Boxoffice Insider: Early Highlights For Rock Hall Class of ’22

Simon Le Bon, John Taylor and Andy Taylor of Duran Duran perform on stage at Wembley Arena on December 20th, 1983, in London. Photo by Pete Still / Redferns

The live entertainment history of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2022 includes box-office success captured in the archives stretching back to the early 1980s when Pollstar was founded. Although highlights of their live events are found throughout the decades, all seven performer inductees to the Rock Hall have an initial appearance on the charts. And, for most of them, those first reported shows fall during our earliest years of operation.

While Carly Simon, Dolly Parton and Lionel Richie arrived on the music scene prior to the 1980s, and Eminem’s rise to fame occurred considerably later, the decade marked the pivotal era in the careers of Duran Duran, Pat Benatar and the Eurythmics.

Duran Duran rose to prominence as an arena headliner largely due to the success of hit songs from the band’s second and third albums. Their first North American arena tour launched in January 1984 after the release of the third album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger. With 40 arena shows reported, that tour moved 462,618 tickets for an average of 11,565 per show.

The 1980s also saw the rise to rock prominence of Benatar whose album Crimes of Passion with her signature song “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” catapulted her to stardom early in the decade. Sixteen shows are stored in the archives from her first arena tour in 1981 that averaged 9,318 sold tickets per concert, but the next year her per-show average jumped to 12,628.

For the Eurythmics, 42 North American shows from the 1980s are stored in the archives with sold tickets numbering 216,725, an average per show of 5,160. The duo’s first appearance in Pollstar was a string of six concerts in July 1983 including a show at The Avalon in Los Angeles with 1,200 in attendance. Their best attendance for one show was 15,224 six years later at Toronto’s SkyDome (now Rogers Centre).

Simon, who released her self-titled debut studio album in 1971 which led to a Grammy Award the following year for Best New Artist, first appeared in the magazine 24 years later after releasing her 16th studio album. Among her 1995 tour dates were 11 concerts with Hall & Oates that averaged 8,093 sold seats per show. Her highest ticket count was 11,141 at the then-named Jones Beach Amphitheater on New York’s Long Island.

With Parton’s career in show business stretching back to the 1960s, she was already well established when she first appeared in Pollstar in August 1982 with a 21,142-ticket count from a 10-show run at Cleveland’s Front Row Theatre. But her first major tour on record was a co-headlining trek with Kenny Rogers. Together they moved 836,876 tickets at 56 North American arenas from December 1984 through November 1988, averaging 14,944 sold seats per night.

The 1980s were also a monumental decade for Richie who began his solo career in 1982, even though he had already known success with the Commodores for well over a decade. He first appeared in the archives with 40 concerts from his debut solo tour with opening act The Pointer Sisters. From September 1983 through January 1984, he sold 385,354 tickets in North America for an average of 9,634 per show.

Eminem’s box-office history begins with a show at the Tramps nightclub in New York with 910 tickets sold on Jan. 9, 1999. In July of that same year, though, he joined the “Vans Warped Tour” as a main stage performer for 16 shows that moved 152,877 tickets. The next year, he appeared in the lineup on the “Up in Smoke” tour, averaging 11,958 sold tickets per