Here’s where Billie Eilish, AC/DC, Metallica ranked on ‘Billboard”s list of highest-paid musicians of 2020 in the U.S.

Kelia Anne MacCluskey

What did a year with no live gigs do to the fortunes of rock’s biggest stars?  Well, they definitely took a hit, but the lucky few who managed to get some live dates in before the pandemic shut things down did well. Streaming of new releases and catalog reissues also helped.

Billie Eilish is the highest-ranking rock act on Billboard‘s list of the highest-paid musicians of 2020, thanks to three pre-pandemic concerts she performed.  However, she made the bulk of her $14.7 million in streaming and publishing, as well as physical album sales.

Queen came in at number seven with earnings of $13.2 million, thanks to some 2020 tour dates, plus royalties from record sales, publishing and massive streaming numbers.  In fact, their on-demand audio streams outranked every other veteran act on the list.  Globally, Queen soared to number one in the rankings.

Just out of the top 10, AC/DC came in at #13 with $10.1 million, thanks to sales of its 2020 album Power Up, its back catalog and nearly 1.5 billion streams.  Metallica came in at #18 with $9 million, mostly thanks to the sales of their August 2020 live album S&M2 and their digitally remastered catalog.

Also in Billboard‘s Top 40: The Lumineers, who managed to play 20 shows in 2020 and earned $6.8 million; Tool, coming in with $6.17 million thanks to nine shows they did in 2020 prior to the pandemic; KISS with $6 million thanks to their 20 live dates, and Aerosmith, who earned $5.35 million thanks to streaming and the shows they played as part of their Las Vegas residency before COVID cut them off.

The list shows just how much rock bands depend on touring revenue; as Billboard notes, the top earners collectively took home $387 million in 2020. By comparison, in 2019, the top earners raked in $969 million.

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Elton John wasn’t sure he remembered his own hits after being off the road for so long

Ben Gibson/Rocket Entertainment

Elton John has played his legendary hits countless times, but he admits that he’s gotten a bit rusty since the pandemic forced him off the road.

In a special 300th episode of his long-running Apple Radio show Elton John’s Rocket Hour, Elton interviews singer-songwriter Yola. While discussing the prospect of returning to live concerts, Elton admits, “Last Saturday I had to do a charity show on my own, just me and the piano. I hadn’t sung for over a year. In the afternoon, I was sitting at my piano at home, which I never play, and I was rehearsing songs.”

“I [was thinking], ‘Even though I[‘ve] played these songs thousands of times, if I go there tonight and I f**k this up, I will look so stupid,” he continues. “So I was quiet, we had house guests, and I was trying to be as quiet as a mouse and I was trying to rehearse stuff.”

“I’m thinking, “God, if they could hear me now,'” he laughs. “They’re thinking, ‘How many times has he sung that? Why is he rehearsing?’ [But] if you haven’t done it for a long time, you got to do it, right?”

Elton is set to resume actual live concerts September 1 in Berlin, Germany. The North American leg of his Farewell Tour arrives in the U.S. in January of 2022.

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Eddie Vedder’s Ohana Festival gets encore weekend, with Pearl Jam as headliners

Live Nation

The Ohana Festival, founded by Eddie Vedder in 2015, is scheduled to take place September 24-26, but it’s proven to be so popular that a second weekend has been added.

The Ohana Festival encore weekend will be October 1-2, once again at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, CA. Pearl Jam, which was already headlining one night of the original festival, will headline both nights of the encore, and those will be the band’s only additional concert dates for 2021.  Additionally, Eddie Vedder is headlining one night of the original festival solo.

The acts who’ll perform on the encore weekend include Beck, Brandi Carlile, Sleater-Kinney, White Reaper and NHC — aka Navarro Hawkins Cheney, comprised of Jane’s Addiction members Dave Navarro and Chris Cheney, along with Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.

Those three musicians played together under the name Ground Control on the January 8 David Bowie tribute livestream A Bowie Celebration: Just for One Day! Slipknot‘s Corey Taylor joined them on vocals.

Tickets for the encore weekend go on sale Friday, July 23 at 10 a.m. PT at  The first weekend in sold out.

A portion of the proceeds from the festival will benefit the San Onofre Parks Foundation and the Doheny State Beach Foundation.


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Kansas founding member and violinist Robby Steinhardt dies at 71

Michael Putland/Getty Images

Legendary violinist and founding member of the rock band Kansas, Robby Steinhardt, has passed away at age 71, his family confirms.

His widow Cindy shared the news in a statement on Facebook Monday, writing that Steinhardt was admitted to a hospital in Tampa, Florida, with acute pancreatitis in May and later went into acute septic shock and was placed on life support.

