Anthem Beloved by Conservatives Makes Music History

Oliver Anthony's 'Rich Men North of Richmond' debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2023 12:30 AM CDT
Anthem Beloved by Conservatives Makes Music History
Oliver Anthony performs at the Eagle Creek Golf Club and Grill in Moyock, NC, on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023.   (Kendall Warner/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

Oliver Anthony, the formerly unknown singer who is now anything but after his hit became a conservative anthem, has now made music history. "Rich Men North of Richmond," a song that bemoans high taxes, low wages, and "the obese milking welfare" while others live on the street with "nothing to eat," among other things, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. The music magazine notes Anthony is the first artist to have a song launch at the top of the Hot 100 despite having had "no prior chart history in any form." Anthony (that's a stage name in honor of his grandfather; he was born Christopher Anthony Lunsford) expressed his gratitude in a statement to Billboard.

"The hopelessness and frustration of our times resonate in the response to this song," he says. "The song itself is not anything special, but the people who have supported it are incredible and deserve to be heard." Billboard runs down a number of other notable things about his chart debut, including the fact that he's an unsigned artist, and not many of those end up sitting atop the Hot 100. Last week, Anthony posted a long message to Facebook, explaining that he never planned to become rich or famous. "I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering with mental health and depression. 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," he says. (He has also said he's in the middle, politically.)

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