For the tiny percentage of musicians who make it to the lofty heights of worldwide fame, there can also be a pretty penny in it. London’s Sunday Times has released their annual British Rich List, and it contains quite a few musicians and music industry movers and shakers. Simon Cowell, the objectionable X Factor creator has crashed in to the Top 10, with a fortune estimated at £200 million. However, he’s still a minnow compared to the richest.
Keith Richards (£175 million)
The human riff has blown a heap on heroin, booze and general partying over the years, as well as a few expensive court cases and if we’re to believe the urban legend - a 100 per cent blood transfusion in a Swiss clinic to try and beat his heroin addiction. However, it would appear these days that Richards still has plenty in the bank to keep him in booze and guitars.
Sting (£180 million)
The former front man of The Police and also solo star has managed to feather his nest quite nicely, leaving him with plenty of time for tantric sex with wife Trudi Styler as well as his work to save South American rainforests.
Mick Jagger (£190 million)
Notorious skinflint and canny businessman Jagger become even tighter after discovering manager Allen Klein had systematically swindled the band over the years. Some fans argue that the only reason The Rolling Stones are still going is because Jagger wants more money, however he’d probably have a bit more in the bank if he hadn’t had to pay out so many ex wives in divorce cases, nor pay paternity costs to many of the children he has sired both in and out of relationships.
Elton John (£195 million)
Elton has a pretty tidy fortune when you consider what an outrageous spendthrift he was. The man who bought a soccer team (Watford FC) just because he could and who spent £293,000 on fresh flowers over a 20 month period is still clearly well off. However, you wonder how much he’d have stashed away had he not snorted half of Colombia, which added to some very questionable spending habits. Documents tendered in a court case in 2000 showed that he spent £40m over a 20-month period, including £9.6m on property. As for the flowers, he said at the time "Well, I like flowers. I don't have anyone to leave it to. I'm a single man. I like spending money." Now that he’s settled down with partner David Furnish and become a proud father, let’s hope he’s putting some away for the kid.
Simon Cowell (£200 million)
The objectionable music industry executive and TV host has made bundles of cash through hosting and producing TV ‘talent’ shows such as Pop Idol, America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent, not to mention the X Factor. The most popular contestants on these shows are signed by default to his record label and management company, SYCO.
Simon Fuller (£375 million)
Music svengali Fuller started off in music A&R and publishing before setting up his own entertainment company and managing pop artists. He’s made squillions off the Spice Girls and S Club 7, before he dreamed up American Idol. With over 100 franchises of the TV show, as well as managing people like Posh n’ Becks, Emma Bunton, Annie Lennox and Kelly Clarkson, he is one of the most powerful people in the music world.
Paul McCartney (£495 million)
Although he unsuccessfully lost the rights to a large chuck of the Beatles publishing back catalogue to Michael Jackson in the 1980s, Macca’s still not short of a quid, despite the best efforts of gold digger ex-wife and former high class escort Heather Mills. The Beatles back catalogue is one of the most lucrative in music.
Cameron Mackintosh (£675 million)
Musical Theatre impresario Mackintosh started off his career as a theatre stagehand, before working his way up to being one of the most successful theatre producers of all time, with hits such as Cats, Les Misérables, Phantom of The Opera and Miss Saigon. His most successful productions are reported to have raked in more money than some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster films of all time.
Andrew Lloyd Webber (£680 million)
Arguably the most financially successful composer of all time, Lloyd Webber had his first hit in the 1960s with Joseph And His Technicolour Dreamcoat, before moving on to write the biggest musicals of all time, such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Phantom of The Opera. In 1992 he was asked to compose the theme song for the Barcelona Olympics, ‘Amigos Para Siempre’.
Clive Calder (£1.3 billion)
South African born Calder played bass in bands in his native country, before deciding there were better ways to make money in the music business. He started his first record label in South Africa, moving to London in 1975 where he started Zomba Records; and later on Silvertone Records, who had an infamous legal battle with The Stone Roses. In the early 1980s he started up a US subsidiary named Jive Records, which would go on to have colossal success signing pop artists such as the Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync and Britney Spears.
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