Public Enemy No. 1

Songfacts®:

  • This is a single from American heavy metal band Megadeth's thirteenth studio album, TH1RT3EN. The song was debuted on July 4, 2011 at a show in Hamburg, Germany.
  • The song was written from the perspective of 1920s and 30s gangster Al Capone. It was inspired by a possible haunting incident while the band was recording in an old building in Tennessee which once served as a "hideaway" of Capone's.
  • Other songs inspired by Capone include Paper Lace's 1974 chart-topper "The Night Chicago Died" and Prince Buster's 1964 ska classic "Al Capone," which was later reworked by The Specials into the UK hit single "Gangsters."
  • The writing of the song was started by the band during a soundcheck in Croatia in 2010 and completed in Vienna, Austria a short while later. Another TH1RT3EN track, "Never Dead" was penned by the band in the same Austrian venue.
  • Bassist Dave Ellefson described this song to MusicRadar as a, "New Wave Of British Heavy Metal-type song, at least as far as what I do." He continued: "I loved the early Def Leppard records, and I'm copping a bit of a Rick Savage bass approach on it. I really tried to write around the vocals. I love to hear as much of the band, especially the vocals, when I record a bass part. As a player, I want to be the mortar between the blocks that glue the building together.

    Once the vocal melody developed, Johnny [K, producer] and I worked with Dave [Mustaine], and that allowed me to put down a strong bass part. It was a fun way to record. I had a lot of note choices available to me, and there's a cool moving bassline in the B section of the verse as well as the chorus."
  • The video was filmed on September 17, 2001 in Santa Clarita, California on a movie set where old Westerns are filmed. The Western-themed clip includes live animals and footage of the band.

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