San Francisco is famous for many things. The Golden Gate Bridge, brightly painted neighborhoods, cable cars and a strong counter cultural ethos. Another San Francisco staple is great music. Few cities can compete with San Francisco when it comes to homegrown music.
1. Ripple – Grateful Dead- 1970
No other band epitomizes the counterculture ethos, shared community and unorthodox values of San Francisco like the Grateful Dead. The originators of the traveling jam band, the Grateful Dead are an American social icon known for their long instrumental improvisation, massive following and extended nation-wide tours.
2. Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival – 1969
The unofficial theme song of the 60’s Protest Era, Fortunate Son has been used in countless movie soundtracks to exemplify the sounds of the 60’s. It’s not hard to see why. Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of the country’s best-known roots rock band who came to rise during the anti-war years of the 60’s and 70’s.
3. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey – 1981
One of America’s all-time great arena bands, Journey were formed in San Francisco in 1973. Their single Don’t Stop Believin’ was one of the biggest hits of the 80’s and continues to be covered and used for introductions in sports and entertainment.
4. Jumper – Third Eye Blind – 1997
One of the most popular and alternative radio-friendly bands of the 90’s, Third Eye Blind has an enduring popularity with fans. Their 1997 single Jumper has been covered on talk shows, movie sets and played in stadiums across the world.
5. Fly Like An Eagle – Steve Miller Band – 1976
Known for their contributions to both classic rock and psychedelic rock, the Steve Miller Band were a staple of alternative radio in the 70’s and 80’s.
6. Holiday in Cambodia – Dead Kennedys – 1987
One of the defining hardcore punk bands of their era, the Dead Kennedys were known for their political and provoking lyrics as well as altercations with authority. They had a well-publicized obscenity trail in 1985 and 1986 which resulted in a hung jury. They released four studio albums before disbanding in 1986.
7. Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac – 1977
Originally an English blues rock band, Fleetwood Mac reoriented their sound and image after adding San Francisco based Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to their lineup. The result was one of the country’s most popular pop rock bands of all-time. Their album Rumours, would go on to be the eighth highest-selling album in history.
8. Hey Soul Sister – Train – 2010
Formed in 1993, Train was one of the most popular alternative bands of the 90’s. Their 2001 album Drops of Jupiter won two Grammy Awards in 2002 and was certified double platinum. They attained later success with their 2010 album Save Me, San Francisco which was certified gold. They have sold more than ten million albums world-wide and have released ten studio albums.
9. Fazon – Sopwith Camel – 1973
Associated with the psychedelic rock scene of the 1960’s, Sopwith Camel released two albums and continues to be popular with music critics today.
10. Stuck With You – Huey Lewis & The News – 1986
Known for their doo-wop harmonies and Lewis’s distinctive voice, Huey Lewis & the News were one of the most popular bands of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Their songs were widely used in movie soundtracks and television shows.
11. Ruby Soho – Rancid – 1995
An independent music legend, Rancid was one of the most successful punk rock bands of the 90’s. They were noted for remaining popular amongst their original fan base and never branching out into more mainstream labels or styles. For more than twenty nine years, Rancid has remained signed to an independent record label.
12. The Fish Cheer – Country Joe and the Fish – 1965
A psychedelic rock band from Berkeley, Country joe and the Fish are famous for their appearance at Woodstock as well as their protest music and anti-war image.
13. The Hymn of Acxiom – Vienna Tang – 2013
Working within the lines of folk and pop, Vienna Tang has released five albums and has toured widely throughout the country.
14. All Star – Smash Mouth – 1999
The song that launched a thousand memes, All Star was released to incredible commercial success in 1999. Although it was later widely mocked in the 2000’s, it took on new fame as one of the internet’s favorite memes in the 2010’s. The song now is a veritable cult classic and is Smash Mouth’s most recognizable song.
15. Warrior – Michelle Lambert – 2015
A San Francisco native, Michelle Lambert has released two EP’s and provides unique shows on her tours that include eclectic activities such as fire breathing.
16. Nothing Else Matters – Metallica – 1991
An all-time great arena band and a legend in metal, Metallica moved to San Francisco after initially starting out in Los Angeles. They have won multiple Grammy Awards and are famous for helping to popularize metal rock.
17. White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane – 1967
Considered one of the greatest psychedelic rock bands, Jefferson Airplane helped define the unique San Francisco Sound that developed out of the 60’s. Their breakout album Surrealistic Pillow remains a classic and is cited as one of the most significant albums of the 60’s.
18. Epic – Faith No More – 1989
Formed in 1979, Faith No More released six studio albums and toured widely in a two decade-long career. Their albums The Real Thing and Angel Dust were one of the best-selling albums of the late 80’s and early 90’s.
19. What’s Up – 4 Non Blondes – 1992
A cult favorite of the 90’s, 4 Non Blondes climbed the charts with their hit What’s Up. Unfortunately it would be their only hit and the band disbanded in 1994, five years after their inception.
20. Somebody to Love – The Great Society – 1966
Another 60’s San Francisco rock band, the Great Society helped popularize the acid rock that was prevalent on the west coast in the 60’s. Although only active for two years, the Great Society still remains a major figure in acid rock.
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