The 20 Richest Rock Stars
While the music business may not be as lucrative as it used to be (blame illegal downloading) as veteran rockers make more cash from touring than album sales, let's take a look at the reported net worth of the 20 wealthiest rock stars, as compiled by the Gazette Review.
20. Don HenleyESTIMATED NET WORTH: $200 million
The Eagles drummer/vocalist has managed to step in and out of the band while maintaining a healthy solo career. In addition, Henley and fellow Eagles founder Glenn Frey (who died in early 2016) paid themselves more than the other members in the band, which caused no end of friction among the notoriously contentious group. The financial high point: Eagles' 1994 "Hell Freezes Over" reunion tour is regarded as one of the most successful of all time, grossing an astonishing (for the time) $80 million.
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19. Lars UlrichESTIMATED NET WORTH: $200 million
The wealthiest member of Metallica, drummer Lars Ulrich derives most of his wealth from his role within the band of handling all the merchandising and image-related issues. While the band's tours continue to be blockbusters, album sales of Metallica's back catalogue have been amazingly consistent over the years.
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18. Ozzy OsbourneESTIMATED NET WORTH : $230 million
Thanks to the shrewd business acumen of wife/manager Sharon, the "Prince of Darkness" has amassed a hefty fortune, which is still growing as his reunion tour with Black Sabbath keeps plodding on. And let's not forget added income from reality TV.
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17. Rod StewartESTIMATED NET WORTH: $230 million
Rod Stewart continues to be one of rock's most consistently best-selling acts — did you know he once had six back-to-back #1 singles in the U.K.? In addition, his recent forays into jazz standards from the Great American Songbook may not have endeared him to those who liked rockin' Rod of the '70s, but have opened up a whole new audience.
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16. Eric ClaptonESTIMATED NET WORTH: $250 million
The guitarist nicknamed "Slowhand" continues to straddle the world of fiery blues and middle-of-the-road, AOR pop, and demonstrated his durability as a touring artist by selling out London's Royal Albert Hall for seven consecutive nights to celebrate his 70th birthday.
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15. Phil CollinsESTIMATED NET WORTH: $255 million
Stepping out from beneath the shadow of former Genesis front man Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins took the band to chart-topping heights and then launched an even more successful solo career that may have peaked in the 1980s but never really lost its lustre. He's laid low over the past few years, but has just written an autobiography and seems like he's poised to make a musical comeback. Stay tuned.
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14. Dave GrohlESTIMATED NET WORTH: $260 million
Grohl would be set for life simply from the royalties from being the drummer in Nirvana, but it's his subsequent role as front man of Foo Fighters that continues to bring in the dough, and the Foos tours are consistently among the highest-grossing each year.
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13. Roger WatersESTIMATED NET WORTH: $270 million
It's a certainty that the protracted legal battle between Roger Waters and his former Pink Floyd bandmates depleted his coffers considerably, but he continues to be a big-ticket touring act. In fact, Waters recently appeared on the Desert Trip (a.k.a. "Oldchella") bill alongside such iconic acts as The Stones, The Who and Bob Dylan. Meanwhile, Roger Waters still holds the record for the best-attended concert ever, for his 1996 Berlin staging of 'The Wall', which drew a crowd of 200,000.
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12. Jon Bon JoviESTIMATED NET WORTH: $275 million
As the primary songwriter for Bon Jovi, Jon Bon Jovi has penned a mountain of hits, and the band continues to be a high-drawing touring act. Personally, Jon Bon Jovi has also nurtured a lucrative side gig as an actor (appearing in TV's "Ally McBeal" and such films as 'U-571' and 'Pay It Forward'). He's also made some shrewd real estate investments, including a SoHo condo in NYC and his New Jersey mansion, each of which is worth about $22 million.
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11. StingESTIMATED NET WORTH: $300 million
From spiky-haired punk Police-man to middle-of-the-road Starbucks background music, Sting (born Gordon Sumner) has churned out a considerable array of hits — he's estimated to earn $2,000 a day just from royalties on radio play of songs he's written. He's also picked up paycheques for acting roles over the years, but let's go out on a limb and guess that his 2007-'08 reunion tour with the Police contributed to his fortune a bit, considering the tour raked in nearly $400 million in ticket sales.
