96-Year-Old Writes Song for Dearly Departed Wife, Becomes Oldest Artist on Billboard’s Top 100

When a  96-year-old man becomes a social media sen­sa­tion, it’s usu­al­ly not too hard to see why.

Fred Sto­baugh, the gent fea­tured above, ran across a call for entries for Green Shoe Stu­dio’s Singer Song­writer Con­test and used it as an excuse to write a love song for his wife, Lor­raine. That’s plen­ty sweet, espe­cial­ly when one does the math—Fred and Lor­raine were togeth­er for 75 years, and mar­ried for all but three. When one learns that Fred buried his bride just six weeks before hear­ing about the con­test, the sto­ry takes on a sort of roman­tic urgency. We need him to win this con­test.

Rather than upload­ing a video of his “Oh Sweet Lor­raine” to YouTube as instruct­ed, Sto­baugh slipped the lyrics into a mani­la enve­lope and mailed them off along with an explana­to­ry note. Green Shoe’s Jake Col­gan was open to the trans­gres­sion, as befits a record pro­duc­er who made the con­scious deci­sion to set up shop in Peo­ria, Illi­nois.

It’s safe to assume most of the entrants approached the con­test with their eyes on the prize, a pro­fes­sion­al­ly record­ed demo CD and pho­to shoot, and lau­rels with which to adorn their devel­op­ing careers. No dis­re­spect to them—they were fol­low­ing the rules in good faith—but the puri­ty of Strobaugh­’s motives no doubt set him apart as much, if not more than his longevi­ty.

Speak­ing of which, it was just announced that Sto­baugh has top­pled the-then-85-year-old Tony Ben­nett to become the old­est artist ever appear­ing in Bill­board­’s Hot 100.

With all the atten­tion being paid to the endear­ing­ly mod­est Mr. Strobaugh, let’s do take a moment to acknowl­edge this year’s actu­al con­test win­ner Gra­ham Cowger, as well as the run­ners up. A class act can be a dif­fi­cult act to fol­low. To quote Lou Reed entire­ly out of con­text, “always back to Lor­raine.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Acoustic Gui­tar Project Gives Song­writ­ers World­wide a Gui­tar and One Week to Write a Song

Last Min­utes with ODEN: A Touch­ing Short Film

9‑Year-Old Philoso­pher Pon­ders the Mean­ing of Life and the Uni­verse

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is remind­ed of the won­der­ful Joe Put­ter­lik in Miran­da July’s film, The Future. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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Comments (10)
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  • suelynngr says:

    u2665 Beau­ti­ful, beau­ti­ful! Great job Jake — this touch­es my heart in the best way. :))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

  • womanbread says:

    Weep­ing while watch­ing and lis­ten­ing to this. What a beaut­ful sen­ti­ment and ges­ture express­ing such a deep and pro­found love this man has felt for his beloved wife. Absolute­ly beautiful…touchingly so.

  • Diane Boyd says:

    this warms my heart in so many ways — good guys all around — thanks!!

  • Diane Boyd says:

    this warms my heart in so many ways — good guys all around — thanks!!

  • Raghuram Kandukuri says:

    I am just speech­less for this Man. 75 years of love.

  • Shashank says:

    Tear­ful­ly joy­ous

  • Nikki says:

    Do you want to find a part­ner who will exceed your expec­ta­tions? Try___richfriends.com___the largest place to meet rich suc­cess­ful men and classy gor­geous women for seri­ous rela­tion­ships. Have a try and good luck! :)

    • Cat says:

      Are you fuck­ing seri­ous? Please, don’t meet any­body ever, and dry up. I hate to hate, but what a mess of a com­ment.

  • Vashti Puls says:

    Oh Dear sweet Fred that we could all be so lucky! Love means so much more than mon­ey. Teach us all that ! I am so sor­ry for your hurt and loss. A big part of you is gone but she remains for­ev­er with you. Now your Dear­est heart will live on in oth­er hearts as well! To the man who helped Fred …you are FANTASTIC you make me believe that dreams come true in many forms! Thank you too! It is nev­er too late nev­er. Nev­er too late to find love, to get pub­lished, to have ones dreams come true. WOW The earth is full of love. Let us pass it on. Let us all share the love!

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