Chart Beat

99-Year-Old Captain Tom Moore Earns No. 1 Hit In U.K.

Tom Moore
Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images

British World War II veteran Captain Tom Moore, 99, poses in his garden in the village of Marston Moretain on April 16, 2020.

Former British Army captain Tom Moore, 99, is triumphant in his attempt to reach No. 1 in the U.K. singles chart with entertainer Michael Ball and the NHS Voices of Care Choir. Their much-vaunted version of “You'll Never Walk Alone” (Decca/Universal) ultimately outsells The Weeknd's “Blinding Lights” (XO/Republic/Universal) to claim the prize. On the album chart, Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Cinnamon's The Bonny (Little Runaway) debuts at the top.

Captain Tom has become a hero across the U.K. and beyond in recent weeks with his sponsored walk to raise funds for the NHS (National Health Service) and to mark his impending 100th birthday. Having set an initial target of £1,000, he has now raised more than £28 million. Moore now has a No. 1 single in time for his centennial, which falls next Thursday (April 30). Proceeds from the release go to NHS Charities Together.

The single led the Official Chart Company's midweek data before falling behind “Blinding Lights,” but a late and magnanimous intervention by The Weeknd himself, urging U.K. music fans to get behind his “rival,” helped seal the result. “You'll Never Walk Alone” finishes the week with 82,000 combined units to The Weeknd's 69,000.

Captain Tom thus becomes the oldest artist ever to reach the U.K. singles summit, overtaking Tom Jones, who was 68 when “Barry Islands In The Stream” did so in 2009. Ball himself is seventh on that list, at the age of 57. Moore was already 32 when Al Martino topped the first-ever British singles chart in November 1952 with “Here In My Heart.”

Ball has had four No. 1 U.K. albums, but this is his first chart-topping single, 31 years after his debut hit “Love Changes Everything” in 1989. This is the fourth different version of “You'll Never Walk Alone” to top the chart, after those by Gerry and the Pacemakers (1963), The Crowd, in a charity soccer single in 1985, and Robson & Jerome in 1996.

With The Weeknd thus down to No. 2 after an aggregate eight weeks at the top, Saint Jhn's “Roses” (B1/HITCO/Ministry of Sound) falls 2-3 and Drake's “Toosie Slide” (OVO/Republic/Universal) 3-4. BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge Allstars charity single “Times Like These” (BBC), released only yesterday (April 23), debuts at No. 5. It features Dua Lipa, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Bastille and others.

The album triumph of Gerry Cinnamon, aka Glaswegian Gerard Crosbie, is secured with 29,000 combined units, 77% of which are from physical sales and digital downloads. His first album Erratic Cinematic reached No. 66 in 2018 but rebounded to No. 17 last July; this week it climbs 47-36.

Enter Shikari make a best-yet No. 2 start with their seventh studio album Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible (So Recordings). It's their fifth top ten title. After two weeks at No. 1, Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia (Warner Records) falls to No. 3, while Lewis Capaldi's Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent (EMI/Universal) is down 2-4. Harry Styles moves back 6-5 with Fine Line (Columbia/Sony). U.S. rapper DaBaby debuts at No. 8 with Blame It On Baby (Interscope/Universal), his first U.K. top ten album.