Superman's Song

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Superman's Song"
Canadian promo single
Single by Crash Test Dummies
from the album The Ghosts That Haunt Me
Released March 1991
Format CD single
Genre Folk rock
Label BMG/Arista
Writer(s) Brad Roberts
Producer(s) Steve Berlin
Crash Test Dummies singles chronology
- "Superman's Song"
(1991)
"The Ghosts That Haunt Me"
(1991)
Alternative cover
American promo single

"Superman's Song" was the first single of the Canadian folk-rock group Crash Test Dummies and came from their 1991 debut album The Ghosts That Haunt Me. The single was the group's first hit, charting in both Canada (#4) and the United States (#56). It was also featured in the pilot of the Canadian TV series Due South.[1]

The song was covered by Lucy Wainwright Roche, daughter of Loudon Wainwright III and Suzzy Roche of The Roches, on her second EP 8 More. It also has been covered by Nataly Dawn.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Superman's Song" - 4:31

Song meaning[edit]

The song is a slow funeral dirge, discussing the story of Clark Kent/Superman. The song notes that Superman had the power to do as he pleased, easily stealing great riches for himself, but instead chose to use his powers for the good of mankind, expecting no payment in return, and in fact suffering the indignity of "changing clothes in dirty old phone booths".

The chorus emphasizes this theme:

Superman never made any money
For saving the world from Solomon Grundy
And sometimes I despair the world will never see
Another man like him

The last lines of the chorus may been seen as somewhat ironic, in that Superman was not, in fact, a man at all, but rather, a being from another planet. Emphasizing this irony is the fact that the song ends somewhat unresolved, with a caesura over the last line of the chorus.

However, the song starts with mention of Tarzan, who "wasn't a ladies man" (while Clark Kent "was a real gent"). Throughout the song, Superman is contrasted with the Earl of Greystoke, who is portrayed as a crude and uncivilized oppositional figure—although the singer imagines Superman was sometimes tempted to "turn his back on man [and] join Tarzan in the jungle".

The song also notes that Superman "had a day job", and that, even though his parents had died in the destruction of his home planet, Superman "forced himself to carry on, forget Krypton" in the fight against crime on Earth.

The mournful quality of the song, with an implication in the chorus that Superman will never be seen again could imply that Superman is dead; but, this tribute to the Man of Steel does predate his eventual death and his replacement by four new heroes claiming to be the "new" Superman.

Music video[edit]

Brad Roberts singing in the music video for "Superman's Song".

The music video for the song was directed by Dale Heslip and features the band singing at a funeral for Superman attended by various aging superheroes. Some depicted are a middle aged Wonder Woman-like character, The Green Hornet, and possibly Green Lantern (Alan Scott).[2] It won the MuchMusic Video Award for Best Video in 1991.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1991) Peak
position
Canadian Singles Chart 4
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 56

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Music used in Due South". Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Superman's Song music video". Retrieved 27 October 2012. 

External links[edit]