It's no tremendous surprise, given his legendary business smarts, but Paul McCartney has been named the U.K.'s wealthiest musician by the British magazine Business Age.
The magazine estimated the ex-Beatle's personal fortune to be $750 million. The figure includes his album sales, royalties, investments, and property holdings.
McCartney's nearest rival is Elton John, who falls behind him by about $250 million, with a fortune estimated by Business Age at $500 million. Rated at No. 3 and No. 4 are Rolling Stones Mick Jagger ($225 million) and Keith Richards ($220 million), respectively. Tied for fifth are Las Vegas stalwarts Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck ($149 million each).
David Bowie is ranked at No. 7, with a fortune estimated at $145 million. In 1997, Business Age rated Bowie the world's richest musician, due to the hoopla at the time regarding his "Bowie bonds." In the new report, Business Age editor Chris Butt claimed those 1997 figures were "inflated," and that "Bowie's Internet ventures, such as Bowienet and Bowiebanc.com, have failed to deliver," accounting for his diminished rating.
Sting, Phil Collins, and George Harrison round out the top 10 at No. 8, No. 9, and No. 10, respectively.
Since the demise of the Beatles, McCartney has proved to be as shrewd a businessman as he is a talented songwriter. Although Michael Jackson continues to own Northern Songs, the publishing company that supervises the Beatles catalog, McCartney has profited massively from investments in music publishing, controlling the copyrights to such Broadway hits as Grease and Hello Dolly!, as well as the catalog of the songs of Buddy Holly and standards like "Autumn Leaves."
Here are the 40 richest British rock stars [Except for the Irish U2 - Paddy O'Ed.] according to net worth, estimated by Business Age:
1. Paul McCartney, $750 million
2. Elton John, $500 million
3. Mick Jagger, $225 million
4. Keith Richards, $220 million
5. Tom Jones, $149 million
5 (tie). Engelbert Humperdinck, $149 million
7. David Bowie, $145 million
8. Sting, $143 million
8 (tie). Phil Collins, $143 million
10. George Harrison, $128 million
11. Ringo Starr, $111 million
12. Eric Clapton, $108 million
13. U2, $105 million each
13 (tie). George Michael, $105 million
15. Rod Stewart, $101 million
16. Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones), $96 million
17. Cliff Richard, $89 million
18. David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), $86 million
19. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), $85 million each
20. Ronnie Wood (Rolling Stones), $82 million
20 (tie). Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits), $82 million
22. Roger Waters (Pink Floyd), $74 million
23. John Deacon, Brian May, and Roger Taylor (Queen), $67 million each
24. Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), $64 million
25. Rick Wright (Pink Floyd), $61 million
26. Jim Kerr (Simple Minds), $60 million
27. Mick Hucknall (Simply Red), $57 million
28. Van Morrison, $52 million
29. The Bee Gees, $49 million each
30. Chris de Burgh, $45 million
31. Victoria Beckham (Spice Girls), $37 million
32. Noel Gallagher (Oasis), $36 million
33. Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), $34 million
34. Melanie Chisholm and Melanie Brown (Spice Girls), $33 million each
35. Emma Bunton (Spice Girls), $31 million
36. Liam Gallagher (Oasis), $28 million
37. Geri Halliwell (ex-Spice Girl), $25 million
38. Annie Lennox (Eurythmics), $22 million
39. Fatboy Slim, $21 million
40. Robbie Williams, $16 million