Minnesota-born Bob Dylan recently turned up in the news because he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He's the first songwriter to receive this honor and it got me thinking about the different artists from Minnesota who have made an impact on the music world and, more specifically, bands that have managed to escape the definition of popular local Minnesota band and broke onto the charts with a hit song or several hit singles.

I started investigating all the groups that have heralded from this land of 10,000 lakes and there are a lot. Did you know that swing and boogie-woogie artists The Andrews Sisters got their start here in Minnesota? Or that Minnesota's version of Wham!, a band by the the name of Boys Club, scored a hit with "I Remember Holding You" back in 1989? There's also Information Society, The Jets, Lipps Inc., The Time and others. I decided to narrow this list down rock bands from Minnesota. So for your reading and listening and, in some cases, viewing pleasure, here's my Top 10 List of Minnesota Rock Bands.

  • 1


    This Minneapolis-based blues rock band is bets known for their hit "Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games With Me)."

  • 2

    Gear Daddies

    The hidden track "Zamboni" first appeared on their second album, Billy's Bait Shop, but has been used during intermission at hockey games, the soundtrack from D2: The Mighty Ducks and the TV show Malcolm in the Middle.

  • 3


    This progressive rock band from Minneapolis made it into the Top 100 with their single "Gypsy Queen Part 1 and 2," reaching No. 64 on the U.S.Billboard Hot 100.

  • 4

    The Jayhawks

    This alternative country rock band has had several hits, but my favorite is "Blue" from their fourth studio album, Tomorrow the Green Grass.

  • 5

    The Lamont Cranston Band

    This blues rock band out of Hamel scored their biggest hit in 1981 with their memorable "Upper Mississippi Shakedown."

  • 6

    Marcy Playground

    Best known for their 1997 "Sex and Candy," I included this alternative rock band because two of the three members of this group are from Minneapolis and they took their name from the Marcy Open grade school in Minneapolis.

  • 7


    Another alternative rock band hailing from Minneapolis, their biggest hit was about the people leaving a bar at closing time appropriately titled, "Closing Time."

  • 8

    Soul Asylum

    Probably the most famous alternative rock band from Minnesota, this band has released 11 studio albums, two live albums and 22 singles during their more than 30-year career. "Somebody to Shove" is my favorite hit from them, but I've featured that as a Cool One before so here's "Black Gold."

  • 9

    The Suburbs

    No list would be complete without this influential late '70s, early '80s punk/rock/new wave band from Minneapolis. The single "Life is Like" was one of their more successful tunes.

  • 10

    The Trashmen

    Formed in Minneapolis, they were once described as one of the premier landlocked Midwestern surf groups of the '60s. Their biggest hit was "Surfin' Bird," a tune prominently featured in an episode of Family Guy, much to the annoyance of most of the show's main characters.

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