Oliver Anthony’s viral breakout hit “Rich Men North of Richmond” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making the singer-songwriter the first artist ever to notch the achievement with no prior chart history in any form.
He is the sixth artist in Billboard chart history to debut a first solo Hot 100 entry at No. 1, following Zayn, Baauer, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia and Clay Aiken. And “Rich Men North of Richmond” is the first solo-written Hot 100 No. 1 since 2020’s “Heat Waves” by Glass Animals, which topped the chart for five weeks in March and April 2022.
“Rich Men North of Richmond,” which was widely shared online along with a video of the bearded country-folk singer singing with an acoustic guitar in the woods, drew 17.5 million streams and sold 147,000 downloads in the tracking week ending Aug. 17, per Luminate. A YouTube video of the song has 30 million views to date.
Notably, Luminate did not include the song’s YouTube streams in its chart calculation because the video was uploaded to Anthony’s manager’s account, which is focused on promoting local artists, and not Anthony’s own account. Still, the song’s disproportionately high number of digital downloads bolstered its chart performance.
With lyrics referencing high taxes and “the obese milkin’ welfare,” the song drew praise from the right and criticism from the left, with many deeming the Virginia-based singer, who seemingly appeared out of nowhere, an “industry plant.”
In a statement posted to Facebook after “Rich Men North of Richmond” blew up, Anthony (whose legal name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford) wrote that he isn’t rushing into a record deal.
“People in the music industry give me blank stares when I brush off eight million dollar offers. I don’t want six tour buses, 15 tractor trailers and a jet. I don’t want to play stadium shows, I don’t want to be in the spotlight,” he wrote. “I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering with mental health and depression. These songs have connected with millions of people on such a deep level because they’re being sung by someone feeling the words in the very moment they were being sung. No editing, no agent, no bullshit. Just some idiot and his guitar. The style of music that we should have never gotten away from in the first place.”
After debuting at No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart, Anthony told Billboard, “The hopelessness and frustration of our times resonate in the response to this song. The song itself is not anything special, but the people who have supported it are incredible and deserve to be heard.”
Observing the rest of the top nine songs on the list, country music claims another takeover for the second time this year. Luke Combs’ cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” follows Anthony at No. 2 while Morgan Wallen’s “Last Night” is at No. 3. This marks the second week in 2023 where the top three slots of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart has been occupied solely by country hits — before this year, that hadn’t occurred since March 1981, when Eddie Rabbitt’s “I Love a Rainy Night” and Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” managed the two-team, crossover-success feat.
Prior to Anthony joining the mix, Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town,” “Last Night” and “Fast Car” hit Nos. 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Wallen also occupies the Billboard 200 at No. 2 this week with his 36-song set “One Thing at a Time.”
Olvia Rodrigio’s “Bad Idea Right?” — the second single off Rodrigo’s upcoming album “Guts” (due Sept. 8) — clocks in at No. 10 with nearly 20 million streams following the No. 1 debut of the set’s first single, “Vampire.”
And while the accompanying soundtrack to Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” remains at No. 4 on the albums chart, two singles off the set occupy slots in the top 10 of the Hot 100: Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night” at No. 8, and Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice’s “Barbie World,” with Aqua at No. 9. The rest of the top 10 singles are repeats from previous weeks including Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” at No. 4, Rema and Selena Gomez’s “Calm Down” at No. 5 and Gunna’s “Fukumean” at No. 7.
Back on the albums chart, Travis Scott’s “Utopia” commands the list for a third consecutive week with the equivalent of 185,000 units sold, per Luminate. Album sales comprised 99,000 of that sum, with the number spiking by 169% since the last tracking week due largely in part to promotional sales — which discounted “Utopia” vinyl from $50 to only $5 for a limited time — on Scott’s online storefront. In fact, vinyl sales accounted for 93,000 of the 99,000 sold as the seventh-largest sales week on vinyl for any album since Luminate began tracking sales in 1991. By that timeline, it’s also the biggest week for any hip-hop or rap album on vinyl.
Karol G collects her second top-five album on the chart with the No. 3 entrance of “Mañana Será Bonito (Bichota Season),” the follow-up to her February release, “Mañana Será Bonito.” Although both sets have similar names, the tracklist does differ with original songs and remixes. “Mañana Será Bonito” was Karol’s first No. 1 on the chart and marked the first time a female Latin artist led the list. “Bichota Season” debuts with 67,000 units earned (68 million streams), and also comes as the pop star has kicked off her first stadium jaunt across the U.S.
Swift occupies a good chunk of the top 10 with “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” at No. 5, “Midnights” at No. 6 and “Lover” at No. 7. And closing out the top of the list is Peso Pluma’s “Génesis” at No. 8 and Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” at No. 10.
- ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ Debuts at No. 1 as Oliver Anthony Makes Billboard Chart History
- Check all news and articles from the latest HOLLYWOOD updates.
- Please Subscribe us at Google News.