The oldest artists to score a Number 1 single in the UK

Proving that age really is just a number...

Proving age really is just a number, below at the Top 10 oldest artists to score a Number 1 on the Official UK Singles Chart.

Captain Tom Moore

Song: You’ll Never Walk Alone
Age at Number 1: 99 years, 11 months
Year: 2020

At 99 years old (and just days before his 100th birthday), Captain Tom Moore holds the record as the oldest artist to score a Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart. The war veteran captured the hearts of the nation and became a symbol of hope and unity during the coronavirus crisis after raising over £28 million for the NHS. To continue raising awareness of his cause, he teamed up with his favourite singer Michael Ball and the NHS Voices of Care Choir to release a cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone.

After a close battle with The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights, the track debuted at Number 1, helped by the Canadian star asking his fans to support Captain Tom. Captain Tom also becomes the first centenarian to hold a Number 1 single as his 100th birthday falls during the week he holds the top spot.

Tom Jones

Song: (Barry) Islands In The Stream
Age at Number 1: 68 years, 9 months
Year: 2009

Sir Tom featured on this chart-topping single released for Comic Relief in 2009. The song – a cover of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s 1983 hit - features Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon, in character as Vanessa Jenkins and Bryn West from the hit BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey, with Bee Gee Robin Gibb (one of the song’s writers) on backing vocals.  

Louis Armstrong

Song: What A Wonderful World
Age at Number 1: 66 years, 10 months
Year: 1968

This wistful pop-jazz number was rumoured to have been turned down by Tony Bennett before being recorded by New Orleans singer Louis Armstrong. While it wasn’t initially hit in America, reportedly because it was disliked by Louis’ label boss Larry Newton, it was huge in the UK, landing at Number 1. In 1999 Louis’ recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame.

Tony Christie

Song: (Is This The Way To) Amarillo
Age at Number 1: 61 years, 11 months 
Year: 2005

A modest Number 18 hit when it was first released in 1971, Tony Christie's Amarillo was re-released with comedian Peter Key in 2005 for Comic Relief, after the track had featured in Peter's Pheonix Nights series. It gave Tony his first and only Number 1 to date, but it was a big one, topping the Official Singles Chart for seven weeks and becoming the best-seller of 2005.

MORE: The longest gaps between debut chart entries and first Number 1s on the Official Singles Chart

Frank Skinner

Song: Three Lions
Age at Number 1: 61 years, 5 months
Year: 2018

After two spells at Number 1 around the Euro ’96 and one during World Cup ’98, Three Lions unexpectedly found itself back at the top of the Official Singles Chart 22 years later for the World Cup in 2018. Three Lions is one of the UK's best-selling singles of all time, with over 1.6 million copies (excluding streams) sold since its release.

Cliff Richard

Song: Millennium Prayer
Age at Number 1: 59 years, 1 month
Year: 1999

Cliff landed a surprise hit in 1999 with Millennium Prayer, in which the words of the Lord's Prayer are set to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. Released in November 1999 as a charity single in the lead-up to the end of the 1900s, Cliff was forced to put out the track through independent label Papillon Records after his record label EMI declined to release it amid concerns for its commercial potential.

Elton John

Song: Ghetto Gospel (with 2Pac)
Age at Number 1: 58 years, 3 months
Year: 2005

The lead single from 2Pac's posthumous album Loyal To The Game had some extra heavyweight talent behind it, produced by Eminem and including a sample of Elton John's 1971 song Indian Sunset, landing Elton a feature credit. The track topped the Official Singles Chart for 3 weeks and earned Elton his seventh and most recent Number 1 single.

Michael Ball

Song: You’ll Never Walk Alone
Age at Number 1: 57 years, 9 months
Year: 2005

In helping Captain Tom Moore become the oldest artist to score a Number 1, Michael Ball himself also makes the Top 10 list. In addition to this, he joins a small club of artists who achieved their first Number 1 single decades after their first chart appearance. His debut single Love Changes Everything first charted at Number 2, 31 years ago in 1989. Only two other artists have waited longer for their chart-topping success - Ozzy Osbourne (33 years – Changes with Kelly Osbourne) and Tony Christie (34 years – Is This The Way To Amarillo with Peter Kay).

Leo Sayer

Song: Thunder In My Heart Again
Age when Number 1: 57 years, 8 months
Year: 2006

A Number 22 hit when it was first released in 1971, Thunder In My Heart topped the Official Chart 35 years later after it was given a club-friendly remix by Meck. It earnt the singer his second UK chart-topper, some 29 years after his first.

Ozzy Osbourne

Song: Changes (with Kelly Osbourne)
Age When Number 1: 55 years
Year: 2003

Three decades after Ozzy released Changes with Black Sabbath, he recorded a new version of it with his daughter Kelly, who had her own burgeoning music career at the time. Released amid their popular reality series The Osbournes, the revised version took off at topped the Official Chart in 2003.

The oldest artists to score a Number 1 single on the Official Chart

POS

ARTIST

AGE

YEAR

SONG

1

CAPT TOM MOORE

99 YRS, 11 M

2020

YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE

2

TOM JONES

68 YRS, 9 M

2009

(BARRY) ISLANDS IN THE STREAM

3

LOUIS ARMSTRONG

66 YRS, 10 M

1968

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

4

TONY CHRISTIE

61 YRS, 11 M

2005

(IS THIS THE WAY TO) AMARILLO?

5

FRANK SKINNER

61 YRS, 5 M

2018

3 LIONS

6

CLIFF RICHARD

59 YRS, 1 M

1999

MILLENNIUM PRAYER

7

ELTON JOHN

58 YRS, 3 M

2005

GHETTO GOSPEL

8

MICHAEL BALL

57 YRS, 9 M

2020

YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE

9

LEO SAYER

57 YRS, 8 M

2006

THUNDER IN MY HEART AGAIN

10

OZZY OSBOURNE

55 YRS

2003

CHANGES

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*Only named artists on a song are included