Oliver Anthony’s Viral Anthem ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ Strikes A Chord With Millions

The former factory worker is taking the world by storm with his viral song about the working class.

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

August 14, 2023

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Oliver Anthony; Photo Courtesy radiowv on YouTube

Former factory worker Oliver Anthony is taking the world by storm with his song, “Rich Men North of Richmond.” 

The singer has become an overnight success thanks to the song about the struggles of the working class in the face of wealthy individuals driven by greed. The song resonated with millions after his performance of “Rich Men North of Richmond” was posted to radiowv’s YouTube. The video raked in 9.2 million views in just five days. 

“I’ve been selling my soul, working all day, overtime hours, bulls–t pay, so I can sit out here, And waste my life away. Drive back home and drink my troubles away. It’s a damn shame what the world’s gotten to, for people like me, people like you. Wish I could just wake up and it not be true, but it is,” Oliver Anthony sings on the opening verse. 

An Overnight Success

Oliver Anthony; Photo Courtesy radiowv on YouTube
Oliver Anthony; Photo Courtesy radiowv on YouTube

The song goes on to call out the wealthy who seek “total control,” politicians, and “obese” Americans who are taking advantage of government assistance. 

“Lord, we got folks in the street, ain’t got nothing to eat and the obese milking welfare/ Well God, if you’re 5-foot-3 and you’re 300 pounds/ Taxes ought not to pay for your bags of fudge rounds,” he sings.

In a video shared to YouTube ahead of the release of the viral radiowv video, Anthony explained that this is the  “first song to get out there that has been recorded on a real microphone and a real camera, and not just on my cell phone.” 

Watch

YouTube video

He went on to share his hopes for “Rich Men North of Richmond.” 

“The universal thing I see is no matter how much effort they put into whatever it is they’re doing, they can’t quite get ahead because the dollar’s not worth enough, they are being over-taxed. … I want to be a voice for those people,” he explained. “And not just them, but humans in general.”

The Song Is Resonating With Millions

The performance clip now has over 45,000 comments. Many users are sharing their support and thanking Oliver Anthony for speaking out on an issue so many are facing. 

YouTube video

“I’m a 37 year old contractor in Florida and I’ve had one of the toughest weeks mentally and physically to the point I feel i’m on the edge of a break down. I constantly felt alone in my struggle as I didnt want my family to feel that pain,” wrote one YouTube user. “Then I heard this song 2 days later and it literally brought me to tears. I feel like i just took the biggest breath of air in a long time. It feels good and bad to know so many people feel the same way I do all across the world. Thanks for this song as it brought me back, and to all my hard working men and women in the world im here for you all! We got this!”

Another shared, “I’m a 39 year old Iraq vet and Construction worker, struggling like a dog to take care of two kids and keep a farm going when I’m not working 11 hour days. This hit so hard today I had to stop my old peterbilt and tear up. Preach brother.”

The comments section is filled with thousands of similar stories shared by people from around the country and the world. 

In response to the song’s success, Anthony joined X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and wrote, “’Rich Men North of Richmond’ has been uploaded to all major streaming platforms and will show up there in a few days. Im still in a state of shock at the outpouring of love I’ve seen in the comments, messages and emails. I’m working to respond to everyone as quickly as possible.”

First-Ever Performance

On Sunday, Oliver Anthony appeared at the Morris Farm Market in Barco, North Carolina for his first-ever performance. 

According to social media posts, thousands of supporters showed up to witness the show, which included a surprise appearance from 10-time GRAMMY nominee and Grand Ole Opry member, Jamey Johnson.  

The pair joined forces to perform Johnson’s CMA and ACM Award-winning hit, “In Color.” 

“Ya’ll filled 25 acres with cars for the first-ever gig! I am so proud to be a part of this moment in history,” Anthony shared on social media following the event. “Thanks to everyone who stayed after for photos and to tell me your story. It means more than words can describe.” 

Early predictions suggest that “Rich Men North of Richmond” is poised for a history-making No.1 debut on the Billboard Hot 100 following its viral success.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.