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10. Gene SimmonsESTIMATED NET WORTH: $300 million
KISS bassist Gene Simmons (a.k.a. The Demon) has been spitting blood and rock-and-rolling all night for so long that the band continues to earn a comfortable living by touring. Where Simmons really shines, however, is in his exuberant (some would say "shameless") marketing of KISS merchandise, everything from KISS Kredit Kards to the infamous KISS Koffin. Throw in extra income from his side gig as a reality TV star, and you've got a $300 million nest egg.
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9. Dave MatthewsESTIMATED NET WORTH: $300 million
Sure, the jam-band leader will occasionally be heard on classic-rock radio, but on the charts his stardom dimmed in the 2000s. Not so when it comes to his concerts, however, which continue to sell out all over the world.
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8. Bruce SpringsteenESTIMATED NET WORTH: $300 million
A working-class hero with $300 mil in the bank, The Boss continues to deliver legendary, three-hour concerts and recently published his autobiography. The bulk of his fortune these days comes from concerts, with his 2012 Wrecking Ball tour grossing a whopping $368 million in ticket sales alone.
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7. Keith RichardsESTIMATED NET WORTH: $330 million
Mick Jagger's guitarist and songwriting partner is only slightly less wealthy — perhaps his well-documented years as music's most notorious drug addict explain where some of those millions went.
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5. Mick JaggerESTIMATED NET WORTH: $360 million
Are the Rolling Stones still relevant? Certainly not on the pop charts, but Sir Mick has earned a reputation as a shrewd businessman who has transformed "the World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band" into the highest-grossing touring act on the planet (the second-biggest after U2). In fact, 2015's Zip Code Tour raked in nearly $110 million — care to make a "Strolling Bones" joke?
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4. Jimmy BuffetESTIMATED NET WORTH: $450 million
You're probably reading Buffet's name and muttering, "But he hasn't had a hit since the '70s," which is true but beside the point. Forget record sales — Buffet's tours are red-hot tickets, jam-packed with booze-swilling "Parrotheads" ready to waste away in Margaritaville, and spend $40 on a T-shirt to prove it. Meanwhile, if you've ever been on a tropical vacation you've no doubt stumbled upon one of his Margaritaville, Cheeseburger in Paradise and Land Shark restaurants, as well as his It's Five O'Clock Somewhere bars, because combined there are more than 40 of them throughout the world.
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3. Elton JohnESTIMATED NET WORTH: $450 million
The artist formerly known as Reg Dwight is a money-making machine, what with concert tours and residencies in Vegas — to say nothing of the royalties from writing the music to 'The Lion King'. However, the "Rocket Man" singer is also a notoriously big spender. Given the frequent reports about Sir Elton's lavish spending (back in 2000, British tabloids were reporting he spent nearly $50 million in less than a year, and shelled out $475,000 a year for fresh flowers in his various homes), who knows how much he would be worth had be been a tad thriftier.
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2. BonoESTIMATED NET WORTH: $650 million
Sure, U2 makes a ton of money from album sales, touring (the band is the all-time #1 touring act, with total touring revenues of $736 million) and deals such as the 2014 partnership with iTunes that automatically downloaded the band's new album on every iPhone — whether you wanted it or not. However, Bono (real name: Paul Hewson) is also a shrewd businessman, whose $90 million investment (via his investment group, Elevation Parners) in Facebook is paying off handsomely.
1. Paul McCartneyESTIMATED NET WORTH: $1.2 billion
Sir Paul is the world's only billionaire rockstar. Let that sink in for a moment. Billionaire. Rock star. When you combine his work as a Beatle, the leader of Wings and as a solo artist, he's sold more than 100 million albums. Even more astounding, at the age of 74 he's regularly selling out stadiums and tours relentlessly. Meanwhile, reports indicate he's trying to buy back the Beatles' publishing (which reverted to Sony Music after the death of their previous owner, Michael Jackson) in what's said to be a $750-million deal.