Rock Stars Who Are Poorer Than You Think

Rock Stars Who Are Poorer Than You Think

Many rock stars have earned hefty sums during
their careers, and a lot of them have also lost hefty sums during their careers. The rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle doesn’t tend to
breed paragons of financial responsibility, so let’s take a look at some rock stars who
are surprisingly poor. With his monthly residency at Madison Square
Garden and scores of hit songs, it’s not like Billy Joel wallows in poverty. Still, even a wealthy entertainer feels it
when someone embezzles him out of tens of millions of dollars. This is exactly what happened to Joel, courtesy
of his former manager Frank Weber. The ridiculous numbers involved were revealed
in 1989, when Joel sued Weber for a whopping $90 million. $30 million of that was compensatory damage
for money Weber had allegedly squandered, and $60 million was punitive damages for the
multiple ways Weber had reportedly defrauded According to the lawsuit, Weber had given
huge loans to his own enterprises in Joel’s name, lost over $10 million on various investments,
and even mortgaged the singer’s copyrights without bothering to mention it. All the while, he was pulling strings to make
the papers that Joel received massively misleading. And while he was doing all this, he was also
happily raking in $20 million of Joel’s money in commissions. Joel’s quest for comeuppance didn’t exactly
go well, as Weber cunningly filed for bankruptcy and the case was ultimately settled out of
court. This notably wasn’t even the first time the
Weber family had hurt the singer. In 1982, Joel had a painful divorce from Weber’s
sister Elizabeth, who ironically also used to manage Joel, who would later exclaim, “I hooked up with the Borgias!” Despite being one of country music’s most
popular and longest-tenured artists, Willie Nelson has surprisingly little to show for
himself. Many of his difficulties stem from his issues
with the IRS, which hit him with a ridiculous $16.6 million bill in 1990. While Nelson’s lawyer negotiated it down to
a “mere” $6 million, it didn’t make the sum any more affordable for the artist. Things eventually escalated to a point at
which the IRS confiscated basically everything Nelson owned in 1990, and the poor country
star had to spend years in tax debt limbo. At one point, he even released an album called
The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories? in an effort to raise money to pay his tax bill. “This is a collection of songs that is very
special to me, and I hope you’ll enjoy listening to them as much as I enjoyed playing them
for you.” Despite those efforts to pay back his taxes,
Nelson wasn’t fully in the clear. As Texas Monthly reported in 1991, his finances
were somewhat rocky even without the IRS calling to collect. The country legend had a habit of keeping
a huge entourage and distributing his cash readily to hangers-on, sometimes to the point
that he himself had little left. Chan Marshall, better known as Cat Power,
is one of the premier indie music success stories of the late nineties and early 2000s. By the 2010s, she was a revered artist that
managed to sell out venues wherever she went on tour. That’s the kind of career that not only makes
people assume a musician has financial security, but also root for her to have it. After all, isn’t it nice when an indie rocker
can secure such a huge slice of the success pie? So imagine everyone’s surprise when Marshall
canceled her 2012 European tour due to the fact that she had gone bankrupt. To be fair, she had some perfectly good reasons
for her unfortunate financial situation. She has a history of addiction, psychotic
breaks, and mental health issues. Some of these have led to hospitalization,
which have necessitated wallet-hurting tour cancellations. In 2012, she had spent most of her savings
on producing her hit album, Sun, when she was struck down by angioedema, a nasty immune
disorder that swells up the face, tongue, and throat and is potentially life-threatening. Fortunately, she recovered, and she seems
to be doing a lot better these days. It’s probably fair to say that Ron Isley of
the Isley Brothers isn’t the greatest taxpayer on earth. In 2006, he was charged with five counts of
tax evasion and one count of “willful failure to file a tax return,” which netted him three
years and one month behind bars, along with $3.1 million in back taxes. This was the last straw in a history of IRS
troubles, to the point that the judge called him a, quote, “serial tax avoider.” Isley’s history with money is certainly less
than exemplary. He first filed for bankruptcy in 1984, and
the second time came in 1997, when the IRS had enough with his antics and seized a bunch
of his property, including cars and a yacht. In 2001, the singer was discharged from bankruptcy,
but he promptly failed to file his tax returns for the past four years and cheated on his
return for 2002. Fortunately, his 2006 prison sentence taught
him his lesson and put him back on the straight and narrow. That is, if one ignores that he was still
fighting the IRS in 2013, and his earliest tax return troubles go all the way back to
1971. At least he’s consistent. Brooklyn-bred indie rock band Grizzly Bear
first broke big around 2006. According to a 2012 interview with Vulture,
they went from playing at diners for handfuls of people to opening for Radiohead, having
their music featured in Super Bowl ads, and being praised by Jay-Z. Still, years of indie prestige, sold-out venues,
and critical acclaim didn’t make the band super-rich. In fact, according to singer Ed Droste, they’re
pretty far from any kind of wealth at all. The band members still live in the same places
they did pre-fame, and some of them don’t even have health insurance. While Droste admits they’re getting by, he
told Vulture the fact that no one’s buying records anymore makes bands appear bigger
than they actually are. He also noted that even the seemingly lucrative
act of licensing a song will only bring the band members a small amount of financial security. As Droste put it, it might make them go, “Yay, I don’t have to pay rent for two months.” Grizzly Bear generates most of its revenue
