The Logical Song

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"The Logical Song"
The Logical Song actual single cover.JPG
Single by Supertramp
from the album Breakfast in America
B-side "Just Another Nervous Wreck"
Released April 1979
Recorded
Genre Progressive pop[1]
Length 4:11
Label A&M
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Supertramp, Peter Henderson
Supertramp singles chronology
"From Now On"
(1977)
"The Logical Song"
(1979)
"Breakfast in America"
(1979)
"From Now On"
(1977)
"The Logical Song"
(1979)
"Breakfast in America"
(1979)
Audio sample

"The Logical Song," is Supertramp's biggest chart hit in both the United States and their native United Kingdom. The song was released as the lead single from their sixth studio album, Breakfast in America (1979), in March 1979 by A&M Records.

"The Logical Song" rose to number 7 in the UK and number 6 in the US Billboard chart.[2] Paul McCartney named ‘The Logical Song’ as his favorite song of the year in 1979.[3] "The Logical Song" also appeared on Supertramp co-founder Roger Hodgson's album, Classics Live, a collection of his live performances from acoustic, band and orchestra shows recorded on his Breakfast in America World Tour.

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"The Logical Song" was written primarily by Roger Hodgson, the lyric based on his experience of being sent away to boarding school for ten years.[4] It was a very personal song for Hodgson; he had worked on the song during soundchecks, and completed the lyrics and arrangement six months before proposing it to the band for the album.[5] In 1980, Hodgson was honored with the Ivor Novello Award from The British Academy of Composers and Songwriters for "The Logical Song" being named the best song both musically and lyrically. To this day, "The Logical Song" also has the distinction of being one of the most quoted lyrics in schools.[6][5]

Hodgson has said of the song’s meaning: “The Logical Song” was born from my questions about what really matters in life. Throughout childhood we are taught all these ways to be and yet we are rarely told anything about our true self. We are taught how to function outwardly, but not guided to who we are inwardly. We go from the innocence and wonder of childhood to the confusion of adolescence that often ends in the cynicism and disillusionment of adulthood. In The Logical Song, the burning question that came down to its rawest place was 'please tell me who I am,' and that's basically what the song is about. I think this eternal question continues to hit such a deep chord in people around the world and why it stays so meaningful."[7][8][9]:3

The lyrics are a condemnation of an education system focused on categorical jargon as opposed to knowledge and sensitivity.[10] The lyrics are notable for their use of consonance, with a repetition of the '-ical/ -able' endings of multiple adjectives.

Supertramp co-founder Rick Davies wrote the vocal harmony on the second chorus.[11] The song makes use of keyboards, castanets, and an instrumental section.[2] Among the contemporary sound effects in this song are the 'tackled' sound from a Mattel electronic football game[11] and the Trouble "Pop-o-matic" bubble – both popular at the time this song was released.

Critical reception[edit]

Rolling Stone called the song a "small masterpiece" praising the "hot sax" and Hodgson's "wry humor".[10] The magazine also made comparisons between Hodgson and Ray Davies from the Kinks.[10]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song was a hit on its original release, reaching number 7 in the United Kingdom and number 6 in the United States.[2][12][13] The song also spent two weeks at number 1 on the Canadian RPM Singles Chart, was the top song of the year, and was certified Platinum in Canada.[14][15] It stayed for three months on the Billboard Hot 100 in the middle of 1979.[2]

Personnel[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]