Fresh off his epic 85th birthday celebration, which featured guest appearances by Aretha Franklin, Elton John, and Bill Clinton, recent Tony Bennett has taken a wrecking ball to a handful of chart records thanks to the release of Duets II and his historic single with Amy Winehouse (which was tragically the late Winehouse’s final recording).
“Body and Soul,” the duet with Winehouse, entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 87, making Bennett the oldest living person to ever appear on that chart. He replaced George Burns, who charted with “I Wish I Was 18 Again” back in 1980 at the sprightly age of 84.
Bennett’s appearance on the Hot 100 also created a number of other new precedents for performers and longevity. The nearly 44 years between his last chart appearance and this one is the longest gap for a solo artist in history. The previous record holder was Otis Redding, who saw 42 years elapse between appearances on the chart — he just showed up on the chart again as a guest on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Otis” (though you can freely debate whether or not that should even count). Bennett also has the longest career-length chart span, having appeared on the very first Hot 100 way back in 1958.
He may not be done, as Billboard is projecting that Duets II could sell as many as 170,000 copies in its first week of release and may be strong enough to debut at the top of the albums chart. Bennett has never had a number-one album, though the first entry in the Duets series got as high as number three back in 2006. Not too shabby for an 85-year-old guy, eh?
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