Forty-eight American states have one or more state songs or anthems, chosen by the legislature or government as a symbol of the state. Some of these, such as "Oklahoma!" or "Georgia on my Mind," are well-known, while others, such as "Hail, South Dakota!" are less well known. Several states have multiple state songs, such as New Mexico, which has four. The state song of New York is called "I Love New York."
"I Love New York" was written in 1977 by songwriter Steve Karmen. Karmen was an experienced songwriter, best known for writing advertising jingles. Karmen created a series of well-known advertising jingles for clients such as Budweiser®, Jack in the Box®, Hershey's® and Exxon®. Karmen donated the rights to the song to the state of New York, allowing the state all revenues from commercial royalties.
The state song of New York is relatively brief, at only thirteen lines. Without referring to any specific features of New York's history or sights, it proclaims the state "special" and states that "there's no place like New York." Quick and catchy, the song is easy to remember and sing.
Some older states, when adopting state songs, chose existing tunes already associated with them. For instance, Connecticut chose "Yankee Doodle" as its state song to emphasize the state's Revolutionary War heritage. The state song of New York, by contrast, was the product of a sophisticated marketing campaign. The New York Department of Commerce hired an advertising agency, Wells Rich Greene, to design an advertising campaign which would promote tourism. As part of the campaign, graphic designer Milton Glaser created the "I ♥ NY" logo, which quickly became one of the most recognizable symbols of New York.
"I Love New York" was a product of the same marketing campaign as the logo. Despite having attracted criticism for its high cost, the advertising campaign was a success, greatly increasing New York's tourism revenue. In 1980, governor Hugh Carey declared "I Love New York" the state song of New York. New York had not previously had a state song.
"I Love New York" has had a significant impact on popular culture. It frequently appears in film and television portrayals of New York. In 1989, horror film "Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan" used the song as part of its theme music, attracting criticism for associating the state song of New York with negative portrayals of New York.