Tony Bennett Oldest Living Artist Ever On Hot 100
At 85 years and two months, the iconic Tony Bennett becomes the oldest living artist ever to grace the Billboard Hot 100, as "Body and Soul," with the late Amy Winehouse, bows at No. 87.
"Body," which previews Bennett's "Duets II," due to storm next week's Billboard 200, sold 25,000 downloads in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (The song marks the third Hot 100 appearance for Winehouse, who died July 23 at age 27. She reached No. 9 with "Rehab" in 2007 and No. 77 with "You Know I'm No Good" in 2008).
All charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, will be refreshed tomorrow (Sept. 22) on Billboard.com.
Bennett passes the late George Burns, who was 84-years and two-months-old when the ironically titled "I Wish I Was Eighteen Again" wrapped its chart run the week of March 22, 1980.
That's not the only Hot 100 record that Bennett claims this week.
Having last appeared on the ranking the week of Nov. 25, 1967, Bennett's span of 43 years, 10 months and one week away from the chart marks the list's longest hiatus among solo artists. Bennett passes a record established just two months ago, when R&B icon Otis Redding posthumously bowed as a guest on Jay-Z and Kanye West's tribute track "Otis." With the entrance, Redding's name appeared on the chart after a gap of 42 years, one month and two weeks.
Among all acts, Bennett is second only to the Chipmunks, who ended a 45-year, one-week wait when "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) (2007)" debuted the week of Jan. 5, 2008.
Having ranked on the very first Hot 100 dated Aug. 4, 1958 (with "Young and Warm and Wonderful," at No. 59), Bennett additionally reigns as the artist with the longest span of appearing on the chart, as his Hot 100 discography blankets the tally's entire 53-year, two-month existence.
Bennett's secret to his seeming agelessness? "I had great training. I still live by what they taught me at school, at the American Theatre Wing: the proper way to handle yourself and your voice, on and offstage.
"I never compromised. I always said: never do something just for a quick buck. Even if a song (wasn't) a hit, it was well-written, with great musicians. That's been the premise.
"And, at 85, it's just starting to pay off."