Music of Florida

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The music of Florida has had many influences and the state has influenced many genres and produced many musicians. For example, the blues artist Bo Diddley lived in Archer. He is buried in a small cemetery in Bronson and his graveside is marked with a memorial depicting his musical contributions.

Indigenous music[edit]


Blues artists from Florida include Piedmont blues singer and guitarist Gabriel Brown and saxophonist and blues shouter Buster Bennett.


Bebop drummer Robert Thomas, Jr. and swing drummer Panama Francis were born in Miami. Saxophonist Archie Shepp was born in Fort Lauderdale. Trumpeter Fats Navarro was born in Key West. Bassist, cellist, and composer Sam Jones was born in Jacksonville. Alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, his brother cornet and trumpet player Nat Adderley, of Tampa, and tenor saxophonist Junior Cook of Pensacola were active in the hard bop era. Multi-instrumentalist and composer Gigi Gryce and blues and jazz singer and pianist Ida Goodson were also born in Pensacola.[1] Pianist and singer Billie Pierce, of the Goodson Sisters, was born in Marianna.[2] Trombonist Buster Cooper was born in St. Petersburg. Saxophonist Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis was born in Bradenton. Doug Carn of St. Augustine recorded several albums for Black Jazz Records in the early 1970s.

Trumpeter Pete Minger, a South Carolina native, moved to Florida where he played with drummer William Peeples among others and studied music at University of Miami after working with Count Basie in the 1970s. Cuban jazz trumpeter, pianist, and composer Arturo Sandoval has been active in Miami since 1990.


Florida is the home of several notable country musicians and musical acts.

Country legend Mel Tillis was born in Darby, a small rural community in Pasco County. His daughter Pam Tillis, also a country music star, was born in nearby Plant City.

Slim Whitman was born in Tampa and once played minor league baseball for the Plant City Berries.

The Bellamy Brothers, a duet act that hit number one on the country charts several times before reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with their cross-over hit "Let Your Love Flow" in 1976, also hail from Darby. Close friend Bobby Braddock, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame with multiple number ones to his credit, was born in Lakeland, in Polk County, and grew up in nearby Auburndale.

Kent Lavoie, better known by his stage name, Lobo, hit Number Five on the Billboard Pop chart in 1971 with the soft rock song "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo". He was born in Tallahassee and grew up in Winter Haven. While attending the University of South Florida, Lavoie formed a band called The Rumors with Jim Stafford and Gram Parsons.

The still-influential Parsons was born in Winter Haven and attended exclusive The Bolles School in Jacksonville. He had a central role in the legendary rock-and-roll scene of the 1960s, being friends or collaborating on projects with notables from Mick Jagger to Linda Ronstadt to Johnny "Guitar" Watson to the Kingston Trio. He famously tried to rescue Michelle Phillips by helicopter from the mayhem at the notorious Altamont Music Festival in 1969. One of his songs is included in Gimme Shelter, a documentary about the events at Altamont. Parsons was a member of the legendary band The Byrds, and was also part of The Flying Burrito Brothers. Later, with some friends from Harvard University, he formed the folk/country band The International Submarine Band. Still later he toured extensively with Emmylou Harris before his death, at 26.

Jim Stafford, born in Eloise, grew up in Winter Haven, was a prominent country performer in the 1970s. He had his own television show, The Jim Stafford Show in 1975, as well as co-hosting Those Amazing Animals with Burgess Meredith and Priscilla Presley, and making regular guest appearances on The Tonight Show and other programs.

Jake Owen had a #4 album on the Billboard 200 in 2016.


Jim Morrison of The Doors was from Melbourne.

Johnny Tillotson ("Poetry in Motion") was from Jacksonville.

In the 1960s, Florida rock and roll and garage bands included The Outlaws and The Tempests and The Royal Guardsmen ("Snoopy vs. the Red Baron") were from Gainesville. Another Jacksonville group was The Classics IV ("Traces").

