Born in the U.S.A.: Top 50 Stars of the 50 States

Tennessee: As with Springsteen in New Jersey, it's hard to imagine anyone other than Dolly Parton representing Tennessee, especially since her "Dollywood" theme park welcomes approximately 2.5 million visitors annually. The Nashville queen, born in Sevierville, boasts the most No. 1s (25) of any female artist in the 68-year history of Country Songs.

Fran Strine

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


Greetings, Gary!

Wonderful discussion last week about hit songs written by other superstar artists!

Here are some favorite examples from past decades that immediately come to mind (and I'll prohibit myself from including any songs that were technically covers of previously released songs).

Gary U.S. Bonds' "This Little Girl" and "Out of Work," Pointer Sisters' "Fire" and Patti Smith's "Because the Night," all written by Bruce Springsteen

Matchbox 20's "Disease," written with Mick Jagger

Kenny Rogers' "Lady" (Lionel Richie)

The Spinners' "It's a Shame," the Miracles' "Tears of a Clown," Jermaine Jackson's "Let's Get Serious," "You're Supposed to Keep Your Love for Me" and "I Think It's Love" and Rufus' "Tell Me Something Good," all penned or co-penned by Stevie Wonder

Jellybean's "Sidewalk Talk" (Madonna)

Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin's "Separate Lives" (Stephen Bishop)

Cliff Richard's "Dreamin' " (Leo Sayer)

New Edition's "Mr. Telephone Man" and Rufus' "You Got the Love" (Ray Parker, Jr.)

Diana Ross's "Missing You" (Richie), "Swept Away" (Daryl Hall), "Mirror, Mirror" (Michael Sembello) and "Muscles" (Michael Jackson)

Tina Turner's "Private Dancer" (Mark Knopfler)

Starship's "It's Not Over 'Til It's Over" (Robbie Nevil)

Mike Reno and Ann Wilson's "Almost Paradise" (Eric Carmen)

.38 Special's "Teacher Teacher" (Bryan Adams)

Ricky Martin's "She's All I Ever Had" (Jon Secada)

Icehouse's "Electric Blue," written with John Oates

Daryl Hall John Oates' "So Close," written with Jon Bon Jovi

Carly Simon's "You Belong to Me" and Kenny Loggins' "This Is It" (both written with Michael McDonald, whose hits "What a Fool Believes" and "No Lookin' Back" were in turn written with Loggins … whose hit "Whenever I Call You Friend" was written with Melissa Manchester!)

And, I may be stretching the word "superstar" a bit here, but a few especially wonderful trivia bits to show how one hit wonders can always return to the charts in other fashions, Sheena Easton's No. 7 1984 Billboard Hot 100 smash "Strut" was penned by Charlie Dore, who just missed the top 10 herself as a performer with "Pilot of the Airwaves" (No. 13) in 1980.

And, Robert Ellis Orrall of "I Couldn't Say No" fame (No. 32, 1983) ultimately returned to the top 40 more than 25 years later as Taylor Swift's co-writer on "Crazier" (No. 17, 2009).

The lesson: never stop writing!

Jeff Fiedler
Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania