Music Legends from Atlanta

Aside from the beautiful weather year-round, affordable cost of living and wide variety of delicious, award-winning restaurants, the Atlanta music scene is one of the most popular things about the city. Some might even go as far as to say that Atlanta is the gospel, hip-hop and rap music capital of the world and they would have a lot of proof to support that argument!

From soulful music legends like Ray Charles, to chart-topping female groups such as TLC, some of the greatest musicians of all time got their start right here in Atlanta. Other best-selling musicians such as Monica, T.I. and Brenda Lee were born and raised in Atlanta before they rose to fame.

Read on to learn more about these chart-topping music legends that helped to make Atlanta the music scene it is today!


Usher Raymond IV—the American singer-songwriter who is best known for R&B hits such as “U Got it Bad”, “Yeah!” and “Confessions”—moved to Atlanta with his family when he was just 12 years of age. To date, the singer has released nine No. 1 songs on Billboard and 18 songs that reached the Top 10 including:

  1. Yeah! (2004).
  2. U Got it Bad (2001).
  3. Burn (2004).
  4. OMG (2010).
  5. My Boo (2004).

John Mayer

Although John Mayer was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1977, the American singer-songwriter moved to Atlanta in 1997 to pursue a career in music with his college friend, Clay Cook. While the college duo eventually split, the two musicians performed in various club venues and coffee houses in Atlanta before Mayer went on to perform chart-topping hits such as:

  1. Say (2008).
  2. No Such Thing (2002).
  3. Waiting on the World to Change (2007).
  4. Who Says (2009).
  5. Your Body is a Wonderland (2003).


André Benjamin (André 3000) and Antwan Patton (Big Boi) are the two hip-hop pioneers that formed the group known as Outkast in East Point, Georgia back in 1992.  After meeting at the Lenox Square shopping mall in Atlanta when they were just 16 years of age, the talented duo went on to perform many Billboard-topping hits and crowd favorites such as:

  1. The Way You Move (2004).
  2. Hey Ya! (2003).
  3. Jackson (2001).
  4. Roses (2004).
  5. Elevators (1996).


Atlanta may be known for its hip-hop and R&B music, but the Grammy award-winning country duo known as Sugarland also has roots in the Georgia capital. Since Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush formed the group in 2002, the duo has performed numerous chart-topping country hits such as:

  1. Stuck Like Glue (2010).
  2. All I Want to Do (2008).
  3. Want To (2006).
  4. Stay (2007).
  5. It Happens (2009).


Atlanta native Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.—more commonly known as T.I.—began recording music in 1999 when he was just 19 years of age. Since the start of his music career, T.I has released 10 studio albums and starred in films such as Identity Thief, ATL and Ant-Man. He is also currently one of the judges on the Netflix original Hip-Hop Competition, Rhythm and Flow. Additionally, T.I. has performed in four No. 1 Billboard Hits and 11 Top 10 Hits such as:

  1. Blurred Lines (2013).
  2. Whatever You Like (2008).
  3. My Love (2006).
  4. Live Your Life (2008).
  5. Dead and Gone (2009).

Ray Charles

Commonly known as the “Father of Soul”, the multi-talented American singer-songwriter known as Ray Charles was born in Albany, Georgia in 1930. After losing his eyesight at the age of seven, Charles moved to St. Augustine, Florida to attend the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. During this time, Charles learned how to read and write music in Braille while also learning how to play the trumpet, piano, sax and organ.

Before passing away in 2004 at the age of 73, the unforgettable and timeless Grammy award-winning musician created three No. 1 Billboard Hits and 11 Top 10 Hits. These included:

  1. I Can’t Stop Loving You (1962).
  2. Hit the Road Jack (1961).
  3. Georgia on My Mind (1960).
  4. You Don’t Know Me (1962).
  5. Busted (1963).

The Black Crowes

The popular American rock band known as The Black Crowes has sold more than 30 million albums since it was formed in Marietta, Georgia in 1989. Since the formation of the band, VH1 has listed The Black Crowes on its list of 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock, and the group has been compared to other legends of Rock music such as Guns N’ Roses.

While the band’s core members have changed over time, the legendary group has gone on to perform Billboard chart-topping hits such as:

  1. Hard to Handle (1991).
  2. She Talks to Angels (1991).
  3. Remedy (1992).
  4. Jealous Again (1990).

Brenda Lee

Known for classics such as “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “I’m Sorry”, Brenda Lee was born in Atlanta on December 11, 1944 as Brenda Mae Tarpley. Since her rise to fame in the late 1950s, Lee has been responsible for two No. 1 Billboard Hits and 13 Top 10 Hits including:

  1. I’m Sorry (1960).
  2. I Want to Be Wanted (1960).
  3. All Alone Am I (1962).
  4. Fool #1 (1961).
  5. Sweet Nothin’s (1960).


Born in Atlanta on October 24, 1980 as Monica Denise Arnold, the American singer-songwriter first rose to fame in the early 1990s after she was the youngest recording act to have two back-to-back hits on the Billboard Top R&B singles chart. To date, the singer-songwriter has had three of her songs become No. 1 Billboard hits and eight of them were Top 10 hits. Some popular songs of Monica’s include:

  1. Angel of Mine (1999).
  2. The Boy is Mine (1998).
  3. The First Night (1998).
  4. Don’t Take it Personal (1995).
  5. For You I will (1997).


After the chart-topping female group known as TLC was formed in Atlanta in 1990, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas went on to release four No. 1 Billboard Hits and nine Top 10 Hits. Between 1992 and 1999, several of the group’s chart-topping songs were instantly considered R&B classics including:

  1. Waterfalls (1995).
  2. Unpretty (1999).
  3. Creep (1995).
  4. No Scrubs (1999).
  5. Baby-Baby-Baby (1992).