She says he bounced back “much to the amazement of his entire medical staff,” but on July 17, the day he was supposed to move to a rehab center, the sepsis returned and he passed away in her arms.

“We are beyond devastated as our lives were about to start a new adventure,” Cindy writes. “Robby just recorded his first solo album with the talented music producer Michael Franklin at Solar Studios. A tour to start in August, Robby was so looking forward to being back on stage doing what he loved.”

She encouraged fans to share pictures and stories of Robby on his page and to “Hug your loved ones, be happy, stay safe and be well.”

Steinhardt made his mark on the music world with violin and vocals on such Kansas classics as “Dust in the Wind,” “Point of No Return” and “Carry on Wayward Son”

In addition to his wife Cindy, he is survived by his daughter Becky. A memorial will be announced at a later date.

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You have about 24 hours to watch Bob Dylan’s return to the stage

Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for ABA

Bob Dylan returned to the stage on Sunday for a special livestream show, but if you missed it, you can still watch it on demand until midnight tomorrow, July 20.

According to the New York Post, Dylan’s Shadow Kingdom show was filmed in black and white. It lasted less than an hour and featured the 80-year-old rock legend performing with a four-piece band in a club located in a wooden hut. The “audience members” — actually actors — didn’t applaud and didn’t appear to pay attention. Dylan himself didn’t speak.

In the show — Dylan’s first since COVID-19 put his so-called “Never Ending Tour” on pause  — he ran through 13 songs, many of which were deep cuts.  The set list included “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight,” “Queen Jane Approximately,” “Tombstone Blues,” “Forever Young,” “Watching the River Flow,” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.”

According to the New York Post, the most recent song Dylan performed was 1989’s “What Was It You Wanted,” from the Oh Mercy album.

Visit to purchase a $25 ticket to watch the show yourself.

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More than 20 pieces of Jerry Garcia’s digital artwork to be sold as NFTs

Jerry Garcia. ‘Junglescape.’ 1992. Courtesy Yellowheart

In May, artwork by the late Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia was put on sale as an NFT, or non-fungible token, which is a unique digital collectible.  Now, an entire collection of Garcia’s digital artwork is going on the block in the NFT format.

The three-part collection will be sold via YellowHeart, a platform that accepts both cryptocurrency and credit card payments.  It’s a digital artwork series called An Odd Little Place: The Digital Works of Jerry Garcia (1992-1995), featuring 20 pieces from the late legend, created on his Apple computer.

Of the 20 pieces, 17 are limited edition pieces of original digital artwork, and the other three are additional works found in the Garcia Archives in a folder called “Last 48 Hours.” Two of the three date from August 7 and August 8, 1995, while the third is believed to be unfinished.  Garcia died on August 9, 1995.

You can get a glimpse of the collection now on YouTube.  Yellowheart is also teaming with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for a preview event on August 5, which will be attended by members of Garcia’s family. An exhibit of the artwork opens to the public the next day.

The first part of the collection launches today, along with ticket sales to the Rock Hall preview event. There are five VIP Vault Tour Experiences, which cost $10,000 each, and 20 Exhibition Preview Experiences, which cost $2,500 each.

The second partof the exhibition will be revealed August 1, which would have been Jerry’s 79th birthday. The third part is an auction of those three final works, starting August 5 at 3 p.m. ET.

To lessen the environmental impact of creating NFTs, the Garcia Family will donate a portion of the proceeds to charity.

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Journey escaping to Las Vegas for symphony performance

Live Nation

Journey has scheduled a one-night-only performance in Las Vegas this December.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will take the stage at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on Saturday, December 18, but what makes the show special is that they’ll be performing with a symphony orchestra.

The show will feature Journey’s new lineup, which includes former American Idol judge Randy Jackson on bass and famed producer Narada Michael Walden on drums, along with Neal Schon on guitar, Jonathan Cain and Jason Derlatka on keyboards and Arnel Pineda on vocals.

As previously reported, Journey’s classic 1981 album Escape was recently RIAA-certified Diamond for more than 10 million sales.

Journey will be one of the headliners at Lollapalooza on July 31.

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The Smashing Pumpkins’ Jeff Schroeder starts “new chapter of…my musical life” with debut solo song

Credit: Travis Shinn

Longtime Smashing Pumpkins guitarist Jeff Schroeder has released his debut solo single: “Haenim,” a cover of a song originally written by Korean guitarist Shin Joong Hyun, who pioneered the rock scene in the country in the ’60s and ’70s. As Schroeder tells ABC Audio, the track is a fitting introduction to who he is as a musical artist now, and who he’s been as a person his whole life.

