Viral Anthony hit reaches the top
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Viral Anthony hit reaches the top

Monday, August 21, 2023 – The surprise viral hit "Rich Men North of Richmond" from Oliver Anthony music is now the number one song on the chart.

The country folk song from the West Virginia-native who lives in Virginia debuts at the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

"The hopelessness and frustration of our times resonate in the response to this song," Anthony told Billboard. He was born Christopher Anthony Lunsford (whose stage name honors his grandfather, Oliver Anthony)pen at number one with no prior chart history in any form. Anthony has talked opnely about his substance abuse issues.

Anthony is an independent aritst.

Officially released Aug. 11, "Rich Men North of Richmond" drew 17.5 million streams and sold 147,000 downloads in the tracking week ending Aug. 17. Bil olboard reported that the song received 553,000 radio airplay audience impressions, mostly on country stations.

The song from the Farmville, Va.-based former factory worker first drew attention online before its Aug. 11 posting on the radiowv YouTube account, which supports unsigned Americana and country acts in the Virginia/West Virginia region.

The song benefitted by receiving praise from conservatives. Lyrics include "your dollar taxed to no end 'cause of rich men north of Richmond," and "the obese milkin' welfare."

Anthony denied being conservatyive. In an Aug. 7 video, he said, "I sit pretty dead center down the aisle on politics and always have."

Anthony further 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."

"There was not a whole lot of planning involved," Draven Riffe, Anthony's co-manager (with Brian Prentice), told Billboard on Satureday of the song's release. He produced "Richmond," and is the co-founder of radiowv, which began 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."

Anthony is looking ahead to more shows. "We are working on a full [lineup] of shows with bigger accommodations in the near future," Anthony wrote \. "Everyone in the industry' is rushing me into signing something, but we just want to take things slow right now. I appreciate your patience."

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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