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Born in the U.S.A.: Top Artists by State, Readers Respond

Your thoughts on Chart Beat's July 4th musical roadtrip across the U.S. to name the acts most associated with each state.

As you hopefully celebrated July 4th with friends, family, food (up-close) and fireworks (from a safe distance), Chart Beat considered the musical artists most associated with each U.S. state.

Billy Joel, for example, represented New York; Ray Charles, Georgia; and, the Beach Boys, California.

Here is a sampling of spirited responses.

Hi Gary,

I adore Madonna (your pick) but, as someone who grew up outside of Detroit, there are so many way, way better choices for Michigan.


Of course, Bob Seger and Ted Nugent come to mind. But, how about a phenomenon known as Motown? The Supremes, Temptations, Miracles, and on and on and on … (Oh, and a little tyke by the name of Stevie Wonder). THEY are the ones who truly represent Michigan.

Love ya, Gary, but ya dropped the ball on the Great Lakes State.


David Fritz
Reseda, California

Thanks David. Insightful additions. The feature focused on specific artists, but you make a great case that the overall Motown sound might instead make the best choice to represent Michigan’s immense musical contributions.

No Beyonce for Texas? :\

(Billboard.com message)

While George Strait has banked the most No. 1s of any artist on any Billboard chart – 44 on Country Songs – Houston-born Beyonce has likewise represented Texas well and is now a four-time Billboard 200 queen.

Other famous Texas musical royalty: Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Janis Joplin, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Kenny Rogers, Stevie Ray Vaughan and ZZ Top.

Hi Gary,

While you chose Bruno Mars, Hawaii is also known for singer/actress Bette Midler and Glenn Medeiros. The latter artist reached No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You” in 1987 and No. 1 with “She Ain’t Worth It,” featuring Bobby Brown, in 1990.

In addition to Dolly Parton, Tennessee gave us the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

Before Eminem, there was another musician from Missouri: Sheryl Crow.

Along with Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston is another major act from New Jersey.

And, Florida is also known for the two most famous boy bands of the ’90s and ’00s: Orlando’s Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync.


Jesper Tan
Subang Jaya, Malaysia

Thanks Jesper. Two more beloved artists from Hawaii:

The iconic Don Ho, whose sole Hot 100 entry, his signature song “Tiny Bubbles,” peaked at No. 57 in 1967. (He also famously serenaded Bobby and Cindy Brady).

Fellow late traditional Hawaiian musician Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole has racked 78 consecutive weeks and counting at No. 1 with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”/”What a Wonderful World” on Billboard’s World Digital Songs chart.

Oregon: More famous/notable/recognized than Esperanza Spalding: Everclear, Modest Mouse, the Decemberists, Courtney Love, Kingsmen, Pink Martini, Elliott Smith and Dandy Warhols. Spalding’s a poor choice compared to most of those.

(Billboard.com message)

Oregon certainly has yielded a wide variety of talent. While Spalding is the state’s only native honored as a best new artist Grammy Award winner, Everclear, formed in Portland in 1992, has placed 12 titles on Alternative Songs, including “Everything to Everyone” (No. 1, 1997), “I Will Buy You a New Life” (No. 3, 1998) and “Father of Mine” (No. 4, 1998).

Hi Gary,

You noted John Denver as the “go-to” artist for Colorado. Come on! Colorado’s music scene has really hit a peak (pun intended) with high-charting acts in the past five years or so.

How could you not note such artists as the Fray, 3OH!3, OneRepublic and its frontman Ryan Tedder or Jimmy Eat World?

Proud lifetime Colorado resident,

J.T. Turzanski
Westminster, Colorado

Hi J.T. I originally considered OneRepublic to represent Colorado but switched it to Denver based on A) his last name, B) the fact that “Rocky Mountain High” is one of the state’s official songs and C) his activist efforts for the state, which were a labor of love. He composed his last song, in fact, while rafting along the Colorado River.

Colorado has certainly become a hotbed, though, of up-and-coming pop/rock acts. OneRepublic’s “Good Life” – which this week becomes the band’s first Hot 100 top 10 as a lead act – name-checks the state, while 3OH!3 would be a fitting pick, since the band’s name alludes to one of Denver’s two area codes.


That was a great read. But, your mom is right! Connie Francis is a perfect choice to represent New Jersey. The singer should also be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Great article!

(Anonymous e-mail)

My mother will be very happy to hear that fellow readers echo her sentiments, as Newark-born Francis (her favorite artist, along with Celine Dion) scored 53 Hot 100 hits between 1958 and 1969, including 15 top 10s and three No. 1s.

Among women, only Aretha Franklin (73), Dionne Warwick (56) and Madonna (55) have made more Hot 100 visits.

You do realize that Chuck Berry is from Missouri. Question: From where do all riffs come? Answer: Chuck Berry. You should be “b&%ch-slapped.”

(Billboard.com message)

I think my mother will like the previous e-mail better.