Top 10 Richest Bassists in the World

These bassists have many zeroes not only in their tabs.

Ultimate Guitar
Top 10 Richest Bassists in the World

10. Geezer Butler – $70 million

Geezer Butler was an essential part in Black Sabbath's unique sound, and one of the first bassists to incorporate wah pedal in playing. He also popularized the C# tuning on bass guitar and that sure paid off for him.

9. Bill Wyman - $80 Million

Although Bill Wyman’s solo albums were praised by critics but didn't have a commercial success, who needs solo career when you played in Rolling Stones for almost thirty years?

8. John Paul Jones – $80 million

All members of Led Zeppelin are talented, and John Paul Jones is no exception. He can play not only write kick-ass bass lines as in 'Achilles Last Stand', but also play multiple instruments including organ. Throughout his career worked with some of the most famous rock artists in history including R.E.M., Peter Gabriel and Paul McCartney, had a successful own solo career and played in the rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures with Dave Grohl and Josh Homme.

7. Flea – $110 million

How can anyone dislike Flea? His bass playing is synonymous with Red Hot Chili Peppers, and is one of the main reasons behind the band's commerical success. The bassist of an incredible talent has been heavily influenced by the king of funk Bootsy Collins, but his playing style goes far beyond that. Moreover, Flea invests in real estate, as in 2011 he sold his house to Jack Black for twice as much money thanhe bought it for.

6. John Deacon - $115 Million

Queen's John Deacon is the man behind some of the most famous bass lines in history such as 'Another One Bites the Dust' and 'Under Pressure." Unfortunately, since Freddie's tragic death Deacon went to ground, avoiding anything to do with Queen thereafter with the exception of the Freddie Mercury Tribute gig at Wembley Stadium in 1992

5. Adam Clayton – $150 million

U2’s Adam Clayton has made his mark as a bassist, and has crafted some notable baselines on some of U2’s most popular hits including “Mysterious Ways”, “New Years Day” and “Bullet the Blue Sky”. Moreover, he penned the theme song for the 1996 movie Mission: Impossible.

4. Roger Waters – $270 million

The founder of Pink Floyd also wrote the most of the band's songs. After the split with David Gilmour he didn't become any poorer, as his "The Wall Live” tour became one of the highest grossing tours of all time by a solo artist.

2. Gene Simmons – $300 million

No matter what they say about Gene Simmons, he sure can do business. The KISS bassist was successful in becoming a part of a rock brand instead of a rock band. From caskets to air guitar strings, KISS fans will buy everything that has the logo on it and that's what gets Gene Simmons on the second place in our list.

2. Sting – $300 million

The singer, songwriter, and bassist of the new wave rock band the Police has also a highly successful solo career that brought him a fortune of $300 million which he isn't planning to share with his children.

1. Paul McCartney – $1.2 billion

While he was in The Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney created some the most popular songs in history with his bandmate John Lennon, and afterward, he pursued a successful solo career, by founding the band 'Wings' with his wife Linda.


