Name a band(s) and the song that made them the most money

Blisco

Senior Member
I had this idea about cover songs that my band plays. I like to take the approach of playing the second most popular hit from any given band. People still know it but not every other band in town plays it. That got me thinking about playing songs that people like or want to hear and being compensated as a cover band.

Then I thought about some bands and what songs made them the most money in their careers. So, let's discuss a band and what song grossed them the most, shall we?

I'll start it off.

Aerosmith: Has to be Walk this Way due to the Run DMC cover.

Great White: Has to be Once Bitten Twice Shy as their cover was huge and probably broke the band & made them a ton of $$

So...my band plays Sweet Emotion and Rock Me as the second best-known songs for example.

Please add yours
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Agree on Walk this Way.

Disagree on Once Bitten, Twice Shy, simply because it was a cover, so no one in the band got publishing money on that, though I get your point. Rock Me would have made them more money, as Jack Russel co-wrote the song. And it still gets decent radio play today on classic rock radio stations.
 

Peedy

Senior Member
No brainer. Lennon–McCartney.

Beatles - Yesterday. 2200 cover versions and counting.

Edit - should also mention that Ringo had the B side to that and so got half the single’s royalties. Bank!
 
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No Way Jose

Silver Member
I'm guessing "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones. Mick has been singing that hit song for almost 60 years and likely hates it by now.

Hey I hear Charlie is writing a book. It's called "Sympathy For The Drummer".
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Rush - Tom Sawyer - While many Rush albums have gone multi-platinum, Moving Pictures is still their best selling album to date and their biggest single (though New World Man technically charted higher)..

Journey "Don't Stop Believing" - Again, while they were fairly successful before this, Escape was a #1 album and Journey's best selling album by far. While "Open Arms" was the begger single at the time, Don't Stop Believing has endured longer, in cver bands, sports teams, and it's use in the Sopranos. Plus Journey's Greatest Hits has outsold their entire catalog, also featuring this song.

Fleetwood Mac - "Don't Stop" Ok, perhaps they have bigger singles, but it was Bill Clinton's use of the song "Don't Stop" that spurred Fleetwood Mac to reform, and the reformation led to more albums and numerous multi-million dollar tours that continue to today. Had this song not existed, or not been adopted, they may have never reformed.
 

Blisco

Senior Member
Rush - Tom Sawyer - While many Rush albums have gone multi-platinum, Moving Pictures is still their best selling album to date and their biggest single (though New World Man technically charted higher)..

Journey "Don't Stop Believing" - Again, while they were fairly successful before this, Escape was a #1 album and Journey's best selling album by far. While "Open Arms" was the begger single at the time, Don't Stop Believing has endured longer, in cver bands, sports teams, and it's use in the Sopranos. Plus Journey's Greatest Hits has outsold their entire catalog, also featuring this song.

Fleetwood Mac - "Don't Stop" Ok, perhaps they have bigger singles, but it was Bill Clinton's use of the song "Don't Stop" that spurred Fleetwood Mac to reform, and the reformation led to more albums and numerous multi-million dollar tours that continue to today. Had this song not existed, or not been adopted, they may have never reformed.
I agree with all 3 of these. Good ones, too.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Albert E. Brumley's gospel song "I'll Fly Away" is the most-recorded gospel song of all time. Over 5,000 versions have been recorded (mine included).

And no, it's NOT public domain. You gotta pay to record and distribute it.
 

trickg

Silver Member
What exactly are we looking for in this thread? Are we looking for cover songs that get the most mileage at a gig? If that's the case, here are a few:

Twist and Shout - The Beatles
Hard Day's Night - The Beatles
Honkytonk Woman - The Rolling Stones
Start Me Up - The Rolling Stones
Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
*Mustang Sally - Wilson Pickett
*Disco Inferno - The Trammps
*Get Down Tonight - KC and the Sunshine Band
*Celebration - Kool and the Gang
We Are Family - Sister Sledge
Don't Stop (thinking about tomorrow) - Fleetwood Mac (totally agree with this one - it's a slam dunk every time we play it)
Respect - Aretha Franklin
Love Shack - B52s
etc.