from touring, but after agents, managers, tour staff, venues, Ticketmaster, and others
have taken their share, the band members’ bank accounts are apparently nothing to write
home about. To make things easier on their wallet, they
cut costs by only sleeping in hotels occasionally and generally treating the whole operation
as a risky small business. Sly Stone and his group the Family Stone were
a mainstay of the late sixties and early seventies music scene, and songs like “Dance to the
Music” and “Everyday People” remain pop culture touchstones to this day. So it’s easy to think that Stone, as the frontman
and primary songwriter of the group, would be rolling in the same kind of cash many other
superstars of the era do. Alas, instead, in 2011 he was rolling in his
camper van, which he also lived in. But if you go back to 2007, Stone was still
living the kind of life you’d expect from a star of his caliber. He had a huge house, multiple cars, and a
vineyard in Napa Valley. However, it appears that the combination of
a hefty drug habit and some financial difficulties, including a $50 million lawsuit against his
former manager, eventually left him in a bad place. While Stone himself claimed to enjoy the transient
van life, that may have just been him trying to put a positive spin on his circumstances. Luckily, his finances have somewhat improved
thanks to the Music Modernization Act, which dragged copyright law kicking and screaming
into the modern age. In the process, it netted Stone some surely
welcome streaming royalties. Conor Oberst, who is best known as the founder
of the indie band Bright Eyes, told W Magazine in 2017 that he recently moved to Omaha, Nebraska
because he couldn’t afford New York City rents anymore. One of the reasons he can’t make ends meet
in the Big Apple probably has something to do with the time he fell victim to a strange
and hurtful online hoax. Oberst’s reputation took a serious hit in
2013, when an anonymous woman claimed online that he had assaulted her. That accusation went viral on the internet
and eventually spread to mainstream media. Oberst’s representatives released a statement,
and a back-and-forth over whether the artist was guilty or not started raging. Five months into the incident, Oberst sued
the commenter, who had deleted her initial post, for libel. Two months later, she admitted that she had
made the whole thing up for attention. Still, the story was already out there on
the internet, and tons of people were now seeing Oberst’s name in conjunction with a
nasty accusation. From his time in The Partridge Family to his
status as a major pop star, David Cassidy’s lengthy career and permanently smiling face
always made it seem that he was enjoying a financially secure life. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from
the truth. Before his death in 2017, he was living with
dementia while also dealing with the burden of financial problems. In 2015, People Magazine reported that he
filed for bankruptcy and that his accumulated debts ran as high as $10 million. Meanwhile, his heirs received only roughly
$150,000 in assets and assorted music memorabilia. One possible reason for Cassidy’s surprisingly
low net worth may be that the dementia he claimed he was fighting was not, in fact,
dementia at all. He had a history of alcoholism and had three
DUI arrests in his final years, and in 2018, a documentary that aired on A&E revealed that
prior to his death, Cassidy confessed that the dementia was actually all about alcohol. He had been drinking and quietly suffering
from a liver disease while his family thought he was clean. Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman
Scott Weiland was notorious for his struggles with addiction. His longtime demons finally got the best of
him when he died of an accidental overdose of cocaine, MDA, and ethanol in December 2015. As such tragedies tend to do, this prompted
a look into the late singer’s finances, which weren’t exactly in great shape either. Since his death, Weiland’s estate has been
bringing in an average annual royalty income of almost $265,000. Overall, the total value of his estate was
reportedly $1.6 million, according to court documents filed in 2018. That doesn’t sound too bad, but there are
some significant bills to pay. Weiland reportedly owed $645,000 to City National
Bank and $700,000 to a “significant federal creditor,” which makes the net worth of his
estate less than a year’s worth of royalties. As such, it appears that his kids didn’t exactly
become millionaires overnight. In 2018, a judge ruled that the estate must
pay the two children of Weiland and his ex-wife Mary an allowance of $4,000 per month until
they turn 18. Considering that the children were already
15 and 17 at the time of the ruling, they’re not exactly set for life. Legendary Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister
roamed the earth’s venues nigh-constantly from the seventies to his death in 2015. He’s indisputably one of the greatest rock
stars of all time. As his band’s sole consistent member and their
main songwriter, he should by all accounts have been rolling in countless millions. Or so you’d think. According to Metal Insider, the total worth
of Kilmister’s estate at the time of his death was originally assumed to be around $8.3 million. However, it eventually turned out to be $648,000,
which is certainly nothing to scoff at, but it does seem like a pretty insignificant sum
for so many decades of sheer rock ‘n’ roll. Of course, it’s not like Kilmister didn’t
have opportunities to spend what he earned over the years. He was known for his excesses, from his decades-long
speed and alcohol habits to his extensive collection of German war memorabilia. In some ways, his relative lack of wealth
isn’t surprising at all, considering how much he was living up the rock star lifestyle. “Without drugs, would there be a Motörhead?” “Oh yeah there would be, yeah, some sort
of-” “Would it be the same?” “No, probably wouldn’t be called Motörhead
cause that’s slang for ‘speed freak.'” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about your favorite
musicians are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.


