The record business is a young person's business, usually. Although many stars of the baby-boom generation still make hit songs despite being old enough to qualify for Social Security, the artists who reach Billboard magazine's fabled Hot 100 tend to be much younger. Kelly Clarkson is 31. Pink turned 34 this past weekend. Adele is 25. Taylor Swift won't be 24 until December. Justin Timberlake is 32, and Philip Phillips will be 23 later this month.
In 2011, a duet between Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse called "Body and Soul" spent a single week on the Hot 100, but it was enough to make Bennett the oldest artist ever to score a Hot 100 hit, at age 85. Last week, however, an artist even older than Bennett hit the charts, and the story of how he did it is pretty incredible.
Last April, a man named Fred Stobaugh lost his wife of 72 years, Lorraine. Somehow, Stobaugh learned about a contest being run by a Peoria, Illinois-based record label called Green Shoe Records. Label president Jacob Colgan says, "It's an online contest. People [were] supposed to upload their videos, but, we received a manila envelope. Lo and behold, it was a letter from a man who said, 'I've written a song for my [late] wife.' Listening to the passion behind the lyrics, it was just so heartwarming."
So Colgan recorded Stobaugh's song, "Oh Sweet Lorraine," and produced a brief documentary about the making of it, including a performance of the song. As word about "Oh Sweet Lorraine" spread online, people started going to iTunes for the song, and it became popular enough to enter the Hot 100 at #42. The song is credited to Colgan and Stobaugh--who is 96 years old.
Read more about Fred and watch the video right here. It runs nine minutes, and you won't be sorry you spent the time. I promise.