Why Kenny G’s ‘Going Home’ Is A Mega Hit In China


Kenny G is pretty divisive for a smooth jazz musician. The saxophonist and composer is an artist people either love or hate, but one of his songs has become a pretty funny symbol — and huge hit — in China. 

Why You’ll Hear ‘Going Home’ Everywhere In China

Since 1989, Kenny G’s song “Going Home” has become a nationally known song, played over loudspeakers by shopping malls, restaurants, and train stations all over the country. Why? It’s played to tell people that it’s closing time. TV stations have even gotten in on the fun, playing the song before ending their evening broadcasts. 

Chinese citizens have said they associate the song with the need to finish whatever it is they’re doing and go home, even if they can’t name the song or its artist. When asked by the New York Times why she played the song every day, an antique store manager couldn’t come up with a solid answer, saying, “Isn’t it just played everywhere?”

Even Kenny G has heard the song played when he’s gone overseas. He told the Times he once heard the tune playing in Tiananmen Square back in the ‘90s. Even though he doesn’t get paid royalties for all the times he’s been played in China, the musician doesn’t mind. 

“Do I wish I could get paid for everything?” he asked. “Of course. But I surrender to the fact that that’s the way things go here.” Kenny G also has no clue why the song is so popular, but when he performs concerts in China, he always saves the song for last: “I don’t want everyone going home early,” he joked. 

Kenny G’s Comeback

The saxophonist has been enjoying a bit of a career resurgence, appearing in commercials and getting asked to collab by big name artists like The Weeknd and Kanye West. “I’ve been around a long time, so when people like Kanye and The Weeknd are asking me to play on their records, yeah, I do feel like it’s a resurgence in my career right now,” Kenny G told People. “I’m not trying to sound egotistical, but I’ve always thought that when you have something of great quality, you become timeless.”

Even though the musician has been around for years, making albums and playing concerts all over the world, he has no plans of slowing down. “Retirement would only happen if something physical were to prevent me from playing,” Kenny G said. “It’s been quite a life, so I’m going to play for as long as I can.”

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