Unless you’ve been on a retreat at a place with no wifi all summer, the words “yeah I’m gonna take my horse to the old town road/ I’m gonna ride ‘til I can’t no more” will invoke a strong emotional response in anyone who hears them, and now the cultural phenomenon has cemented its place in music history.
“Old Town Road” has officially become the longest running number one hit in history, as reported by The Fader. The smash hit by Lil Nas X, real name Montero Lamar Hill, has stayed on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for 17 consecutive weeks. The record was previously held by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s 2017 song of the summer “Despacito,” tied with Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men 1995 hit “One Sweet Day.”
The rise to the top started in April, shortly after Billboard removed it from the Hot Country charts, telling Rolling Stone that the hit didn’t “embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.” That decision was a blessing in disguise, as it was what got the attention of Billy Ray Cyrus and sparked his interest in collaborating with the young artist.
After Cyrus found out about the injustice he took to Twitter to say “It was so obvious to me after hearing the song just one time. I was thinking, what’s not country about it? What’s the rudimentary element of a country and western song? Then I thought, it’s honest, humble, and has an infectious hook, and a banjo. What the hell more do ya need?”
Cyrus decided to lend a verse to “Old Town Road” and the rest is, literal, record breaking history. The song took off everywhere, both on the internet and in real life, making Lil Nas X an international celebrity.
It seems like everyone wants to add on to the smash hit, including Young Thug and “Yodel Boy” Mason Ramsey. Miley Cyrus and her father performed their own version of it, a mashup with Miley’s smash hit “Party in the U.S.A” and Lil Nas’ other viral hit, the recently released, “Panini.”
After “Old Town Road” broke the record Lil Nas shared a sweet sentiment on Twitter and the legendary Miss Carey was more than happy to hand the torch over to Nas via a hilarious tweet .
— nope (@LilNasX) July 29, 2019
Sending love & congrats to @LilNasX on breaking one of the longest running records in music history! We’ve been blessed to hold this record with a song that means a great deal to @BoyzIIMen and myself and has touched so many. Keep living your best life! pic.twitter.com/3YorLCg3lx
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) July 30, 2019