Traveling isn’t all about the sights you see. It’s about the experiences you live, the food you taste, the excitement you feel, the sounds you hear along the way. And San Francisco has some pretty iconic sounds. Part revolution, part rhythm and part DIY, San Francisco has a sound all its own. Let us help you get that Bay Area vibe. These are the San Francisco artists you have to add to your playlist when you’re in town.
The Grateful Dead
One of the most recognized bands to come out of the Haight-Ashbury, The Grateful Dead accumulated quite the following of “dead heads” before, during, and after the hippie movement, thanks to their jam band improvisation. Even if you can’t get into jam, “Ripple” is still worth checking out.
Forever synonymous with West Coast rap, Tupac Shakur needs no introduction. “California Love” is still a must when you roll into San Francisco. Naturally, we always side on the West Coast. We just wish 2Pac was still around to give us more.
The Dead Kennedys
Maybe your only encounter with the Dead Kennedys was 10 years ago playing “Holiday in Cambodia” on Guitar Hero, but still Jello Biafra and the crew lead the political resistance that dominated the punk scene in the 1980s. No melodic rhythms here, just power chords and biting lyrics.
Sly & The Family Stone
Funk pioneers, Sly & The Family Stone were doing what no one else was in the late 1960s, mixing SF psychedelic sounds with soul and a newly emerging funk. Although you might remember the Chevy commercial with “Everyday People,” do yourself a favor and listen to “I Wanna Talk You Higher” nothing mixes the hippie movement and funk better.
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Known for their distinctly folk and southern rock sound, CCR actually hailed from El Cerrito, just north of Oakland. Nevertheless, it’s hard to think about the late 60s without tracks like “Bad Moon Rising” or any Vietnam movie without “Fortunate Son.”
If the mainstream didn’t understand what was happening in SF and in their sons’ and daughters’ rooms in the late 60s, they did after hearing Grace Slick. Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit” defined a generation. Hits aside, “Volunteers” is also excellent.
One of the greatest guitarists of all time, Carlos Santana is another great to come out of the City by the Bay. In true San Francisco fashion, he pushed the envelope, putting Spanish lyrics in his songs. “Oye como va” never gets old. Props.