Music of Ohio

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The Music of Ohio has long been a part of its rich cultural heritage.

Notable institutions[edit]

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland, Ohio. This state is also the home of four major symphony orchestras which are located in Cleveland, Akron, Cincinnati, and Dayton as well as a "pops" orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops.

Notable musicians[edit]

Popular singers from Ohio include Dean Martin, Doris Day, The Isley Brothers, Bobby Womack, Howard Hewett, Shirley Murdock, Mamie Smith, Boz Scaggs, John Legend, Marilyn Manson, Joe Dolce and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders.


Art Tatum, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest and most influential jazz pianists of all time, was born in Toledo, Ohio. Singer Nancy Wilson is from Chillicothe, Ohio.

Country Western[edit]

Rock 'n' Roll[edit]

Garage rock[edit]

Central Ohio and Greater Cleveland were home to a wide variety of garage bands from the 1960s, including The Outsiders. The Choir later added singer Eric Carmen and became Raspberries, pioneers of power pop in the early 1970s. More recently, the Greater Cincinnati area has produced The Greenhornes. Akron, Ohio has produced The Black Keys. Columbus, Ohio has produced New Bomb Turks, Gaunt, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, Scrawl and many others.

Punk Rock[edit]

Ohio is known for a wide variety of punk rock icons from Akron, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, primarily; these include electric eels, The Dead Boys, Rocket From The Tombs, Pere Ubu, Devo, Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, The Cramps, Robert Quine, Rachel Sweet, Pagans, Zero Defex, Criminal Authority, Hammer Damage, and Rubber City Rebels.[1] Columbus produced Screaming Urge and more recently New Bomb Turks and Gaunt.

Hardcore punk had considerable beginnings in Ohio, most notably with Maumee's Necros and Dayton's Toxic Reasons.

Indie Rock[edit]

The Black Keys formed in Akron. Karen O and Brian Chase of Yeah Yeah Yeahs met at Oberlin College, as did the band Bitch Magnet.[2] Cloud Nothings was formed in Cleveland. Indie folk rock singer Kramies is from Cleveland. Mark Kozelek, leader of Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters, is from Massillon. Mark Eitzel of American Music Club founded his first bands, most prominently The Naked Skinnies, while living in Columbus. The 1980s/1990s indie punk scene in Columbus included Great Plains, Scrawl, New Bomb Turks, and Gaunt. More recently Columbus has produced Times New Viking, Saintseneca, The Black Swans, To Kill a Monster, The Castros, and Twenty One Pilots. Dayton in the early 1990s produced some notable indie bands including Guided by Voices, The Breeders, and Braniac. Cincinnati's indie rock scene produced Ass Ponys, Afghan Whigs, and Over the Rhine, all active in the 1980s/1990s as well as current indie rock bands Walk the Moon, Wussy, Pomegranates, Walk the Moon, Bad Veins, Heartless Bastards, and The National. Why? was formed in Cincinnati by the Wolf brothers Jonathan 'Yoni' and Josiah Wolf along with Doug McDiarmid.[3]

Alternative Rock[edit]

Christian Rock[edit]

Pop Punk[edit]

Power pop[edit]

Ohio has produced a number of famous power pop bands. Raspberries ("Go All the Way") from Cleveland and Youngstown's Blue Ash ("Abracadabra Have You Seen Her?") are considered seminal artists in this genre. Circus from Cleveland was also a major exporter of the classic Ohio power pop sound. The Bears (band) aka Psychodots aka The Raisins are also considered a successful Cincinnati band. The Girls! are a power pop band from Columbus.

Alternative metal[edit]

Death metal[edit]



During the 1970s, southwest Ohio, and Dayton in particular, was known for its stable of funk bands, including Bootsy's Rubber Band, The Ohio Players, Lakeside, Slave, Aurra, Heatwave, Sun, Faze O, and Zapp featuring Roger Troutman.

Walter "Junie" Morrison, is a musician and producer born in Dayton, Ohio. Morrison was a producer, writer, keyboardist and vocalist for the funk band the Ohio Players in the early 70s, where he wrote and produced their first major hits, "Pain", "Pleasure", "Ecstasy" and "Funky Worm" (1971-1972). He left the band in 1974 to release three solo albums on Westbound Records (When We Do, Freeze, and Suzie Supergroupie). In 1977 Morrison joined George Clinton's P-Funk (Parliament-Funkadelic) where he became musical director. He brought a unique sound to P-Funk and played a key role during the time of their greatest popularity from 1978 through 1980. In particular, he made prominent contributions to the platinum-selling Funkadelic album One Nation Under a Groove, the single "(Not Just) Knee Deep" (a #1 hit on the U.S. R&B charts in 1979) and the gold-selling Parliament albums Motor Booty Affair, and Gloryhallastoopid. Morrison also played on and produced some P-Funk material under the pseudonym J.S. Theracon, apparently to avoid contractual difficulties. Morrison is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.

Michael "Kid Funkadelic" Hampton, Lead guitarist for Parliament-Funkadelic hails from Cleveland, Ohio. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other member of Parliament-Funkadelic.

