Veteran crooner Max Bygraves was paid #12,000 by Birmingham City Council for a 45-minute spot headlining a concert to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
The payment, equivalent to #16,000 an hour, was described as value for money by the council.
Bygraves, aged 82, flew in from Australia for the Victory Day Fantasia in Cannon Hill Park last month.
Several thousand people paid #10 a head to listen to nostalgic tunes from Bygraves, 1940s singer Joan Regan and Dominic Halpin and his Big Swing Sound.
Council local services marketing manager Dawn Wise said Bygraves' performance was a huge success.
But a Labour councillor has called for an investigation into the way the council hires entertainers for public events.
Ms Wise said: "It was a long set and Max Bygraves performed all of his magical numbers including Tulips From Amsterdam.
"He would have been in high demand for an event like that and we were lucky to get him.
"He was really good with the crowd and it was certainly value for money."
The #12,000 fee matches the amount the council intends to pay pop group Girls Aloud to switch on the Birmingham Christmas lights in November.
But it falls short of the #17,000 paid to Bananarama to headline the 2004 New Year's Eve concert at Millennium Point - an event attended by fewer than 5,000 people.
The procedure for paying celebrities was questioned by Tahir Ali, a member of the leisure, sport and culture scrutiny committee.
Coun Ali (Lab Nechells) wants the council to be more open about the way it negotiates fees for artists such as Max Bygraves.
He said: "It would be interesting to find out how these payments are arrived at. We should certainly have a method of discovering whether the entertainers paid by the council provide value for money.
"This is something I intend to raise at the next scrutiny committee meeting."