When people think of the music scene in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the names that will generally come to mind are Prince (and the Revolution) and Bob Dylan. Lizzo is a more contemporary name that might also pop up. They are undoubtedly the big Minnesota names when it comes to commercial success in the music industry.

When you look a little deeper, there is a pretty sizable list of acts that achieved high success, but only on a limited basis - maybe with only a song or two.

As a lover of all things music and a proud Minnesotan, I decided to assemble a list of musical acts you might not have known are from (or have ties to) the North Star State.

8 One-Hit-Wonder Musical Acts From Minnesota

The Trashmen

This one makes me chuckle.

Forming in Minneapolis in 1962, The Trashmen came together as an act different than what some of the members had been doing previously. Two of the founding members had previously been playing country music before forming this surf-rock act.

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Flying to success in 1963 with Surfin' Bird, the song has enjoyed a bit of cult resurgence in more recent years as it has become a recurring bit on the FOX animated series Family Guy.


Formed in Minneapolis in 1995, Semisonic reached the peak of their success with the lead single off their sophomore album, Feeling Strangely Fine. The quintessential 90's hit "Closing Time" has become a sing-along bar close anthem, and was even featured in an episode of The Office as Andy tried making it a tradition at the end of the workday.

The Replacements

Taking a step back a decade, Minneapolis alt-rock band The Replacements found success in the late 1980s after forming in 1979. The peak of their success came in 1989 with their song "I'll Be You" from their album Don't Tell a Soul.

Motion City Soundtrack

Pop-punk rockers Motion City Soundtrack got their start in Minneapolis in 1997. For those following the scene, "The Future Freaks Me Out" might be the first song you ever heard from this act, but "Everything Is Alright" from their album Commit This to Memory became their big hit in 2005. The song would go on to be certified RIAA Gold.

Soul Asylum

Originally called Loud Fast Rules, Soul Asylum was formed in Minneapolis in 1981. Toiling away for a decade, the group started finding success in the alt-rock world with songs like "Somebody to Shove" before finding major commercial success in 1993 with their only top-10 hit "Runaway Train".

The group didn't disappear after that, however. They had lesser success with songs that got radio play including "Misery" (which I think is a better song than Runaway Train) and "Promises Broken" which you might remember if you lived through the era.


Alt/punk rockers Quietdrive formed in the Twin Cities suburb of Hopkins in 2002, rocketing to success in 2007 with their cover of the Cyndi Lauper 1980's hit "Time After Time".

The song earned them mainstream radio play and an RIAA Gold certification.

Marcy Playground

Another quintessential 1990s song came from the post-grunge alt-rockers Marcy Playground. The group named itself after the Marcy Open school in Minneapolis, where the lead singer went to school in his youth.

The group formed in 1996, quickly producing a successful song in their 1997 hit "Sex and Candy" from their debut self-titled album.

Gear Daddies

Originally from Austin, Minnesota (yes, a non-Twin Cities act!), the group's path to national fame is a little less traditional when compared to the rest on this list.

The band recorded "(I Wanna Drive the) Zamboni" as a hidden track at the end of their 1990 album Billy's Live Bait. The quirky song makes perfect sense coming from the State of Hockey, with arenas starting to play it while resurfacing the ice. It was later used as part of the second and third Mighty Ducks movies, pushing it further into the national scene.

While it isn't necessarily a traditional radio chart-topper like the rest of the songs on this list, it stands as an iconic song many Americans know and hear often when attending hockey games.

Minnesota Counties Bigger Than Entire States In The US

Of Minnesota's 87 counties, it turns out a sizable portion of them are larger than some entire states in the United States. 11 counties are bigger than at least one (in some cases more than one) state. Here's what counties are on that list and which states they are bigger than in land area.

Gallery Credit: Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

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