Even though it may not seem fair, the reality shows that book writers, actors and musicians are much more lucrative after they die rather than while they were still living. It is a bit sad to know that a dead artist produces more money than a live one, but this is the bitter truth that people usually begin to value something or someone only after they lose it. Let’s see the top 10 highest earning dead musicians.
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10. Jenni Rivera
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At the last, but not least, place in our top earning dead musicians we find Jenni Rivera who died in 2012, at the age of 43, in a plane crash. She’s worth $7 million dollars now, only 4 years after her death. She was a Mexican-American music icon that sold over 800,000 records during her life and the same amount after she died. “Unbreakable: My story” which is her autobiography has sell over 400,000 copies and boosted her postmortem earning. Also her TV reality show “I Love Jenni” has reached a 5.5 million audience. Dead musicians are appreciated for their work only after they are gone.
9. Ray Charles
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Ray Charles died in 2004 and he is now earning more than other dead musicians due to the fact that he was also a composer and a songwriter. He was blind since he was 7 years old and people called him “The Genius”. In the ‘50’s he successfully combined rhythm and blues, gospel and soul music. During the ‘60’s he helped at the integration of rhythm, country, pop music and blues and had a blast with his two albums “Modern Sounds”. After his death, his last album “Genius Loves Company” was released and won 8 Grammy Awards. In 2005 and 2006 two more postmortem albums were released: “Genius & Friends” and “Ray Sings, Basie Swings”.
8. Richard Rodgers
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Amongst the valuable dead musicians we, find Richard Rodgers who leaves his heirs with $7 billion dollars earnings from his songs such as Blue Moon. He died at the age of 77, in 1979 after several medical issues such as laryngectomy, heart attack and cancer of the jaw. His ashes were scattered on the sea and the 46th Street Theatre was named after him in 1990.
7. Johnny Cash
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When thinking about the highest earning dead musicians, Johnny Cash comes into the minds of many people. Maybe because of his name only, or because of the real reason for which this American guitarist, author, actor and singer-songwriter does really deserve it. He was first stated as a country’s music icon, but slowly, he gained recognition for gospel, rock and roll, blues, folk and rockabilly as well. He died of complicated diabetes at the age of 71, his health being shaken by his wife’s death four months before.
6. George Harrison
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It was only natural for a former Beatles member to be part of top earning dead musicians. George Harrison, known as the quite Beatle, was a valuable artist that now leaves as legacy about $7 million. Moreover, some of his belongings, such as his ultra-rare amp guitar, are put out for auctions. His solo career started with “My sweet Lord” and in the ‘90’s he joined movie business with “The traveling Wilburys”. He died after a long and painful fight with cancer
5. Bob Marley
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Bob Marley is right in the middle of this top of highest earning dead musicians list. If you were a true fan of his work you probably realize that if he knew people are talking about his legacy, it would make him come back from the dead. But the reality is very clear, people are still buying his albums and venturing to different beverage companies like One Drop (coffee) and Marley’s Mellor Mood (a relaxation liquor). In addition House of Marley produces eco-friendly and lifestyle audio products. In the past two decades, over 75 million albums have been sold.
4. John Lennon
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Another Beatles member is found amongst the top earning dead musicians, the performer and songwriter John Lennon. He sold over 63 million albums in the US only, since 1992. He had an awful death, being killed in New York by a crazy fan in the ‘80’s. Even after the Beatles split up, they still sell over 1 million records a year and now, that John Lennon is gone to the dead musicians’ island, he left behind a legacy of $12 million.
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Elvis Presley founds himself on the third place in the top earning dead musicians, with a legacy of over $42 millions. He had been number one until 2006, as his fans still buy restored records, box sets and biographies, alongside other of the King’s old materials, since there were no new ones released since 1977, when he died.
2. Kurt Cobain
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Nirvana’s guitarist and lead singer died in 1994, now earning the second place for the richest dead musicians ever. His success started in the ‘20’s long before Nirvana formed. “Come as You Are”, “Heart-Shaped Box” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” are only a few hits that pushed the band on the road of success. His legacy rises at $50 million.
1. Michael Jackson
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The King of Pop is by far the number one top earning dead musicians with over $820 million in the last year only. After 7 years from his death, he is still loved, listened and worshipped by fans of all ages. Even those that have never seen him while still alive like to listen to his songs and love seeing his clips, even try to imitate him. I don’t think that i will still be alive until some other artist will manage to equal his talent.
In the end, in the top highest earning dead musicians we find unique artists from all genders of music, rock, blues, pop, country. It is a shame that most of the people only value them after they are gone and buy their work after their death. Still, their families will benefit from it, and all their work wouldn’t have been in vain as they left cultural legacies for the world, most of them making history.