Oliver Anthony’s hit song Rich Men North of Richmond has debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart at number one.
According to Billboard, Anthony is the first artist to launch at the top of the list with no prior chart history, and the 69th artist overall to debut a song at number one.
The song, which was officially released on August 11, saw 17.5 million streams and sold 147,000 downloads during the week ending in August 17.
The single has also debuted at number one on the Digital Song Sales chart and number four on Streaming Songs.
Anthony exclusively 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 song, which centers around a theme of the struggling working-class American being pushed around by the political class living in and around Washington, DC, has also skyrocketed to the number one spot on Apple Music’s Global 100 list.
Speaking on becoming an overnight sensation, Anthony wrote on Facebook, “It’s been difficult as I browse through the 50,000+ messages and emails I’ve received in the last week. The stories that have been shared paint a brutally honest picture. Suicide, addiction, unemployment, anxiety and depression, hopelessness and the list goes on.
“I’m sitting in such a weird place in my life right now. I never wanted to be a full time musician, much less sit at the top of the iTunes charts. Draven from RadioWv and I filmed these tunes on my land with the hope that it may hit 300k views. I still don’t quite believe what has went on since we uploaded that. It’s just strange to me.”
“People in the music industry give me blank stares when I brush off 8 million dollar offers. I don’t want 6 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.”
“From 2014 until just a few days ago, I’ve worked outside sales in the industrial manufacturing world. My job has taken me all over Virginia and into the Carolinas, getting to know tens of thousands of other blue collar workers on job sites and in factories. Ive spent all day, everyday, for the last 10 years hearing the same story,” the singer said. “People are SO damn tired of being neglected, divided and manipulated.”
Earlier in the month, Anthony drew a massive crowd at Morris Farm Market, where he read from the bible and played the anthem for the crowd.
“It’s crazy to me because I remember back in June, I played here for about 20 people,” Oliver said to fans as he opened the bible and read Psalm 37.
On Saturday, Anthony told Fox News, “If we continue on the path that we’re going down now, culturally, we won’t have a country very long — 5 years? 50 years? I don’t know.”