Sure, it’s nice to have a long string of hit songs that generate royalties to support you in to your dotage. But sometimes, you need just one song to make that happen.
Celebrity Net Worth took a look at the hit songs that have generated the most in royalties since they were released. All figures are in American dollars.
- Happy Birthday, The Hill Sisiters (1893): Esitmated earnings of $70 million.
- White Christmas, Irving Berlin (1940): $66 million (It’s sold over 100 million copies in various forms)
- You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Phil Spector (1964): $65 million
- Yesterday, Paul McCartney and John Lennon (1965): $60 million (It’s the most-covered song of all time)
- Unchained Melody, Alex North and Hy Zaret (1955): $55 million
- Stand by Me, Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (1961): $50 million
- Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Haven Gillespie and Fred Coots (1934), $45 million
- Every Breath You Take, Sting (1983): $35 million (Sting makes about $2,000/day from the song)
- Oh Pretty Woman, Roy Orbison and Bill Dees (1964): $30 million
- Christmas Song, Mel Torme (1944): $35 million