Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Mötley Crüe/Def Leppard among top-grossing tours of 2022

Mick Jagger, Elton John and Motley Crue's Vince Neil
(Image credit: Mick Jagger: Kevin Nixon | Elton John: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty | Vince Neil: Kevin Mazur/Getty)

Rock artists might not be selling albums in the manner they used to, but when it comes to putting butts on seats and shifting tickets for live shows, classic rock legends are still very much doing the business. 

US music industry bible Billboard today published it's annual report on the top-grossing tours of the year, and tours by The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Red Hot Chili Peppers and the stadium-slaying Mötley Crüe/Def Leppard spectacular all ranked among the Top 10 money-spinners of 2022.

Elton John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road campaign, which racked up 84 shows in 2022, was the second highest-grossing trek on the list, taking the silver medal slot behind a 65-date tour undertaken by Puerto Rican rapper/singer Bad Bunny. The British singer/songwriter's 84 shows drew in a total of 2,071,661 attendees, and grossed $334, 385, 023.

Fellow Brits The Rolling Stones are listed at number six in the report, with their 20 shows pulling in 949, 454 punters, and taking a combined gross of $179, 349, 815 according to the Boxscore chart. 

Red Hot Chili Peppers, who this week announced a 23-date 2023 world tour, enjoyed a profitable 2022 also: ranked at number 7 on the Billboard list, the California funk-rock behemoths grossed $176, 998, 650 from their 31 shows this year, playing to a total of 1,465, 881 fans.

And having been knocked back more than once by the Covid-19 pandemic, the North American Stadium Tour co-headlined by Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard also did sterling business: the hard rock veterans performed in front of 1,313, 207 punters, and grossed $173, 474, 649 from 35 shows.

Eagles, Guns N' Roses and returning emo kings My Chemical Romance are listed among the year's top 20 tours, while tours by English national treasures Genesis and Iron Maiden secured spots in the top 30.

The full list can be viewed at

The Rolling Stones recently announced the forthcoming release of GRRR Live!, a new live album recorded at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on December 15, 2012, during the band's 50 And Counting tour. 

The recording, described in a statement released by the Rolling Stones as "the definitive live hits album from the band’s career," will be released on February 10 via Mercury Studios. 

And in other gig-related news, last week Elton John was confirmed to headline tyhe closing night of Glastonbury 2023. This will be the great showman's first ever set at the UK's biggest music festival, and also his final ever UK show.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.