Fun Lovin Criminals are a band from New York who encapsulate the city like no other. First formed in 1993 by vocalist and guitarist Huey Morgan,bassist Brian Leiser and drummer Steve Borgovini, their music has always been a unique mix of styles. Despite being generally classified as a funk rock band, their music has equal elements of hip-hop, soul and r&b. Their first album Come Find Yourself was released in 1996 and was actually more successful in the UK than in the US, something that would continue as the band’s career went on. Several of its tracks peaked in the top Forty in Britain, among them “Scooby Snacks” which was known for its samples of Quentin Tarantino’s first two films Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.
They followed this album up with 100% Columbian in 1998 which was then followed by the compilation album Mimosa in 1999 which was their lowest selling release. They put out their third album Loco in 2001 which featured the title track that became their highest charting, reaching number five in the Uk. After this they released a best of compilation called Bag of Hits in 2002 which was their final release for EMI records.
They then signed to Sanctuary Records after which they released their fourth album in 2003 titled Welcome to Poppy’s. After releasing Livin in the City in 2005, the band went quiet for a while. It was not until 2010 that they released their sixth album titled Classic Fantastic which has so far been their last. Having only been semi-active as a live act for the past decade, they are reportedly working on a new album.
# 10 – Classic Fantastic
Kicking off this list is the title track from the band’s most recent album which is very hip-hop influenced. This album featured the line-up of Morgan, Leiser and British drummer Mark Reid, also known as Frank Benbini. This track was the first single to be released from the album which was the band’s first to be distributed on their own label Kilohertz. Leiser and Reid recorded their parts for the record in London separately from Morgan who recorded his in New York.
# 9 – King of New York
This song was reportedly very different when it was first written, being a lot slower and featuring samples of the Steve Miller Band. The changes came about when the band were playing with nu metal band Korn. By that time, the band sped up the song and incorporated more of a funk influence after Korn frontman Jonathan Davis reportedly kept shouting the song’s line “La di da di Free John Gadi” throughout his band’s set.
# 8 – I Love Living in the City
This song is the opening and partial title track of 2005’s In The City, the whole album of which has been described as a love letter to the band’s native hometown, with it being something of a concept album about the state of New York. Other songs on it include “The Ballad of NYC” and “City Boy.” The record is a clear labor of love for the band which possibly explains why they chose to produce it themselves.
# 7 – The Fun Lovin Criminal
The band’s namesake track from Come Find Yourself, this song is a heavily hip-hop influenced track that has more than a little similarity to House of Pain’s “Jump.” The demo version of this track featured a sample of Gary Wright. They wanted to use said sample on the properly recorded version, but Wright wanted to see the lyrical content before allowing them to do so. In the end, the band figured that he would not let them, so they decided to recreate the sample.
# 6 – Too Hot
The Criminal’s fourth album Welcome to Poppy’s was released in 2003 after the band had parted ways with EMI and signed to Sanctuary in the UK. The album was not incredibly successful, receiving moderate critical reviews and performing less well commercially than the previous three albums, reaching number twenty on the UK Albums Chart. This track which was released as a single only managed to reach number sixty-one on the singles chart.
# 5 -The Grave and the Constant
This track was an early track to be laid down in the band’s first extensive recording session. It is a true account of the incident that led to Morgan joining the US military and serving in the 1991 Gulf War. What happened was, he was arrested for selling cocaine in a stolen car and decided to join the army afterwards in order to escape a life of crime. The song is another of the band’s most hip-hop influenced tracks from Come Find Yourself.
# 4 – Loco
This is the title track from the band’s third album released in 2001 which saw them back with EMI. As previously stated, this song is their highest charting to date, having reached number five in Britain upon its release. Despite it being the only single lifted from the album to reach the top forty , its success did help the record to reach the same position on the respective album charts. In addition to Morgan and Leiser, this album featured Maxwell Jayson on drums who had previously played with New York hardcore stalwarts the Cro-Mags.
# 3 – We Have All the Time in the World
This cover of Louis Armstrong’s James Bond theme was included on Come Find Yourself after the record company asked them to include a cover. The band did not initially want to do it but upon hearing a compilation of classic Bond themes, they decided to cover this song which was theme to the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Unlike the rest of the album which contains a lot of rapped vocals, Morgan puts in a crooning vocal performance which is very soulful.
# 2 – Korean Bodega
This track from the band’s second album 100% Columbian released in 1999 was its final single. Its release was promoted by an electronic version of the song which was remixed by the band Garbage, whose singer Shirley Manson provides vocals on the chorus of it. This was part of a trade-off between the two bands, with FLC remixing Garbage’s song “You Look So Fine.” The song charted at number fifteen on the UK charts, making it their highest charting since “Scooby Snacks” three years earlier. Speaking of which…
# 1 – Scooby Snacks
At the number one spot is the track that will forever be the band’s trademark song from Come Find Yourself. It is their biggest charting hit to date, having reached the top forty in several different countries including the UK where it first reached number twenty-two and then number twelve when it was re-released along with a cover of 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love.” As previously stated, it contains samples from Quentin Tarantino’s first two movies Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.