The Deele (pronounced /deal/) is an American band from Cincinnati, Ohio who achieved success in the 1980s with such hit singles as "Body Talk" and "Two Occasions." When the group began recording in the early 1980s, the lineup consisted of Indianapolis native Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds along with Cincinnati musicians Antonio "L.A." Reid, Carlos "Satin" Greene, Darnell "Dee" Bristol, Stanley "Stick" Burke, and Kevin "Kayo" Roberson. They have currently reunited in an incarnation featuring Bristol, Greene, Roberson & Burke.

Aurra was an American 1980s soul group from Dayton, Ohio, which, at the time of its biggest success, was composed of Curt Jones and Starleana Young. Aurra started off in 1979 as an offshoot of the funk band Slave, Aurra was Created by Steve "The Fearless Leader" Washington which featured Curt Jones, Starleana Young, Charles Carter, and Buddy Hankerson on the first LP.

One of the hottest Dayton bands in the early 1970s was "The Magnificent 7" Very little has been written about them even though they performed for years at the "Diamond Club." Members who made up the band varied from year to year; Phil Mehaffey(organ), Vic Olekas(guitar), Guy Shelander and Dan Schultz(bass), Vince Disalvo and Ron Pauley(drums), Bill and Ron witherspoon (horns), Marvin Smith (vocals). Cleveland, Ohio Dazz Band, O'Jays, Rude Boys and Men at Large.

Another popular band from the 1970s and 1980s was Asphalt Jungle, popular in the Cleveland, Ohio area. They were regulars at the Smiling Dog Saloon and other Cleveland night spots. The band consisted of Benny Curlutu (guitar), Bruce Grant (keyboards and vocals), Bobby Oyler (bass), Paul Bigby (keyboards and vocals), and a rotating cast of horn players and drummers. Bigby cowrote "Funky is the Drummer", recorded by Joe Walsh and Michael Stanley on the Friend and Legends album. Curlutu went on to work with the band Clevelend, and Grant with southern rock band Jasper Mills from Columbus, with John Boerstler and Darryl Otis Smith (Artimus Pyle Band regulars), and Kevin Ball's Saints and Sinners in Nashville TN.

The Dazz Band is an American former funk music band that was most popular in the early 1980s. Emerging from Cleveland, Ohio, the group's biggest hit songs include the Grammy Award-winning "Let It Whip" (1982), "Joystick" (1983), and "Let It All Blow" (1984). The name of the band is a portmanteau of the description "danceable jazz".

LeVert is a dance group, formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1984, comprising Sean and Gerald Levert, the sons of O'Jays founder, Eddie Levert, as well as Marc Gordon. The Deele (pronounced The Deal) is an American 1980s R&B band from Cincinnati, Ohio, originally consisting of Indianapolis native Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds along with Antonio "L.A." Reid, Carlos "Satin" Greene, Darnell "Dee" Bristol, Stanley Burke, and Kevin "Kayo" Roberson. They have currently reunited in an incarnation featuring Bristol, Greene, and Roberson. Burke has also rejoined this lineup.

Originally raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, The Isley Brothers /ˈzl/ are an American R&B, soul music and funk group. They have had a notably long-running success on the Billboard charts and are the only act to chart in the Top 40 in six separate decades. In 2006, their most recent release became their ninth album to reach the Top Ten of the Billboard 200. Over the years, the act has performed in a variety of genres, including doo-wop, R&B, rock 'n' roll, soul, funk, disco, urban adult contemporary and hip-hop soul. The group has gone through several lineups, ranging from a quartet to a trio to a sextet; they are currently a duo. the original group consisted of the three elder sons of O'Kelly Isley, Sr. and Sally Bell Isley: O'Kelly Jr., Rudolph and Ronald, who formed in 1954 and recorded with small labels singing doo-wop and rock 'n' roll. After modest success with singles such as "Shout", "Twist and Shout" and the Motown single "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)," and a brief tenure with Jimi Hendrix as a background guitar player, the group settled on a brand of gritty soul and funk defined by the Grammy-winning smash "It's Your Thing" in 1969. Canton, Ohio.

The O'Jays are a Canton, Ohio based soul and R&B group, originally consisting of Walter Williams (born August 25, 1942), Bill Isles, Bobby Massey, William Powell (January 20, 1942 – May 26, 1977) and Eddie Levert (b. June 16, 1942). The O'Jays were inducted into the [Vocal Group Hall of Fame] in 2004, and the [Rock and Roll Hall of Fame] in 2005. The O'Jays (now a trio after the departure of Isles and Massey) had their first hit with "Lonely Drifter", in 1963. In spite of the record's success, the group was considering quitting the music business until Gamble & Huff, a team of producers and songwriters, took an interest in the group. With Gamble & Huff, the O'Jays emerged at the forefront of Philadelphia soul with "Back Stabbers" (1972), a pop hit, and topped the U.S. singles charts the following year with "Love Train".

Hip Hop[edit]

Record Labels and Management Companies[edit]

There have been a number of record labels based in Ohio. Most prominent was King Records (USA), a label based out of Cincinnati that specialized in "Hillbilly Records" and "Race Records". Also prominent from Cincinnati were Jewel Records and Fraternity Records. Quality classical music is amply served by Telarc Records of Cleveland. StandBy Records operates out of Cleveland, Ohio. Independent label Off-Guard Records in Columbus, Ohio


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  2. ^ Hanley, Lynsey (February 26, 2006). "Lynsey Hansley talks to Yeah Yeah Yeahs". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  3. ^ "Yoni Wolf". Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved 5 July 2012.