* it helps if your cover band has a solid horn line
 

danondrums

Well-known member
Rush - Tom Sawyer - While many Rush albums have gone multi-platinum, Moving Pictures is still their best selling album to date and their biggest single (though New World Man technically charted higher)..
Agreed on a band level, but I might guess that Working Man makes Alex and Geddy more money than Tom Sawyer brings in since Neil probably gets little, if any income from that. :)
 

trickg

Silver Member
So thinking about this some more, there are some other possibilities - if all we're doing is looking for a band, and a song that potentially made them a lot of money:

I'll Be There For You - The Rembrandts
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (Life Goes On) - The Beatles
I Don't Want to Miss a Thing - Aerosmith
Prince of Bel Air - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Good Ol' Boys (Dukes of Hazzard Theme Song) - Waylon Jennings
I Will Always Love You - Dolly Parton
Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds
Bittersweet Symphony - The Verve
Stayin' Alive - The Bee Gees
Shoot To Thrill - AC/DC
Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
Only the Young - Journey

I'm looking at this from the perspective of Royalties, and the fact that some of these songs were used as theme songs for TV shows that remain in syndication, or songs that were featured in movies.

Consider, the guy who wrote "Suicide is Painless" for the original M.A.S.H movie ended up making millions off of that song because rather than just paying the kid (the director's son) outright, they gave him a publishing deal and the royalty rights to the song that later became the theme song for the M.A.S.H. TV show, which has been on the air in syndication since 1978 when CBS added reruns to it's daytime rotation. EVERY SINGLE TIME that show is broadcast, Michael Altman earns money for it.
 

Blisco

Senior Member
So thinking about this some more, there are some other possibilities - if all we're doing is looking for a band, and a song that potentially made them a lot of money:

I'll Be There For You - The Rembrandts
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (Life Goes On) - The Beatles
I Don't Want to Miss a Thing - Aerosmith
Prince of Bel Air - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Good Ol' Boys (Dukes of Hazzard Theme Song) - Waylon Jennings
I Will Always Love You - Dolly Parton
Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds
Bittersweet Symphony - The Verve
Stayin' Alive - The Bee Gees
Shoot To Thrill - AC/DC
Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
Only the Young - Journey

I'm looking at this from the perspective of Royalties, and the fact that some of these songs were used as theme songs for TV shows that remain in syndication, or songs that were featured in movies.

Consider, the guy who wrote "Suicide is Painless" for the original M.A.S.H movie ended up making millions off of that song because rather than just paying the kid (the director's son) outright, they gave him a publishing deal and the royalty rights to the song that later became the theme song for the M.A.S.H. TV show, which has been on the air in syndication since 1978 when CBS added reruns to it's daytime rotation. EVERY SINGLE TIME that show is broadcast, Michael Altman earns money for it.

Yes! Theme songs would be huge. Great list. Can you imagine having the theme for Friends? Check every week. ;)
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Badfinger - Without You

Tragic band but hopefully their relatives are reaping the rewards the band never did.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
I don't think we can always assume that chart rankings = $. There are so many factors such as the bands publishing deal, who wrote the songs, future licensing deals, any probably many more factors that we don't even know about.

One example is the song "accidently in love" by Counting Crows. Adam Dukitz wrote it, performed it and put his bands name on it. It was in a multi-million dollar hollywood movie, was a #1 song around the world and had a huge video attached. But from what I heard he made almost nothing from it. I guess the reality is he was paid a nominal amount from the studio for all the licensing and publishing at the beginning and never had any rights to the song. So much so that they don't even play it live.
 

trickg

Silver Member
Yes! Theme songs would be huge. Great list. Can you imagine having the theme for Friends? Check every week. ;)
I read an article about that song and the band (I can't seem to find it at the moment) and the "funny" thing about it is that they actively tried to distance themselves from that song - they only wrote it because they had been contracted to do it for this show that no one knew at the time was going to become a huge hit. The song is completely wrong for what that group does as a band, and yet it's the song that defines the band because it's the one thing that everyone knows.

If it was me, I'd be skipping all the way to the bank, but apparently they still have a real issue with it - they play it at their shows, but they hate doing it.
 
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