  1. Grunge says:

    Who were you surprised to find in this video?

  2. henry ross says:

    I'm still mad at Sly for being a know show at his concert in Portland Oregon at the Paramount in the early 70,s. At least his sister did her best to cover for him. Ike Turner did the same thing at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland back in the day. Buddy Miles did a good job sitting in for Ike's doped up ass.

  3. Cicada 3301 says:

    Ha I have their T, Great T, I thought Motorhead were a clothing company!

  4. Nothing Free says:

    ohhhh! i can't hold the tears! 😀😊

  5. tony palombini jr says:

    One thing you definitely don’t want to do is get in a car if Billy Joel is driving.

  6. Enoch Gagne says:

    I want money for my history teacher making me sing "We didn't Start The Fire"

  7. Him Bike says:

    Just say no to drugs

  8. Dennis Morris says:

    Billy joel is a good guy. He luvs motorcycles.

  9. Dennis Morris says:

    Willie Nelson doesn't give af much about money.

  10. Jim Leask says:

    The IRS one of the most corrupt and unorganized entities in the USA ! It should be disbanded !

  11. Johnny West says:

    Drug addicts drug addicts drug addicts. Go to Hell. Go straight to Hell. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.

  12. Mike R. says:

    MC Hammer makes some money: "Guess I'll buy some gold toilets."

  13. football goodies says:

    George Clinton had the same thing happen to him but manage to sue and get back legal right to his music, the music business sucks !

  14. football goodies says:

    Sly Stone was living with George Clinton at one point the two worked on Funkadelic last album in 2014 and Sly recording the song the Naz on that album.

  15. 90caliber Macher says:

    Billy Joel is fawking rich. His home is so massive it could qualify for its own zip code.

  16. LJKfromJHB says:

    I have never heard of most of these people.

  17. Mario Cassina says:

    When billie Joel became Elmer fudd?

  18. Walter Grace says:

    We didn't start the fire, but the biggest catch is that we held the matches…

  19. Jeremiah Woodsi says:

    Putting sly in here is a lowblow!

  20. Jeremiah Woodsi says:

    Bullshit report that sly won 14 million in a major lawsuit

  21. Anthony Rose says:

    Sign your own checks don’t give people power over your money

  22. monmixer says:

    I was actually in the room one night while Willie's pay was being counted prior to handing it to his manager. not long after the IRS thing hit the papers. 50 grand in small bills. nothing over a 20.

  23. Abida Babida says:

    i didnt even know david cassidy was dead!

  24. David Ronson says:

    I have never heard about these people in this video, they pick losers to make a video about.

  25. Santino Williams says:

    Not all are poor they just took some major hits but their ship still didn't sink, as far as the rest it is what it is.

  26. ontnurse2 says:

    Billy looks unwell.He is amazing talent but now he looks obese and sweating profusely. Love his music though.

  27. ontnurse2 says:

    Rock stars? Have never heard of most of them.

  28. Edson Bean says:

    Not as rich as you may think most are not poor

  29. Edson Bean says:

    Mr Willie has 25 mill

  30. Dean Robert says:

    Billy can only count to 4, so you know numbers are not his thing.

  31. Eileen Miller says:

    If I was as poor as these rock stars…!!!!!!

  32. Miss Texas says:

    IRS is illegal. Look it up, educate yourself.

