Irish rockers U2 are the top earning touring band or artist this year (05), according to a chart compiled by US magazine Billboard.

The Beautiful Day hitmakers grossed $260 million (GBP144.4 million) and attracted three million fans to the 90 concerts on their Vertigo world tour.

Veteran rockers The Eagles come in second with $117 million (GBP65 million) from 77 live shows, and Neil Diamond makes third place with $71 million (GBP39.4 million).

Country singer Kenny Chesney claims fourth spot with $63 million (GBP35 million) after performing to 1.1 million fans in 2005, while former BEATLE Sir Paul McCartney was the fifth highest earning live performer.

However, the chart does not feature sales for the ROLLING STONES' A BIGGER BANG tour, which has just completed its American leg, because the groups' promoters refuse to release financial information before the entire tour has come to a close.

The top ten touring earners according to Billboard are as follows:

1. U2

2. THE EAGLES

3. NEIL DIAMOND

4. KENNY CHESNEY

5. SIR PAUL McCARTNEY

6. Rod Stewart

7. SIR Elton John

8. Dave Matthews Band

9. Jimmy Buffett

10. Green Day.