(image courtesy of the website of my college classmate Tom Rhoads' outstanding folk band Broadside Electric.)
Forbes Magazine knows that just because you can't take it with you doesn't mean you can't keep cashing in after you're gone. At least, this is true for those creative, iconic celebrities whose estates collectively generate more annual revenue than the GDP of Zimbabwe.
Forbes' list of the 13 top-earning dead celebrities runs from the sublime to the ridiculous, but there is no denying that Ray Charles and Charles Schultz are eminently bankable. I'm surprised not to see Comrade Che Guevara on the list, given how prolific his image remains on T-shirts in capitalist lands, but perhaps being a good socialist he neglected to secure private ownership. The list of the top 13, who although no longer with us together grossed $247,000,000 in annual earnings, is here.
This all calls to mind the song by Richard Thompson that was the inspiration for this post:
"Now that I am dead, my agent finally said, he wanted to have lunch with me.
Now that I've deceased, my record sales increased, I'm making lots of royalties.
I'm the composer, decomposing, I'm in the Rocker's Hall of Fame.
My songs the critics they are praising, yes they've even learned to spell my name!"
Live long and prosper, RT. Don't want to see you on that list anytime soon.