“People like Shin Joong Hyun, basically their gigs were to play these clubs that were for U.S. military people, because that kind of music really wasn’t popular amongst the Korean population,” Schroeder explains. “It was really for, I think, a lot of these military base nightclubs where these musicians would go and play.”

Since his mother, who’s Korean, met his father when he was stationed there in the military, Schroeder felt a kinship to Shin’s musical identity.

“My personal connection as a rock musician and Korean American and this song is all interwoven in this bigger, larger sociopolitical history of the U.S. and Korea,” he explains. “So [‘Haenim’] really felt like the right place to start this new chapter of, at least, my musical life.”

From the musical side, “Haenim” features dreamy guitars reminiscent of the Pumpkins, punctuated by classic metal-style solos that really help the song soar. Schroeder credits the inspiration of those to a friend named Max, who had recently passed away.

“I said, ‘What would Max tell me? If he was here, what would he encourage me to do?'” Schroeder recalls. “‘Cause I was, like, ‘Oh, I can definitely do the more shoegaze-y type of lead thing here…or should I just totally go for it?’ And I was, like, ‘No, Max would tell me to go for it.'” 

Schroeder is currently prepping his debut solo EP.

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Iron Maiden announces new album, ‘Senjutsu,’ coming in September


After releasing their new song, “The Writing on the Wall,” along with an animated mini-movie, Iron Maiden has now unveiled details of their new studio album.

Called Senjutsu, the 17th album from the metal legends will arrive September 3. Their first album in six years, it’s a double-CD collection, the title of which loosely translates from Japanese to “tactics and strategy.”  The cover art, created by Mark Wilkinson based on an idea by Maiden bassist Steve Harris, features the band’s beloved mascot Eddie in full samurai gear.

Frontman Bruce Dickinson says Senjutsu was recorded in 2019 during a break in the band’s Legacy tour so they could continue on the road and still have plenty time to set up the project.  Of course, as he says, “The pandemic delayed things more — so much for the best-laid plans — or should that be ‘strategies!?'” 

Harris says of the new project, “We recorded this album in the same way we did The Book of Souls in that we’d write a song, rehearse it and then put it down together straight away while it was all fresh in our minds.”

“There’s some very complex songs on this album which took a lot of hard work to get them exactly as we wanted them to sound, so the process was at times very challenging,” Harris adds, noting, “I’m very proud of the result and can’t wait for fans to hear it.”

Senjutsu is available for pre-order July 21 at in a variety of formats, including a few different colors of vinyl and a super deluxe box set.

Here’s the track listing for Senjutsu:

“The Writing on the Wall”
“Lost in a Lost World”
“Days of Future Past”
“The Time Machine”
“Darkest Hour”
“Death of the Celts “
“The Parchment”
“Hell on Earth”

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Sways? Waves? Bruce Springsteen’s manager settles “Thunder Road” lyrics controversy

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For the past week or so, there’s been an ongoing online debate about the opening lyric of Bruce Springsteen‘s 1975 classic, “Thunder Road.”  But now, it appears that Bruce’s manager, Jon Landau, has solved the mystery.

It started when New York Times writer Maggie Haberman went to see Bruce’s Broadway show and tweeted, “A screen door slams, Mary’s dress sways.”  Fans pounced, insisting that Haberman had it wrong: It’s “Mary’s dress waves.”

But fans who believe that the Boss sing “sways” jumped to Haberman’s defense, sparking a back-and-forth between the two camps, and even a Los Angeles Times article examining the issue and presenting evidence for both sides.  For example, the lyric database on Springsteen’s official website, as well as the original lyrics printed on the album, say “waves,” but in handwritten lyric sheets from that period, and in Bruce’s autobiography Born to Run, the lyric is “sways.”

Reps for Springsteen wouldn’t comment, but Landau, who co-produced the Born to Run album in addition to managing the Boss for decades, has written a letter to The New Yorker, clarifying the issue.

“The word is ‘sways,’” Landau wrote. “That’s the way he wrote it in his original notebooks, that’s the way he sang it on Born to Run, in 1975, that’s the way he has always sung it at thousands of shows, and that’s the way he sings it right now on Broadway. Any typos in official Bruce material will be corrected.”

Landau added, “And, by the way, ‘dresses’ do not know how to ‘wave.’”

Poetry experts might argue that the best evidence for “sways” is the fact that it precedes the line, “Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays.”  “Sways” rhymes with “plays,” while “waves” does not.


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