Main Logo



New Jersey Music

New Jersey music is diverse. Of that there is no question. Just looking at the artists below, you will see for yourself.

Angelo Badalamenti
Angelo Badalamenti - b. 1937
Lincoln Park, NJ
Born in Brooklyn, composer and musician Angelo Badalamenti is perhaps best known for his collaborations with film director David Lynch. However, the list of people he has worked with is very impressive.

Manuel Barrueco
Manuel Barreuco - b. 1952
Newark, NJ

Born in Cuba, Barreuco fled with his family to the United States in 1967. He began studying classical guitar in Cuba at the age of 8, and attended Arts High School in Newark. He has performed numerous times with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and is considered one of the premier classical guitarists in the world today.

Count Basie
William "Count" Basie - b. 1906 d. 1984
Red Bank, NJ
New Jersey native "Count" Basie got his start in Harlem nightclubs before moving to St. Louis. He is regarded as one of the most exciting piano players and band leaders of the 20th century.

Clint Black
Clint Black - b. 1962
Long Branch, NJ

Born in New Jersey, but raised in Texas, Clint Black is a neotraditional country singer, songwriter and producer with numerous platinum records among his honors.
Thanks to Clayton Caldwell for this suggestion.

Rory Block
Rory Block - b. 1949
Princeton, NJ

Award-winning acoustic blues guitarist. Born in New Jersey, raised in Manhattan.

Bon Jovi
Jon Bon Jovi - b. 1962
Sayreville, NJ
Born John Bongiovi, his band (compised of fellow Jerseyans Richie Sambora, Dave Bryan, and Tico Torres) has had great recording success over the past 20 years.
Thanks to Roxanne, for the additional details.

Barbara Bonney
Barbara Bonney - 1956
Montclair, NJ

Operatic soprano, her family moved to Maine when she was still a teenager.

Leonardo Capalbo
Leonardo Capalbo - b. 1978
Nutley, NJ

This young opera tenor has been making critics and audiences alike take notice. His future looks very bright.
Thanks to Mark H. for this suggestion.

Mary Chapin Carpenter
Mary Chapin Carpenter - b. 1958
Princeton, NJ

Born in Princeton, Carpenter spent time in Japan and later Washington DC. She is a successful country singer and guitarist.

David Cassidy
David Cassidy - b. 1950
West Orange, NJ

Born in New York City, David Cassidy was raised by his grandparents in West Orange as is parents spent a lot of time on the road. Most famous as a member of the Partridge Family.
Thanks to John McGuire for this suggestion.

George Clinton
George Clinton - b. 1940
Plainfield, NJ

Born in North Carolina, but moving with his family to New Jersey as a teenager, George Clinton worked as a barber and then sang in a doo-wop group before moving to Detroit and forming the group Funkadelic in the early 70s.

Cozy Cole - b. 1909 d. 1981
East Orange, NJ

Born William Randolph Cole, Cozy was a well-known jazz drummer who played with many of the jazz greats. You can see Cozy in action here, including a video team drumming with Gene Krupa! By the way, I studied some of Cozy's charts as a young drummer taking lessons.

Al Di Meola
Al Di Meola - b. 1954
Jersey City, NJ

World-renowned jazz guitarist, Di Meola has a discography that is as extensive as it is varied.

Bill Evans
Bill Evans - b. 1929 d. 1980
Plainfield, NJ

Well-regarded, and some say the most influential post WW2 jazz pianist.
Thanks to Brian S. for this suggestion.

Donald Fagen - b. 1948
Passaic, NJ

One half of the important band Steely Dan, with Walter Becker. Fagen has also released a number of solo albums and began his recent solo tour in New Jersey.

Thanks to Jay Farrell for pointing out the wrong picture of Fagen.

Connie Francis
Connie Francis - b. 1938
Newark, NJ
Born Concetta Rosemarie Franconero, Connie Francis had many hit records in the late 1950s and 1960s. Her records still sell, and she is still in demand for live concerts.

Lesley Gore
Lesley Gore - b. 1946
Tenafly, NJ

Born in New York City as Lesley Sue Goldstein, the singer better known as Lesley Gore was raised in Tenafly and rocketed to fame with her best known hit "It's My Party". She still performs live.
Thanks to Jay Farrell for the suggestion.

John Gorka
John Gorka - b. 1958
Newark, NJ

Well-known in folk music circles, John Gorka has saluted his homestate in his music.

Florence Greenberg
Florence Greenberg - b. 1913 d. 1995
Passaic, NJ

Early record producer and music executive for many popular singers in the 60's, such as: Dionne Warwick, The Shirelles, Tammi Terrell, Chuck Jackson, B.J. Thomas.
Thanks to AlBee!

David Grisman
David Grisman - b. 1945
Hackensack, NJ

Noted mandolinist, newgrass composer, started the record label Acoustic Disc.
Thanks for this suggestion to William David.

