Oliver Anthony has officially made history with his debut single, “Rich Men North Of Richmond” by topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart!
Billboard announced Monday that “Rich Men North Of Richmond” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week of August 26, making Oliver Anthony the first artist in history to hit No. 1 without any prior chart history in any form, per Billboard.
The Hot 100 is an all-genre chart that combines sales and streams of official audio and official video with radio airplay and sales data. “Rich Men North of Richmond” was released on August 11 and garnered 17.5 million streams and sold 147,000 downloads in the week ending August 17, according to Luminate. The single wasn’t promoted to radio, but chalked up more than a half million impressions on country radio stations.
Oliver Anthony’s success story is unlike that of any country singers before him.
The factory-worker-turned-farmer from Virginia wrote a series of honest honest speaking to blue-collar workers and didn’t anticipate the spotlight that was awaiting him.
Thanks to radiowv, a YouTube channel that highlights unsigned artists from the Virginias, Oliver’s music gained a huge audience. But, that wasn’t completely by accident. Oliver Anthony’s manager, Draven Riffe, told Billboard that they called on a few friends to help push the song, but didn’t realize how it would resonate with audiences.
“We just knew if we got the video out there, people were going to love the song and it would resonate with a lot of folks. There wasn’t some big, massive planning team around this. I had a few friends who helped us push the song out there, like my friend Josh [Baer], who has a page called Country Central,” Riffe said. “We all coordinated and Oliver’s following [did], as well; we just tried to push it out there all at once with our little group of friends and that’s how it happened.”
In addition to becoming the first artist ever to top the Billboard Hot 100 without any prior chart placement, Oliver Anthony also becomes the sixth artist ever to top the Billboard Hot 100 with their debut single. Zayn, Baauer, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia and Clay Aiken all accomplished that feat previously.
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It’s also worth noting that “Rich Men North of Richmond” is the first song by a solo male to debut atop the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Hot Country Songs charts simultaneously.
“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,” Oliver Anthony told Billboard in response to the accomplishment.
Watch Oliver Anthony’s video for “Rich Men North of Richmond” below.