On the Scene in Milwaukee: Milwaukee’s Most Successful Musicians and Bands

On the Scene in Milwaukee: Milwaukee’s Most Successful Musicians and Bands

Milwaukee has a thriving music scene and has for several decades now. How do we determine whether or not a music scene is thriving? One strong indicator of the health of a music scene directly correlates to the success of that city or region’s music groups. So how is Milwaukee doing? Let’s take a look at some of its most successful music groups to get an idea.

Violent Femmes

The alt-rock / punk rock group, Violent Femmes, emerged from right here in Milwaukee. Arguably the city’s most famous band, Violent Femmes have been active off and on since 1980, and they have a massive cult following that persists to this day. Not only are they the most successful rock group with Milwaukee roots, but they are also considered one of the most famous alt-rock bands of all time.

Steve Miller

Steve Miller of the Steve Miller Band was born and raised in Milwaukee, in a family of musicians. Miller has been an active blues rock musician since the mid-1960s, and there are few people born prior to 1990 that have not heard of him. His roots and influence run deep, in Milwaukee and beyond.


Did you know world-famous singer, entertainer and actor, Liberace, was a Milwaukee native? His illustrious career spanned a whopping five decades and shot him into international superstardom.

Al Jarreau

American jazz singer-songwriter, Al Jarreau, was another Milwaukee musician. With a full twenty albums in his discography, Jarreau earned his spot on this list decades ago.

Eric Benét

Eric Benét is a critically acclaimed R&B and soul musician. Benét has been active on the scene since the late 1980s and has received four Grammy nominations to date. Brother to Lisa Benét and former spouse of Halle Berry, Eric is no stranger to the limelight, and it all started right here in Milwaukee.

The Frogs

Milwaukee rock band The Frogs was established in Milwaukee in 1980 and spanned over two decades on the scene. They’re associated with several similar genres: alt-rock, folk rock, comedy rock, and acoustic rock, to name a few. The Frogs are most known for their controversial lyrics, through which they confronted hot-button issues such as race, religion and sexuality.

The Takeaway

The evidence is irrefutable: Milwaukee has an incredibly strong music scene. These are but a few of the most notable musicians and bands with origins in Milwaukee. So what do you think? Does Milwaukee pass the musical litmus test?