by Alison Boshoff / Daily Telegraph
29th October 1997
DAVID Bowie, the pop star best known for his outlandish 1970s lifestyle, is the richest man in British rock music, says a magazine survey.
Business Age says that The Man Who Fell To Earth has a personal fortune of more than half a billion pounds, thanks to canny overseas investments, a bond issue and rights to his back catalogue. The magazine puts him ahead of Sir Paul McCartney, (£520 million), Tom Jones (£275 million), Phil Collins (£220 million), Elton John (£200 million), Mick Jagger (£135 million) and Eric Clapton (£120 million).
Bowie is one of the few pop stars who owns all the rights to his songs. He was, by his own admission “totally skint” in the 1970s but his fortune started to build after he signed for EMI America in the 1980s.
This year, the magazine estimates that Bowie has made £60 million. He received a flat fee of £1.5 million for just one concert in Los Angeles in May 1983.
This year he broke new financial ground in the music industry by raising £33 million in a bond issue. In a list of Britain’s 50 richest pop stars, the magazine has Rod Stewart in 16th place with £66 million, Sir Cliff Richard (19th on £52 million) Noel Gallagher (32nd £30 million). The Spice Girls occupy places from 42 to 46 with £14.5 million each.