Included on their second album, In Full Bloom, "Wishing on a Star" is a slow ballad written by former Undisputed Truth member Billie Rae Calvin and produced by Norman Whitfield. It was sung by Gwen Dickey under her stage name. The lyrics concern a woman longing for the return of an ex-lover so that they can resume their relationship. The original version of "Wishing on a Star" peaked at number 52 on the BillboardR&B singles chart.
The Cover Girls recorded a cover of the song in 1992 for their third album Here It Is. It was the first single featuring new lead singer Michelle Valentine. The group's version peaked at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became the 49th biggest single of 1992 in America. While the group had had success in America up to that point, the single was their first single to become a hit when it was released in Europe, peaking at number 6 in the Netherlands and number 38 in the UK.
The Cover Girls also recorded a Spanish version of the song.
Randy Crawford recorded a cover of the song for her 1998 album Every Kind of Mood: Randy, Randi, Randee. The song was produced by Mousse T., and released as the third single off the album in September 1998.
A music video for the song was also released, showing a child actor David Sincere Aiken portraying Jay-Z growing up in Marcy Houses. Jay-Z himself does not appear in the video played by celebrity choreographer David Sincere Aiken .
"Wishing on a Star" was covered by American singer Beyoncé in 2004, for the CD version of her live album Live at Wembley. It was also used to promote the fragrance True Star endorsed by American fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger in 2004. An a cappella version of the song was recorded by Beyoncé for a television campaign. An extended play (EP) album was also released in 2004 to promote the fragrance composed of two songs – "Wishing on a Star" and "Naïve". Produced by Beyoncé and Tommy Hilfiger, it was solely available with limited edition purchases of True Star. In 2005, the song was included on the soundtrack of the film Roll Bounce. It was later released for radio airplay as one of three singles from the soundtrack, becoming the second most-added single at urban adult contemporary radio following its release and later peaking at number 28 on the BillboardAdult R&B Airplay chart.
In 2011, "Wishing on a Star" was covered by Nigerian-British singer Seal. It was released as the first UK single taken from his album Soul 2 on November 20, 2011. This interpretation of "Wishing on a Star" was produced by previous collaborator, Trevor Horn.
In her review for Soul 2, Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian expressed, "His voice and interpretive skills are such, though, that most tracks fit him like a glove, to the point where, on Rose Royce's Wishing on a Star, his oak-aged vocal seems a better fit for the remorseful lyric than original singer Gwen Dickey's. He grew up with these 1970s hits, and evidently reveres them, but isn't cowed by them". In his review, Mike Diver of the BBC expressed that "Seal has a voice that can melt icecaps has never been doubted by his detractors – the problems with his material post-Seal (II) went deeper, to a basic songwriting level. Here, freed of the weight of his own emotions, he soars on a sublime Wishing on a Star (which manages to borrow its smoky backing from Sade's Smooth Operator).
Wishing on a Star was covered by the finalists of the eighth series of The X Factor, also featuring previous contestants JLS and One Direction. The cover was released on November 27, 2011, via digital download, and released as a physical single the following day. All proceeds from the single went to the children's charity organization Together for Short Lives. The song debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart with first-week sales of 98,932 copies.