THREE North East stars have been named among the Top 50 Music Millionaires in Britain and Ireland.
Former Tyneside teacher Sting - real name Gordon Sumner - is the highest, ranked joint-13th alongside ex-Beatle George Harrison’s widow Olivia and son Dhani.
He is said to have a personal fortune of £180m, amassed through his solo work and his earlier career as frontman of The Police.
Joining him in the list, at joint-42nd, is Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler, with an estimated personal wealth of £65m.
He is said to be worth the same as 1960s crooner Engelbert Humperdinck, who is representing Britain at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, and warring Oasis brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher.
And not far behind is a third Tynesider, AC/DC singer Brian Johnson, whose fortune stands at an estimated £50m - the same as Take That’s Gary Barlow and legendary Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison.
The list is published by The Sunday Times as part of its 2012 Rich List, which is released this weekend.
Top of the list, and said to be worth an eye-watering £1.35bn, is South African record executive Clive Calder, primarily known for co-founding the Zomba Group and its subsidiary Jive Records.
Second is Sir Cameron Mackintosh, the theatrical producer of shows such as Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, Martin Guerre and Cats - with a £725m fortune.
Third is Sir Paul McCartney, whose fortune has increased by £170m in a year – from £475m to £665m – thanks largely to the personal wealth of his new wife Nancy Shevell, who has a £150m stake in New England Motor Freight, the haulage business led by her father.
She is vice-president of the New Jersey-based business. Performing and album sales account for the other £20m added to the McCartney fortune in the last year.
David and Victoria Beckham have seen their joint fortune rise by £25m, to £190m, in the last 12 months to put them in the top 10 of the Music Millionaires chart.
Former Spice Girl Victoria’s clothing and accessories company was named designer brand of the year at the 2011 British Fashion awards.
Husband David has boosted his earnings off the pitch by a further £4m with a new bodywear contract from H&M.
The continued popularity of Coldplay has helped to boost the joint wealth of Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, who also join the ranks of Britain’s 1,000 richest people for the first time with a £72m fortune.
This year The Sunday Times Rich List Music Millionaires Top 50 includes the wealthiest performers from the Republic of Ireland, where the four members and manager of U2 have seen their combined fortune rise by £59m to put them in fifth spot.
Daniel Ek, the Swedish founder of the digital music download service Spotify, joins the Beckhams in the Music Top 10, also with a £190m fortune. The Spotify business is valued at £1.2bn.
Ek, a London-based Arsenal supporter, has a stake worth £190m in the popular music download service, which he started in 2008 and launched in America last year.
* The 24th annual Sunday Times Rich List – the definitive guide to wealth in Britain and Ireland – is published on Sunday, in a 104-page magazine which profiles the 1,000 richest people and families in the UK and the 250 wealthiest in Ireland.
The list is based on identifiable wealth (land, property, other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies), and excludes bank accounts (to which the paper has no access).
The Sunday Times Rich List 2012 is compiled by Philip Beresford, the leading authority on British wealth, and edited by Ian Coxon.