As part of its 40th anniversary coverage, the publication created two diagrams — one for ticket sales and one for ticket sales — analyzes “thousands of ticket sales reports” spanning four decades. For both, Pollstar only counted overall shows, leaving out both festival appearances and events where the artist in question acted as a support act.
The Rolling Stones topped the gross sales chart, coming in third for ticket sales, having earned about $2.16 billion from 22.1 million tickets. This time span includes the band’s 14 most recent tours out of a total of nearly 50, starting with their American trek launched in the fall of 1981.
U2 ranked No. 1 for total tickets and No. 2 for gross, having earned about $2.12 billion from 26.1 million tickets. This era includes 14 tours, beginning with a run supporting their second LP, 1981’s October.
Top 20 for gross includes Rod Stewart at No. 19 ($796 million), Roger Waters at No. 18 ($841 million), Dave Matthews Band at No. 13 ($1.08 billion), Billy Joel at No. 11 ($1.18 billion), Paul McCartney at No. 10 ($1.19 billion), Metallica at No. 9 ($1.2 billion), Eagles at No. 8, ($1.31 billion), Bon Jovi at No. 7 ($1.32 billion), Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band at No. 4 ($1.5 billion) and Elton John at No. 3 ($1.7 billion).
Top 20 for tickets also includes Neil Diamond at No. 16 (12.9 million), Stewart at No. 15 (13.1 million), Aerosmith at No. 13 (13.3 million), Phish at No. 12 (13.5 million), the Grateful Dead at No. 10 (15.5 million), Joel at No. 8 (16.9 million), Bon Jovi at No. 7 (17.7 million), Metallica at No. 6 (19.4 million), John at No. 5 (19.7 million), Springsteen and the E Street Band at No. 4 (20.8 million) and Dave Matthews Band at No. 2 (23.2 million).
U2 Albums Ranked
U2 does not inspire weak reactions in people. There are passionate U2 fans and passionate U2 haters, and very little in between.