Oliver Anthony’s “Rich Men North Of Richmond” is perhaps 2023’s most unexpected hit. The song came out of nowhere and topped the Apple Music and Spotify charts. There were some predictions (like this) that indicated the song was expected to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and now we know for sure: On the new Hot 100 dated August 26, “Rich Men North Of Richmond” is indeed on top in its debut week on the chart.
The #Hot100 top 10 (chart dated Aug. 26, 2023)
— billboard charts (@billboardcharts) August 21, 2023
In reaction to the song debuting at No. 1, 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.”
The publication also notes Anthony is “the first artist ever to launch atop the list with no prior chart history in any form.” He’s also just the sixth artist to ever debut a first solo Hot 100 entry at No. 1, after Zayn, Baauer, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia, and Clay Aiken. The song is also No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
The song has generated some controversy with lyrics like, “Lord, we got folks in the street, ain’t got nothin’ to eat / And the obese milkin’ welfare / Well, God, if you’re 5-foot-3 and you’re 300 pounds / Taxes ought not to pay for your bags of fudge rounds.”
Anthony noted of himself in a recent video, “I sit pretty dead center down the aisle on politics and always have. 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. And that master is not someone of any good to the people of this country.”
Learn more about Anthony and his hit song in our recent explainer, here.