Pittsburgh's 10 Greatest Musicians

Last week we brought you a debate over the best Arizona musicians of all time after Arizona Premiere Living put out a list that includes Mr. Mister but not Stevie Nicks. Turns out, there are so many great musicians from Arizona it's impossible to fit them all on to a top 10 list.

With the Arizona Cardinals facing the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend we decided to make a list of the 10 best musical acts from the Steel City. Spoiler alert: We didn't have to leave anyone like Stevie Nicks off of it.

10. The Marcels

Who are The Marcels? Ummm, hello! They wrote a little song called "Blue Moon," maybe you've heard it? Yeah, that's what we thought. In Detroit, this might merit consideration in for the top 100, but in Pittsburgh it's good for #10.

9. Dean Martin

Oh, actually, Martin is from Steubenville, Ohio. Steubenville is really shitty though, and is very near Pennsylvania, so we'll give it to them, since Pittsburgh's "famous people" Wikipedia page claims him.

8. Thea Austin

Austin was the lead singer and co-writer of Snap!'s 1992 number one dance hit "Rhythm Is A Dancer." I know what you're thinking: surely, the person who wrote "Rhythm is a Dancer" should be higher on this list! Well, trust us, there's just so much more.

7. Bobby Vinton

I actually interviewed Vinton once. Nice guy. I had no idea who he was before I was assigned the story, but my mother loved The Polish Prince's 1963 hit "Blue Velvet," in her younger years and was very proud her son was writing about him. Vinton and fellow crooner Perry Cuomo are from the same small Western PA town of Canonsburg, but while Vinton always said he was from Pittsburgh, Cuomo always insisted he was from Canonsburg, so Vinton makes the list.

6. The PovertyNeck Hillbillies

The official band of the Pittsburgh Steelers (yes, really, check out AMG), this country act actually really, really sucks, but they do sum up what Pittsburgh is all about - watch the above video - so they've earned a place in this list.

5. Half of Poison

Hey, half of Poison is almost as good as two-fifths of Guns N' Roses and a deceased Blind Melon singer, right? Totally! Let it be known that Pittsburgh is a capital of culture on par with Lafayette, Indiana.

4. Frankie Yankovic

Whoops, Frankie Yankovic, the king of polka - the only form of music to which Pittsburgh can claim any legitimate legacy - is actually from Cleveland. He did sing "Pennsylvania Polka" though, so we'll give it to them.

3. Christina Aguilera

Even as a little girl, Christina had undeniable talent. How did people in Pittsburgh respond? As she told Vh1's Driven, jealous kids subjected her to constant ridicule and social ostracism throughout her grade school years. Folks in suburban Pittsburgh used to single her out for physical abuse in gym class and someone even slashed her mother's tires. It got so bad the family had to move from one suburb to other, where they became secretive about Aguilera's talent to avoid another backlash. Eek.

2. The Clarks

The Clarks are sort of Pittsburgh's O.A.R. but without "Crazy Game of Poker." This occasionally jammy 90s-style alt rock band has sold 250,000 records, making them the closest thing Pittsburgh has to a successful indie act.

1. Grand Buffett

A joke rap duo named after a disgusting, hillbillified buffet restaurant is the best musical group to ever emerge from Pittsburgh? Well, actually, yes. These guys opened for of Montreal and MGMT - that's pretty damn impressive. And, if you listen to "Murderfuck," "Oh My God You're Weird" and "1,000 percent" we think you'll agree: When it comes to food or music, Grand Buffet is as good as Steeler Country gets. Until Snap! releases that long-awaited follow-up, at least.

Note: What about Girl Talk? Well, Girl Talk actually doesn't suck - Feed the Animals was, in fact, my favorite album of last year - but Gregg Gillis is not, strictly speaking, a musician. If we do a list of brilliant, mashup-creating Pittsburgh DJs you can bet Girl Talk will be on it.

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Martin Cizmar
Contact: Martin Cizmar