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Madonna Tops Bruce, AC/DC as Forbes' Top-Earning Act

June 23, 2009 6:20 PM ET

Female artists ruled Forbes' Top-Earning Musicians list of the year, with Madonna, Celine Dion and Beyoncé taking the top three spots. Madonna, who set records with her sold-out Sticky & Sweet tour and had worldwide success with Hard Candy, made roughly $110 million to top the list of profits earned from June 2008 to June 2009. However, Forbes doesn't factor in the Material Girl's expensive divorce from ex-husband Guy Ritchie, which will reportedly cost Madonna $75 million. Last year, Forbes called Madonna the "Cash Queen of Music."

Dion came in second with $100 million, followed by Beyoncé, who made $87 million thanks to touring, I Am… Sasha Fierce and promotional deals. Bruce Springsteen was the top earning rocker, coming in fourth with $70 million on the strength of a successful tour, Working on a Dream and his Super Bowl performance. Country singer Kenny Chesney finished fifth with a $65 million.

At six, there was a three-way tie as Coldplay, AC/DC and Rascal Flatts all brought home $60 million. A trio of old, new and reborn country acts occupied slots nine, 10 and 11: The Eagles, Toby Keith and Bon Jovi all earned in the $50 to $55 million range. Dave Matthews Band, even before releasing Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King and their current summer tour, still banked $45 million to close out the list at 12.

Despite the recession, overall numbers were up considerably from last year: This year's top 10 made a combined $719 million, while 2008's top 10 only earned $500 million all together. (It's unclear if Forbes is factoring in the fact that due to ties, there are 12 artists on 2009's list.) Also, while only four single concerts on last year's list topped $10 million, 10 shows surpassed that figure on this year's list, led by Billy Joel's goodbye to Shea Stadium.

Forbes Top Earning Musicians list:
1. Madonna $110 million
2. Celine Dion $100 million
3. Beyonce Knowles $87 million
4. Bruce Springsteen $70 million
5. Kenny Chesney $65 million
6. (tie) Coldplay $60 million
6. (tie) Rascal Flatts $60 million
6. (tie) AC/DC $60 million
9. The Eagles $55 million
10. Toby Keith $52 million
11. Bon Jovi $50 million
12. Dave Matthews Band $45 million

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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."

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