The Country music world has been reeling over newcomer Oliver Anthony’s “Rich Men North of Richmond,” the Farmville, VA-based singer-songwriter’s surprise viral hit that has steadily been gaining steam since its arrival on TikTok in early August.
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This week, Oliver makes his debut at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, while also marking the first time an artist has topped the list without any previous chart history.
While dealing with the polarizing topics embedded within the current cultural divide between rural and big-city Americans, the song has drawn both praise and condemnation from those on both sides of the political aisle. However, in a video posted just days before the track broke, Anthony explained how he considered his own leanings “pretty dead center down the aisle on politics,” adding in a later post that he felt, “sad to see the world in the state it’s in, with everyone fighting with each other.”
"The hopelessness and frustration of our times resonate in the response to this song," the singer explains in a new interview with Billboard. "The song itself is not anything special, but the people who have supported it are incredible and deserve to be heard.”
Before making it onto this week’s Hot 100, Oliver had not appeared on any Billboard charts, making him the first artist to ever make their debut at the top of the list. Anthony is also the sixth artist ever to debut their first solo single at number 1, enjoying the company of former One Direction-er Zayn Malik and "Harlem Shake"-master Baauer, as well as Country icon Carrie Underwood, R&B singer and actress Fantasia, and season 2 American Idol runner up Clay Aiken.
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