20. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Like Athens, Minneapolis really made its name as a significant music city in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when a variety of influential bands and artists emerged out the “Twin City” scene.
The city, and its neighbour St. Paul, became home to a thriving underground rock scene in this era, with seminal bands like the willfully messy rockers The Replacements and hardcore punk trio turned alternative-rock progenitors Hüsker Dü making Minneapolis one the hippest places in America.
The record label Twin/Tone, which was set up in the city, became a significant independent label during this period, releasing records by local heroes the ‘Mat’s, Soul Asylum and other artists as diverse as The Jayhawks and Ween.
And of course, Minneapolis gave us the peerless Prince; an enigmatic, prodigiously talented singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and showman who became an international superstar with albums such as Purple Rain and Sign O’ The Times. Prince’s music has regularly blurred genre boundaries, ranging from funk, soul and rock ‘n’ roll. Legendary folk troubadour Bob Dylan was born in the state of Minnesota, but is of course more associated with the New York scene after he moved there in the early 1960s.
In the early 1990s, following the acrimonious break-up of the legendary Hüsker Dü, the band’s guitarist Bob Mould set up the more pop-rock orientated trio Sugar, making two acclaimed albums (particularly the excellent debut, Copper Blue) before Mould would strike out full-time on his own. Former bandmate/rival Grant Hart has also forged out a career as a solo artist, as well as forming the band Nova Mob and collaborating with artists such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
In the late 1990s Semisonic had international chart hits with ‘Secret Smile’ and ‘Closing Time’, before quickly disappearing into obscurity. The synthpop band Poliça have emerged out of Minneapolis in recent years, and the city continues to be a popular stop-off point for bands travelling across the States.
Associated acts: Prince, The Replacements, Paul Westerberg, Hüsker Dü, Bob Mould, Sugar, Grant Hart, Soul Asylum, Rifle Sport, Babes In Toyland, Golden Smog, Semisonic, Poliça
Landmarks: First Avenue, Jay’s Longhorn Bar