Rolling Stones, U2 Top Touring Acts Of Past 40 Years


The Rolling Stones and U2 are the top touring acts of the past 40 years, according to data published last week.

Pollstar ranked 150 music acts based on gross revenue from touring and the number of tickets sold. It counted only headlining shows and excluded sets at music festivals.

The Stones and U2 are virtually tied for gross revenue (all figures U.S.) – $2.165 billion and $2.127 billion respectively – but U2 sold nearly four million more tickets.

Elton John ($1.7 billion), Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band ($1.5 billion) and Madonna ($1.4 billion) round out the Top 5.

A number of Canadian acts made the list: Céline Dion (No. 6 with $1.354 billion), Justin Bieber (No. 32 with $597.2 million), Michael Bublé (No. 36 with $581.2 million), Shania Twain (No.68 with $345.2 million), Drake (No. 69 with $344.4 million), Bryan Adams (No. 71 with $342.2 million), Rush (No. 73 with $341.8 million), Nickelback (No. 96 with $282 million), Leonard Cohen (No. 124 with $195.5 million), and Neil Young (No. 149 with $168.7 million).

Harry Styles just made the cut, ranking 150th with a gross of $168.4 million – although his former group One Direction raked in $570.7 million from touring to earn the No. 40 spot. (K-pop phenoms BTS ranked 98th with a gross of $278.2 million.

In the list’s Top 40 spots, rock acts – including Eagles, Roger Waters, Rod Stewart, Guns ’N Roses, AC/DC. Fleetwood Mac and Aerosmith – share space with pop stars like Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, P!nk, Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga.

The biggest country music act is Kenny Chesney, who ranked 12th thanks to a touring gross of $1.1 billion, followed by Tim McGraw at No. 26 with $679.9 million.

For some acts, significant differences in ticket prices accounted for higher rankings. For example, Barbra Streisand topped Pearl Jam (No. 64 and No. 65 respectively) but the latter sold 5.7 million more tickets.

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