We’ve seen the screaming fans, heard about the packed concerts, and know everyone listened to The Beatles. (Everyone still does.) But once in a while, it’s interesting to check in on the staggering numbers the band posted over the years.
Even compared to the rock giants Led Zeppelin that followed in the next decade, The Beatles’ record sales stand tall. In fact, the British group claims the top spot in the history of record sales — and the number keeps going up every year.
So it’s easy to see how the famed songwriting team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney made a fortune while The Beatles recorded and toured. McCartney continues to do so and ranks among the richest men to ever write a song.
However, it’s a safe bet that, had he lived, Lennon would have become the richest musician to ever walk the earth. Here’s a look at his successes and his net worth at the time of his murder in December 1980.
Over 600 million album sales with The Beatles
Going by the raw numbers, The Beatles posted some mind-boggling statistics in record sales. In the U.S. alone, the group has posted over 178 million album sales. If you look at the singles (back in the day, 7-inch records), the numbers soar to 1.6 billion. (Yes, that’s 1,600,000,000 singles.)
Stretching that out to worldwide album sales, the number exceed 600 million records rung up on cash registers, iPads, and via online transactions around the world since The Beatles broke out in 1963.
Of course, album sales only tell a part of the story. The Beatles were selling out concert halls around the world whenever they appeared, appeared in movies produced for them, and had their songs covered by thousands of artists.
Every time money came in, John Lennon was getting a piece of it. Once he went solo at the end of the group’s run, his popularity hardly suffered. In fact, he’s sold the equivalent of 73 million albums on his own — an astonishing number in any era.
Lennon’s net worth was estimated at $800 million
At the time of his death, Lennon’s estimated net worth stood at $800 million. Obviously, had his life not ended tragically, he’d have become a billionaire in the following years. His final albums as a solo artist (and with wife Yoko Ono) were among his most successful recordings.
Of course, anyone who listens to the lyrics of “Imagine” would think these numbers didn’t matter much to him. It’s would have been impossible for Lennon as a young man to conceive of that sort of wealth (as it is for any young person).
McCartney, who continues recording and touring, actually surpassed the net worth of $1 billion. (Part of his fortune came from an inheritance, though the bulk obviously came from his work.)
Had he survived, Lennon’s net worth would most likely surpassed that of his old songwriting partner.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!