The 10 biggest Wisconsin musicians of all time (& their biggest hit)

Credit: Bon Iver

By Christina Lorey

February 12, 2024

Like us, the writers at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel must’ve spent a lot of time taking long walks and listening to music during the early days of the pandemic. Because, during that time, they compiled this list of 50 Wisconsin musicians who’ve made the greatest impact over the past 100 years.

“Surrounded by Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota — states that are home to scores of legendary artists — Wisconsin’s musical contributions are often overshadowed,” they wrote. “But the influence Wisconsin natives have made on popular music is far greater than even people from the Dairy State might realize.”

You can view the full list here, but we’re showcasing the top 10 Badger-born artists – and included their top-selling songs, too, if you feel inclined to start an all-Wisconsin playlist!

10- Jerry Harrison, Milwaukee: “Life During Wartime”

9- Woody Herman, Milwaukee: “Woodchopper’s Ball”

8- Butch Vig, Viroqua: “Lithium”

7- Liberace, West Allis: “I’ll Be Seeing You”

6- Felice Bryant, Milwaukee: “Bye Bye Love”

5- Bon Iver, Eau Claire: “Holocene”

4- Al Jarreau, Milwaukee: “We’re In This Love Together”

3- Violent Femmes, Milwaukee: “Blister in the Sun”

2- Steve Miller, Milwaukee: “The Joker”

1- Les Paul, Waukesha: “Lover”

RELATED: Oscar Winners with Wisconsin Ties


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

CATEGORIES: Uncategorized


Local News

Related Stories
Share This