Toby Keith tops Forbes' "Highest-Paid" list

TOBY 02.jpg
Photo by Nikki Miller
Gimme fifty mill and I'll sell you a Ford pickup truck!
No, he didn't out-earn Lady Gaga, who topped Forbes' list of highest-paid celebrities, but at his $50 million to her $4.5 billion, Toby Keith was at the top of the list of country artists, thanks in part to his chain of country-themed restaurants/music venues.

Here's how the rest of the list shook out; don't worry, the folks you'd expect would sell out all did.

#10 - Sugarland, $18 million

Their endorsements are sparse, so this two-piece made most of its money on royalties - their 2010 album The Incredible Machine was certified platinum in just three months - and on touring. Sugarland racked up 75 tour dates and $8 million during the year, including an August appearance at the Indiana State Fair where seven people were killed after stage trappings collapsed in high winds.

#9 - Carrie Underwood, $20 million

The former American Idol winner is now a popular country mainstay, and in the past year has signed a spokesmodel deal for Olay Skin Care and made her movie debut playing a Christian youth minister in the Bethany Hamilton surfer shark attack biopic Soul Surfer.

#8 - Alan Jackson, $22 million

With over two decades of performing under his belt, Alan Jackson's November 2010 gold-certified release 34 Number Ones no doubt helped fill his coffers over the past year, keeping him on the trajectory away from the tiny home he shared as a child with his mother, father and four sisters (where he occasionally slept on a bed in the hallway), to his first job at the age of 12 in a shoe store, and eventually his mail room job at The Nashville Network, where he met Glen Campbell, the man responsible for helping to jump-start his early career. His mother still lives in that tiny house; whether that's a testament to their down-home rootedness or his fiscal conservatism, we can't say.

#7 - George Strait, $24 million
At 59, George Strait is the oldest singer on this list, but that don't mean he can't hustle; he made most of his money playing thirty shows, each pulling in about $1.4 million. In addition to the millions in royalties he earns from hits dating back to 1981, Strait has a line of Wrangler clothing, a company which helped promote his 2009 album, Twang.

#6 - Kenny Chesney, $30 million

Country's answer to Jimmy Buffett proves that people love to hear songs about drinking on beaches and takin' it easy and whatnot. Last year, Chesney seemed to live the life of a laid-back beach bum, likely relaxing on his 60' Sea Ray yacht or in his Virgin Islands home. But when you can pull in $1.6 million every night, as well as approximately $7.5 million in royalties thanks to your omnipresence on the radio, it's easy to only play a couple shows a month and still afford that yacht.

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