Captain Tom Moore has become the oldest artist to score a UK number one single, thanks to his rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
The Second World War veteran reached the top of the chart un time for his 100th birthday, which is next Thursday.
Cpt Moore has already helped raise more than £28m for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden. His song, with Michael Ball and The NHS Voices Of Care Choir, is part of his continued fundraising during the coronavirus crisis.
The chart victory comes after his closest competitor, The Weeknd, asked his fans to support Cpt Moore, rather than back his track “Blinding Lights”.
“What wonderful news to receive today, a number one single and record-breaker too – my grandchildren can’t believe I am a chart topper,” said Cpt Moore, of Bedfordshire.
“I have to thank Michael Ball, the NHS Voices Of Care Choir and everyone behind the scenes, who shared their talents and expertise in order to raise money for the NHS, to whom we owe so much.
“And, of course, the public for buying the single and donating – we’re in this together, and I am forever grateful for your support. And this just proves you’ll never walk alone.”
“You’ll Never Walk Alone” is now the fastest-selling single of 2020 according to the Official Charts Company, clinching the top spot with combined chart sales of 82,000 units.
The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” is in second place with a tally of 69,000.
“This is the most extraordinary thing, one of the most proudest moments of my career, but it’s not about me, it’s about Captain Tom,” Ball told OfficialCharts.com.
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“Thank you for giving him a number one on his 100th birthday. You are the best, God bless ya.”
Martin Talbot, chief executive Official Charts Company, added: “The sight of Captain Tom Moore and Michael Ball at the top of the official singles chart this week should lift everybody’s spirits in these extraordinary times.
“We are absolutely delighted to see them at the pinnacle and setting new landmarks as they go – including a record as the oldest number one singles artist of all time.
“It has been a roller coaster week, starting with a big initial lead for Captain Tom, before The Weeknd closed the gap yesterday to almost nothing – before a massive surge in the final day by Captain Tom.
“Huge thanks to The Weeknd for lending his support at the eleventh hour. But this is Captain Tom’s week – congratulations sir and happy birthday for next week. You are a hero to us all.”
The Weeknd asked his fans on Twitter on Thursday to support Captain Tom’s single to get him to the number one slot.
Captain Tom replied: ”My goodness, how gracious of you @theweeknd Benji [Captain Tom’s grandson] tells me you’re rather talented and very popular! What a kind gesture. Thank you!”
At 99 years and 11 months, Captain Tom is the oldest artist to reach the top spot on the Official Singles Chart in its near 70-year history.
He will also become the first centenarian to top the charts as he will turn 100 on Thursday, while he still holds the number one spot.
The BBC’s Live Lounge Allstars charity cover of the Foo Fighters’ “Times Like These” entered the chart at number five within hours of release, while St Jhn’s “Roses” slipped from number two to three and Drake’s “Tootsie Slide” went from third spot to fourth.
Captain Tom has also broken two Guinness World Records, including for the most money raised by an individual charity walk, and as the oldest person to reach number one in the UK charts.
The individual charity walk record was previously held by Canadian athlete Terry Fox, who raised £27,201,900 (adjusted from £5.4m according to inflation) in 1980.
“I feel very honoured to receive recognition from Guinness World Records,” Cpt Moore said.
“My charity walk has raised more money than I could have possibly imagined and I am so thankful to those who have donated money and bought the single so we could achieve these records together and raise money for our incredible NHS during these difficult times.
“These really are Guinness World Records titles for all of us.”
Guinness World Records editor-in-chief Craig Glenday said: “Tom’s remarkable efforts prove that age should never be a barrier to making a difference, to inspiring the nation or to breaking world records.
“The fact that this indomitable 99-year-old has achieved all three of these things makes him truly a national hero that rightly deserves his place in the history books.
“We’re proud to be able to welcome him into the Guinness World Records family.”
Additional reporting by Press Association
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