists, George Thorogood and the Destroyers' catchy blues-pop sound earned them widespread popularity and five gold albums throughout the '80s, including 1982's "Bad to the Bone." And they can thank their home state for launching their career — the band's first gig together was a show at the University of Delaware in 1973.

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

FLORIDA: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' career spans almost 40 years and includes classic hits like "American Girl," "Refugee," and "Don't Do Me Like That." Their third album, "Damn the Torpedoes," went platinum and cemented the band as bona-fide rock stars.

Petty himself is also known for taking a stand against the music industry, most notably by declaring bankruptcy to get out of a contract in 1979 and later threatening to withhold his new album until the label lowered the price of it.

(Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

OutKast helped put the Atlanta hip-hop scene on the map in 1994 with their debut album "Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik," which hit No. 3 on Billboard's R&B chart. The duo, comprised of Big Boi and André 3000, went on to sell millions of records and take home six Grammys, including album of the year for "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" in 2004.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

IDAHO: Built to Spill

Built to Spill formed in Boise in 1992, and first gained critical attention with 1994's "There's Nothing Wrong with Love." After signing with Warner Brothers in 1995, they released "Perfect from Now On," which diverged from the band's signature short, poppy sound. But the band continued to plug away, and, despite a rotating cast of members and a short hiatus, they're still making music. In 2015, they released their eighth album, "Untethered Moon."

(Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)
ILLINOIS: Earth, Wind & Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed bands of the '70s. The band's breakthrough album, "That’s the Way of the World," released in 1975, introduced the hit single "Shining Star" and was followed by a stream of five consecutive multiplatinum albums. Earth, Wind & Fire has also taken home six Grammys out of an impressive 17 nominations.
(Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)

INDIANA: Jackson 5

Composed of five brothers — Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon, Tito, and Michael — the Jackson 5 made music history in 1970 when their first four Motown singles all became No. 1 hits. The brothers immediately fell into stardom, and were selling out 20,000-seat venues within the year, performing hits like "ABC," "I Want You Back," and "I'll Be There."

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

COLORADO: OneRepublic

In 2015, OneRepublic's third album, "Native," reached a million records sold, following the example of their 2007 debut, "Dreaming Out Loud," which also hit the 1 million mark. The band is best recognized for singles "Stop and Stare," "Good Life," and "Counting Stars," all of which became Top 40 hits.

 REUTERS/Yves Herman

HAWAII: Pepper

Pepper might be from Hawaii, but don't expect any classic Hawaiian tunes from them. The alt-rock band combines elements of pop, reggae, and punk for a raw yet lively sound. They released their first full-length album, "Give'n It," in 2000, but found mainstream success with 2002's "Kona Town" and its breakout hit "Give It Up."

Photo Credit: Pepper/Facebook

MINNESOTA: Prince and the Revolution

Though Prince and the Revolution achieved veritable success beforehand, it was the 1984 film release of "Purple Rain" — and Prince's coinciding soundtrack — that launched the group into superstardom. The "Purple Rain" album sold over 13 million copies, spent 24 weeks at the top of the charts, and produced hits "When Doves Cry," "Purple Rain," and "Take Me with U."
(Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

Three Doors Down hit it big in the early 2000s with radio-friendly singles "Here Without You," "Kryptonite," and "When I'm Gone." The post-grunge band saw three albums go multiplatinum, and 2000's "The Better Life" became one of the best-selling albums of the year.

(Photo by Ralph Notaro/Getty Images)
MISSOURI: Ike & Tina Turner

Ike & Tina Turner were a wildly successful duo for nearly 20 years, as they topped R&B and pop charts, toured with the Rolling Stones, and won a Grammy for their song "Proud Mary." In 1976, Tina left what she described as an abusive relationship with Ike and went on to build her own successful solo career.
(Photo by RB/Redferns)

IOWA: Slipknot

One of the most prominent nu-metal bands of the '90s, Slipknot was known as much for its image as its music. The band performed in matching black jumpsuits and horror-themed Halloween masks and used numbers as stage names. Their self-titled debut album went platinum in 2000, making them the first band on their label, Roadrunner Records, to do so.

 REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

NEVADA: Imagine Dragons

In 2015, Imagine Dragons earned their first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart with their February release, "Smoke + Mirrors." They entered the spotlight with their Grammy Award-winning single "Radioactive," which was on their 2012 debut album.

(REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

KANSAS: Kansas

Best known for hits "Carry on Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind," Kansas formed in Topeka in 1973. Throughout their 40-year career, the rock legends have sold over 15.5 million albumsand produced eight gold albums, three sextuple-platinum albums, and a gold single that sold over a million copies.

Photo Credit: U.S. Army/Flickr

KENTUCKY: My Morning Jacket

My Morning Jacket formed in Louisville in 1998 and released their alt-country debut album the next year. After sticking to the same formula for their next few albums, the band began to branch out and experiment with their sound. They made history for performing a four-hour show at Bonnaroo in 2008, and they have since become legends for their live performances.

(Photo by Burak Cingi/Redferns)

LOUISIANA: The Neville Brothers

The Neville Brothers are an R&B group famously known for embracing their hometown of New Orleans. They won a Grammy in 1990 for best pop instrumental performance and closed out the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for years. Though their last record together was released in 2004, the brothers reunited for a farewell show in NOLA in 2015.

 REUTERS/Fred Prouser

MAINE: Rustic Overtones

All Portland natives, the Rustic Overtones formed over 20 years ago and released their debut album, "Rooms by the Hour," in 1998. The band makes its own take on indie rock with blends of soul music, punk, and jazz, and they have worked with an array of artists over the years, including Imogen Heap and Funkmaster Flex.

Photo Credit: Rustic Overtones/Facebook

MARYLAND: The Orioles

Often credited as the first ever R&B vocal group, The Orioles perfected their smooth, soulful harmonies throughout the '40s and '50s, as evident on their many hits, including "It's Too Soon to Know," "Crying in the Chapel," and "Tell Me So." The group's early influence on rock and roll earned them an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

Photo Credit: Manny Mora/YouTube


Aerosmith might be known as the "bad boys from Boston," but considering that they actually got their start in New Hampshire, arena-rock band Boston stands as the most famous band formed in Massachusetts.

The group released their eponymous debut album in 1976, which jumped straight to the top of the charts and spawned several hits, including "More Than a Feeling" and "Peace of Mind."

(Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)

MICHIGAN: The Temptations

One of the most successful black vocal groups of all time, the Temptations — originally known as the Elgins — formed in Detroit in 1961 when two flailing groups merged. Now considered a classic example of Motown's signature sound, the group rose to prominence with hits like "My Girl" and "Since I Lost My Baby," produced under the inimitable Smokey Robinson.

(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)


Duo Daryl Hall and John Oates formed aptly named Hall & Oates in the early '70s and released their debut album, "Abandoned Luncheonette," in 1973. Hailing from Philadelphia, the pair went on to garner national attention throughout the '70s and '80s with hits such as "Maneater" and "Sara Smile." The band won three American Music Awards in the early '80s, and more recently, both members released solo albums. 

(REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

MONTANA: Silkworm

Silkworm's nearly 20-year career was cut short in 2005 when their drummer, Michael Dahlquist, was killed in a car accident. In February 2013, filmmaker Seth Pomeroy released "Couldn't You Wait?" a documentary that tells Silkworm's story from their start as childhood friends to their final days together. The remaining band members went on to form a new band called Bottomless Pit.

Photo Credit: Finch Lynch/ YouTube

NEBRASKA: Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes is the main creative vehicle for Omaha-born Conor Oberst. In 2002, their third album edged into the Billboard 200 and became No. 11 on the Top Independent Albums chart. In the years since, the band has released five more albums and become an irrefutable influenceon American indie music.

 (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)


Aerosmith is one of the most recognizable '70s rock bands, and one of the biggest comeback bands, rebounding with multiple chart-topping albums after a long history of drug and alcohol abuse.

Though they're billed as the "bad boys from Boston," many people don't know that Aerosmith formed in New Hampshire before making it big. They played throughout the state at small venues and high school proms before making a name for themselves nationally.

