Superman (It's Not Easy)

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"Superman (It's Not Easy)"
Single by Five for Fighting
from the album America Town
Released April 2001
Format CD single
Recorded 1998–2000
Genre Soft rock
Length 3:42
Label EMI
Writer(s) John Ondrasik
Producer(s) Gregg Wattenberg
Five for Fighting singles chronology
"Easy Tonight"
"Superman (It's Not Easy)"
"Easy Tonight"
Music video
Superman (It's Not Easy) at

"Superman (It's Not Easy)" is a song written and recorded by American singer Five for Fighting. The lyrics focus on the iconic hero Superman, specifically how despite his immense power his life as a hero is surprisingly difficult. It was released in April 2001 as the second single from his album America Town. The song was first released in 2000, and debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 38 on October 27, 2001. It managed to peak at number 14 on the chart. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 44th Grammy Awards in 2002.

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.

Covers and use in popular culture[edit]

  • The song was covered by shadow musician Catman Cohen in 2005 via CD, How I Want to Live: the Catman Chronicles 2.[1]
  • The song was covered by Boyce Avenue in 2011 via YouTube music video.[2]
  • The song was featured in the Superman TV series Smallville in episode "Stray" (1.16) in season 1.
  • 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.[3]
  • The song is also featured in on Dawson's Creek in season four, episode two, and on the second Dawson's Creek soundtrack.
  • The song was the backing track to BBC Match of the Day's "The Story So Far", bringing the group stages of the World Cup to an end.
  • An anonymous cover was played on the seventh series of The X Factor after Liam Payne's audition.[4] The singer of this version was speculated to be Joe McElderry, the winner of the previous series.[5][6] 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 song also appeared in the cartoon The Ambiguously Gay Duo, in the episode "The Third Leg of Justice". Bighead plays the song, causing Ace and Gary to dance and to cry in empathy.
  • Australian comedy rock group The Axis of Awesome released a parody called "Birdplane".
  • The song, as well as Five for Fighting himself, is proeminently mentioned throughout the Drawn Together episode "Little Orphan Hero".
  • The song was chosen as Nicholas McDonald's 'winner's single' in the 2013 series of The X Factor, and was performed by him in the final on December 15, 2013.
  • The song appeared on the TV show Hindsight.
  • The song was featured in the 2006 film Zoom.


"Superman (It's Not Easy)" became popularized by the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and during its release was used to honor the victims, survivors, police and firefighters involved in the attacks.

Chart (2001–02) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[7] 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[8] 54
Ireland (IRMA) 5
Italy (FIMI)[9] 11
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[10] 43
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[11] 2
Norway (VG-lista)[12] 12
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 48
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 14
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[14] 15
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[15] 1
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[16] 2

Other uses[edit]

'It's Not Easy' was the song which backed the Vancouver Canucks' pre-game tribute video to Rick Rypien, following his death at the age of 27 in 2011.