Prince Johnny

Album: St. Vincent (2014)

Songfacts®:

  • St. Vincent's Annie Clark hopes against hope to make the poor, precocious subject matter of this song, "a real boy." She told NME that the tune is a, "love letter to a tragic character and the New York downtown freak, weirdo, queer scene."
  • The titular character hangs out in bathroom stalls and tries to affirm himself through having sex with famous people, but is safe in the city's embrace. "It's that kind of story you don't get from New York City when you're still clutching your purse on the subway," Clark told NME. "It's the kind you get when you've proven your devotion to the city. Then she lets you in her arms."
  • The best known song about New York's queer scene is undoubtedly Lou Reed's, "Walk On The Wild Side," which introduced us to Holly, Candy, Little Joe, Sugar Plum Fairy, and Jackie.
  • Clark told HMV.com that this song began with the lyrics, "then I just had to sort of step back and go 'OK, well, what does this short story sound like? What could this possibly be in a musical sense?'"
  • Clark described this to Q magazine as "a fairly literal story." She added: "We all have friends, we love dearly, who are charming and hopelessly self-destructive and you intersect at some point. Prince Johnny is a friend. It's about those fabulous New York nights you only get with the kind of people flee their home towns and come to this place and reinvent themselves."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Jeff TrottSongwriter Interviews

Sheryl Crow's longtime songwriting partner/guitarist Jeff Trott reveals the stories behind many of the singer's hits, and what its like to be a producer for Leighton Meester and Max Gomez.

Who Wrote That Song?Music Quiz

Do you know who wrote Patti Smith's biggest hit? How about the Grease theme song? See if you can match the song to the writer.

Narada Michael Walden - "Freeway of Love"They're Playing My Song

As a songwriter and producer, Narada had hits with Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Starship. But what song does he feel had the greatest impact on his career?

Booker T. JonesSongwriter Interviews

The Stax legend on how he cooked up "Green Onions," the first time he and Otis Redding saw hippies, and if he'll ever play a digital organ.

Marc Campbell - "88 Lines About 44 Women"They're Playing My Song

The Nails lead singer Marc Campbell talks about those 44 women he sings about over a stock Casio keyboard track. He's married to one of them now - you might be surprised which.

Charles FoxSongwriter Interviews

After studying in Paris with a famous composition teacher, Charles became the most successful writer of TV theme songs.