(The Hill) — The singer behind “Rich Men North of Richmond,” which has become such a hit with conservatives that it was featured at the beginning of this week’s 2024 GOP primary debate, is seeking distance from the “aggravating” Republican embrace.
“It was funny seeing my song … at the presidential debate. ‘Cause it’s like, I wrote that song about those people,” musician Oliver Anthony said in a video on his YouTube channel.
The No. 1, which points the finger at the powerful elite of Washington, has become an anthem among Republicans, who see it as a criticism of Democrats such as President Biden.
“That song has nothing to do with Joe Biden. It’s a lot bigger than Joe Biden. That song was written about the people on that stage … Not just them, but definitely them,” Anthony said.
Fox News debate moderator Martha MacCaullum said Wednesday, “His lyrics speak of alienation, of deep frustration with the state of government and of this country. Washington, D.C., is about 100 miles north of Richmond,” asking the candidates on stage in Milwaukee to answer why the song is “striking such a nerve” in the country.
“The one thing that has bothered me is seeing people wrap politics up into this,” Anthony said in the new video. “It’s aggravating seeing people on conservative news try to identify with me like I’m one of them. It’s aggravating seeing certain musicians and politicians act like we’re buddies and act like we’re fighting the same struggle here, like that we’re trying to present the same message.”
“I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and I tried to be polite to everybody, and I’ve talked to hundreds of people the last two weeks, and it seems like certain people want to just ride the attention of the song to maybe make their own selves relevant, and that’s aggravating as hell,” he added.
I see the right trying to characterize me as one of their own and I see the left trying to discredit me, I guess in retaliation. That s—‘s gotta stop.”