Singer-songwriter Oliver Anthony – whom nearly no one had heard of just a few months ago – catapulted to instant fame when his song, “Rich Men North of Richmond,” went viral. The politically charged tune was dropped on a West Virginia radio station’s YouTube channel on August 9, 2023. As of writing, it has already earned 62 million views.
Soon enough, the song soared to No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100, making the Appalachian country-folk singer the first artist ever to reach the top of the chart without any previous chart history. For weeks, “Rich Men North of Richmond” took over as the most-streamed song, gaining radio airplay and becoming the top-selling track.
Meaning Behind The Song
Written by Oliver Anthony himself, “Rich Men North of Richmond” centers on problems many working-class communities are familiar with – such as making ends meet, high taxes, and welfare abuse. It also lashes out at wealthy legislators in Washington, D.C.
It was then a mega-hit, especially with the everyday people. Even more interesting is how “Rich Men North of Richmond” became one of the topics discussed during the first Republican presidential primary debate at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on August 23, 2023.
Two days later, Anthony, however, posted a video separating himself from politicians and other figures trying to snatch the victory of his viral hit, saying it was “funny” seeing candidates talking about “Rich Men North of Richmond” on the debate stage.
“I wrote that song about those people,” he said. “I do hate to see that song being weaponized.”
Listen to “Rich Men North of Richmond” by Oliver Anthony by playing the video below, and let us know what you think.