ALBANY, N.Y — The Eagles flew to the top as the biggest moneymakers of 1995 in a concert industry that saw the emergence of several new acts and the end of the road for the lucrative Grateful Dead.
The top 50 touring acts grossed $742 million this year, a sizeable drop from the $1 billion in concert business in 1994 but still the third- biggest year ever for the industry, the trade publication Pollstar reports.
Country-rock superstars the Eagles earned $63.3 million this year, Pollstar says.
Boyz II Men proved the hardest workers, finishing in second place with $43.2 million in earnings from 134 shows. That dwarfed the Eagles's 58 concerts, but Boyz II Men charged much lower ticket prices, Pollstar says.
The Grateful Dead placed fourth even though the band played no shows following the July death of leader Jerry Garcia. Surviving band members recently announced they would call it quits.
That will hurt an industry that had come to depend on them, says Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni.
"The Grateful Dead have been in the top five for every year of the 1990s," he says. "It's going to put a dent in the business, for sure. I think everyone will miss the Grateful Dead as a touring entity."
Yet several newcomers to Pollstar's list of top 50 touring acts showed promise for the future, he says.
The Dave Matthews Band, John Michael Montgomery, Hootie & the Blowfish, the Cranberries, Blues Traveler, and the Tragically Hip all had successful touring years, he says.
"This is good for a business that has been fueled for many years by what some people call the dinosaur acts," Mr. Bongiovanni says.
R.E.M., Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Van Halen, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Reba McEntire, Elton John, and Billy Joel rounded out the top moneymakers this year.
The absence of the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd from the road accounted for the dropoff from 1994's touring figures, he says.
The outlook for 1996 is uncertain. The industry is hoping for tours from U2, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and the Eagles again, but none of those acts have American dates scheduled, he says.