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New Jersey:

CITY: New Jersey

Nicole Atkins 

All-Time Best Band: The Four Seasons vs. the Misfits
All-Time Best Solo Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Best New Act: Nicole Atkins

Help us, dear readers. On the one hand, we love Newark’s Four Seasons, led by Frankie Valli, who were a musical maelstrom, producing more hit records in the ’60s than any other American band (they were, however, bested by the Beatles, Elvis, and Ray Charles). On the other hand, we also adore the Misfits, who pioneered horror punk, launched the career of Glenn Danzig, and spun off the genius-ly named Mary Tyler Whores. The former ruled doo-wop, while the latter subverted it. Valli’s fallback career was that of a barber, while the Misfits invented the devilock hairstyle. Coincidence? Never you mind. Just tell us which is the all-time Jersey band champ. Vote above! | Even though he sounds like an Oklahoma Dust Bowler, Bruce Springsteen is indeed from the broken-hero-highway-jammed Garden State. The high-energy Swampland songsmith is one of rock’s eternal showmen. (Incidentally, a last-chance power drive used to cost considerably less than $4.25 per gallon.) | If they (you know who they are) ever made a Broadway musical out of a David Lynch movie, the producers would be foolish not to turn the project over to Neptune’s Nicole Atkins. Her gorgeous marriage of haunting, deliberately dark dirges and throaty, theatrical Judy Garland–esque vocals situates her Jersey Shore hometown squarely in Lynch country.

Video: The Four Seasons
Video: Misfits
Video: Bruce Springsteen

Listen: The Four Seasons, "Walk Like a Man"

Listen: The Misfits, "Last Caress"

Listen: Bruce Springsteen, "Thunder Road"

Listen: Nicole Atkins, "Maybe Tonight"