Bands You May Not Have Known Were From Illinois

Illinois has a diverse musical heritage, which has helped produce many great musicians over the years. From the early days of jazz and blues to the emergence of rock and hip hop, Illinois has been at the forefront of many musical movements and trends.

Chicago, in particular, has been a hotbed of musical creativity, with iconic artists like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Buddy Guy emerging from the city’s blues scene. Later, rock bands like Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon, and Styx found success by blending rock and pop influences.

Additionally, Illinois is home to several respected music schools and venues, providing aspiring musicians with opportunities to hone their skills and connect with other artists. The state’s supportive music community has helped nurture many talented musicians and bands over the years. With this said, here are the best bands to come out of the state (remember, this is based on bands and not solo artists):


  • Chicago: This iconic horn-driven jazz-rock band is synonymous with the city and has been captivating audiences for over 50 years. Their hits like “Saturday in the Park” and “If You Leave Me Now” remain classics.
  • Smashing Pumpkins: Led by Billy Corgan, this alternative rock band emerged from the Chicago underground scene and achieved mainstream success in the 90s with albums like “Siamese Dream” and “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.”
  • Wilco: Fronted by Jeff Tweedy, this alternative rock band formed from the ashes of Uncle Tupelo and has consistently released critically acclaimed albums throughout their career. Their music blends various influences, from rock to country and folk.
  • Disturbed: This hard rock band emerged from the Chicago metal scene in the late 90s and found massive success with albums like “The Sickness” and “Ten Thousand Fists.”
  • Fall Out Boy: This pop-punk band rose to fame in the early 2000s with hits like “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” and “Thnks fr th Mmrs.” They continue to be a popular force in the music industry.

Other genres:

  • Earth, Wind & Fire: This legendary R&B and soul band formed in Chicago in the late 60s and achieved massive success throughout the 70s and 80s with hits like “Shining Star” and “September.”
  • The Staple Singers: This influential gospel group from Chicago was active for decades and used their music to address social and political issues. Their song “I’ll Take You There” is a gospel standard.
  • Chevelle: This hard rock band from Peoria has been active since the late 90s and has released several commercially successful albums, including “The Red” and “Hats Off to the Bull.”
  • The Sonics: This influential garage rock band from Tacoma, Washington, is often credited with inspiring the punk rock movement. They briefly relocated to Chicago in the late 60s, recording their most commercially successful album, “Psychodelic Sounds.”