Today we release our list of the richest and some of the most popular rock stars of all time by first paying tribute to Eddie Van Halen who died on October 7, 2020, succumbing to cancer after a long battle. “I can’t believe I’m having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning. His son Wolf Van Halen wrote in a message on Twitter that morning. Known for his guitar chops, Eddie Van Halen has left us with the legacy of a great guitarist and musician.
Our list below celebrates these rock stars who not only shine on stage but in their personal lives as they struggle to overcome their personal issues. The wealth they have each built up is as much an inspiration to us all as their lives.
20. Eddie Van Halen
A much-acclaimed guitarist, Eddie Van Halen was the lead guitarist of the hard rock – heavy metal band Van Halen. He was a maestro on the strings, with unique techniques like tapping on the guitar and performing rapid arpeggios with both hands on the fretboard.
Between 1974 and 1985, Van Halen comprised Eddie Van Halen, Eddie’s brother, drummer Alex Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, and bassist Michael Anthony.The band released a self-titled debut album in 1978 which reached No. 19 on the Billboard pop music charts. The album subsequently sold over 10 million copies in the U.S. From 1979 to 1982, the band released four multi-platinum certified albums: Van Halen II, Women and Children First, Fair Warning, and Diver Down. By the early 1980s, Van Halen had become one of the most successful rock bands of the 80s.The album 1984 was a commercial success with sales of 10 million copies and four hit singles in the US. The lead single, Jump, is the band’s only U.S. number one hit single to date and was popular internationally.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, the band while suffering some departures, like when David Roth left the band, it, nevertheless, continued to pump out platinum-certified albums and hit singles.
As of March 2019, Van Halen is 20th on the RIAAlist of best-selling artists in the United States; the band has sold 56 million albums in the States and more than 80 million worldwide, making them one of the best-selling rock groups of all time. Born January 26, 1955, Eddie Van Halen was at the time of his death estimated to have built a personal fortune of some $100 million.
19. Bob Dylan
This legendary rock star whose career spanned five decades is still active and is known to be consistently performing concerts and gigs. In 2016, Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his new poetic expressions in the great American song tradition. Indeed, some universities have courses on Dylan’s works.
Bob Dylan’s impact on music was most felt in the 60s with songs like Blow in in the Wind, and The Times They are a-Changing.
In 1965 Dylan whom many saw as a folk musician caused quite a stir when he used electrically amplified rock instrumentation. Between 1965 and 1966, in the space of some 15 months, Dylan recorded three of the most important and influential rock albums of the 1960s: Bringing It All Back Home (1965), Highway 61 Revisited (1965) and Blonde on Blonde (1966). Commenting on the six-minute single “Like a Rolling Stone” (1965), Rolling Stone wrote: “No other pop song has so thoroughly challenged and transformed the commercial laws and artistic conventions of its time, for all time”. But Dylan did not confine himself to any one genre musically. He drew influences from folk to country and gospel and fused them into his music.
In 2008, The Pulitzer Prize jury awarded Dylan a special citation for his for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power. In 2016, Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his new poetic expressions in the great American song tradition. Indeed, some universities have courses on Dylan’s works.
This musical poet is thought to have a net worth of some $200 million as of 2020.; He was born May 24, 1941.
18. George Michael
Originally a duo with Andrew Ridgeley called Wham!, the band enjoyed great success in the 80s with hit singles from their debut album Fantastic and Make It Big. And of course, who has not heard of Careless Whispers from their second album… which reached number one in more than 10 countries worldwide.
When Wham! disbanded in 1986, Michael went on to stage an even bigger solo career which lasted some 30 years until his untimely death in 2016.
In the late 80s, Michael’s debut solo album Faith was an instant hit and classic. Faith, the single became Michael’s best-selling single in 1988 and one of his most popular songs of all time. The album also released three other hit singles like Father Figure, One More Try, and Monkey.
At the time of Michael’s death, he had sold well over 115 million records worldwide and Faith alone sold some 25 million copies.
Despite his ups and downs, in coming out as a gay man, George Michael was estimated to be worth some $200 million at the time of his death in 2016.
17. Sean Lennon
Sean’s musical career started when he was only five years old when he recited a story on his mom’s 1981 album Season of Glass. He continued to collaborate with his mother into his teen years, where he contributed vocals. At 16 years of age, Sean collaborated with Lenny Kravitz for his Mama Said album released in 1991. He also did a cover of his father’s Give Peace a Chance which was in protest of the Gulf War in 2009.
