Michael Jackson and Elvis Top Forbes Rich-List of Dead Musicians

Michael Jackson has been revealed to be the highest earning dead celebrity of this year, with Elvis Presley and Arnold Palmer following behind. It’s been nine years since the King of Pop died, but his commercial success hasn’t wavered.

Topping the list of the thirteen highest paid dead celebs, with a whopping $400 million income, Michael is miles ahead of the others. Forbes revealed that he made $287 million alone from the sale of EMI Music Publishing to Sony.

Next up is musician Elvis Presley, with $40 million largely coming from selling tickets to his Graceland estate. Arnold Palmer comes in third, making $35 million mostly from his alcoholic beverage line.

At the bottom of the list, the figures are comparatively modest. Rapper XXXTentacion, who died in June this year, earned $11 million, followed by boxer Muhammad Ali with $8 million, and model Bettie Page with $7million.

Also featured are cartoonist Charles Schulz, musician Bob Marley, author Dr. Seuss, and Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy.

Marilyn Monroe and Prince also appear on the list. In total, the figures amount to $628 million, double the $312 million that amounted from last year’s list.

Lennon and Harrison round out the list, thanks to sales of 63 million Beatles albums in the U.S. alone since 1992; while Richard Rodgers’ estate benefits from his solo work and collaborations with Lorenz Hart including “Blue Moon” and “This Can’t Be Love.” (Rodgers’ work with Oscar Hammerstein was sold for a reported $200 million in 2009).

Though it wasn’t enough to put them on the Forbes list, Jimi Hendrix, Les Paul and Tupac Shakur all made more than $3 million each. The magazine also notes that Whitney Houston missed making either dead celebs list because her recordings she still haven’t earned back the $30-$40 million advance she received as part of her $100 million record deal in 2001, and the singer did not leave much unreleased material behind.

The figures are calculated from the ‘pretax earnings from October 1, 2017, through October 1, 2018, before deducting fees for agents, managers, lawyers and estate executors,’ Forbes revealed.

I'm a final year English Language and Literature student at the University of Leeds with a love of music. I bring music into every facet of my life, from getting the Leeds Griffins Quidditch Team pumped pre-game as their President, to writing music for small film projects with friends, it is the one constant in everything I do. I've previously worked with the BBC, Disney, Amazon Studios and looking to see where my love of music can take me once I graduate this year.

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