Debbie Harry
Debbie Harry - b. 1945
Hawthorne, NJ
Born in Florida, Debbie was adopted by a couple in NJ at age 3 months, and grew up in Hawthorne. Singer and actress, most notably in the group Blondie.

Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill - b. 1975
South Orange, NJ
Hip Hop singer, ex-member of The Fugees. Winner of Album of the Year in 1998.

Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston - b. 1963 d. 2012
Newark, NJ
Singer and actress. If you haven't heard of her, what rock do YOU live under? Died tragically before her time.

Janis Ian
Janis Ian - b. 1951
Farmingdale, NJ

Born Janis Eddy Fink in New York City, Janis Ian grew up on a chicken farm in Farmingdale,and attended East Orange High School. A Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter, she began her career at age 13. Her family still lives in NJ.

Ice T
Ice-T - b. 1958
Newark, NJ
Born Tracy Marrow, singer and actor Ice-T is one of the most widely and highly regarded hip-hop artists. He moved to California while still a child, after his parents were killed in a car crash. Ice T currently resides in North Bergen, with his wife, Nicole Austin.

tommy james
Tommy James - b. 1947
Cedar Grove, NJ

Ohio-born, current Cedar Grove resident Tommy James (born Thomas Jackson) is best known for his band Tommy James and the Shondells, with many pop hits.
AlBee gets the nod for this suggestion.

Wyclef Jean
Wyclef Jean - b. 1972
South Orange, NJ

Born in Haiti, Wyclef Jean moved to Brooklyn when he was 9, then to New Jersey, where he became one of the founding members of The Fugees. Since leaving The Fugees, he has released several solo recordings, and done film and television work.

Jonas Brothers
Jonas Brothers - b. 1987, 1989, 1992
Wyckoff, NJ

A pop band of brothers Kevin, Joe and Nick.
Thanks to this suggestion to Stephanie.

Joseph Kekuku
Joseph Kekuku - b. 1874 d. 1932
Dover, NJ
Born in Hawaii, Joseph Kekuku is widely regarded as the inventor of the steel guitar. It is not clear how he found himself in Dover, where he lived for several years and where he is buried, after passing away at Morristown Memorial Hospital.

Jerome Kern
Jerome Kern - b. 1885 d. 1945
Newark, NJ

A native New Yorker, this composer of American theater and popular music moved to Newark with his family, and graduated from what became Barringer High School.
Thanks to Mark Gladstone for this suggestion.

Nick Lucas
Nick Lucas - b. 1897 d. 1982
Newark, NJ

Born Dominic Nicholas Anthony Lucanese in Newark, and grew up in Belleville, Lucas is sometimes known as the "Grandfather of the Jazz Guitar". Lucas had many hit records in the 1920s and 30s.
Thanks for this suggestion to Bob Furmanek.

Marilyn McCoo
Marilyn McCoo - b. 1943
Jersey City, NJ

Born in New Jersey, but grew up in California, Marilyn was a beauty contest winner before her singing talents took her to the group The 5th Dimension. Also had a successful career with Billy Davis and still performs today.

Lou Monte
Lou Monte - b. 1917 d.1989
Lyndhurst, NJ

Born in New York Cit as Louis Scaglione, raised in Lyndhurst, Lou Monte was an Italian-American singer popular in the 50s and 60s.
Thank to Garrett for this suggestion.

my chemical romance
My Chemical Romance - b. 2001
Jersey City, NJ

Band formed in 2001. Thanks to MANY people for this suggestion.

Rick Nelson
Rick Nelson - b. 1940 d. 1985
Teaneck, NJ

Son of the famous "Ozzie and Harriet" Nelson, Rick (also known as Ricky Nelson) was a participant in the radio and TV shows "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet", and had his own sucessful music career. Inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, died tragically young in a plane crash.

Joe Pass
Joe Pass - b. 1929 d. 1994
New Brunswick, NJ

Born Joseph Anthony Passalaqua, Joe Pass is considered to be one of the most innovative jazz guitarists.

Les Paul
Les Paul - b. 1915 d. 2009
Mahwah, NJ
Born in Wisconsin as Lester Polfus, Les Paul had a successful music career from World War 2 until his death. He may have been better known for his inventions and advancements he made in music recording. He performed weekly at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City every Monday.

Kate Pierson
Kate Pierson - b. 1948
Weehawken, NJ

One of the founding members and lead singers of the seminal rock band, The B-52s. Kate has also performed with various other artists.

John "Bucky" Pizzarelli - b. 1926
Paterson, NJ

Father of noted guitarist John Pizzarelli (see below), Bucky Pizzarelli has worked to preserve pre-World War II classic jazz guitar styles through his many live performances and recordings.

