Why Oliver Anthony’s Viral Sensation ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ Is Resonating with Americans Today

An aspiring country music artist in Virginia shot up the charts over the weekend after his music video went viral on social media. Oliver Anthony’s “Rich Men North of Richmond” racked up some 10 million views in five days and landed at the top of the Apple Music and iTunes Country charts. When he performed the song in public for the first time since making headlines, fans reportedly “filled 25 acres with cars for the first-ever gig!”

On Monday, Megyn was joined by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, author of March to the Majority, to discuss the viral sensation and why Anthony’s lyrics are resonating with the American people.

Oliver Anthony Goes Viral

Last week, Radio WV released a video of Anthony, who lives in Farmville, VA, delivering a passionate acoustic performance of his song “Rich Men North of Richmond” on Instagram and YouTube. It quickly amassed millions of views and was shared by the likes of Joe Rogan, Matt Walsh, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.

The song rails against the establishment and expresses working-class frustrations with lyrics like:

I’ve been sellin’ my soul, workin’ all day

Overtime hours for bullsh-t pay

So I can sit out here and waste my life away

Drag back home and drown my troubles away

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

In a video uploaded to his own YouTube channel prior to the song’s release, the former factory worker, who has struggled with mental health and is recently sober, said his politics are “pretty dead center” and wants to be “a voice” for people who are “just sick and tired of being sick and tired.” 

Anthony said he has released about a dozen songs recorded on his cell phone over the last couple of years, but none have seen the success of “Rich Men North of Richmond.” In rising to number one on the iTunes Country chart, Anthony surpassed Jason Aldean’s controversial hit “Try That in a Small Town.”

In the wake of the song going viral, Anthony played a set at the Morris Farm Market in Barco, North Carolina on Sunday. Social media posts of the gig show hundreds, if not thousands, in attendance.

The Response to the Song

While Anthony has yet to give an interview, he called the response to the song “touching” on X (formerly known as Twitter). Megyn said the tune “resonates in the soul,” and both she and Gingrich agreed that the lyrics strike a nerve.

Much like Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town,” Gingrich said Anthony’s song “reflects the sense of alienation” felt by many in the United States today. In his view, “everyday, average Americans… don’t trust the people in power” to care about them. “[They believe] that people who have power, including financial power, actually don’t operate on behalf of America,” Gingrich noted. “They operate selfishly on behalf of themselves, and they leave everybody else behind.”

This is the sentiment, he noted, that fueled Donald Trump’s rise. “That’s part of what has powered Donald Trump’s entire political career,” Gingrich explained. “The people out there who feel the most alienated… think whatever [Trump’s] flaws are, at least he’s standing up and fighting for them.”

He said Anthony is “telling the truth in a way that you very seldom have people do,” and it actually dovetails with the frustration we’re currently seeing with the justice system. “I think when people like Joe Biden and Merrick Garland display open contempt for the American people, they are increasing the number of Americans who say, ‘I got it. You’re the kind of guys we’ve got to get rid of,’” he concluded. “It’s fascinating to watch.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Gingrich by tuning in to episode 607 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.