He formed his own band in 1995 called IMA with Sam Koppelman and Timo Ellis which played alongside his mom on her album Rising. Thereafter, Sean joined Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto as a bass player on tour.
Since then, Sean has released numerous albums. His next album after a gap of some eight years, Friendly Fire, was released in 2006, featuring the song Dead Meat which Sean performed live on the Late Show with David Letterman.
In 2015, Lennon formed the Claypool Lennon Delirium with Primus’ lead vocalist and bassist Les Claypool. In 2016, the new group released their debut LP Monolith of Phobos, which hit the Top 10 of three Billboard charts. In 2017, the group released a cover EP titled Lime and Limpid Green. Their second LP,South of Reality, was released on February 22, 2019.
As of 2020, Sean Lennon is estimated to have a net worth of some $200 million, although some of his net worth could have been inherited from his father, John Lennon.
16. Ozzy Osbourne
Englishman Ozzy Osbourne was the lead vocalist of his heavy metal band, Black Sabbath. He was very prominent in the 70s through Black Sabbath. Osbourne left Black Sabbath in 1979 and went on to stage a successful solo career, releasing 12 studio albums, seven of which were platinum certificated albums in the US.
In the 2000s, he became a reality television star with his MTV reality show The Osbournes, featuring his wife Sharon Osbourne and two of their three children, Kelly and Jack.
Ozzy, born December 3, 1948, is still active, having released on February 21, 2020, his first solo album after nearly a ten-year gap. Called Ordinary Man, the album received good reviews and charted at number three on the UK Albums Chart.
The winner of numerous awards, including a Grammy Award for the track I Don’t Want to Change the World from Live & Loud for Best Metal Performance of 1994, as of 2020, Ozzy is estimated to have accumulated a net worth of some $220 million.
15. Rod Stewart
Known for his raspy voice, British rock singer-songwriter is one of the bestselling music artists of all time, with more than 100 million records sales worldwide.
His album, ‘Stardust: The Great American Songbook Volume III’ was awarded a Grammy for the ‘Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album’. In 2007, he was awarded his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2008 he was ranked 17th on the list of the most successful artists on The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists.
His song Maggie May from Every Picture Tells a Story album shot him to superstardom. It is one of The Rock and Roll Fame’s 500 Songs that shaped Rock and Roll.
As of 2020, Rod Stewart is estimated to have a net worth of $240 million. Stewart was born January 10, 1945.
14. Anni-Frid Lyngstad
Better known as Frida, Anni-Frid Lyngstad was the brunette of probably the most successful rock group of all time, ABBA. She won the Eurovision Song contest as part of ABBA in 1974. That launched her career with ABBA, and they went on to enjoy phenomenon success worldwide until the breakup of ABBA in 1983.
Frida went on to stage an international solo career and had good successes, but, however, not on the same scale as ABBA. She recorded her final album in Swedish in 1996 and retired from music.
In 2008, with the movie, Mamma Mia, interest in ABBA and the four singers was revived, and although Frida was supposed to reunite with the group in 2014 at the Eurovision Song Contest of that year it did not happen.
Frida or through her marriage to married Prince Heinrich Ruzzo of Reuss, Count of Plauen,she now holds the title Dowager Countess of Plauen. Frida was born November 15, 1945, and as of 2020, she is thought to have a personal fortune of some $300 million.
13. Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton was part of the Yardbirds, Blind Faith and Cream band in the 60s, and in the 70s, was one of the rock stars that followed with a hugely successful solo career.
Clapton is also a rock and blues guitarist and is the only rock star to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times. As a guitarist, he is widely regarded to be one of the most important and influential in the world, and was placed fourth in Gibson’s (the top guitar maker in the world) top 50 Guitarists of All Time.
Clapton has been the recipient of 18 Grammy Awards, and the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. In 2004 he was awarded a CBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music. He has received four Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. In his solo career, Clapton has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling musicians of all time.
This is another British rock star who has amassed an incredible fortune. As of 2020, Clapton is thought to be worth some $300 million. He was born March 30, 1945.
12. Robbie Williams
Most people would have first seen Robbie William as a member of the wildly successful boy band Take That in the 90s.
Although his departure from Take That was controversial at the time, this is yet another British rock star who has gone on to build a massive career as a solo artist.
He is one of the few who can lay claim to seven UK number 1 singles and ten number 1 studio albums to his name. To date, his only release not to get to UK number 1 is the 2009 album, Reality Killed the Video Star.
