Andrew Lloyd Webber is richest musician in the world
When it comes to who’s the world’s richest musician, many people have different takes. Some will give iconic Beatles member Paul McCartney the title. Others will give it to rapper turned businessman Jay Z. The prestigious title actually belongs to one of the greatest composers ever.
Any dream will do
As a kid in London, Andrew Lloyd Webber didn’t spend his time conversing with other children. He was busy writing musical compositions when he was only nine years old. For Webber, his interest in music stemmed from his upbringing. His father William composed music, and his mother Jean was a pianist. His younger brother Julian joined him in the musical game as a cellist. With the help of his aunt Viola, Webber decided to focus on making compositions for musicals. At the age of 17, he was introduced to frequent collaborator Tim Rice. “I first met Tim Rice aged 17 after he wrote to my agent – who I had acquired when a number of songs I’d written were sent to Decca – offering to write lyrics to my music. Nothing came of my burgeoning pop-song-writing career at that point, but Tim was to become my most enduring writing partner,” Webber states in his autobiography Unmasked.
The two worked on the musicals The Likes of Us and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. In 1970, they gained fame with the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, which hit Broadway a year later. In its earlier stages, Webber didn’t think Superstar was fit for the big stage. “Nobody thought it was even remotely possible to produce onstage, and the record company, MCA, said they’d like to do it. It’s funny. Superstar was written like a radio play because that was the closest thing we had available to us,” he told Rolling Stone.
The music of the night
Following Jesus Christ Superstar, Webber continued his theater domination with Evita, Cats, and Phantom of the Opera. All three musicals became iconic in their own right. Evita earned seven Tony Awards, including Best Original Score, in its original run. Cats and Phantom would go on to be some of the longest running Broadway musicals of all time. As of this writing, Phantom holds the title with 13,015 performances.
Every musical in the world wanted a piece of Webber’s talent. He was basically the Quincy Jones of Broadway. In the ’90s, Webber unveiled two musicals: 1993’s Sunset Boulevard and 1996’s Whistle Down the Wind. That same decade, he got to see another one of his plays get the big screen treatment. 1996’s Evita gave him his first (and, so far, only) Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Original Song.
Don’t cry for me, Argentina
When it comes to his 13 musicals’ overall earnings, Webber is at the top of the Broadway game. Phantom of the Opera alone has brought in over $6 billion since its 1986 premiere. The show recordings of these musicals also bring in a massive fortune. As expected, Webber walks away with a fatter bank account every week. While he earned around $150,000 weekly back in the ’80s, he earns that same amount every single day. That equates to a little over $1 million per week.
Overall, Webber’s net worth of $1.04 billion puts him at the top of the wealthiest musicians list. Fortunately, the 71-year-old is looking to increase that number soon. “I’ve got tunes and tunes and tunes at the moment, none of which will fit into the thing that I really want to do. So it’s like waifs and strays waiting from the orphanage. But I’m writing more than I’ve written probably ever. I’m driving everybody mad,” he told Rolling Stone.