The King Of New York

Album: Come Find Yourself (1996)
Charted: 28
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Songfacts®:

  • Fun Lovin' Criminals were fascinated with Mafia culture, which often influenced their songs. In "The King Of New York," they fete the Mafioso John Gotti, head of the Gambino crime family. Gotti was sent to prison four years earlier in 1992, and in this song, they call (jokingly) for his release.

    The band formed in New York City, where lead singer Huey Morgan and multi-instrumentalist Brian "Fast" Leiser met while working at a club called The Limelight.

    "In the '90s, Gotti was still running things," Leiser told Songfacts. "Cars were still blowing up, people getting hit outside of Sparks Steak House. We were working at the Limelight and it was crazy to witness all the stuff, but it was such a wealth of influence and inspiration for writing stories. So why not write a story about some crazy guy who looks up to John Gotti and wants to break him out of jail?"

    "Working at the Limelight, there were all these different people from all different parts of New York with different heritage, especially Italian Americans," he added. "We heard them talk about these gangster movies, Goodfellas and stuff, and they'd kind of reenact them. We were getting these movies in front of us working at the club and working with these people. Some good things and bad things, some crazy things, but no shortage of inspiration."
  • The "La-di da-di, free John Gotti" hook is a variation on Slick Rick's vocal in the 1985 Doug E. Fresh song "La Di Da Di."
  • The horn riff comes from "Also Sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss, famous for its use in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • In America, Fun Lovin' Criminals are best known for the song "Scooby Snacks," which like "The King Of New York," was included on their debut album, Come Find Yourself. They proved far more popular across the pond, especially in the UK, where they had a string of hits. "The King Of New York" didn't chart in America but made #28 in Britain.

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