Billy Bragg Releases Response Song to Oliver Anthony’s “Rich Men North of Richmond”

British musician Billy Bragg has released a pro-union response song to Oliver Anthony‘s single “Rich Men North of Richmond,” which recently went viral. Bragg’s new song is titled “Rich Men Earning North of a Million.”

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The lyrics for “Rich Men North of Richmond” read, 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.

Bragg’s new single offers a new take on the idea, with the song’s lyrics reading If you’re selling your soul, working all day/ Overtime hours for bullshit pay/ Nothing’s gonna change if all you do/ Is wish you could wake up and it not be true/ Join a union, fight for better pay / Join a union, brother, organize today.

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The release of Anthony’s “Rich Men North of Richmond” is accompanied by a statement by Bragg. “Since I saw that clip of Oliver Anthony singing his song ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’, the ghost of Woody Guthrie has been whispering in my ear,” Bragg wrote. “‘Help that guy out’ Woody keeps telling me, ‘Let him know there’s a way to deal with those problems he’s singing about.’ So today I sat down and wrote this response to Mr. Anthony’s song, for people like him and people like you.”

“Rich Men North of Richmond” suddenly skyrocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Anthony the first artist to top the chart without ever having a song hit the Top 100 in the past. Anthony released a statement on Facebook regarding the sudden success of the song.

“People in the music industry give me blank stares when I brush off eight million dollar offers. I don’t want six tour buses, 15 tractor-trailers, and a jet. I don’t want to play stadium shows, I don’t want to be in the spotlight. I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering with mental health and depression,” Anthony wrote online.

“These songs have connected with millions of people on such a deep level because they’re being sung by someone feeling the words in the very moment they were being sung. No editing, no agent, no bullshit,” Anthony’s statement continued. “Just some idiot and his guitar. The style of music that we should have never gotten away from in the first place.”

Photo by Debbie Hickey/Getty Images

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