Working class song ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ debuts at No. 1 on Billboard charts

by Jessica Marie Baumgartner

Oliver Anthony was an unknown factory worker until his song about the hardship of the American worker, “Rich Men North of Richmond,” went viral. Now he is a number-one selling artist topping the Billboard charts, according to the New York Post.

The song went viral with its relatable lyrics and Appalachian sound. It quickly drew in Americans with its honest expression of their frustration with the state of the nation. 

“I’ve been selling my soul, working all day, overtime hours, bulls***t pay,” resonates as inflation and worker benefits have not matched for some time. 

Throughout the song, Anthony describes various issues Americans are facing and expresses a common belief that politicians are controlling elitist “Rich men north of Richmond” who have overtaxed Americans and abused power. 

The song calls out the Epstein Island participants, and the welfare system, all while being performed on Anthony’s property out in the woods. 

It was officially released on Aug. 11, gaining praise from the Daily Caller. But the song was shared all over social media just before Anthony uploaded it widely. 

On Aug. 10, he posted to X stating, “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.”

By Aug. 13, he was performing his first gig at the Morris Farmers Market in Currituck, N.C. 

The Washington Examiner reported on Friday that “Rich Men North of Richmond” had surpassed 20 million views on YouTube and received over one million likes. 

They also noted that Anthony has turned down multiple $8 million deals from the music industry.  

He posted about it on Facebook, stating, “People in the music industry give me blank stares when I brush off 8 million dollar offers.”

“I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering with mental health and depression. These songs have connected with millions of people on such a deep level because they’re being sung by someone feeling the words in the very moment they were being sung,” he went on. 

Anthony attributed this to his raw style with “no editing, no agent, no bulls***. Just some idiot and his guitar. The style of music that we should have never gotten away from in the first place.”

Shortly before uploading the viral song, he posted an introduction video to YouTube. He said, “I really started to write my own music back in 2021. Things were not good for a lot of people.”

He explained how he was experiencing addiction issues and that music helped him to cope with his struggles. He noted how working long hours in a factory had been a struggle and that he planned to write as many songs as possible and also offer more positive music as well. 

In another recent YouTube post, Anthony called his success an “anomaly” and noted how “disconnected” Americans have become. 

He said, “I’m not a good musician. I hardly know my way around the guitar. My singing’s okay. That’s not what made this.”

“It’s you, and the struggles in your life. That’s what’s made this what it is,” he declared. 

Anthony also spoke about finding solutions to these issues. His story has inspired Americans all over the country. 

According to Billboard, “Rich Men North of Richmond” is the first male solo single to debut at number one on both the Hot 100 and the Hot County Songs charts at the same time.  

Anthony told Billboard, “The hopelessness and frustration of our times resonate in the response to this song.” 

“The song itself is not anything special, but the people who have supported it are incredible and deserve to be heard,” he concluded. 

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