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 Celebrity Net Worth.
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20. Bjorn Ulvaeus (Net worth: $300 million)
One of the original founding members of the Swedish phenom group ABBA, Bjorn Ulvaeus is also a co-producer of musicals, including Mamma Mia! With hits like "Dancing Queen," "Take a Chance On Me," "Waterloo," and "Fernando" that continue to see airplay, it’s little surprise that Ulvaeus is on this list with $300 million net worth.
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19. Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Net worth: $300 million)
Like her former ABBA bandmate Bjorn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad carved a name for herself with the aforementioned popular ‘70s radio hits that continue to be featured today. Following her divorce from former bandmate Benny Andersson, Lyngstad married Heinrich Ruzzo Prince Reuss of Plauen – a German Prince of the former sovereign House of Reuss. While he passed away 1999, she subsequently married Henry Smith, 5th Viscount Hambleden, since 2008.
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18. Roger Waters (Net worth: $310 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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17. Dave Grohl (Net worth: $320 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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16. Ringo Starr (Net worth: $350 million)
Peace and love! The one-time drummer of The Beatles still goes on tour with his All-Star Band and owns real estate all over the world, but let's assume the bulk of his fortune is the result of being one of the Fab Four.
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15. Lars Ulrich (Net worth: $350 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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14. Bob Dylan (Net worth: $350 million)
One of the most well-known American singer-songwriters to emerge from the 1960s, Bob Dylan has influenced countless others with his folk songs and has been covered by over 6,000 popular artists. In recent years, it’s estimated that he saw $15 million per year in income off his song catalog royalty stream. In December 2020 he sold 100 per cent of his song catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group for $400 million.
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13. The Edge (Net worth: $400 million)
Born David Evans, U2’s lead guitarist and keyboardist is also one of the original founding members. While he has released also released solo works, and has real estate investments, he has earned a spot on this list along with other U2 founding members (read on to see which other U2 bandmates are on this list).
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12. Sting estimated (Net worth: $400 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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11. Gene Simmons (Net worth: $400 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 $400 million nest egg.
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10. Adam Clayton (Net worth: $400 million)
Not the only U2 member to make it on this list, the English-born Irish musician has been the group’s bass player since the band formed in 1976. With over 170-200 million albums sold worldwide over that time, and some of the most lucrative world tours in music history, the Clayton has accumulated a nice chunk of change in this time, putting him in the 10th spot, with $400 million.
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9. Jon Bon Jovi (Net worth: $410 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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8. Eric Clapton (Net worth: $450 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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7. Mick Jagger (Net worth: $500 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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6. Keith Richards (Net worth: $500 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. Sir Elton John (Net worth: $500 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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4. Bruce Springsteen (Net worth: $500 million)
A working-class hero with $500 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.
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3. Jimmy Buffet (Net worth: $600 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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2. Bono (Net worth: $700 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.
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1. Sir Paul McCartney (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.