Jimi Hendrix in February 1967.

View Seattle's most famous musicians all in one place here.

Jimi Hendrix

The Greatest Guitar Player Ever was born here and cut his teeth (with which he’d later play that guitar) jamming with local R&B bands.

The Sonics

You can say Patti Smith created protopunk in New York, or the Stooges in Detroit, or the Monks in Germany. But listen to the Sonics and you know Tacoma got there first.

The Fabulous Wailers

The Sonics might’ve eventually been more influential, but the Wailers were the local rock band.



Cobain and company pretty much invented airwave-ready angst. No band is more associated with this city.


The Olympian post-punk trio has repeatedly been anointed the “best band in the world.” Sounds absurd until you hear them.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Dorky white guys rapping about thrift stores and white privilege—they are, if nothing else, indicative.


Instead of engaging in the spandexiness of its contemporaries, the pop metal band perpetuated the righteously classic style of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.

Fleet Foxes.

Fleet Foxes

The neofolk outfit bent Beach Boys harmonies to Northwest lushness and reushered some unabashed beauty into our sound.

Brandi Carlile

This region raised a contemporary country singer who’s actually good.

Quincy Jones

A Garfield High School alum who became a musician, producer, and film-score composer of incomparable influence.

The Fleetwoods

Even if largely forgotten, the doo-wop trio were our first chart-topping stars.

Pearl Jam

Basically a PNW U2—arena rock kings who also do things like raise $11 million to fight homelessness.

Ray Charles.

Ray Charles

The R&B icon’s two years in Seattle were formative both for him and for his friend Quincy Jones.

Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl’s major post-Nirvana band. They aren’t revolutionizing anything, but it’s nice to have a stalwart. 


To know how much Seattle has loved Soundgarden, you just need to know that Chris Cornell is one of our only rock stars to be made into a statue.

Sir Mix-a-Lot

The man who hit the bigtime with a paean to big butts spent much of his career cataloguing the lives of black Seattleites (and still lives in Black Diamond).

Modest Mouse

Who else has found a way to merge philosophy student lyrics to carnival barker vocals and nimble mesmeric guitar rock?

Sub Pop

Since starting 30 years ago, the label and its Hardly Art offshoot have tirelessly championed Seattle music.


Simply one of the best and longest playing punk bands in the city.

Ernestine Anderson.

Ernestine Anderson

Of the major musicians who came out of Seattle in the first half of the twentieth century, Anderson was one of the most talented, and one of the only to return.

Duff McKagan

The former Guns ‘N Roses bassist started out playing in local punk bands like the Fartz. He now spends his time telling people he’s the inspiration for The Simpsons’s Duff Beer.

Kathleen Hanna

The Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and Julie Ruin frontwoman remains the ultimate feminist punk.

Dave Matthews Band

What it sounds like when marijuana and polarfleece become sentient (see "The Sainthood of Dave Matthews Has Been Indefinitely Postponed").

Sunny Day Real Estate

An emo progenitor, whom we shall not fault for the genre’s many subsequent sins.

Nancy and Ann Wilson of Heart.


The hard-rocking Wilson sisters led the only major band to come out of the Seattle area in the 1970s.


Thirty years of the fuzz punks testify to an undersung fact: Our music is fun.

Ben Gibbard

The Postal Service and Death Cab for Cutie frontman is indie rock royalty.

Alice in Chains

Their dingy metal is a reminder that our early ’90s music had more to do with locale than genre.

The Ventures

The band’s dirty surf rock yielded some major hits, including the Hawaii Five-O theme song.

Bing Crosby

Before he became the King of Christmas, the Tacoma native picked up his jazz chops in Spokane and Seattle. Apparently, he even smoked weed with Louis Armstrong here. 

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