Guitarist Tom Petty was born, and grew up, in Gainesville. Most of the members of three bands he recorded with - The Epics, The Heartbreakers, and Mudcrutch - were also from Florida, mainly from in and around Gainesville and North Florida. Bands of the mid- to late-1990s with strong links to Florida include Matchbox Twenty, who originate from Orlando, rock band Creed, from Tallahassee, and Sister Hazel from Gainesville. Alter Bridge (Creed minus Scott Stapp) from Orlando had a #5 album on the Billboard 200 with One Day Remains in 2004.

Usually associated with what has become known as the new wave of popular alternative music is Chris Carrabba and his band, Dashboard Confessional from Boca Raton. Dashboard had 2 #2 albums on the Billboard 200 in 2003 and 2006. His former band, Further Seems Forever, is also a popular indie rock band from Pompano Beach.

The band Shinedown was formed in Jacksonville, and their signature songs are considered to be "Second Chance" and "Sound of Madness". They had a #4 album on the Billboard 200 with Amaryllis in 2012.

The band Cold was formed in Jacksonville, and their signature song is considered to be "Stupid Girl".

Southern Rock[edit]

Rock recording industry[edit]

In the 1960s, Tampa was very active in the music recording industry. Mercy recorded a Jack Sigler, Jr. original entitled "Love (Can Make You Happy)" at the old Charles Fuller Studio on MacDill Avenue in Tampa. The Royal Guardsmen recorded "Snoopy Vs The Red Baron" at this same studio. Many bands used Charles Fuller Studios for their 45 records. The Tempests, a St. Petersburg-based band, recorded and released "I Want You Only" and "I Want You To Know" on the Fuller label.

The Miami recording industry began in the 1970s with Criteria Studios, which produced the recordings Rumours by Fleetwood Mac and Hotel California by The Eagles. Henry Stone and his label TK Records supported the local indie scene in the 1970s. T. K. Records produced the R&B group KC and the Sunshine Band along with soul singers Betty Wright, George McCrae, and Jimmy "Bo" Horne as well as a number of minor soul and disco hits, many influenced by Caribbean music.

In the 1970s and early 1980s Jacksonville saw a very active music recording scene with Southern rock bands such as Molly Hatchet, The Allman Brothers Band, 38 Special, The Outlaws, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Bellamy Brothers also recorded their style of country music in the mid to late 1970s. Florida musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame include Ray Charles, Jim Morrison of the Doors, The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Jamaican singer Bob Marley died in a Miami hospital in 1981.

Punk rock[edit]

Florida has experienced periods in which punk rock flourished. An active scene of original Punk bands flourished in the Tampa/St. Pete area in the late 1970s, including bands such as The Straight Jackets, The Shades, the Jackers, Just Boys, The Art Holes, The Stick Figures, A New Personality and the Veal Rifles. Based in Gainesville, Fort Lauderdale/Miami, Tampa and other cities, hardcore punk gained a widespread following. One of the first bands in this style is believed to be Roach Motel of Gainesville, but The Eat, from Hialeah, had formed around 1978-79. Miami also was home to one of the first American punk bands to release an indie single, the Sex Pistols-influenced Silver Screen by Critical Mass, in 1978 and still in demand by collectors today. Rat Cafeteria (Tampa), Sector 4, Hated Youth, and Paisley Death Camp (all from Tallahassee), No Fraud (Venice), F (Fort Lauderdale), Morbid Opera (Miami), and Crucial Truth (Pompano Beach) also gained an audience and some had songs compiled on the album We Can't Help It If We're From Florida.

Hardcore bands from Orlando 1983-1989 included: Dissent, Damage (U.S.), Zyklon-B (U.S.), The Bully Boys, Florida's Unwanted Children, Sewer Side Rouges, Declared Ungovernable, Contradiction, The Damn Maniacs, and The Genitorturers. Mid 80's era band Black Label featured future Rose Shadows bassist John Reece as well as future Bully Boys guitarist Rusty Penrose and John Stalzer on drums. Black Label was only the 2nd band to ever play at the legendary Orlando concert venue Electric Avenue, the bands inaugural show brought in 981 people! A feat that would never again be accomplished by any local band at that venue. Black Label released one single, the rowdy and comical "Rootbeer For Everyone" a song that was in heavy rotation on Rollins College radio station WPRK which was hosted at the time by future Genitorturers front woman Jen.

