Oliver Anthony on GOP Debate: 'I Wrote That Song About Those People'

'Rich Men North of Richmond' singer doesn't like seeing politicians 'act like we're buddies'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2023 11:20 AM CDT

Oliver Anthony wants people to know that when he's singing about "Rich Men North of Richmond," he means Republican politicians as well as other powerful people. In a video posted on YouTube Friday, the country singer said it cracked him up when Republican candidates were asked about the song during Wednesday night's debate, the New York Times reports. A clip of Anthony playing the song, which became a conservative anthem after it went viral earlier this month, was played at the start of the debate. "It was funny seeing that presidential debate," Anthony said. "I wrote that song about those people."

"This song has nothing to do with Joe Biden, it's a lot bigger than Joe Biden. That song's written about the people on that stage, and a lot more too, but definitely them," he said. Anthony said he doesn't like seeing his song about workers struggling with low wages and high taxes being "weaponized," NBC News reports. "It's aggravating seeing people on conservative news trying to identify with me like I'm one of them," said Anthony, who described his political views as "pretty dead center" in a previous video. "It's aggravating seeing certain musicians and politicians act like we're buddies and act like we're fighting the same struggle," he said.

"I see the right, trying to characterize me as one of their own. And I see the left trying to discredit me," Anthony said. He said that the song, which includes a line about the "obese milkin' welfare," had been misinterpreted on the left as an attack on the poor. He said his real target was "government inefficencies." "If you listen to my other music, it's obvious that all of my songs that reference class defend the poor," he said. Anthony, who was largely unknown before the song became a massive hit, said he is in no rush to sign a record deal and he plans to keep making music that "represents people and not politics," Variety reports. "I don't want to go on some roller-coaster ride and come off a different person," he said. (British singer Billy Bragg recorded a pro-union response to Anthony's song.)

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