Oliver Anthony describes a working man's struggles during the opening lyrics to "Rich Men North of Richmond." Then, he targets charged social-political issues.

The viral song from Anthony arrived on Aug. 8, and within days, a YouTube video had millions — and then tens of millions — of views, plus streams on Spotify and other digital providers. He wrote the song himself, and it's clearly resonating with conservative country music fans, even if the former factory worker says he sits in the center of the road politically.

The "rich men" described in the "Rich Men North of Richmond" lyrics are presumably politicians living in Washington, D.C. (100 miles north via I-95), but he's yet to detail his songwriting process. Before the second verse, he speaks in vague terms about working hard for little pay, but then in a stunning twist, zooms in on child trafficking, welfare and obesity.

Find the full lyrics to "Rich Men of North Richmond" below.

Who is Oliver Anthony?

Oliver Anthony (real name: Christopher Anthony Lunsford) is from Farmville, Va. Information about his life prior to "Rich Men ..." going viral comes mostly from him directly, and people who say they know him on social media.

In a video shared to his YouTube page a day before the song was released on YouTube, he describes living the life he sings about during the first verse. That helped lead to mental health issues and an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. In July 2023, he says promised God he'd get sober for help following his dreams. About 30 days later, he was trending to have the No. 1 country song in America.

Oliver Anthony, "Rich Men of Richmond" Lyrics:

I've been sellin' my soul, workin' all day / Overtime hours for bullshit 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.

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.

I wish politicians would look out for miners / And not just minors on an island somewhere / Lord, we got folks in the street, ain't got nothin' to eat / And the obese milkin' welfare.

Well, God, if you're 5-foot-3 and you're 300 pounds / Taxes ought not to pay for your bags of fudge rounds / Young men are puttin' themselves six feet in the ground / 'Cause all this damn country does is keep on kickin' them down.

Repeat Pre-Chorus

Repeat Chorus

I've been sellin' my soul, workin' all day / Overtime hours for bullshit pay.

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Just two of those names make this list of 11 country stars who don't write their own songs, and one you'll be surprised to learn does. It's a list that includes four Country Music Hall of Fame inductees and at least two others sure to get in soon. The takeaway is that great singers are great storytellers, especially when they're telling someone else's story.

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