Tom Jones, 80, becomes oldest man to top UK album chart

Welsh singer says he is ‘forever grateful’ for achievement but remains 12 years behind Vera Lynn’s all-time benchmark

At 80 years of age, Tom Jones has become the oldest man to top the UK album chart, with his latest album Surrounded By Time.

It comes 56 years after his first album chart placing, his 1965 debut Along Came Jones.

The oldest artist to ever top the UK album chart is the late Vera Lynn, with a greatest hits collection in 2009 aged 92, but Jones is the oldest artist to do it with a newly recorded album. He is also the first Welsh chart-topper in nearly a decade, the country’s last No 1 coming from Marina & the Diamonds in 2012.

Jones said the achievement was “tremendous, just unbelievable. I am so proud of everyone who helped me create this music, I had a ball working with them and to get this result is just incredible. It’s wonderful that the public has allowed me to be musically expressive at my time of life and have shown their support. I am forever grateful.”

Surrounded By Time sees Jones in an experimental mindset, with imaginative cover versions of songs by Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and the Waterboys. The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis wrote: “At its most enjoyable, Surrounded By Time imagines a kind of alternative history for Jones,” while the Evening Standard called it “heady stuff … a wonderful surprise”.

Other recent venerable chart-toppers include Barry Gibb, 74, in January; Paul McCartney, 78, in December 2020; and Bob Dylan, 79, last June. The Rolling Stones, with a total age of 306, reached No 1 with a reissue of Goat’s Head Soup in September last year.

At No 1 in the singles chart this week is Lil Nas X with Montero (Call Me By Your Name), which remains top for a fifth straight week.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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