Gainesville and Jacksonville had very active punk scenes in the 1990s-2000s. Less Than Jake, Against Me!, and Hot Water Music are from Gainesville. Yellowcard, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus "Face Down", and Evergreen Terrace are from Jacksonville. Mayday Parade are from Tallahassee. Fake Problems are from Naples. Other Hardcore, Post-Hardcore, and Metalcore bands from Florida include: Against All Authority, Anberlin "Feel Good Drag", Underoath (had a #2 Billboard 200 album in 2006) and The Almost, Combatwoundedveteran, Poison the Well, Assholeparade, A Day to Remember from Ocala (had a #2 Billboard 200 album in 2016), Sleeping With Sirens from Orlando (had a #3 Billboard 200 album in 2013), and Shai Hulud. New Found Glory had a #3 album on the Billboard 200 in 2004.

Indie rock[edit]

Indie bands Mortimer Nova, Surfer Blood, Iron & Wine (had a #2 album on Billboard 200 in 2011), Copeland, The Drums, and The Generators are from Florida, as well as Fake Problems from Naples.

Heavy metal[edit]

Tampa has produced death metal artists such as Morbid Angel, Deicide, Obituary, Hate Eternal, Monstrosity, Assück, Nocturnus, Atheist, and Acheron.

The Tampa area is also home to Morrisound Recording. Records produced at Morrisound include Deicide's debut album, Deicide, Morbid Angel's debut album Altars of Madness, Scream Bloody Gore from Death, as well as many other death metal albums.

Tampa is also the birthplace of Symphonic power metal band Kamelot and Power Metal band Iced Earth.

Fort Lauderdale has produced a few metal bands as well, such as Marilyn Manson, Monstrosity, Kult ov Azazel, and Nu metal act Nonpoint.

Progressive death metal act Cynic, come from Miami as well as Hibernus Mortis.

Orlando is the home of the bands Death, Skrape, and Trivium.

Metal band Savatage is from the city of Tarpon Springs. Singer Jon Oliva went on to create the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Limp Bizkit is from Jacksonville.

Pop/Teen Pop[edit]

Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, and O-Town (who had a #5 album on Billboard 200 in 2001) were all formed in Orlando and managed by Lou Pearlman. Singer/actress Mandy Moore is from Orlando, while Aaron Carter is from Tampa. He had a #4 album on Billboard 200 in 2000. Also from Florida, Exposé from the late 1980s (who had a #1 Hot 100 hit with "Seasons Change"), Ariana Grande from Boca Raton, and the girl group Fifth Harmony (with Camila Cabello) from Miami who had a #4 album on the Billboard 200 with 7/27 in 2016.

In the 1970s, KC and the Sunshine Band had 5 #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits including the 1975 disco song "Get Down Tonight". In 1988, Terence Trent D'Arby from Orlando had a #1 Hot 100 hit with "Wishing Well". In 1990, Vanilla Ice had a #1 Hot 100 hit with "Ice Ice Baby", and Stevie B had a #1 Hot 100 hit with "Because I Love You (The Postman Song)". In the 2000s, both Rob Thomas- ("Smooth" ft. Santana in 2000) and Matchbox 20- ("Bent"), Creed- ("With Arms Wide Open"), N'SYNC- ("It's Gonna Be Me"), Enrique Iglesias "The King of Latin Pop"- (2 # 1's like "Be With You" in 2000), T-Pain- (2 #1's like "Buy U a Drank" in 2007), Flo Rida- (3 #1's like"Low" ft. T-Pain), Sean Kingston- ("Beautiful Girls" in 2007), and Jason Derulo- ("Whatcha Say" in 2009) all had a #1 Hot 100 hit. In the 2010s, Pitbull has had 2 #1 hits: "Give Me Everything" and "Timber". In addition, Florida musicians with a #1 album on the Billboard 200 include Jimmy Buffett with License to Chill; bands Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with Hypnotic Eye, Marilyn Manson with 2, Limp Bizkit with 2 like Significant Other in 1999, Backstreet Boys with 2 #1 albums like Millennium in 1999, R&B/hip hop group Pretty Ricky with 1 in 2007, rapper Rick Ross with 5 #1 albums like Port of Miami in 2006, R&B/pop singer Ariana Grande with 2 like My Everything in 2014, bro-country duo Florida Georgia Line with 1 in 2014, and rapper DJ Khaled with 2 like Major Key in 2016.

