Artists Who Were Born There: Roy Ayers, Captain Beefheart, Del the Funky Homosapien, DJ Qbert, DJ Quik, DJ Shadow, Dr. Dre, E-40, Earl Sweatshirt, Eazy-E, Flying Lotus, Etta James, Frank Ocean, Ice Cube, Kendrick Lamar, Too $hort, Tyler the Creator
Bands Formed There: The Beach Boys, Black Flag, Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, Country Joe and the Fish, Digital Underground, The Doors, Fishbone, The Flamin' Groovies, The Grateful Dead, Guns N' Roses, Jane's Addiction, Jefferson Airplane, Journey, Love, Minutemen, Moby Grape, The Mothers of Invention, N.W.A, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Runaways, Santana, Sly and the Family Stone, Souls of Mischief, Tower of Power, Van Halen, Tom Waits, X
You need a road map to navigate California's immense musical legacy. In just the last 60 years, it has given rise to wave after wave of musical movements that have swept the rest of the country. First off, many people think country music is purely a southern phenomenon, but in the mid-to-late 1950s, "the Bakersfield sound" developed in Bakersfield, led by artists like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, who felt Nashville country had grown too slick and robbed the genre of its essence.
Concurrently, folk music and surf rock were cropping up in the state's urban centers. As the 1960s came to fruition, San Francisco became a center for psychedelic rock bands like the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane, the Chocolate Watch Band and countless others. The Bay Area was also home base for the groundbreaking Sly & the Family Stone. In the south, Los Angeles' Sunset Strip birthed bands both more commercially appealing and dangerous.
Throughout the '70s, California continued to explode, serving as a center for country- and folk-influenced rock from bands like the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac and, almost as a reaction to that, at the end of the decade, the rise of punk from landmark bands like X, Black Flag, and, later, the Minutemen.
In the 1980s, the state redefined itself yet again via the glam metal scene exemplified by bands like Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, Poison, and Guns N' Roses. At the close of that decade, California gave rise to its own form of hip-hop, a genre which, to that point, was primarily a product of New York City. Artists like Ice-T, Too $hort and N.W.A first put Cali on the map and by the early-to-mid '90s, the state's take on rap threatened to render NYC obsolete, as artists like Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Ice Cube, and Tupac dominated airwaves.
Meanwhile, alternative hip-hop acts like the Pharcyde, Freestyle Fellowship, and later Shape Shifters established the state's quasi-underground bona fides. And all of this is just in L.A. Up in the Bay, the Digital Underground offered a party-friendly Nor Cal counterpart to L.A.'s gangsta rap (not to mention launching the career of Tupac). Hieroglyphics (Del the Funky Homosapien, Souls of Mischief, Casual, Extra Prolific) served as the West Coast's answer to Native Tongues, and E-40 established a beachhead for hyphy while Mac Dre released a dizzying slew of albums and EPs before being gunned down in 2004.