Big 95 Music News: Michael Jackson, U2

MICHAEL JACKSON:  Top earning dead celebrity for 2017

For the fifth year in a row, Michael Jackson stands atop Forbes magazine's ranking of the highest-earning dead celebrities -- at $75 million! The Gloved One's lucrative year was boosted by his upcoming Halloween TV special and Scream album, which join his lucrative recording and music publishing assets, as well as the Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas fueled by his songs.

  • Golfer Arnold Palmer (who died in 2016) comes in second thanks to licensing deals for apparel, sporting goods and the Arnold Palmer beverages.
  • Peanuts creator Charles Schulz earns the bronze medal.

Then it's a series of music legends:

  • Elvis Presley ranks fourth -- with his revenues leaping from $27 to $35 million thanks to the expansion of his Memphis entertainment complex and the recent opening of the The Guesthouse hotel at Graceland.
  • Bob Marley is fifth. His name is attached to audio products and beverages.
  • Tom Petty's sixth place finish (at $20 million) is due to his lucrative final tour, in which he and his band were pulling in a million dollars a night.
  • Prince, number-seven, benefits from rising music sales and the beginning of revenues from tours at his Paisley Park complex just outside Minneapolis.


  • John Lennon ranks ninth.
  • Jackson's income is the same as the very-much-alive Bruce Springsteen, the 17th best-paid living entertainer.
  • Expect Frank Zappa to join this list in 2018. His son Ahmet announced plans for a Hologram-based Zappa concert experience.
  • David Bowie didn't make this Top 10: His $9.5 million income places him 11th.
  • Arnold Palmer was long considered a savvy businessman -- he far outranks dead baseball and football legends such as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Walter Payton and Ted Williams.
  • Who else makes this list? Doctor Seuss (number-10) and Elizabeth Taylor (number-12).

U2:  On target for top spot in 2017

U2's 30th anniversary Joshua Tree tour is on target to be the year's highest-grossing tour.

Pollstar, the concert industry publication, reports that it has grossed $316 million from 50 shows in North America, Europe and South America. Their biggest competitor is Guns n' Roses who have raked in $243 million with 15 shows still to go.

Speaking of U2...

Their upcoming album is called Songs of Experience -- and the list of experiences inside includes a life-threatening health scare for the group's singer.

Bono told Britain's Q magazine that his woes were bad enough that some of the album's songs were written from the perspective of someone who's already dead. He says, "I don’t want to get too into the details of it, for fear of the melodramatic reality-TV kerfuffle. A lot of people have these moments. I’ve had a few. Not quite at this level." He adds that it wasn't all to do with that bike accident in New York a few years ago, either.

Edge backs up that account, saying, "It was serious enough that he genuinely had a major fright. But where that brought him to as a writer was an amazing place."

Songs of Experience, which was originally supposed to be released shortly after 2014's Songs of Innocence, is now scheduled to arrive on December 1st.

DON HENLEY:  Plans after brief Eagles tour

Now that Don Henley's done with the brief run of Eagles dates, he's turning his attention back to his charitable work.

He'll host Walden, a 20-minute documentary about author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, on November 8th at the Robsham Theater on the campus of Boston College. Produced by Ken Burns, it focuses on the relationship between Thoreau’s philosophy and contemporary societal and environmental challenges. In addition to the screening, there will be a Q&A session.

In 1990, Henley founded the Walden Woods Project to preserve the land and legacy of Thoreau. Proceeds from this event will benefit educational and interpretive programs at the Walden Pond State Reservation.

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