How Winston Churchill became the only Prime Minister to enter the pop charts

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Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, DL, FRS, RA (30 November 1874 Ð 24 January 1965) was a British politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer (as Winston S. Churchill), and an artist. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States. (Photo by: Pictures From History/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Sir Winston Churchill entered the pop charts not once but twice (Photo by: Pictures From History/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

This article is part of Yahoo's 'On This Day' series

Both Theresa May and Boris Johnson have shown off impressive dancefloor skills - but there is only one British Prime Minister who has entered the pop charts.

What’s more, Winston Churchill managed the feat not once, but twice.

The first time was shortly after his death on this day in 1965, when Churchill has aged 90, and had suffered a series of strokes.

After his death, the BBC World Series said, ‘“Winston …Churchill … is …dead”. The words are like great boulders falling silently down a cliff into the sea…. the greatest man of our age has gone from among us.’

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In the mourning that followed Churchill’s death, a recording of his speeches entitled The Voice Of reached number 6 in the charts.

But Churchill’s second chart hit was rather more unexpected, coming decades after his death in 2010.

Churchill was 136 at this point, becoming the oldest person to enter Britain’s top ten.

The album celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (Getty)
The album celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (Getty)
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, DL, FRS, RA (30 November 1874 Ð 24 January 1965) was a British politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer (as Winston S. Churchill), and an artist. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States. (Photo by: Pictures From History/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer (as Winston S. Churchill), and an artist. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States (Photo by: Pictures From History/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Reach for the Skies sampled two of Churchill’s most famous speeches (Their Finest Hour and Never In the Field of Human Conflict), with horns and piano over Churchill’s words, played by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.

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Churchill reached the top ten alongside Phil Collins, Mumford and Sons and KT Tunstall, reaching number 4 in the UK album charts - and displacing the Manic Street Preachers and Brandon Flowers.

Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs, director of the Central Band of the RAF, said “If through our music we can help keep the tradition and spirit of the Battle of Britain alive, then we have done a good job."

(Eingeschränkte Rechte für bestimmte redaktionelle Kunden in Deutschland. Limited rights for specific editorial clients in Germany.) Churchill, Winston,   (*30.11.1874-24.01.1965+)  , Politician, Great Britain, Prime Minister 1940-1945, on his desk  (Photo by ullstein bild via Getty Images)
(Eingeschränkte Rechte für bestimmte redaktionelle Kunden in Deutschland. Limited rights for specific editorial clients in Germany.) Churchill, Winston, (*30.11.1874-24.01.1965+) , Politician, Great Britain, Prime Minister 1940-1945, on his desk (Photo by ullstein bild via Getty Images)

The Official Charts Company said, "It is great that to a long list of stars including Elvis, Madonna, Cliff and the Beatles, we can now add Winston Churchill. It is also a tribute to the amazing sacrifices of our servicemen that the British public have bought this RAF album in such large numbers."

Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965), British politician circa 1930. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, when he led Britain to victory in the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Churchill was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, when he led Britain to victory in the Second World War (Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The album was released to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and features two speeches from 1940.

Dickon Stainer, president of record label Decca, added: "Churchill's speeches are as potent today as they were 70 years ago when they motivated the RAF to one of the greatest victories in British history."

1940:  Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) British Statesman and Prime Minister (1940 - 1945, 1951 - 1955).  (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Winston Churchill became the oldest person to ever enter the pop charts. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

The album also featured stirring wartime themes such as the Dambusters March, Battle of Britain March and 633 Squadron.

The album was "Dedicated to all the men and women who fought in the Battle of Britain,” said Official Charts Company Managing Director Martin Talbot.

Churchill’s ‘Finest Hour’ speech helped to boost morale after France surrendered to Hitler, and was delivered to the House of Commons, before being broadcast on radio that evening - it’s still widely considered among the best political speeches in history.

Watch: Boris Johnson and Nancy Pelosi bond over Churchill picture

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