  33. Charles Griggs says:

    It's a crime to be poor ?

  34. Laurie Huntley says:

    There should be something they can do about Corrupt Managers



  36. Haggie Fatigue says:

    To be fair, Billy Joel was cleaned out by his ex-wives. Katie Lee was a hick who struck gold with this one. Elevated her hillBilly status!

  37. E Rust says:

    People confuse fame with wealth ; the two don’t necessarily go hand in hand. For u kiddies out there that don’t “know half the people on this list” u r obviously too young to remember the fact that record companies have been ripping off artists in many ways from the start. Not to mention crooked managers. Even Prince at his height was embattled with this issue! Sadly many of these artists were easy targets as they had substance abuse issues! So kids, as u sit comfortably in your room clicking away, u have no clue as to the business of music or the unscrupulous contracts young artists are forced to sign just to have a chance at this being their career! I’ve first hand experience in it being married to an Indy guitarist for many years… for thought!

  38. ARCTURUS says:

    BJ is worth close to a quarter billion dollars Old pointless News, No one this list are broke, Being Broke for Star is like winning the Lottery for everyone else

  39. Sweller Bunion says:


  40. Don Ismyname says:

    They don't have high IQ's and drugs are always on their mind.

  41. LPinfinity says:

    Billy Joel is worth like 200 million dollars

  42. Marc Duchamp says:

    You can’t keep even one penny when you die so technically nobody is any poorer then anybody else, all comes to dust most are delusional thinking their own anything

  43. Qruz Trump says:

    Background continued: On April 16, the FSB verbally confirmed to Legatt that there will be no problem with the Russian Ministry of Aviation concerning Mueller's flight (although we probably won't see paperwork until shortly before the trip). The FBI is requiring that the sample be turned over to a Russian law enforcement authority (i.e., FSB) as opposed to an intelligence service (i.e., SVR) or technical authority (i.e., Rosatom). A representative from the responsible Russian Law Enforcement authority, who will accept custody of the sample, must be identified and verified ahead of time. That individual will be required to have signatory authority to accept the sample. Appropriate arrangements need to be made to ensure the transfer of material is conducted at the airport, plane-side, upon arrival of the Director's aircraft. Post should also remind the GOR that this is the material about which the GOR gave the USG nonproliferation assurances in 2008 (ref) in a diplomatic note from February 2008.

  44. Qruz Trump says:

    We require confirmation that a representative from a responsible Russian law enforcement authority will be available to accept custody of the sample and have signatory authority to accept the sample. –We require that the transfer of this material be conducted at the airport, on the tarmac near by the plane, upon arrival of the Director's aircraft.

  45. Qruz Trump says:

    (SBU) Post is requested to draw from background above and the following talking points: –We wish to inform you that FBI Director Mueller plans to arrive in Moscow at approximately 10 pm local time on April 27 with a ten-gram sample of seized HEU, which you requested for nuclear forensics analysis.

  46. Qruz Trump says:

    3. (S) Embassy Moscow is requested to alert as soon as possible and at the highest appropriate level the Russian Federation that FBI Director Mueller plans to deliver the HEU material once he arrives to Moscow on April 27. Post is requested to convey information with regard to chain of custody, and to request details on Russian Federation's plan for picking up the material.

  47. David Houghton says:

    Bottom line …….who cares?

  48. Suzie Smith says:

    I hope Bill Joel is a nicer person than when I met him..

  49. Pale Horse says:

    Grizzly Bears….Rock Star? LOl yea OK. I bet your a CNN reporter.

  50. Carpe cervisiam says:

    Billy should be more careful where he leaves his wallet when the Clintons come to visit

  51. Charming Ferret says:

    So-called Rockstars don't even own their names.

  52. Jack Action says:

    Who hand picked this list??..Alot of nobodies and unknowns in here

  53. JOE PRETE says:

    Why put Billy Joel in the "Rock" category? He's not at all like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Doors,The Stones, Aerosmith, AC/DC etc.

  54. Rodney Caupp says:

    This sounded like the history of Rock and Roll. Every generation of Rock has it's Crooked Managers, Crooked Lawyers, and Stars who spend it all, not to mention Copy Writers, Publicists, and OTHERS who screw with the Musicians Money Bag. Maybe I should say it's the story of life. My Employers were all Oligarch Assholes.

  55. Stephen Greer says:

    well they might be poor but not by my standards

  56. Doctor Hilarious says:

    Not rock stars. Musicians.

