Superman (It's Not Easy)

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"Superman (It's Not Easy)"
Single by Five for Fighting
from the album America Town
ReleasedApril 2001
Songwriter(s)John Ondrasik
Producer(s)Gregg Wattenberg
Five for Fighting singles chronology
"Easy Tonight"
"Superman (It's Not Easy)"
"Easy Tonight"

"Superman (It's Not Easy)" (also titled as "Superman") is a song written and performed by American singer Five for Fighting. It was released in April 2001 as the second single from his second studio album America Town. Following the September 11 attacks, the song was used to honor the victims, survivors, police, and firefighters involved in the attacks.[2]

The song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 38 on October 27, 2001, then subsequently peaked at number 14, becoming Five for Fighting's first top-forty hit in the United States. The single was a major hit in Australia and New Zealand, reaching number two on both countries' national charts. It additionally reached the top 20 in Ireland, Italy and Norway. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 44th Grammy Awards in 2002.[3]


The lyrics focus on the iconic hero Superman, specifically how, in the opinion of the singer, his life as a hero is surprisingly difficult despite his immense power.[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Ramaa Mosley and premiered in June 2001. A scene from this video was filmed at Yonge Street and Richmond Street in Toronto, Ontario. At the end of the song's music video, John Ondrasik lies in bed with his own wife and son.



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[23] Platinum 70,000^
United States (RIAA)[24] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

In popular culture and covers[edit]

  • The song was covered by shadow musician Catman Cohen in 2005 via CD, How I Want to Live: the Catman Chronicles 2.[25]
  • The song was covered by Boyce Avenue in 2011 via YouTube music video.[26]
  • In his 2010 comedy tour, Conan O'Brien sang a cover of the song by himself before Jim Carrey appeared in a Superman suit and the two men sang a duet.[27]
  • An anonymous cover was played on the seventh series of The X Factor after Liam Payne's audition.[28] The singer of this version was speculated to be Joe McElderry, the winner of the previous series.[29][30] This turned out to be true when the track list for his debut studio album Wide Awake was revealed. McElderry's version reached number 56 in the UK Albums Chart on album downloads alone.
  • The Australian rock comedy ex boy band trio, The Axis of Awesome parodied this song with a new song, "Birdplane". This song turned out to affect the boy band, as it represented Jordan Raskopoulos and her transgender transition.
  • Jimmy Fallon parodied the song on Saturday Night Live about the 2002 Winter Olympics and renamed it "Down Hill Ski". The song was also referenced in the "Ambiguously Gay Duo: The Third Leg of Justice" sketch the same year.
  • The song was used in the television show, Smallville, which portrays Clark Kent's life journey to becoming Superman. In the first season episode 16, "Stray," is the music bed that plays when a young boy with mind reading powers reveals to the Kent family that he is aware of Clark's secret powers, and assures them the secret is safe with him.[31]


  1. ^ "Superman (It's Not Easy) – Five for Fighting Attributes". AllMusic. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ CBS News staff (January 4, 2002). "Complete List Of Grammy Nominees". CBS News. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  4. ^ "Superman (It's Not Easy) by Five for Fighting". Songfacts. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  5. ^ " – Five for Fighting – Superman (It's Not Easy)". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  6. ^ " – Five for Fighting – Superman (It's Not Easy)" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  7. ^ "Brazil" (PDF). ABPD. October 6, 2001. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  8. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Superman (It's Not Easy)". Irish Singles Chart.
  9. ^ " – Five for Fighting – Superman (It's Not Easy)". Top Digital Download.
  10. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 12, 2002" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  11. ^ " – Five for Fighting – Superman (It's Not Easy)" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  12. ^ " – Five for Fighting – Superman (It's Not Easy)". Top 40 Singles.
  13. ^ " – Five for Fighting – Superman (It's Not Easy)". VG-lista.
  14. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  15. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  16. ^ "Five for Fighting Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  17. ^ "Five for Fighting Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Five for Fighting Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  19. ^ "Five for Fighting Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  20. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 100 Singles 2002". ARIA. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  21. ^ "End of Year Charts 2002". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  22. ^ "Top 100 Songs of 2002 – Billboard Year End Charts". Bobborst. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  23. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2002 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  24. ^ "American single certifications – Five for Fighting – Superman (It's Not Easy)". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 11, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  25. ^ "How I Want to Live: the Catman Chronicles 2".
  26. ^ "Boyce Avenue – Superman (Five For Fighting Cover)".
  27. ^ "Conan O'Brien & Jim Carrey Perform Superman Live". Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  28. ^ cover version plays in the background after Payne's audition
  29. ^ Joe McElderry Forums | Joe song on The X Factor ?
  30. ^ Joe McElderry – Wide Awake
  31. ^ "Smallville – 'Stray' – Soundtracks".

External links[edit]