Additional musicians from Florida include pop punk band We the Kings (“Check Yes Juliet” from 2008) from the Sarasota area, post-grunge band Seven Mary Three (“Cumbersome” 1996) from Orlando, Christian rock band Casting Crowns (Come to the Well 2011) from Daytona Beach, soft rock singer Bertie Higgins (“Key Largo” 1981); eclecto-pop singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Meresha; country pop singer Cassadee Pope from West Palm Beach and neotraditonal country singer Easton Corbin (“A Little More Country Than That” 2010) from the Gainesville area; pop rapper LunchMoney Lewis (“Bills” 2015) from Miami, rapper Kent Jones ("Don't Mind" 2016) from Miami, Miami bass and hip hop group 69 Boyz (“Tootsee Roll” 1994) from Jacksonville; Miami bass and dance group Quad City DJs (“C'mon N' Ride It (The Train)” 1996) from Jacksonville, rap rocker Kevin Rudolf (“Let It Rock” 2008) from Miami, EDM and trap DJ Diplo (also in Major Lazer and Jack U) (“Elastic Heart” 2015) from Miami; early 00’s girl group P.Y.T. from Tampa, and dance-pop singer Willa Ford (“I Wanna Be Bad” 2001) from the Tampa area.

Latin pop[edit]

There are many Latinos in Florida, and an especially high number of Cubans in cities like Miami. The regional Latin music industry includes a wide variety of traditional and popular Cuban styles, as well as other Latin music genres. The Cuban community has produced traditional performers like Cachao and Israel Kantor, as well as mainstream pop stars like Gloria Estefan "the Queen of Latin Pop". In the 1980s, Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine had 3 #1 Hot 100 hits, including "Anything for You". Estefan is the most famous musician to come from the Miami pop industry; others include Willie Chirino and Albita Rodríguez.[3]


Family soul singing group Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose are from Dania. Soul singer Linda Lyndell was born in Gainesville. R&B artists Kirby Maurier was raised in Miami and Miramar, Sammie is from Boynton Beach, Pleasure P is from Carver Raches, West Park, and Blackbear was born in Daytona Beach.

Miami bass[edit]

Miami bass is a booming, bass-heavy hip hop music that developed in the mid-1980s in Miami. Innovators on the scene included DJ Laz, while the scene eventually gained prominence through the Miami Bass group Luther Campbell's ("Raise the Roof (Luke song)") 2 Live Crew. The lyrics to Miami bass were often sexually explicit, and when 2 Live Crew began to achieve national attention, the words to their songs caused a controversy after several stores were prosecuted under obscenity laws for selling the disc, and members of 2 Live Crew were arrested for performing songs from the album Nasty As They Wanna Be.[3]

Floridian rap[edit]

Floridian rappers include Trick Daddy ("Let's Go"), Kodak Black, Denzel Curry, Rick Ross, Ace Hood, Plies ("Hypnotized"), Trina, Cool & Dre, Flo Rida, Jacki-O, Stack$, T-Pain,, Dead Prez, Pitbull, and M-1.

Nappy Boy Entertainment is a record label founded by T-Pain in Tallahassee. Valholla Entertainment is a Miami-based label and management company.

Florida breaks[edit]

Florida breaks is a genre of breakbeat music originating in the 1990s in the state of Florida. It is particularly popular in the Tampa and Orlando areas.

Dance music[edit]

Floridian dance music has included Jimmy Bo Horne and KC and The Sunshine Band.

In 1985, the Winter Music Conference, an annual week-long dance music festival, started in South Florida. It coincides with Ultra Music Festival.

Music from the 1990s included Murk aka Funky Green Dogs, Planet Soul, No Mercy, and DJ Robbie Rivera.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eugene Chadbourne. "Ida Goodson | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-10-26. 
  2. ^ "Billie Pierce @ Music Rising ~ The Musical Cultures of the Gulf South". 1960-01-10. Retrieved 2015-10-26. 
  3. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie (1999). Music USA: The Rough Guide. The Rough Guides. ISBN 1-85828-421-X.