Congratulations are in order to Sia, not only because she has the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 with her latest single Cheap Thrills, but the Australian singer-songwriter is the first woman past the age of 40 in 16 years to reach the top of the chart.
The last female artiste to do so was Madonna, who at 42 in September 2000, hit No. 1 with her single Music.
While Sia’s feat is an achievement for female artistes over the age of 40, it is a glaring look into a music industry that has become ageist in recent years.
Back in the 1980s, for instance, it was not uncommon for female artistes over the age of 30 (which is considered “old” by today’s standards) to hit the top spot.
Dolly Parton was 37 when her duet with Kenny Rogers, Islands In The Stream, reached No. 1; Tina Turner was 45 when her comeback hit What’s Love Got To Do With It hit the top spot; and Aretha Franklin was 45 when she reached the peak with her duet with George Michael, I Knew You Were Waiting.
Cheap Thrills was written by Sia, but was orignally intended for Rihanna – who passed on the song.
“I realised just as soon as I was cutting it that it sounded a little bit too Brit-pop for (Rihanna). It’s more Icona Pop. We did actually send it to her, but they passed on it, and then I just couldn’t stop listening to it in the car,” Sia told Rolling Stone in an interview.
“There’s something really uplifting about it that put me in a good mood, and I would just pretend it wasn’t me singing. It felt very summer and fun.”
Sia then recorded the song and put it in her seventh studio album This Is Acting.
The remix version of Cheap Thrills features Jamaican artiste Sean Paul, 43.
Looks like 40s is the new 20s on the music charts.