Green daze: Rock 'n' roll spending

Magazine's compilation of artists' monetary excesses stretches from Elvis to Bono


Talk about having money to burn.

When U2 singer Bono found himself in Italy without his favorite hat, he spent $1,700 to have it flown to his side -- first class.

Sting once dropped $11,900 on a Christmas tree.

And when Elvis Presley got a craving for his favorite restaurant's peanut butter, jelly and bacon sandwiches, he and some pals flew to Denver to chow down, at a cost of $3,387 -- more than $12,000 in today's dollars.

The British pop duo the KLF actually set fire to $1.7 million in cash in a 1994 video.

Those anecdotes of excess are among some 50 tales of rock stars blowing through cash, compiled in the December edition of Blender magazine.

"We love pop stars at this magazine, but it is clear that in many ways they are complete idiots," said Clark Collis, a senior writer at Blender. "It is quite remarkable how they spend their money."

Reporters put the list of the "top 50 rock extravaganzas" together by interviewing personal managers.

Presley and his mid-1970s entourage had the restaurateur deliver the heart-halting sandwiches to a private airport hangar, after flying in from Graceland.

It was his love of soccer, not food, that prompted Rod Stewart to have a soccer field, complete with dressing rooms modeled on his favorite team, Celtic FC, built on the grounds of his Epping, England, mansion -- for $100,000.

Britney Spears spent $3,000 on a pair of Japanese scissors to cut her locks, and Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee spent $4,000 on a Starbucks franchise so he could build a coffeehouse at his home as a gift for then-wife Pamela Anderson.

Other stars on the list blew fortunes on such things as a dog psychologist, exotic fish and jewelry. But Harvey Gettleson, who manages the money of a dozen famous entertainers, said the most common way stars blow money is something that may sound familiar.

"It usually involves a family member," Gettleson said. "A nephew who wants to open a bar. A brother who wants to open a shrimp joint.

"I said, 'You might as well put the money in a sack and throw it in the ocean.'"

Adam Nichols writes for Knight Ridder / Tribune.

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