Controversial country song Rich Men North of Richmond makes US chart history

"I've spent the last 5 years struggling with mental health and using alcohol to drown it" ...

THE GUARDIAN – Oliver Anthony becomes first artist to debut at top of Billboard Hot 100 despite having no prior chart history, with a song that has drawn backlash for its stereotypes of welfare recipients

Oliver Anthony’s Rich Men North of Richmond, the out-of-nowhere country song that went viral earlier this month, has debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making him the first artist to do this with no prior chart history in any form.

The song, which Anthony says is the first he ever recorded with a professional microphone, was widely shared online along with a video of the bearded, Virginia-based singer playing an acoustic guitar in the woods.

““I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering with mental health and depression. These songs have connected with millions of people … “

The song was streamed 17.5m times during the week ending 17 August, and a video of Anthony’s performance posted by the channel RadioWV has racked up 30m views in 12 days.

The conservative-leaning hit has drawn backlash for its anti-taxes sentiment and for invoking the stereotype of the “welfare queen”.

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(“Lord, we got folks in the street, ain’t got nothin’ to eat / And the obese milkin’ welfare,” he sings in the second verse. “Well, God, if you’re 5-foot-3 and you’re 300 pounds / Taxes ought not to pay for your bags of Fudge Rounds.”)

The song is part classic folk-country working man’s anthem (“I’ve been sellin’ my soul, workin’ all day / Overtime hours for bullshit pay”) and part conservative mantra (“’cause your dollar ain’t shit, and it’s taxed to no end”), and part grievance (“young men are putting themselves six feet in the ground / ’cause all this damn country does is keep on kickin’ them down”).

It also dabbles in conspiracy (“I wish politicians would look out for miners / And not just minors on an island somewhere,” he sings, a reference to many conspiracy theories surrounding the crimes and death of Jeffery Epstein) …



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