Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appears on Billboard’s charts, thanks to his feature on Brad Paisley‘s new single.
“Same Here” enters the all-genre Digital Song Sales chart (dated March 11) at No. 7 with 5,000 downloads sold Feb. 24-March 2, according to Luminate.
The track, Paisley’s co-written first release on Universal Music Group Nashville’s EMI Nashville Records, also begins on Country Digital Song Sales at No. 3.
Featuring a spoken section from Zelenskyy, the song benefits United24, a charitable program to restore Ukrainian homes destroyed during the ongoing Russian invasion (which began Feb. 24, 2022, a year to the day before the song’s release).
“The label [was] so great about it, realizing this isn’t going to be the feel-good hit of the year and this isn’t going to be something that’s going to work long-term at radio, [that it’s] not going to research,” Paisley told Billboard, noting that there will not be a radio edit without Zelenskyy. “I thought, ‘Would President Zelenskyy like to have the last couple of minutes and have a discussion with me on the ways we’re the same?’ This needs to exist in whatever form we can present it.”
Notably, other political leaders have used their platforms to appear on recordings, also resulting in Billboard chart placements.
In December 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama, then in his second term in office, reached No. 10 on the (now-defunct) Billboard Twitter Emerging Artists chart as featured on JX Cannon’s “Pop Off.” The track was built upon Obama’s G20 Summit speech in Turkey that November in which he mused, “If folks want to pop off and have opinions on what they think they would do, present a specific plan.”
No one-hit wonder, Obama, following the conclusion of his presidency, received artist credit with singers Christopher Jackson and BeBe Winans on the Lin-Manuel Miranda-penned “One Last Time (44 Remix)” from Hamilton. The song hit No. 2 on R&B Digital Song Sales, No. 15 on R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales, No. 22 on Hot R&B Songs and No. 38 on Digital Song Sales in January 2019.
Earlier that decade, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev contributed to an eclectic billing with beloved actress Sophia Loren and the Russian National Orchestra on the album Sergei Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf/Jean-Pascal Beintus: Wolf Tracks. The set hit No. 5 on Classical Catalog Albums in March 2012, with proceeds benefiting multiple charities. At the 2004 Grammy Awards, it won for best spoken word album for children.
Meanwhile, 10 albums credited to the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy hit the Billboard 200, including two top 10s in February 1964: That Was the Week That Was (No. 5), a BBC tribute to Kennedy, and The Presidential Years 1960-1963 (No. 8). One title highlighted two former commanders in chief: Actual Speeches of Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy (No. 109, also in February 1964). (Billboard)