HomeLanguage EducationKorean LanguageMusic in the Windy City: Four Bands from Chicago Who Made Their...

Music in the Windy City: Four Bands from Chicago Who Made Their Mark

Clicked by Avik Chakraborty / Moment / Getty Images

Chicago is home to some of the most iconic musical acts in history, from jazz greats like Miles Davis to classic rock legends such as The Blues Brothers. But what about the lesser-known bands that made their mark on the city’s musical landscape? 

Let’s take a look at four up-and-coming bands from Chicago who made their mark on music. 

What Music Originated From Chicago?

Different kinds of music records in a music store
Richard Newstead / Moment / Getty Images

Chicago has long been a hub of musical talent and has produced some phenomenal bands over the years:

  • From the long life electric funk of Earth Wind and Fire, to the rolling blues-infused guitar anthems by Buddy Guy, to the quieter jazz grooves by Ramsey Lewis, music from Chicago has long been sought out around the globe. 
  • Other bands from this city whose sound cannot be missed include Da Brat and Smashing Pumpkins, both of whom bring unique flavors to their well-crafted works. 
  • Different genres blend together in many of these songs, making it difficult for any listener to deny the powerful influence that Chicagos musicians have had on global music over the last few decades.

Whether you’re from the Windy City or not, now is a great time to expand your skills as a musician. Sign up for music lessons now and learn more about the benefits of doing so by watching the video below:


What Are the Best Rock Bands from Chicago?

Female rock band performing on a stage
Taiyou Nomachi / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Chicago is famous for many things — deep dish pizza, Oprah, the Sears Tower — but it has also produced some well-known bands and musicians. Like most big cities, Chicago is full of artist resources and culture, which makes it a great environment for musical inspiration. So who started here, and how did they get to where they are now?  If you or your child is a budding musician in the Chicago area, read on. You might just find some inspiration of your own!

While some of these artists were born in Chicago, others lived there for a good portion of time. All of the bands you’ll read about below got their start there. There is one thing they all have in common though — all of these musicians played the Chicago music scene, and were supported by a city who loves its music. From the explosion of the Chicago blues to the rock of today, and everything in between, it’s tough to find a city quite like this one.

Fall Out Boy    

The band Fall Out Boy was both formed in Chicago in 2001 by Joe Trohman and Pete Wentz. The band has roots in the Chicago punk scene, where Wentz made a name playing in the ’90s with various bands. In the beginning, the band searched for stability, trying out a few different members before settling on Patrick Stump and Andy Hurley. They dealt with the usual aches and pains of starting a band as they toured and wrote songs, but Fall Out Boy found success fairly quickly compared to the music industry norm. Their debut album, Take This to Your Grave, got good reviews and earned them gigs at SXSW and the Warped Tour.


Sometimes you luck out and get great neighbors. That was what happened when twin brothers John and Chuck Panozzo met neighbor Dennis DeYoung. They established a large Chicago fan base for a while, and then finally hit mainstream fame in 1977. It could have been their 7th album’s lucky release date —7/7/77 —or it could be that the world was ready for their long-practiced sound. Their story is typical, including some hard times, tension, breakups, and reunions — but the fanbase certainly still exists now, and they’ll forever be known as one of the most important bands from Chicago.

Smashing Pumpkins

Like Fall Out Boy, several of the band members of Smashing Pumpkins are originally from Chicago.  The Smashing Pumpkins, however, laid the foundation for many of the bands that are popular today, as part of the powerful roots of alternative music. Billy Corgan and James Iha started as a duo, playing bars in Chicago, then connected with drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, who had a jazz background and gave them an even more unique sound. After releasing singles with a local Chicago label, they eventually achieved commercial success in the early ’90s. Although their rocky road as a band led to a permanent breakup of the original members, the Smashing Pumpkins recently announced that two new records are on the horizon.


Is the band “Chicago” from Chicago? You betcha.

And how could you talk about bands from Chicago without mentioning the band Chicago?  These talented musicians have achieved incredible success and unprecedented longevity.  They are the kind of band that even if you think you don’t know them, you’ll recognize several of their songs. Chicago has mastered the ballad, dominated the rock genre, and turned being rockstars into a lifelong career! The heart of Chicago — four DePaul University students — still play today: Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, and Walter Parazaider. These music students made the most of their abilities and formed something that will always be an irreplaceable part of the city of Chicago.

These are just a few names worth noting, but there are so many more musicians, artists, and bands from Chicago that have made an impact on the music scene. Other honorable mentions include Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Nat King Cole, Benny Goodman, Herbie Hancock, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Wilco.  And there are still many, many more!

More Bands from Chicago Area

Rock band performing at a concert
Cavan Images / Cavan / Getty Images

The list of famous bands from Chicago just does not end! Here are some more bands from Chicago suburbs and the surrounding area.

First up is Cheap Trick.

Cheap Trick was formed in 1974 by vocalist Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen and bassist Tom Petersson. Their power-pop sound made them an instant hit among fans of classic rock music. They released their first album Cheap Trick in 1977 and had huge success with hits like “I Want You To Want Me”, “Surrender” and “Dream Police”. They continue to tour around the world today performing their timeless classics for legions of fans old and new alike.  

Then there’s Wilco.

Wilco is an American alternative rock band that formed in 1994 after the breakup of Uncle Tupelo. Founding members Jeff Tweedy (vocals/guitar), John Stirratt (bass) and Ken Coomer (drums) recorded their debut album A.M., which featured rootsy country-rock tunes such as “Passenger Side” and “I Must Be High”. 

The band has gone on to release eight more studio albums, including two Grammy Award winners Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002) and A Ghost Is Born (2004). Wilco continues to tour extensively around the world today with several original members still in the fold. 

Who is the Biggest Artist from Chicago?

Back view of people at a concert with their arms raised
Jena Ardell / Moment / Getty Images

Short answer – too many to count!

Chicago is home to some truly incredible musicians. Whether you’re looking for classic sounds or something more experimental, there are plenty of great bands from the Windy City worth checking out! 

Every musician got their start somewhere. It might have been the music lessons their parents signed them up for, combined with an album that captivated and inspired them.  They could have sung in the church choir and realized their voice was a gift they wanted to share. Maybe they marched in their high school band, and then decided to form a rock band to show the world that they had other types of music on their mind.  No matter how they got started, Chicago is undoubtedly a great place to do it!


Suzy S.

Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed
AuditStudent.com, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments