15 Musicians Gone Broke
Marvin Lee Aday is better known as the singer Meat Loaf. His 1977 album, Bat Out of Hell, is one of the highest-selling of all time, a ranking it shares with such all-time classics as AC/DC’s Back in Black and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Known for such classic songs as “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” the album made the singer a major, if unlikely, star.
While attempting to create a follow-up to the huge hit album, he lost his voice and wasn’t able to complete the recording until 1981, by which time he was no longer popular. The album that he recorded, Dead Ringer, sold only a tiny fraction of the amount that its predecessor sold, and by 1983 he was $1.6 million in debt, forcing him to declare bankruptcy.
However, in 1993, his career rebounded in a big way with the release of Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which went to number one in three countries and featured the single “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” which went to number one in no less than 28 countries.
In 2007, things were starting to look up for “Un-break My Heart” singer Toni Braxton. Despiteselling 25 million albums worldwide, she had declared bankruptcy in 1998 after racking up a $20,000 American Express bill and monthly expenses of over $43,000. However, she soldiered on with her career and released a popular new album in 2000, The Heat. Finally, she was back on track, and she could put her financial troubles behind her.
Braxton’s career renaissance was so successful that she was asked to headline the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas in 2006. The show proved so popular that its run was extended through 2008. However, in April of that year, she was hospitalized for chest pains, and as a heart disease sufferer she decided not to further endanger her health. She decided to play it safe and cancel the remaining run of her show, but the cancellation incurred debts in the tens of millions of dollars. Braxton filed for bankruptcy a second time in October 2010.
Thanks to 1970s hits like “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Stranglehold,” hard rock guitarist Ted Nugent was at one time among the highest-grossing concert attractions in America, Unlike many other rock musicians his age, he has famously never indulged in drugs or alcohol, instead preferring such diversions as hunting and running a “Kamp for Kids.”
Unfortunately, he still ended up broke. The Nuge found himself in this very situation after his managers invested his considerable wealth into a series of bad business ventures, such as investments in Clydesdale horses and mink farms. Nugent declared bankruptcy in 1980 as a result, but he recovered before the decade’s end and still enjoys a busy career today.
The late Marvin Gaye is known as one of the greatest soul singers of all time, known for such classic songs as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and timeless albums like What’s Going On. However, his love life didn’t match the success of his singing career. His marriage to Anna Gordy was damaged beyond repair when he had an affair with a woman and fathered two children with her.
Gordy filed for divorce, but Gaye had very little money for alimony and child support payments. Despite his impressive record sales, his bank account was nearly depleted, thanks to extravagant spending on cars, real estate and cocaine. Believing that it was the only way she was going to see any money from him, she agreed to take $600,000 in royalties from his next album instead.
Gaye filed for bankruptcy in 1976, and the album in which she held a stake, bitterly titled Here, My Dear, was released in 1978 to scathing reviews and poor sales.