From Billy Joel’s New York state of mind to the Beach Boys being synonymous with sunny California, each state has given us some amazing music. In honor of July 4th, Billboard has (subjectively) chosen a top star (or stars) to fly the flag for each of the 50 states. In most cases, the representative artist was born in his or her chosen state. In a few others, or in the case of groups, states were picked based on the states in which acts spent their formative years.
Some were obvious (Alabama for Alabama? No brainer! “Georgia On My Mind” singer Ray Charles for Georgia? Obviously), while others might surprise you (there’s not a ton of household musical names coming out of Montana, for example — although no disrespect to Big Sky Country). Some states boast an embarrassment of A-list musical talent, making choosing an artist for those states a tough call. Sure, Bob Dylan is from Minnesota, but when it comes to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, you gotta go with Prince, whose revolutionary Minneapolis sound did his home state proud in the ’80s. And of course, a lot of famous faces come from California, but the Beach Boys were singing about “California Girls” decades before Katy Perry, so they get the edge in the Golden State.
Please note that all selections are not based on strict Billboard chart methodology, but opinion, although chart history was strongly considered. Thus, please feel free to agree or disagree with our choices. Read more about how this list was chosen.