John Pizzarelli
John Pizzarelli - b. 1960
Paterson, NJ

John Pizzarelli, the son of jazz guitarist John "Bucky" Pizzarelli (see above), is himself an accomplished jazz guitarist and vocalist, well-respected among critics and the public alike. Numerous recordings and regular touring mean you should always be able to experience his fluid playing and smooth vocals.

Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah - b. 1970
Newark, NJ
Born Dana Owens, Queen Latifah is a successful female rapper, TV actress, film actress and talk show host.

Eddie Rabbitt
Eddie Rabbitt - b. 1941 d. 1998
East Orange, NJ

Born in Brooklyn but raised in East Orange, NJ, Eddie Rabbitt was a country-pop singer and songwriter, whose career took off when he wrote a song recorded by Elvis Presley ("Kentucky Rain").

Nelson Riddle
Nelson Riddle - b. 1921 d. 1985
Oradell, NJ

Famous music arranger, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra was well-known for accompanying a young Frank Sinatra. Also a well-respected composer.

Ed Shaughnessy
Ed Shaughnessy - b. 1929
Jersey City, NJ

Swing and bebop drummer, best known for his long association with the Doc Severinsen band on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Drum Battle with Buddy Rich!
Thanks to Gary Weber for this suggestion.

Richard Shindell
Richard Shindell - b. 1960
Lakehurst, NJ

Born in Lakehurst before moving to Long Island (currently living in Argentina when not on tour), guitarist Shindell is a widely respected singer-songwriter in the folk-rock genre with several excellent records to his credit.

The Shirelles
The Shirelles - formed 1958
Passaic, NJ

The first Girl Group to have a #1 on the Billboard 100. These ladies from Passaic High School were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the City of Passaic recently named a secion of Paulison Avenue to Sirelles Boulevard.
Thanks to Joe Botti for this suggestion.

Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter - b. 1933
Newark, NJ

A member of Miles Davis group in the 60s, Shorter is a respected jazz musician and composer. Has also recorded with non-jazz artists such as Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan.

Paul SImon
Paul Simon - b. 1942
Newark, NJ
Singer, songwriter, actor, one half of the music duo Simon & Garfunkel.

Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra - b. 1915 d. 1998
Hoboken, NJ
Perhaps one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, singer of all time. 'Nuf said.

Charles Smith - b. 1948 d. 2006
Jersey City, NJ

Founding member of Kool and the Gang. Smith was the lead guitarist and wrote most of the band's hits.

Patti Smith
Patti Smith - b. 1946
Woddbury, NJ

Born in Chicago, but raised in Woodbury in southern New Jersey, Patti Smith is best known as a poet-punk icon of the mid 1970s New York music scene. After marrying Fred "Sonic" Smith, guitarist for the MC5, Patti led a more conventional life, but has recently kick-started her artistic career.
Thanks to Eric Dezenhall for this suggestion.

The Smithereens

Scotch Plains and Carteret, NJ

Four piece rock band, from north-central New Jersey, with many recordings and concerts and stuff. Do a search on the net for more info.
Thanks to Rob Seel for this suggestion.

Phoebe Snow
Phoebe Snow - b. 1952 d. 2011
Teaneck, NJ

Born in New York, grew up in Teaneck and resided in Fort Lee, Snow was a well-known singer/songwriter.
Thanks for this suggestion to Jean Hochron.

Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen - b. 1949
Freehold, NJ
The Boss, rock and roll, pure New Jersey.

Steve Swallow
Steve Swallow - b. 1940
Fair Lawn, NJ

Born in New York City, Swallow is a well-respected jazz bassist and composer.
Thanks to Raul Anthony Silve for this suggestion.

Frankie Valli
Frankie Valli - b. 1937
Newark, NJ
Born Francis Castellucio, Frankie Valli became famous with his group The 4 Seasons. They had many hit records in the 1950s and 60s. Still going strong, with hit record after hit record.

Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan - b. 1924 d. 1990
Newark, NJ
Also considered to be one of the finest vocalists to have ever lived. How about that, New Jersey produced the best male and female vocalists ever?

Tom Verlaine
Tom Verlaine - b. 1949
Morristown, NJ

Born Thomas Miller, considered one of the most influential of the post-punk artists in the 70s as the leader of the band Television.

Frederica von Stade
Frederica von Stade - b. 1945
Somerville, New Jersey
An operatic mezzo-soprano nicknamed Flicka, von Stade sings all over the world.

Dionne Warwick
Dionne Warwick - b. 1940
East Orange, NJ
Singer and actress, also known for her Psychic Friends Network.

Gerofe David Weiss
George David Weiss - b. 1921 d. 2010
Oldwick, NJ

Songwritercomposer, and member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Perhaps best known for "What a Wonderful World" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".

Gary Wright
Gary Wright - b. 1943
Cresskill, NJ

Notable not only for his biggest hit "Dreamweaver" (which by the way is the name of the program I originally used to create this website!), but also was a member of the band Spooky Tooth and played on many of ex-Beatle George Harrison's albums.


Back to the Top