Age is just a number: older artists who ruled the UK's Official Chart

Who is the oldest artist to score a Number 1 single? Find out that and much more.

Being a record breaker at any stage in your career is incredible, but imagine being able to say that you're still smashing Official Chart records in the golden years of your life? 

For some artists, that is a reality, and today, we're going to celebrate Official Chart legends who hold records related to age, experience and career longevity. Age is just a number after all...

Vera Lynn

The oldest artist to ever chart? Dame Vera Lynn. The Forces’ Sweetheart is the oldest living artist to score a Top 10 on the Official Albums Chart, being the only centenarian ever to release music. In March 2017, her album 100 peaked at Number 3, which is astounding.

Even more incredible, Dame Vera is the oldest female and oldest artist overall to score a UK Number 1 album! Vera released We’ll Meet Again – The Very Best Of back in 2009 aged 92 and the album debuted at the top spot. You've still got it, Vera.

Paul Simon

In 2016, Paul Simon scored his first UK Number 1 album in 26 years with Stranger to Stranger, success he was "elated to have". At the age of 74, this made him the oldest male soloist to hit the top spot.

Bonus chart trivia for you: as part of Simon & Garfunkel, Paul's Bridge Over Troubled Water is the artist album with more weeks at Number 1 than any other on the Official Albums Chart. Impressive stuff from Mr. Simon.

Tony Bennett

Good ol’ Tony Bennett is a jazz legend, and he showed he's still got the staying power when, aged 88 in 2014, his Cheek to Cheek collaborative album with Lady Gaga charted at Number 10 in the UK, making him the oldest gent to hit the Top 10. Then in September 2018 aged 92, he extended his record as the oldest male artist to impact the Official Albums Chart Top 40 with Love Is Here To Stay.

Cher

52 is by no means old, but when Cher scored a Number 1 single at that age with Believe back in 1999, she became the oldest female chart-topper the Official Singles Chart has ever seen. In the song, Cher sang “cause I know that I am strong”, and she was right – Believe’s record has stood for nearly 20 years. And the cherry on top? It's also the biggest selling single ever by a female lead artist in UK chart history. What a woman.

MORE: The UK's biggest selling singles of all-time

Tom Jones

The Voice UK’s silver fox and serial namedropper, Sir Tom Jones is an absolute national treasure. In 2009 aged 68, he topped the Official Singles Chart with that year’s Comic Relief single (Barry) Islands in the Stream. The Welsh-centric cover of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s classic featured Welsh actors Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon as their characters Vanessa Jenkins and Bryn West from BBC’s Gavin & Stacey – saw Tom become the oldest living person to ever score a UK Number 1 single. My, my, my Delilah Tom!

MORE: Every UK Number 1 single by Welsh artists

Elvis Presley 

The Official Chart really is The King's stomping ground. He may be gone, but he's certainly not forgotten: Elvis Presley holds the record for the longest span between his first and latest Number 1 album. Wonder of You, his 2016 chart-topper with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, extended Big E's record-setting span to 59 years, 11 months and 24 days. "Thank ya very much."

MORE: Artists with the most Number 1 singles on the UK chart

The Rolling Stones

 

The Rolling Stones just keep on, umm, rollin'. Their latest album Blue & Lonesome topped the Official Albums Chart in November 2016, one of only three releases that year to sell over 100,000 copies in its first week that year. The Stones have now achieved a Top 3 album in each of the last six decades. Surely that'll give them some satisfaction!

MORE: View The Rolling Stones' complete UK singles and albums chart history

Barbra Streisand and Kate Bush

Second only to Madonna when it comes to her tally of UK Number 1 albums, Barbra Streisand is certainly an icon. Kate Bush is a record-breaker too, scoring more Top 40 albums in the same week than any other female artist ever.

MORE: The female solo artists with the most Number 1 albums

Both Barbra and Kate are the only women to score a Top 5 album in each of the last five decades. Kate can actually claim one better – she's hit the Top 3 in each too, but Barbra managed four more chart toppers in her haul. Either way, these two are irreplaceable figures in music that we're happy to celebrate. 

MORE: Kate Bush’s Official Top 20 most downloaded songs revealed