Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Toby Keith Are Tops in Touring

Country powerhouses make Billboard's list of Top 25 Live Artists in 25 years

Kenny Chesney performs in Las Vegas
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
May 28, 2014 11:20 AM ET

Kenny Chesney is officially king of the country road.

The Tennessee native is the only country artist in the Top 10 of Billboard's list of the highest-grossing touring artists of the past quarter century. He has raked in a cool $753 million in that time, with an audience of about 12.7 million in 755 shows. Those stats put him at Number Nine on Billboard's list, which is topped by the Rolling Stones (who have grossed a whopping $1.5 billion in 25 years). The runner-up is U2, followed by Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Bon Jovi, Elton John, Dave Matthews Band, Celine Dion, Chesney and the Eagles.

50 Greatest Live Acts Right Now

"You look at a list like this with so many iconic rock acts, and you think, 'Man ...'," Chesney enthuses. "When you get on the bus for the first time, you're just hoping people will come. You never expect to be in this kind of company, unless you're buying a ticket."

Chesney's inclusion in the Top 10 is even more impressive considering he took a year-long break from touring in 2009-2010 and has again parked his tour bus for most of 2014. The singer is taking this most recent break to put the finishing touches on a new album, with its first single expected this summer.

George Strait and Toby Keith also grace the Top 25 Live Artists Since 1990 list, at Numbers 19 and 22, respectively. Strait, a touring troubadour since the early Eighties, is currently on his farewell tour. After his June 7th show at the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium, the country legend is retiring from the road. Chesney will be at the show to help send him off, along with Martina McBride, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill and Faith Hill, among many other famous friends.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

More Song Stories entries »