REUTERS/Steve Marcus 

NEW JERSEY: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Bruce Springsteen himself inducted the E Street Band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, in celebration of the 40 years they spent working together. One of America's most beloved musicians, Springsteen — also known as "The Boss" — is most famous for the work he did with the E Street Band, whom he met in Asbury Park. Their first studio album, released in 1972, was called "Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J."

 (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)


Frontman James Mercer began The Shins as a side project in 1996 in Albuquerque. The 2004 film "Garden State" brought the band to a wider audience, with its soundtrack including "Caring Is Creepy" and "New Slang." The Shins have always had a close relationship with the band Modest Mouse, and are now a mainstay of indie rock.

(Photo by Michael Stewart/WireImage)

NEW YORK: The Ramones

There are plenty of famous bands from New York — The Beastie Boys, KISS, and Simon and Garfunkel, to name a few — but few have the influence and reputation of The Ramones, who have innumerable hits, including "Blitzkrieg Bop," "I Wanna Be Sedated," and "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker." There's even a street in Manhattan named Joey Ramone Place, after the lead singer who died of cancer in 2001.

 Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


Nirvana rocketed to fame with their 1991 single "Smells Like Teen Spirit," which brought grunge-rock to the mainstream. The band formed a few years earlier, in 1987, when guitarist and vocalist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic began performing at local parties in the Seattle region. In 1990, Dave Grohl joined Nirvana as the drummer. The band's tragic end came in 1994 with Kurt Cobain's suicide, though their music continued to inspire and impact the grunge movement. 

(Photo by Charles J. Peterson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

NORTH CAROLINA: The Charlie Daniels Band

The Charlie Daniels Band, with its rotating cast of musicians, has been an icon of country music since the 1970s. Their eclectic blend of Southern rock and hardcore country has earned them numerous awards and recognitions, including two Grammy awards.

REUTERS/Harrison McClary

NORTH DAKOTA: Bobby Vee & The Strangers

Bobby Vee and The Strangers, originally called The Shadows, first performed publicly on "The Day the Music Died" — the group filled in for Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper at a gig in Moorhead, Minnesota, after the three famous musicians were killed in a plane crash in 1959.

The then-15-year-old Vee would go on to earn two gold albums, 38 songs in the Billboard Top 100, six gold singles, and 14 Top 40 hits.

Photo Credit: Bobby Vee: An American Boy Next Door/ Facebook

WISCONSIN: Violent Femmes

Earlier this year, the legendary Violent Femmes released their first album in 15 years, "We Can Do Anything." Violent Femmes was founded as an acoustic punk band in 1981, and their first album is the only album in Billboard history to go platinum eight years after its release. The Femmes inspired the MTV show "Unplugged" and have been an international phenomenon for over 30 years. 

(Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

OHIO: The Isley Brothers

If you've ever been to a wedding, or a bar mitzvah, or, really, any celebration with a DJ, you're familiar with The Isley Brothers' "Shout." In addition to "Shout," the Cincinnati band is also known for hits "Twist and Shout" and "For the Love of You." Since forming in the early '50s, they've earned four Grammy awards, including a lifetime achievement award in 2014. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. 


OKLAHOMA: The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips, formed in Norman, Oklahoma, in 1983, have only had one hit single in the US —"She Don't Use Jelly," released in 1993. However, they have earned three Grammy Awards, multiple hit singles in the UK and Europe, and a large indie following.

(Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)

OREGON: The Decemberists

No band better embodies the woodsy vibe of Portland, Oregon, than The Decemberists. Not only are they the darlings of folk-pop music, they have also appeared on "The Colbert Report" and performed in support of Barack Obama's presidential campaign in Portland in 2008.

The Decemberists returned from a musical hiatus with their 2015 album, "What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World," released by Capitol Records.


RHODE ISLAND: Talking Heads

Best known for their hits "Psycho Killer," "Life During Wartime," and "Once in a Lifetime," Talking Heads were successful with both popular audiences and professional critics alike. 

Though they rose to fame in New York, the three founding members David Byrne, Chris Frantz, and Tina Weymouth began practicing together at the Rhode Island School of Design before becoming Talking Heads. The band added their fourth member, guitarist Jerry Harrison, shortly before releasing their first single, "Love Goes to Building on Fire"/"New Feeling," in 1976.

(Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

SOUTH CAROLINA: Hootie and the Blowfish

Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan, Dean Felber, and Jim Sonefeld formed Hootie & The Blowfishwhen they were freshmen at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Over the next 10 years, they attracted a following throughout the East Coast before releasing their 1994 debut album, "Cracked Rear View," which sold over 16 million copies in the US.

 (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

SOUTH DAKOTA: The Spill Canvas

Formed in Sioux Falls in 2002, The Spill Canvas began as Nick Thomas' side project. The pop-punk quartet has toured with other big names such as Motion City Soundtrack, Plain White T's, and OneRepublic. After a nearly two-year hiatus, The Spill Canvas funded their 2012 comeback album, "Gestalt," with the help of fans on Kickstarter.

(Photo Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)

TENNESSEE: Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three

The Tennessee Three began as the Tennessee Two, with Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant backing Johnny Cash, and expanded to the Tennessee Three with the addition of drummer W.S. Holland in 1958. Though Johnny Cash participated in various group and solo ventures throughout his long career, with the Tennessee Three he achieved mega-hits such as "I Walk the Line" and "Folsom Prison Blues."

 (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)


Hailing from Houston, ZZ Top was one of the biggest rock acts of the '80s, with huge hits such as "Legs," "Sharp Dressed Man," and "Gimme All Your Lovin'." In 2004, the bearded, sunglasses-wearing duo, Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill, and their drummer, Frank Beard, were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.


UTAH: The Osmonds

The four older siblings from the Mormon musical group from Salt Lake City made their big debut on the "Andy Williams Show" in 1962, with the others joining later. Some of the Osmond siblings, most notably Donny, Marie, and Jimmy, dabbled in solo careers, yet continued to collaborate with the group. To date, the Osmonds have sold over 102 million albums worldwide.

 Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


Jam band Phish has a cult following that rivals that of the Grateful Dead. The original members — John Fishman, Trey Anastasio, and Jeff Holdsworth (who left the band in 1986) — met at the University of Vermont and were later joined by bassist Mike Gordon and keyboardist Page McConnell.

In 1997, the band hosted The Great Went, a music festival in Limestone, Maine, which drew a crowd of 62,000 and was the top-grossing concert of that summer.

 (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

VIRGINIA: Dave Matthews Band

The Charlottesville-based Dave Matthews Band quickly grew a strong fan base after releasing their live debut album in 1991. "Remember Two Things," their 1993 independently released live album, debuted as the No. 1 independent album on the college charts and was later certified platinum. Today, Dave Matthews Band has sold over 30 million records worldwide and remains the only band to have six consecutive studio albums that debuted at No. 1 on Billboard.

REUTERS/Cheryl Gerber 

WASHINGTON, DC: Minor Threat

Minor Threat's song "Straight Edge" pioneered (and named) the drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle — one that goes against the wasted-punk-rocker stereotype. The band formed among a wave of punk bands in Washington, DC, and though Minor Threat's career lasted only three years, its influence can still be found in punk music to this day.

After the band's dissolution, frontman Ian MacKaye played with numerous groups before forming Fugazi in 1987.

WEST VIRGINIA: Asleep at the Wheel

Now with nine Grammy Awards, a number of hit singles on the Billboard country charts, and a Lifetime Achievement Award in their pockets, Asleep at the Wheel got their start in Paw Paw, West Virginia, in 1970, when they opened for Alice Cooper and Hot Tuna. Since then they have continued to dominate American country and Western music.

Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons

WYOMING: Teenage Bottlerocket

Teenage Bottlerocket released their debut EP in 2002 on Laramie's communal label, One Legged Pup. The twin brothers, Ray on bass and vocals and Brandon Carlisle on drums, cycled through various guitarists before finding Kody Templeman. The trio, which follows in the footsteps of the Lillingtons, toured nationwide with Vans Warped Tour in 2005 — the same year they released their debut full-length album, "Total." 

Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons


Christi Danner contributed to a previous version of this article.

Read Full Story

From Our Partners