In his 29-year career, Williams has chalked up a record 18 Brit awards (including four gongs for Best British Male, and the 2017 Icon award). He was inducted into the UK MusicHall of Fame in 2004, after a vote which also gave him the title of the “Greatest Artist of the 1990’s”. With over 75 million records sold worldwide, and often sell-out concerts, as of 2020 an estimated net worth of $300 million, Williams is one of the richest rock stars of all time. Williams was born February 13, 1974.
11. Bjorn Ulvaeus
As the composer and musician of ABBA, Bjorn Ulvaeus Ulvaeus was responsible for most of the best-loved ABBA songs. He also co-produced the hit ABBA revival film Mamma Mia with fellow ABBA member, Benny Andersson.
Although Ulvaeus studied business and law in University, he became a member of the Swedish folk-schlager band Hootenanny Singers after his military service. The folk band had an enormous following in Scandinavia at the time. While on the road in southern Sweden in 1966, the band encountered the Hep Stars in which Andersson was a member and keyboard player of. Ulvaeus quickly became friends with Benny Andersson. Soon after ABBA was born.
With memorable hits like Dancing Queen, Fernando, Waterloo, and many more, Ulvaeus enjoyed success with ABBA that only a few rock bands can dream of.
Born April 25, 1945, as of 2020, Ulvaeus has an estimated personal wealth of some $310 million.
10. Ringo Starr
The drummer for the Beatles, Ringo Starr occasionally sang lead vocals with the group on usually one song for each album that the Beatles released.
After the breakup of the Beatles, Starr went on to develop a stunning solo career, releasing 15 studio albums and collaborating with scores of different artists.
He toured constantly with his Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band and made collaboration his formula for success.
Outside of rock music, Starr has narrated for children’s television programs like Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. Starr was born July 7, 1940, and as of 2020, he was thought to have a personal fortune of about $350 million.
9. Gene Simmons
The frontman for the rock band Kiss, this Israeli-American Rockstar is famous for his stage persona, the Demon. He was the bassist and co-lead vocalist of the band which he co-founded with lead singer and guitarist Paul Stanley in the early 1970s.
KISS went on to enjoy worldwide success, and became known for their over-the-top stage antics, like Simmons eating fire on stage. Simmons’ get-up and make-up were particularly avant-garde at the time, and one will always remember him sticking his tongue out as his signature pose.
Although Gene Simmons has over the years come under criticisms for his comments on Islam, women, and mental health, he has managed to put away a tidy sum of some $350 million as of 2020. Simmons was born August 25, 1949.
8. Mick Jagger
Jagger was the lead singer and songwriter of the legendary British rock band, the Rolling Stones.
Jagger’s career lasted over five decades, and he has been described as “one of the most popular and influential frontmen in the history of rock & roll”. His distinctive voice and energetic live performances, along with Keith Richards‘ guitar style, have been the distinguishing feature of the Rolling Stones. Jagger gained popularity as a counter-cultural figure with his open sexual experimentation.
After the Rolling Stones, Jagger fared reasonably well, but never achieved the same level of fame as when he was part of the Rolling Stone. Born July 26, 1943, Mick Jagger is estimated to command a personal fortune of some $360 million.
Sting formed the new wave rock band the Police in 1977. He would then become one of the best-selling artists of all time with album sales of more than 350 million. He is an Ivor Novello award winner and is an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Sting is the recipient of 17 Grammy Awards and has won Song of the Year with his Every Breath You Take, and numerous other awards.
He has collaborated with numerous artists such as Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Alison Krauss.
Born October 2, 1951, as of 2020, Sting is estimated to have amassed a fortune of some $400 million.
6. Jon Bon Jovi
John Francis Bongiovi Jr.known professionally asJon Bon Jovi, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, philanthropist, and actor. Bon Jovi is the founder and lead singer of rock band Bon Jovi, formed in 1983.
Bon Jovi released 14 studio albums with his band which has sold over 130 million albums worldwide. Bon Jovi, himself, has released two solo albums. In the 1990s, Bon Jovi appeared in a couple of movies like Moonlight and Valentino and U-571. Bon Jovi also appeared in the hugely popular Sex and the City, Ally McBeal,and The West Wing.
Bon Jovi was inducted into the Song writers Hall of Famein 2009. His good looks have also won him the title of the People’s Sexiest Rock Star of 2000. Born March 2, 1962, Jon Bon Jovi as of 2020 is thought to be worth approximately $410 million.
