A previously unknown folk singer was plucked from obscurity last week when his song “Rich Men North of Richmond” became an overnight sensation, going viral on social media and earning the top spot on the U.S. iTunes chart.
Oliver Anthony’s hit song highlights the struggles of working-class Americans, who he says work “overtime hours for bullsh-t pay.”
“It’s a damn shame what the world’s gotten to; For people like me and people like you; Wish I could just wake up and it not be true; But it is, oh, it is,” Anthony sings. “Livin’ in the new world
With an old soul; These rich men north of Richmond; Lord knows they all just wanna have total control; Wanna know what you think, wanna know what you do; And they don’t think you know, but I know that you do; ‘Cause your dollar ain’t shit and it’s taxed to no end; ‘Cause of rich men north of Richmond.”
Anthony’s song was first shared on the YouTube channel RadioWV, and in just five days, it earned a staggering 9.3 million views. The song quickly went viral on Twitter – now X – where it has also been viewed millions of times.
Over the weekend, hundreds of people traveled to North Carolina to see the now-famous singer’s first show since “Rich Men North of Richmond” went viral.
Rather than kicking off the show with a song, Anthony grabbed his Bible and read Psalm 37.
“The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.”
“The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty. But the wicked will perish: Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke,” Anthony concluded to thunderous applause and cheers.