Oliver Anthony’s folk ballad “Rich Men North of Richmond” has reached the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
The Hot 100 gathers data from streaming, radio play, and song purchases to determine the most popular hits in the U.S. and around the world. With this accomplishment, Mr. Anthony becomes the first artist to top the chart without any prior chart history, surpassing Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo.
The song, released on Aug. 11, has been streamed over 17 million times and sold 147,000 digital downloads. It has also received significant airplay on country music stations, accumulating 553,000 radio airplay audience impressions.
Mr. Oliver, a Virginia-based singer-songwriter, gained widespread attention for his rootsy music and politically charged lyrics, especially on social media platforms. However, the song has faced mixed reactions, with conservatives praising its lyrics about high taxes and welfare abuse, while liberals have found them politically charged and insensitive.
Regarding the controversy, Mr. Anthony has stated that while some people may have issues with the lyrics, he personally stands in the middle politically.
“I remember as a kid the conservatives wanting war, and me not understanding that. And I remember a lot of the controversies when the left took office, and it seems like, you know, both sides serve the same master,” he said in a video. “And that master is not someone of any good to the people of this country.”