Top 10 musical cities of America

  • USA Musical Cities

From swing to jazz, heavy metal to pop, the USA has helped to create some of the greatest music known to man, and yes I am including Taylor Swift on that long list!

But let's not forget about the likes of Nirvana, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra to name just a small few! As you travel around the country your ears are in for a real treat as each city offers music lovers something a little different!

Sit back and enjoy the ride as we take you on a musical journey to ten of the USA's hottest cities.

Visit some of these musical cities on The Big Eastern


1. Memphis

Where better to start this musical odyssey of the USA than with the 'Home of the Blues' and 'Birthplace of Rock and Roll' – Memphis, Tennessee.

The city helped to shape the career of legendary artists such as B.B King, Willie Nix and Johnny Ace who gave the blues to the rest of the world. Oh and a little-known singer known as Elvis Presley used to reside here. Memphis really is Elvis country with Graceland just a short drive from Downtown.

Take a trip to the iconic Sun Studio and see where the King of Rock and Roll recorded tracks such as Blue Moon, My Happiness and I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine. Other artists like Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Ray Harris regularly recorded at Sun.

Sun Studio Memphis

Photo credit: Flavio Miranda – Flickr


2. New Orleans

Staying in the south and another city which has deep roots in music – New Orleans. The Big Easy is regularly seen as the birthplace of jazz. It's been the home of iconic jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, James Booker and the more modern day stylings of Harry Connick Jr.

Over the years it developed style such as Dixieland as the area looked to create a sound different from the popular ragtime, which was taking centre stage in the rest of the USA – so it's not all jazz in this part of the world. You won't find a corner of New Orleans where some sort music isn't being played.

Jazz muscians

Photo credit: Darrell Miller – Flickr


3. San Francisco

There's more to San Francisco than just that big ole' bridge. The Bay Area was a focal point of the 1960s counterculture movement. The Fillmore venue became an institution with the likes of Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin leading the way.

In recent years the American punk scene has been alive and kicking. Across the Bay in Berkeley bands such as Green Day, The Offspring, Operation Ivy and Rancid made their name in the infamous 924 Gilman Street. Set up by the non-profit Alternative Music Foundation, Gilman has showcased punk rock bands from all over the area.


Photo credit: Ragnar of Ravensfjord – Flickr


4. New York

Everyone from Frank Sinatra to The Strokes has sung about the Big Apple. The yellow cabs, Times Square and the Statue of Liberty have all provided inspiration to artists all over the world all with the dream of headlining in Madison Square Garden.

Like the Bay Area, underground music has thrived in New York with the city proudly laying claims to shaping the careers of the Ramones, Blondie and the Patti Smith Group. Centered around the iconic music club CBGB, punk rock and new wave was where it was at in New York and became the ultimate musical pilgrimage for many fans.

No matter what your music tastes there is a venue in the city for you.

CBGB New York

Photo credit: Henk Sys


5. Nashville

Moving back down south you're in 'Music City', Nashville, Tennessee. The city is the USA's home of live music and the residence of the "Big Four" record labels – Universal, Sony BMG, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Warner Music.

Nashville's heart beats to the sound of country music and has given birth to some of the biggest names within the genre. Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Blake Shelton have all put the city on the map and let's not forget Taylor Swift.

While she seems dominate the world nowadays, Swifty first made her name as a sweet 14-year-old making country music in Nashville before making the switch to 'Shake It Off' all across the globe.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JUNE 14, 2013: Honky-tonks on Lower Broadway. The district is famous for the numerous country music entertainment establishments.

Photo credit: iStock


6. Chicago

Memphis may claim to be the 'Home of the Blues' but Chicago pushes it very close. The city is jam packed with blues cafes and was even the setting for the classic film The Blues Brothers.

Musicians such as Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and Willie Dixon all impressed in this little corner of Illinois. This unique sound also helped to inspire artists all over the world with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Jimi Hendrix Experience citing it as helping their own sound.

House of Blues sign in Chicago, Illinois, USA. House of Blues is a popular music venue with locations throughout the United States.

Photo credit: iStock


7. Seattle

Mention Seattle and the first thing anyone will say is either Nirvana or grunge. The Pacific Northwest helped to revolutionise the music scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Think distorted guitars and angst-ridden lyrics and that was the sound coming out of Seattle in that era.

But if Nirvana isn't really your scene, then perhaps blasting out a little Macklemore or Modest Mouse as you head into this cool Pacific city might be more up your street?

Kurt Cobain memorial

Photo credit: Jennifer Huber


8. Detroit

Dubbed 'Rock City' by the band Kiss, Detroit has its roots in Motown. The Motown Sound is a form of soul music with a distinct pop influence and made famous by artists such as Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson.

A majority of the tracks were recorded in a small house on West Grand Boulevard, which has now been converted into a museum. Detroit is also notable for artists such as Eminem and the White Stripes.

MUS Detroit

Photo credit: iStock


9. Austin

When it comes music festivals, nowhere does it as well as Austin, Texas. Every March the city shuts off its streets and open its doors to some of the best and brightest bands around.

South by Southwest, or SXSW, is one of the more unique music festivals in the USA. The Austin streets come alive as the bars are filled with the sounds of live bands. While some are local talent and underground acts you could be lucky and stumble into a room where Green Day or even Foo Fighters are rocking out.

AUSTIN, TX - MAR 9: SXSWi 2014. Marquee for SXSW Interactive Conference on March 9, 2014 in Austin, Texas.

Photo credit: iStock


10. Los Angeles

Probably one of the most important cities when it comes the film industry, LA is still up there when it comes to the music scene too! The band Linkin Park was named after Lincoln Park in Santa Monica where they recorded some of their most famous tracks. Also, awesome bands such as The Doors, Sublime and Rage Against The Machine started in Los Angeles.

More recently the hip-hop scene is what LA is now famous for, with the likes of Snoop Doggy Dog or Snoop Lion depending on who you ask, becoming the artist you love to hate.

Linkin Park

Photo credit: 3FM Serious Radio


Visit some of these musical cities on The Big Eastern

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