Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Toby Keith Are Tops in Touring - Rolling Stone
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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 ChesneyKenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney performs in Las Vegas

Ethan Miller, Getty Images

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.

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“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.


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