Artists Who Were Born There: Bob Dylan, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Paul Westerberg, Prince, Slug
Bands Formed There: Atmosphere, Eyedea & Abilities, Hüsker Dü, Low, Information Society, The Replacements, Soul Asylum, The Time, Vanity 6
What music has come out of Minnesota is generally iconic. In fact, if we were judging solely based on the impact that a state's greatest native sons have had on American music (as opposed to taking into consideration broader, more abstract criteria like overall atmopshere, movements, scenes, etc.), there is a strong argument to be made for placing little ol' polite, unassuming, very, very cold Minnesota right up at the very top of this list. [Ed. note: At least one person has been bold enough, or stupid enough, to do this in the past.]
First off, a young man from Hibbing named Bob Dylan is widely considered the greatest songwriter of the modern era. His legacy runs so deep that a reissue of one of his least beloved albums, 1970's Self Portrait, recently hit stores to rave reviews—people just cannot stay mad at this guy. He got the Beatles stoned for the first time and basically taught everybody that lyrics were important. So, yeah.
The state's second most famous son is Prince, inventor of "the Minneapolis sound," a blend of R&B, funk, pop, new wave, and anything else that fit that propelled him to the top of the charts for decades. Prince acolytes Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis went from the funk band The Time (fronted by the irrepressible Morris Day) to producing 16 number one singles—most of them for Janet Jackson. This November, reissue label the Numero Group is issuing a compilation profiling the scene that nurtured Prince's accent titled Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound.
The phrase "there must be something in the water" might have been coined for Minneapolis in the '80s. Because while Prince was setting new standards of excellence in funk rock, across town, a bunch of drunker dudes in less nice clothes were doing the same for the punk kind. Some people feel [Ed. note: This editor is one of those people] that American rock and roll has never gotten better than that made by The Replacements and Hüsker Dü in that magical, messy-headed era.
On the synthy new wave tip, there was the Information Society (although from their sound most people probably assumed they were English.) And the state boasts a rap label, Rhymesayers Entertainment, which has released plenty of music from local talent, including Atmosphere, Eyedea & Abilities and Brother Ali.