  57. aiolos000 says:

    I only now realized that Billy Joel is a lookalike of Daniel Baremboim

  58. Paul McQuown says:

    David Cassidy was NOT a Rock Star.

  59. Loki says:

    Chan Marshall, otherwise known as "Who Dat?"…

  60. Joseph Voll says:

    That's BS that Willie Nelson's "friends" take advantage of his kindness like they do! No doubt that's the main reason for his financial issues!

  61. Joseph Voll says:

    Am I the only person that doesn't ever remember CatPower being even remotely famous??? I never even heard of her back when she was supposedly "selling out all the venues she played". How did I miss such a supposedly famous Artist???

  62. Haydes Wharewaka says:

    Ha Billy joel deserves everything he got. Wanker

  63. Dayon Panyalai says:

    Indy…Indy …Indy.

  64. Diane Keller says:

  65. Paisteboy says:

    Nice job! Very thorough.

  66. SJ Howe says:

    So when you say "German war memorabilia…" The front man of Motorhead had a speed, booze & Nazi schwag addiction?

  67. Soaker City says:


  68. John Moore says:

    Billy Joel once lived in a Castle and now is extending his current stately Long Island property, so regardless of having to sue to recoup monies years ago for a long long time he's been very wealthy.

  69. Iwan Bottos says:

    What ? Joel and Nelson can fill a music hall tonight and male a million bucks What idiot talk is thos

  70. Cassandra Morrison says:

    Willie is not a rock star so why is he here?

  71. Shawn Begley says:

    You ain't Dead yet $$$?,,,, get the Money $$$,,,, 👑

  72. Fred Flintstone says:

    I never heard of most of these people.

  73. Kypli 1 says:

    I don't think you guys know what ROCK star means

  74. Barbara Hock says:

    Billy shouldn’t have dropped out of high school.



  76. Trudi Dolder says:

    Why am I not surprised? They spend money like nobody can believe. I sure do not feel sorry for any of them.

  77. Uncle Sweets says:

    If I were wealthy I wouldn’t trust anyone any more then that I don’t now. No financial advisor. No anyone except an attorney and I’d have him being watched and somebody watching him watching the 2 of them. Steal my money, your life is over.

  78. TheT151 says:

    It's amazing how the Black artist went to jail Sly Stone has to sue to get those royalties

  79. jason longsden says:

    Grunge, please Google the word "Rock" before you use it again. as you clearly have no clue.

  80. Broken Lions says:

    I thought it said billy joe

  81. youreallbrainwashed says:

    Money sucks

  82. Franklin Cover says:

    Billy Joel is no rock star, he cant drive for shit, and his music sucks.

  83. C. S. McLeod says:

    Cat Power? Cat Power???

  84. Roz Christopherson says:

    Never said any of these rock stars donated to charities. Sad.

  85. Paul Arata says:

    Never get a manager. Booking agent, yes
    Manager, no.

  86. Paul Arata says:

    Billy Joel might have the second largest yacht on long island sound. I feel bad about the usual problem of getting ripped off by a manager, but his royalties from radio airplay seem to have taken care of some of that. Who has the biggest yacht? The car recycling guy. He buys and crushes and scraps cars.

  87. Christopher Winstanley says:

    Yah few things I didn't know. However, there seems an imbalance with wealth and perhaps happiness. It's a place when they earn nothing at all, or they hit the big time.

  88. Luke Walters says:

    Indie rock much?

  89. dick welch says:

    So why is Clintons not in jail

  90. David Marskell says:

    "Accidental overdose of cocaine, MDA and ethanol." Rule #1 Pay your taxes! You could be the biggest shithead on the planet but as long as you pay your taxes, it's all good.

  91. ProFoundStudios says:

    It’s amazing that we still haven’t figured out that taxation is theft 🧐


    Who the hell knows Grizzly Bear? This video sucks.

  93. Livin The Life says:

    Billy joel isnt a rock star….far from it…..he is a bubble gum music guy.

  94. oliver guerrero says:

    Weiland said, drugs, stints in rehab, and two divorces drained him. He said he should have been worth 30 million, but his 1st wife cleaned him out

  95. Grey Eye says:

    Any "star" that is poorer than we think misspent their money

  96. Mark Me says:

    Im shocked Grizzly Bear are multi millionaires!

  97. Dark Mavis says:

    Willies got a’plenty.

  98. Alan Heath says:

    Should of bought expensive Sports Cars and Stored

  99. My feelings TRUMP your facts says:

    I was just feeling sorry for myself for being such a loser, now I feel much better

  100. My feelings TRUMP your facts says:

    Who can afford New York city rent prices! Doesn't mean shit

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