From the New York state of Billy Joel to the Beach Boys synonymous with sunny California, every state has given us incredible music. In honor of the 4th of July, Billboard has (subjectively) chosen a star (or stars) to fly the flag of each of the 50 states. In most cases, the representative artist was born in the state he chose. In a few others, or in the case of bands, states were chosen based on the states in which the 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 no not a ton of household musical names coming out of Montana, for example – although no disrespect to Big Sky Country). Some states pride themselves on embarrassing A-list musical talent, making it difficult to pick an artist for those states. Sure, Bob Dylan is from Minnesota, but when it comes to the land of 10,000 lakes, you have to pick Prince, whose groundbreaking Minneapolis sound made his home country proud in the ’80s. And Sure, a lot of the famous faces are from California, but the Beach Boys were singing about “California Girls” decades before Katy Perry, so they have the edge in the Golden State.
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Please note that not all selections are based on strict criteria Billboard chart methodology, but opinion, although chart history was heavily considered. So feel free to agree or disagree with our choices. Learn more about how this list was chosen.
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