It’s perhaps fitting that on Halloween, the man who created one of the holiday’s most enduring musical moments has topped one of Forbes magazine’s famous lists. Unfortunately, that list is the publication’s macabre annual ranking of Top-Earning Dead Celebrities.
For the fifth year in a row, Michael Jackson is #1 on the list, with earnings of $75 million. This year, the “Thriller” singer’s bottom line was boosted by an animated Halloween special, and the new compilation album Scream. That’s in addition to the MJ-themed Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, record sales and income from his share of EMI Music’s publishing catalog.
Last year, Jackson set a record when he took in a whopping $825 million, due to the sale of his half of the Sony/ATV music catalog. That marked the highest annual total for any entertainer ever, dead or alive.
Other long-dead musicians on the list include Elvis Presley, who ranks #4 with earnings of $35 million; reggae superstar Bob Marley, who’s at #5 with $23 million; and John Lennon, who landed at #9 after earning $12 million.
Recently deceased musicians on the list include Tom Petty, who died on October 3, but still made it to #6. Since Forbes‘ list includes earnings from October 15, 2016, to October 15, 2017, Petty’s income of $20 million reflects his income from his past year touring with his band The Heartbreakers.
Prince, who died last year, took in $18 million, which ranks #7. David Bowie, who also died in 2016, ranks #11, with earnings of $9.5 million.
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