She's still a smooth operator ... Sade in at No 6 on 2012 US money list

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Tour and greatest hits album sees Eighties star earn more than even golden girl Adele

Adele may be the toast of America with six Grammy awards and millions of sales, but the top-earning British musician across the Atlantic last year was, surprisingly, a soft jazz veteran of more than 25 years.

Sade raked in $16.4m last year after her first tour in North America for a decade and the release of The Ultimate Collection, eclipsing Adele, the only other Brit in the top 10, who earned $13.1m.

Taylor Swift topped the list, according to trade publication Billboard's calculations, with earnings of $35.7m. She was followed by Irish rockers U2 on $32.1m and another country star, Kenny Chesney, who earned $29.8m. Touring remained the biggest source of income for the top earners, although album sales saw Adele, The Beatles and Justin Bieber perform strongly.

Adele's earnings would have been boosted had she not been forced to cancel 10 sold-out US shows after undergoing throat surgery. Yet she broke records in the country as her album 21 spent 23 weeks at No 1, with album sales hitting 6.7 million.

Sade, the sixth-highest earner in the list, is the name of the singer and songwriter behind the four-piece band of the same name. Their career has spanned more than a quarter of a century during which time they have sold more than 23 million albums.

The jazz singer was born Helen Folsade Adu in Ibadan, Nigeria, and came to England at the age of four when her parents separated. She became a musician by chance, after friends approached her to sing while she was studying fashion.

She signed to Epic records, bringing three members of the band Pride with her, and had a top 10 hit with "Your Love Is King" in 1984, followed by her first album Diamond Life. In 2008, after a hiatus of seven years, the band reformed to put together a new album, Soldier of Love. It was released worldwide in 2010 and debuted in the US at the top of the Billboard 200. The band won a Grammy for best R&B performance at last year's ceremony, their fourth, and released The Ultimate Collection in May.

The tour, opened by John Legend, raised a total of $45.7m in revenue, with the group taking home $15.4m. On Billboard's top 40 music money-makers list, country singers had a particularly strong year with 11 artists. Taylor Swift's earnings came in at 17 per cent higher than the previous year's winner Lady Gaga. Last year Lady Gaga, who released Born This Way in May, dropped to fourth with $25.4m.

The cast of hit TV show Glee proved the 11th highest musical earners in the US last year, thanks to a popular tour. The 23 arena concerts brought in close to 266,000 fans, as album sales hit 2.1 million. The show also inspired the extraordinary revival of the band with the 12th-highest earnings, Journey, whose 1981 hit "Don't Stop Believin'" saw an extraordinary revival, going platinum in March. The band played 50 shows in the US last year and sold 703,000 albums.

The only Briton to make the top 10 the previous year was Paul McCartney, whose international tour saw him net $14.1m, although he was beaten by his old band The Beatles. Sales soared after their back catalogue was remastered and made available on iTunes, with 1.2 million albums downloaded and 4.7 million individual tracks sold. Total US sales were valued at $6.7m.

BIG IN AMERICA THE 2012 TOP 40

1. Taylor Swift: $35.7m
2. U2: $32.1m
3. Kenny Chesney: $29.8m
4. Lady Gaga: $25.4m
5. Lil Wayne: $23.2m
6. Sade $16.4m
7. Bon Jovi: $15.8m
8. Celine Dion: $14.3m
9. Jason Aldean: $13.4m
10. Adele: $13.1m
11. Glee cast: $12.6m
12. Journey: $12.3m
13. Elton John: $11.97m
14. Katy Perry: $11.96m
15. Toby Keith: $10.4m
16. Britney Spears: $10.1m
17. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band: $10m
18. Rascal Flatts: $9.6m
19. Tim McGraw: $9.3m
20. Michael Buble: $9m
21. Brad Paisley: $8.6m
22. Rihanna: $7.7m
23. Enrique Iglesias: $7.5m
24. The Beatles: $6.74m
25. Sir Paul McCartney: $6.72m
26. Lady Antebellum: $6.67m
27. Keith Urban: $6.57m
28. Zac Brown Band: $6.5m
29. Rod Stewart: $6.4m
30. Usher: $6.3m
31. Foo Fighters: $6m
32. Rush: $5.8m
33. Backstreet Boys: $5.7m
34. Sugarland: $5.6m
35. Justin Bieber: $5.5m
36. New Kids on the Block: $5.5m
37. Steely Dan: $5.38m
38. Motley Crue: $5.37m
39. Kanye West: $5.36m
40. Linkin Park: $5.2m

Source: Billboard

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
tv
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tv 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there