The Friends of Mr Cairo is the second album by Jon and Vangelis, released in 1981. There are two editions of this album, with different sleeves. Both versions were released in 1981 within a few weeks of each other. The title track, "The Friends of Mr Cairo", peaked at No. 1 on the Canadian singles chart in late 1981, though this track was not a hit elsewhere. The second edition of the album includes the single "I'll Find My Way Home", which stayed for 14 weeks in the Swiss charts and peaked at No. 1 on 7 March 1982. It also peaked at No. 6 in the UK. "State of Independence" was later a hit single for Donna Summer, and a decade later for Moodswings with Chrissie Hynde on vocal. Anderson also later re-recorded that song on his solo album Change We Must, released in 1994.
The title track and its accompanying music video serve as an ode to classic Hollywood films of the 1930s and 1940s. Most notable references are to the classic film noirThe Maltese Falcon. The track incorporates sound effects and voice impressions of the stars of the era, most notably Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Jimmy Stewart. At the beginning of the track, the screeching of tires and a car horn are heard, presumably as a car makes an attempted getaway, which then gives way to the sound of gunfire. This screeching sound/car horn is identical to that heard in the 1971 feature film Get Carter (at 1.1.52-1.1.56), and was probably sampled for use on the track. Joel Cairo (Mr Cairo) is the name of the character played by Peter Lorre in The Maltese Falcon.