U2 seemed to come out of nowhere in the late 1970s. It actually came out of Dublin. By the mid-80s, when it released “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Pride (In the Name of Love)”, it had become one of the top rock bands in the world.
It also became a touring machine, performing all over the world, year after year. This explosion of activity has made U2 the biggest touring act in the last 40 years.
One reason it could tour successfully is that it has released 15 albums since it was founded. These have driven total sales of 175 million albums, which U2 leverages to draw huge crowds.
It has staged at least 17 tours over the same period. It has sold over 26 million tickets, which has brought in over $2 billion. It’s certainly one of the most popular rock bands of all time.
U2’s members have also been consistent. Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge, and Larry Mullen Jr. are each well known on their own. And the U2 songbook continues to grow. It released “Songs of Surrender” this year. That gives U2 an excuse to keep touring.
Here’s a list of all the most successful touring artists of the past 40 years.
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