5. Elton John
Having sold more than 350 million albums and holding the record for the best selling single in the history of the UK and the US for Candle in the Wind (1997) rewritten in dedication to Diana, Princess of Wales, he has also won five Grammy Awards, five Brit Awards, two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, a Tony awards, and many other numerous awards.
Elton is married to David Furnish and was also presented the Legion d’honneur by French President Emmanuel Macron in 2019.
This self-confessed big spender who famously admitted to spending £40 million in under two years can well afford it, as he is as of 2020 estimated to have a personal fortune of over $500 million.
4. Bruce Springsteen
Called “The Boss”, Bruce Springsteen began his career by playing the bar circuit in New Jersey where he grew up. His songs capture the working-class lives of America many of which also have a left-leaning political slant to them. Many compared him to Bob Dylan with his reflective lyrics and almost poetic style.
Born September 23, 1949, Springsteen grew up in a working-class family where his father tried to hold down jobs like bus driver, mill worker and prison guard.
Springsteen was signed to Columbia Records and released his first studio album in 1973. He was part of the E Street Band which released some early hits, which were well-received but did not make much headway commercially.
It was with Born to Rum in 1975 that Springsteen topped at no. 3 on the Billboard 200 and that skyrocketed him to fame. After that, there were a few hits but it was in 1984 that his biggest break came with Born in the U.S.A, which became one of the best selling records of all time, which also lead to a hugely successful world tour. Born in the U.S.A. produced seven singles that charted at the top of the Billboard charts. Since then Springsteen would go on to sell more than 140 million records worldwide won 20 Grammy’s and had 11 chart-topping albums.
60 years on, his performances are still packing in the crowds. As of 2020, Springsteen is estimated to have built a personal fortune of some $500 million.
3. Jimmy Buffet
From the time Jimmy Buffet started his career in 1969, this rock star has been building a devoted fan base known as Parrotheads, made over 20 million record sales and numerous sell-out concerts and three number one best-selling books. With his devoted fan base, Buffet actually made more money from his tours than his albums and was a tremendous concert draw.
One of his best-known songs, Margaritaville was the inspiration for his Margaritaville Café, one of the chain-restaurants he owns. The song also spawned a radio channel called Radio Margaritaville in 2006.
Although essentially a rock singer, Buffett called his music “drunken Caribbean rock ‘n’ roll” as he said on his 1978 live album You Had To Be There. Later, Buffett himself and others have used the term “Gulf and Western” to describe his musical style and that of other similar-sounding performers.
Born on Christmas day in 1946, as of 2020, Jimmy Buffet is estimated to worth a stunning $600 million.
Born Paul David Hewson on May 10, 1960, better known as Bono, hails from Ireland and whose music is known worldwide.
He is the lead singer of the legendary rock band, U2, who is as famous for his philanthropy as he is for his music. Over the years, his social activism has included co-founding the charities, DATA, EDUN, the ONE campaign, and Product Red.
He has played at numerous benefit concerts (Live Aid being the most famous) and contributed to fundraising singles such as Band Aid’s Do They Know it’s Christmas/ Feed the World. In 2004, for his charitable work, he was awarded the Pablo Neruda International Presidential Medal of Honor from the Government of Chile, and in 2007, he was granted a knighthood.
For all the charitable work he has undertaken, as of 2020, Bono has also built up a personal fortune of some $700 million.
1. Paul McCartney
Always known as the “pretty one” among the other Beatles, Paul McCartney ranks as one of the most successful singer-songwriters of all time. Even though it has been 40 years since the Beatles disbanded, McCartney went on to stage an illustrious solo career. He debuted his first solo album called McCartney in 1970.
His 1977 track, Mull of Kintyre, remains one of the bestselling singles of all time in the UK, while his 2018 album, Come On to Me made it all the way to number 1 spot in the UK.
McCartney is also one of the few singers from Britain who have been knighted by the Queen. He is one of the most successful composers and performers of all time. He has written and co-written 32 songs that have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and as of 2009, had sales of 25.5 million RIAA-certified units in the United States. His honors include two inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of the Beatles in 1988 and as a solo artist in 1999), 18 Grammy Awards, and of course his appointment as a Member of the Order of the British Empire bestowed in 1967 and his knighthood in 1997. As of 2020, he is also one of the wealthiest musicians in the world, with an estimated fortune of over $1 billion. He was born June 18, 1942.