Country Chatter

Oliver Anthony Has The #1 Song In The Country


In a mere 14 days Oliver Anthony has gone from being an unknown musician in Virginia, to having the #1 song in the country.  The achievement comes as he beats out stars like Taylor Swift, Morgan Wallen, Luke Combs, Olivia Rodrigo, and Gunna for the top spot on Billboard’s all-genre Hot 100 songs chart. Anthony’s fete also has the distinction of being the only artist to ever make their first entry in the Hot 100 at #1 and never have charted previously, Billboard announced on Monday (Aug. 21).

While streaming is the most common method of listening to music, Anthony’s success is due to the more than 147,000 units sold through digital purchases according to data provider Luminate. The song has sat atop the iTunes chart since last Friday.

Billboard reports that “Rich Men North of Richmond” earned 17.5 million streams and sold 147,000 downloads in the tracking week ending Aug. 17. Without being promoted on radio, the song also accumulated 553,000 radio airplay audience impressions.

“Rich Men North of Richmond” also debuted at No. 1 on Billboards  Digital Song Sales chart  and No. 4 on Streaming Songs.

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.”

Anthony has been enticed by record deals and has everyone from rapper Gucci Mane and country singer John Rich that want to work with him.

“All the major record labels in Nashville are falling over themselves to lure Oliver Anthony,” Rich tweeted. “The irony is, if he would’ve been signed to a label when he wrote this song, none of us would have EVER heard it! His song fried their brains. Their greed is overriding their wokeness.”

Anthony has shared that he gets blank stares from record executives when he turns down their million dollar offers.

“I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering with mental health and depression,” he wrote. “These songs have connected with millions of people on such a deep level because they’re being sung by someone feeling the words in the very moment they were being sung. No editing, no agent, no bulls—. Just some idiot and his guitar. The style of music that we should have never gotten away from in the first place.”

He has also shared that he uses the stage name Oliver Anthony (his real name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford) as a tribute to his late grandfather. Anthony said he dropped out of high school in his late teens and later got his GED. He worked various jobs before a skull fracture from a bad fall sidelined him, prompting him to return to Virginia.

“There’s nothing special about me,” he said. “I’m not a good musician. I’m not a very good person. I’ve spent the last five years struggling with mental health and using alcohol to drown it. I am sad to see the world in the state it’s in, with everyone fighting with each other. I have spent many nights feeling hopeless, that the greatest country on Earth is quickly fading away.”

“There was not a whole lot of planning involved,” Draven Riffe, Anthony’s co-manager (with Brian Prentice), told Billboard Saturday (Aug. 19) of the song’s release. Riffe is also the sole producer of “Richmond,” as well as the co-founder of radiowv, which launched in 2018. “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. 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.”

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