The Music of Illinois reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
(provided by Fixed Reference: snapshots of Wikipedia from

Music of Illinois

Spread the word about a children's charity with social media
Music of the United States
History (Timeline and Samples)
Before 1940: Synthesis of Sources
1940s and 50s: Invention of Popular Music
1960s and 70s: Creation of a Counterculture
1980s to the present: Diversification of Styles
African American
Native American music (Inuit music>Inuit and Hawaiian)
Latin (Tejano and Puerto Rican)
Other immigrants (Jewish, European, South and East Asian, modern African, Middle-Eastern and Cajun and Creole)
Local music
AL - AK - AR - CA - CO - CT - DC - DE - FL - GA - GU - HI - ID - IL - IN - IA - KS - KY - LA - ME - MD - MA - MI - MN - MP - MS - MO - MT - NC - ND - NE - NV - NH - NJ - NM - NY - OH - OK - OR - PA - PR - RI - SC - SD - TN - TX - UT - VT - VA - VI - WA - WV - WI - WY

Illinois which includes Chicago, the third-largest city in the United States has a wide musical heritage. Chicago is most famously associated with the development of electric (or Chicago-style) blues music. Chicago was also a center of development for eary jazz and later for house music, and includes a vibrant hip hop scene. Several notable rock and roll, punk rock, and alternative rock bands also hailed from Chicago.

Classical music

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is the major symphony in Illinois and has received widespread recognition for its recordings. The orchestra has received 10 Grammys for classical album, more than twice the number of any other group. Classical singer Deborah Voigt was born in the Chicago area.

Country music

Alison Krause was part of the revival of bluegrass music in the late 1990's. She grew up in Champaign. Illinois is also a center of the shaped note singing revival with the Midwest Sacred Harp convention taking place yearly in Chicago.

Folk Music

Burl Ives helped popularize folk music, with releases beginning in the 1940s. Ives was from downstate Illinois.


Chicago was the first important center of jazz as it first left the city of its birth, New Orleans, Louisiana. The name jazz (and it's early variations jass or jas) may have first been applied to the music in Chicago in the 1910s, as such hot New Orleans bands as Tom Brown's made a hit up north. New Orleans pioneers together with enthusiastic younger musicians from the Midwest gathered in Chicago. The result has sometimes been called Chicago Style. The saxophone first became a significant instrument in jazz in Chicago, and the city remained the most vibrant and advanced center of the music through the 1920s.

Famous Jazz musicians originally from Illinois include Miles Davis (from Alton, Illinois near St. Louis), Benny Goodman, and Herbie Hancock.


Chicago blues music was developed as black musicians influenced by Delta blues joined the post-World War II migration to the burgeoning industrial city from the deep south, and, seeking a way to be heard in the raucous clubs, turned to electric guitar and other forms of amplified music. The result was a tough, gritty sound that directly led to the creation of rock and roll. As the style developed, artists and added more instruments and diversification of styles. Key early Chicago blues artists included Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon, and Muddy Waters. Chicago would continue to be a hotbed of activity in this genre, with artists including Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells, Son Seals, and others calling the city home and performing regularly.

Rock and Roll

Notable Illinois pop and rock bands include, Styx (whose members originally lived in the Chicago suburbs), Chicago (the original members of which were students at DePaul University in Chicago and hailed from the area, though they moved to Los Angeles prior to their becoming well-known), Jim Peterik (who founded Chicago-area band the Ides of March and was later a member of Survivor). Fellow rockers Cheap Trick came from nearby Rockford, Illinois and members of REO Speedwagon hailed from Champaign-Urbana.

Punk rock

The first punk rock club in Chicago was La Mere Vipere, located near DePaul University. Hated by the locals, the bar mysteriously burned down in 1978. A gay club called O'Banion's replaced it, and New Wave bands like Special Effect, The Dadistics, Epicycle and Ono played there. Another gay bar, Oz, soon opened and began catering to the burgeoning hardcore punk scene as local bands like Naked Raygun, Big Black, Strike Under and, most famously, The Effigies, formed. The next wave of Chicago hardcore was more pure hardcore, as opposed to incorporating many different influences, and included Articles of Faith and Rights of the Accused.

Growing out of the Chicago hardcore scene was a vibrant industrial music tradition in the mid-1980s. Industrial musicians from Chicago included members of Ministry, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, and Pailhead.


Although there was no large alternative music scene in Illinois per se, members of several notable early 1990s alternative rock groups were originally from the state. Soundgarden's Kim Thayil and Bruce Pavitt, the founder of Sub Pop Records, both were from Illinois and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder was originally from Evanston, Illinois. The members of Smashing Pumpkins were all from the Chicago area; ironically, the Pumpkins first signed to the Sub Pop indie label for their first album release. Grunge rockers Veruca Salt were also from the city.

Music of the United States