Oliver Anthony, a once-obscure singer from Virginia, has skyrocketed to fame with his folk song “Rich Men North of Richmond.” The song singles out the disconnect between the Washington D.C. elite and the working class. After debuting the song on social media, it gained immense popularity, swiftly ascending to the No. 1 position on iTunes’ all-genre music chart, outperforming top artists. Anthony’s success story was amplified when another of his tracks, “Ain’t Gotta Dollar”, secured the No. 2 spot on iTunes, making him the artist with the top two selling songs on the platform.
The rise of “Rich Men North of Richmond” is attributed not just to its captivating melody, but primarily to its anti-establishment message, which resonated with a vast number of Americans. The song’s influence spread virally even before it was available on mainstream streaming platforms. A live rendition of the song on an Appalachian YouTube channel garnered widespread attention, which subsequently led to an album production offer from renowned country musician, John Rich.
Beyond the charts, Anthony’s personal journey added layers to his growing lore. He had a tumultuous battle with alcoholism that almost derailed him until he found solace in faith. This song marked a significant milestone in his personal and musical comeback.