89 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Saw it coming. Pretty sure Paul is the richest musician period.
    Michael Jackson was probably the only one who came even close. His estate is worth over $600 million, though I'm not sure how accurate that is. Also, MJ was known for spending his money on... well, whatever the heck he wanted to.
    Dr. Dre is.
    Dr Dre's dead, he's locked in my basement.
    Naw, Madonna has more bucks than Paul. But she doesn't play bass! McCartney is the 2nd richest musician in the world. 
    john paul jones is such a fucking talented dude. 
    I agree, he's just a fantastic bass player, probably one of my favourites ever.
    yeah, and what blew my mind before is that he's capable of playing a bunch of other instruments.  he contributed a lot more than just bass for them crooked vultures. 
    To be fair, I am pretty sure Paul McCartney is also the world's most wealthy singer, guitarist, pianist, ukelelist, drummer and trumpet player.
    Probably the richest Paul as well.
    John Paul Jones and Flea have the same bass-face
    Haha the cocky satisfied baby who knows someone else is gonna clean his diaper face. Oh to be a bassist.
    No Steve Harris?! Also, am I the only one who doesn't think of Flea as a multimillionaire?
    Why wouldn't you? He's a founding member of one of the most successful bands of all time. I'd be very surprised if they haven't out sold It on Maiden by A LOT.
    I don't know how the "It on," got in there. It's supposed to just say "...out sold Maiden..."
    "since Freddie's tragic death Deacon went to ground, avoiding anything to do with Queen thereafter with the exception of the Freddie Mercury Tribute gig at Wembley Stadium in 1992" What about the 1997 single "No-One but You"?
    Really surprised at Adam Clayton at 5th place. Can't remember anything in a U2 song that stood out, bass wise. Like all the rest of the guys has. But I've listen to the other artist a lot more so...
    It's not about standing out in the music, it's about being in one of the biggest bands in the world. This isn't a list of talent but wealth, and I bet the Edge's guitar tech would be in a top 10 richest list even though most fans don't even know his name.
    Dallas Schoo is Edge's guitar tech. Adam's most prominent bass lines are from Gloria, New Year's Day (especially live), Two Hearts Beat as One, With or Without You, Bullet the Blue Sky, Mysterious Ways, and lots of others, but people pick up on those. He's certainly not technical but he's taken lessons now for at least a decade. Ironically he covered more ground on the neck on U2's early albums when he didn't know what he was really doing back then. He and Bono went to see Rush in 1985-86 so he must have great taste in bass players! 
    With or Without You is pretty much 4 notes, but one of the most memorable rock baselines out there. It is pretty impressive to come up with something so simplistic yet distinctive.
    I agree. He just plays that same progression the ENTIRE song but that's ok in this instance. Serve the song. I remember seeing a clip of Police drummer, Stewart Copeland who said something like "I'm going to show you the most difficult thing to do on drums," and then he played a straight beat (don't know how to write beats) for 4 minutes; no deviation, no accents, no alternation on the bass and snare interplay, nothing! Guess what? It is hard!  Back to the bass. Sure I prefer Geddy Lee type of lines, but hats off to anyone who's made it in the business. 
    I remember seeing a video of Kim Deal of Pixies fame saying something similar about her approach to bass. She demonstrated the bassline for 'Where Is My Mind?' and explained that most players would follow the guitar at the end of the bar but she maintained the same pattern as the rest of the bar.  And Albert Hammond Jr. said the reason he got the Strokes gig was because he played straight, which made him stand out amongst other players. Sometimes playing straight is the hardest thing to do
    I've heard somewhere that they share profits equally between band members, which would explain it. Plus, that theme song must be earning him quite the royalty package.
    They forgot to mention that John Paul Jones plays regularly with Seasick Steve. 
    (Useless info: The hubcap that Seasick made his guitar with in the video was given to him by Jack White.) 
    Of all those on the list, it's Bill Wyman that surprises me.  In the history of the Stones he obviously made a lot from touring, but only got a handful of songwriting credits...and I doubt his solo albums sold a huge amount.  The rest of the guys on the list all have substantial songwriting royalties which is where the real $$$ comes from  
    Bill made some wise investments which likely accounts for a fair bit of his money. 
    Just think if McCartney had owned The Beatles rights all along instead of just the past 30 or so years. He'd have like a bazillion dollars.
    I had no idea Paul was a billionaire. I don't really think of him as a bassist. It might be odd, but he played so much piano and guitar that I think of him as more of a songwriter in general.
    The thing with these "lists" is where is the evidence? it's just suposition on someones part. Fact is no one really knows what these people are worth as we don't know the deals they signed and for that matter, how good they are at managing their money. I would be very surprised in reality if Steve Harris wasn't right up there, loads of songwriting credits and he designed the maiden logo, that equates to a hell of a lot of ££
    To put things in perspective Duff McKagan 20 millions But he earned over 80 millions in his career just from album sales. AFD 30 millions UYI 1&2 over 50 millions
    How can anyone dislike Flea?
    I don't not like him per se, but it bugs me when he headbangs when the song isn't even heavy.
    Ok allow me to preface this comment with a compliment; cool list. There's just three issues I have with it: 1. Adam Clayton did NOT 'pen' or write the theme song for Mission:Impossible. He rearranged (remixed would be a more accurate way of putting it) the theme in collaboration with his fellow rhythm section partner Larry Mullen. The song was actually composed by Lalo Schifrin in 1967. 2. For a list of ten richest bassists, you posted a picture of Sting playing a goddamn LUTE?!?! You couldn't find a decent photo of him playing the bass? There's thousands of photos that could have been used Niass! 3. Where's Steve Harris? Or even Robert Trujillo? Robert made a million dollars (as seen on Some Kind of Bullshi...I mean Monster, sorry ; ) just to join Metallica.  
    I'm pretty sure William Murderface is the richest bass player in history....
    No Geddy Lee? Seriously? What about Duff McKagan? Cliff Williams? John McVie? Peter Cetera? Michael Anthony? Ross Valory?
    Flea deserves to be richer than Adam Clayton.
    If I saw that a baseball player finished his career with "only" $87M while another had $110M, I'd think they were the same. Sure, one guy technically has more, but having ~$100M is a pretty sweet deal for both.