150 Pop Stars' Real Names

In this week's Q&A: assessing the 'Born This Way' era, Miley Cyrus' career sales and what Rihanna's next single could be.

Ask Billboard is updated every week. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Gary,

Yet another '70s icon stilled.

True, Bob Welch wasn't in the same category as Robin Gibb and Donna Summer, but he was one heck of a talent who should have had more hits than he did.

I still love listening to his "Hypnotized" from his Fleetwood Mac days, and it was fascinating tracking his progression as a solo artist. I have 39 of his songs on my iPod, from his hit-making "Sentimental Lady" - and "Ebony Eyes"-led first album on Capitol - to his crunchier and ridiculously catchy self-titled first RCA release (the first album I reviewed when I became my high school paper's music critic!), which was pretty much ignored by radio. In between, he gave us the darkly poppy "Man Overboard" album, which I'm sure that few people heard, too.

Bob Welch played a guitar that was at once snarly and lighthearted, and worked both ways. (And, a quirk for which I'll always remember him: his solid pronunciation of the letter "r." Where many rock and pop singers settle for more of an "ah," Welch made his "r"s count.)

Whatever made him decide to end his life last week is a damn shame, and I'm sorry to hear about the loss of yet another person whose vinyl fills a good chunk of shelf space in my music room.

Pat Thomas
Sparks, Nevada