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.


Hi Gary,

In regards to the topic of hit songs written by superstars but performed by other artists, I've got two. Oddly enough, they both peaked at No. 10 on the Hot 100:

"I Found Someone," 1988, co-written by Michael Bolton, performed by Cher

"Love...Thy Will Be Done," 1991, written by Prince, performed by Martika

I think there should also be an honourable mention for "Spinning Around," performed by Kylie Minogue and co-written by ... Paula Abdul (and her fellow 2009 "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi). While not a U.S. hit, it did reach No. 1 in the UK and marked Minogue's successful return to dance/pop (and the upper reaches of the UK charts) after her late-'90s darker music turn.

Thanks as always for making "Ask Billboard" a fun and interesting read!

Vince Forrington
Vancouver, British Columbia

Hey Gary,

Have to add more Bee Gees stuff to the list: Barry and Robin wrote and produced Barbra Streisand's "Woman in Love," plus Dionne Warwick's "Heartbreaker."

Barry Gibb also wrote Frankie Valli's "Grease" and Robin co-wrote "Hold on to My Love" for Jimmy Ruffin.

Songwriting props to the Gibbs!

Pat Thomas
Sparks, Nevada

Hi Gary,

One of my favorite songs written by one superstar for another:

"Bedtime Story," performed by Madonna, written by Bjork.

Matthew Stewart
Oakland, California

Hi Jeff, T. Duane, Vince, Pat and Matthew,

Excellent examples of multi-talented artists who've authored hit songs for other singers.

So many readers sent in e-mails on the topic that we'll continue the discussion next Friday. In the meantime, you can still offer more insights at

As for "Bedtime Story," the trippy tune sadly ended Madonna's streak of 32 top 40 hits from the start of her Hot 100 career, peaking at No. 42 in 1995. (That despite zooming 74-42 in its second week). Radio never quite got onboard with the song (No. 68 on Radio Songs, her lowest peak on the chart), a departure from her more obviously commercial fare, including prior single "Take a Bow," which marked her first Hot 100 No. 1 since "This Used to Be My Playground" in August 1992. Madonna again missed the top 40 with her next single, "Human Nature" (No. 46), but did triumphantly return to the top 10 (No. 6) later in 1995 with "You'll See."

In last week's column, one of the artists I mentioned on the topic of prolific artist/writers was Richard Marx. As predicted, the new single he co-wrote with Keith Urban, "Long Hot Summer," charges in as the Hot Shot Debut this week at No. 41 on Country Songs.

Enjoy Marx's concert from last Thursday (June 23) at Clear Channel's P.C. Richards & Sons Theater in its entirety here:

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard