McCartney, Stones had highest-grossing tours. Other big earners include Britney Spears, Aerosmith
Paul McCartney
Credit: Paul McCartney: Dennis Van Tine/London Features

Turns out just one Beatle can beat the Rolling Stones. Paul McCartney had the year’s highest-grossing tour, raking in more than $126 million in 58 shows, according to figures released by Billboard this week. In a year dominated by veteran acts, the Stones were not far behind, taking in $90 million in a tour that included some smaller venues than usual. Another musician whose career dates back to the ’60s, the indomitable Cher, had the year’s third most profitable tour: her lengthy ”farewell” outing earned $67.6 million.

Billy Joel and Elton John continued to be a profitable duo, scoring $66 million — a bright spot for Joel in a year that included a stint in rehab. The Dave Matthews Band, meanwhile, was the sole ’90s act in the top five, scoring $52.7 million to land at No. 4, though they were nearly beaten by Neil Diamond’s whopping $52.3 million take.

Despite the bad publicity that dogged her this year, Britney Spears had a very profitable tour, landing at No. 6 with $43.7 million. The rest of the top-10 earners were Aerosmith ($39 million) at No. 7, Creed ($37.1 million) at No. 8, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young ($35.01 million) at No. 9, and the Eagles ($34.9 million) at No. 10.