Selection of Musical Artists From Philadelphia

Drummer Questlove of The Roots performs onstage in support of Usher during the Formula 1 USGP at Circuit of The Americas on October 23, 2016 in Austin, Texas.
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Philadelphia has produced famous artists from everyone genre of music, most notably Jazz, Philadelphia Soul, Hip Hop and R&B. In the 1950's the American pop music show American Bandstand hosted by Dick Clark was produced here. "Philadelphia Soul" is a sub-genre of music that originated in the 1960's drawing from the girl group sound. In the 1980's & 90's so many successful R&B and hip-hop artists came out Philadelphia. At the same time, Philadelphia had a distinct punk rock and hardcore scene as well.

Here in alphabetical order are some famous musical artists who were either born and raised in Philly or began their career here. It's a very impressive list.

Philadelphia Musicians

Beanie Sigel: This troubled and talented rapper takes his name "Sigel," from a small street in South Philly. A former drug dealer, Sigel created State Property, a group of rappers signed to Roc-A-Fella Records that all hailed from Philadelphia including Freeway, Peedi Crakk, and the Young Gunz.

Boyz II Men: The adorable boy band known as Boyz II Men specialized in emotional ballads and a cappella harmonies. Most popular in the 1990s, they are still the most successful R&B group of all time.

Chubby Checker: Born in South Carolina but raised in the projects of South Philly, Chubby Checker popularized the twist dance style.

Dizzy Gillespie: Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and improviser who added layers of harmonic complexity previously unknown in jazz. Gillespie was born in South Carolina but moved to Philadelphia with his family as a teenager and started his musical career playing trumpet in local bands.

Dr. Dog: Hailing from West Philly, Dr. Dog is an experimental, lo-fi indie rock band.

Frankie Avalon: Born in Philadelphia, Avalon was on television playing his trumpet. He went on to become an actor and was often paired with Annette Funicello to star in wholesome team beach party films. He performed his hit "Beauty School Dropout," in the 1978 film Grease. The song characterizes his sweet beachy sound.

Hall and Oats: The musical duo of Daryl Hall and John Oates achieved great success with their patented fusion of rock and roll and R&B which they dubbed "rock soul." These Philadelphia musicians made six number 1 hits such as, "Rich Girl" and "Maneater."

Ink and Dagger: Was a Philadelphia punk band that was active in 1990's. While they may be lesser known than some of these other names they are a could example of the underground punk and hardcore scene that was thriving at the time.

John Coltrane: Coltrane was a jazz saxophonist and composer who was at the forefront of "free jazz," who influenced many other musicians and remains one of the most significant saxophonists in jazz history. At 17 he moved to Philadelphia and at 20 began his jazz theory studies under a Philadelphia guitarist.

Jill Scott: Born and raised in North Philadelphia Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Jill Scott attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls. She began her music career by performing as spoken word artist. She was eventually discovered by fellow Philadelphian, Amir "Questlove" Thompson of The Root.

Mario Lanza: Mario Lanza was an American tenor, singer, actor and Hollywood movie star of the late 1940's and 1950's born to Italian immigrant parents in South Philadelphia.

Meek Mill: Meek Mill is an up and coming rapper who was catapulted into fame soon after he signed to Rick Ross's label Maybach Music.

Patti LaBelle: Born and raised in Philadelphia, Patti was known for her gifted voice even as a child. LaBelle is a celebrated gospel, jazz, and R&B Singer, probably known best for her hit, Lady Marmalade.

Teddy Pendergrass: Teddy Pendergrass was raised by a single mother in Philadelphia and grew up singing at his church and dreamt of becoming a pastor. He went on to become a famous R&B and soul singer. After he was famously injured in a tragic car accident in Philadelphia he went on to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities.

The Roots: The Roots are a legendary hip hop and neo-soul band who are/were at the forefront of jazzy, instrumental hip hop. "Black Thought" and "Questlove," met as classmates at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts.

Ween: Ween is an experimental rock band formed in the early 80's out of New Hope, Pennsylvania. The free-spirited band has a large cult following.

Will Smith: This rapper turned movie star is famously, "West Philadelphia born and raised. On the playground," he spent most of his days.