I may be unsure about of a lot of things in this world, but I am sure when I was a younger man and growing up, music, art, books, and artists were mine and my friend’s idols of choice.
Most everyone enjoys music, and being from a generation that saw the birth of rock and roll, these early musicians and artists were our idols. We wanted to be like them, which is why many of us drove our parental units mad asking for a guitar, or worse yet, a piano.
Then there were those of us who had music thrust upon us, in the form of forced piano lessons.
Some want the piano, and some do not.
However, look at those that are now great musicians, but were told, “you’re taking piano lessons”, as a child.
When you look back at these idols we grew up with, some went on to have very spectacular, and financially great careers, and some did not.
If you look back at musicians and in particular song writers, many did not get a good or even a fair deal for their work.
One particular happy ending story is the lovely Dolly Parton. She is one of the more famous female singer song writers over the years, her and Carole King.
Dolly wrote a song made famous by Whitney Houston, “And I Will Always Love You”. A tremendous song!
However, many years before Whitney recorded it for the film “The Bodyguard”, Elvis Presley wanted to record it. But Elvis and Colonial Parker wanted the publishing rights to the song. Those rights give and pay you money when the song is played or even recorded by someone else.
Dolly with tears in her eyes, rejected the offer. Yes, she would have made money due to “The King” recording her song, but she would have lost her publishing rights; rights she earned by writing the song.
Good on Dolly! And it paid off…Whitney Houston records the song, it becomes a huge hit, and Dolly gets paid! Because it is her song.
A True Raconteur Tale
Many, many years ago, in a different country, what some may call a different world and time, I was working at a cheap motel to earn money whilst attending university. I worked the night shift, 11pm to 7am.
Whilst working said night shift a tour bus of musicians checked into the motel, and one was a guitar player, singer/songwriter named Cub Koda.
Many people then and to this day, have no idea who Cub Koda is or was, but I did! I had seen him on TV and also in concert with a band called Brownsville Station.
I struck up a conversation with him about music, I had my guitar at the front desk as I would play on my shifts; not much going on 11pm to 7am.
The Cub played my guitar and we talked music a bit. In particular we chatted about the biggest hit he wrote called “Smokin In The Boys Room”. It was a big hit single.
His words still ring in my ears, “that song bought a lot of groceries”. The best way to put it, the song, the music was his art, his livelihood, his job, and it put food on the table.
A great guy!
His song was recorded many years later by Motley Crue, did well in the charts, and Cub got paid again, just like Dolly Parton.
Of course for every success story in the music and songwriting business, there are those that were less than successful. Songwriters and musicians who were robbed of their royalties and rights, and did not make much money.
So what does all this lead up to…..here are some of the most successful and richest rock stars/musicians in the world. Of course this list is fluid and changes, in part due to which musicians are still writing music, and touring, and also their investments.
The list also can change according to where you look, but for the most part, it’s a close representation.
Some Of The World Richest Rock Stars
In dollars, USD, $.
Sir Paul McCartney: Macca is worth around $1.2 billion! The Abby Road barefoot Walrus tops out the list as the richest musician and rock star. As he should be, all those years on the road, the songs he and John wrote, Wings, solo stuff. Maybe I’m not amazed.
Bono: The Vox Bono is worth about $800 million. Which is surprising as his Edgy songwriting partner is only worth $300 million, and Adam Clayton, U2’s bass player and first manager is worth $300. Where is Adam Clayton Jr. in this list?? U2 is his band, he started the band.
Jimmy Buffet: The head of the Parrot Heads is worth $700 million. You would not have seen that one coming….margaritas, beach songs, flying sharks….you have to attend a show to understand.
Bruce Springsteen: $600 million! Wow the Boss rules! A little old boy from Jersey makes good. Seriously, Bruce is a self-made man in many ways. Read his autobiography, and listen to his early albums….yes albums, vinyl.
His daughter recently won a Silver Medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Sir Elton John: $550 million. I would have thought Sir Elton to be worth more, and he may be. But Sir Elton gives away millions, and I mean millions of dollars and pounds each year to charities. Elton has been called the most generous artist in history due to how much money he gives. He also has expensive tastes, and when asked about his spending, and I paraphrase here, “I earned the money and I pay taxes on the money”, so spend away Sir John.
There are not enough kind and good words to be said about Elton John. He is more than an artist, song writer and talented musician. And for those that may use the term Diva or anything against his art….Sir Elton John has earned the right to be who and what he wants to be…you put out 2 albums of great music each year for all those years!
This list can and does go on, you have Sting worth $400 million, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards worth $400 or $500 million depending where you search, Gene Simmons of Kiss worth $400. The list does go on and on.
And these men, and women in music earned every penny and pound!
They travelled the world to bring us the music we love, they sacrificed for their art, and they wrote songs! Great songs!
Now go out and listen to some of those great songs!