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  • Writer's pictureMusic Royalties Inc.

The 10 richest (i.e. highest-earning) songs of all time

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.

  1. Happy Birthday, The Hill Sisiters (1893): Esitmated earnings of $70 million.

  2. White Christmas, Irving Berlin (1940): $66 million (It’s sold over 100 million copies in various forms)

  3. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Phil Spector (1964): $65 million

  4. Yesterday, Paul McCartney and John Lennon (1965): $60 million (It’s the most-covered song of all time)

  5. Unchained Melody, Alex North and Hy Zaret (1955): $55 million

  6. Stand by Me, Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (1961): $50 million

  7. Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Haven Gillespie and Fred Coots (1934), $45 million

  8. Every Breath You Take, Sting (1983): $35 million (Sting makes about $2,000/day from the song)

  9. Oh Pretty Woman, Roy Orbison and Bill Dees (1964): $30 million

  10. Christmas Song, Mel Torme (1944): $35 million

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