Comics DC Comics Music Superman

TGON’s Top 3 Superman-Related Pop Songs

Tryptoniting the Light Fantastic!

A super song for super fans.

The world’s music makers often pay homage to superheroes. Remember ‘Iron Man” by Black Sabbath? How about “Surfing With The Alien” by Joe Satriani? And you may best recall, “Magneto And Titanium Man,” perhaps because it was written by Paul McCarney and performed by his post-Beatles group, Wings.

Let’s get a little more specific, though. How about the three top pop songs that relate to the Man of Steel himself, Superman.

#3 – Sunshine Superman – Donovan

Donovan sings, "Sunshine Superman"
Donovan sings “Sunshine Superman.” Source: YouTube – Donovan – Sunshine Superman (Audio)

This song is the only song of this bunch (or maybe any bunch) to reach the top spot on the US Hot 100. It did so in 1966. Describing the song is so much fun, it is almost illegal. The term “sunshine” implies the use of LSD. In an interview, Donovan downplayed the use of LSD, saying, “‘Sunshine’ was indeed slang for LSD, but the reference was actually about the sun coming through my flat’s window. ‘Superman’ had nothing to do with the superhero or physical power.”

Donovan’s confession doesn’t really matter, as DC comics subsequently invented a character named Sunshine Superman. According to Wikipedia, “Writer Grant Morrison referenced the song in a 1990 issue of Animal Man by creating Sunshine Superman, an African American version of Superman who’s S-shield is sun-shaped and who was a member of the Love Syndicate of Dreamworld, from a world based on the drug culture of the 1960s.”

For no apparent reason, or perhaps because of all of the above, Sunshine Superman is #3 on the list of top Superman-themed pop songs.

Lyrics

Superman or Green Lantern ain’t got a-nothin’ on me
I can make like a turtle and dive for your pearls in the sea, yeah
A you-you-you can just sit there a-thinking on your velvet throne
‘Bout all the rainbows a-you can a-have for your own
When you’ve made your mind up forever to be mine
I’ll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind
When you’ve made your mind up forever to be mine

Full lyrics to Sunshine Superman, by Donovan.

#2 – (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman – The Kinks

The Kinks sing "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman"
The Kinks sing “Superman.” Source: YouTube – The Kinks – Low Budget

Another super song is (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman. By writing this song, Dave Davies fulfilled a promise to Arista studio chief Clive Davis, who wanted a club-friendly song from The Kinks. He wrote it after watching Superman: The Movie in 1978. Dave Davies, Ray’s brother, said of the song, “I think that one [‘Superman’] was, not the biggest mistake, but it could’ve been one of the biggest mistakes we made. I remember I had quite a difficult time with Ray while we were making the record because I didn’t like the direction it was going. It was a strange time for music in general, anyway. The fact that it’s funny, that it was a humorous song, saved it. I don’t feel bad about that song at all, but it could have been a big mistake.”

Lyrics

Woke up this morning, started to sneeze / I had a cigarette and a cup of tea.
I looked in the mirror what did I see? / A nine stone weakling with knobbly knees.

I did my knees bend, press ups, touch my toes / Had another sneeze and I blew my nose.
I looked in the mirror at my pigeon chest / I had to put on my clothes because it made me depressed.

Surely there must be a way / For me to change the shape I’m in
Dissatisfied is what I am / I want to be a better man

Superman, Superman / Wish I could fly like Superman
Superman, Superman / I want to be like Superman
I want to be like Superman
Superman Superman / Wish I could fly like Superman

Full lyrics to Superman, by The Kinks

SIDE TOPIC: LEARN MORE ABOUT LESSER-KNOWN DC SUPERHEROES

#1 – Sueperman’s Big Sister – Ian Drury and the Blockheads

Super Song: Ian Drury and the Blockheads sing "Sueperrman's Big Sister"
Ian Drury singing “Sueperman’s Big Sister.” Source: YouTube – Ian Dury and
The Blockheads – Sueperman’s Big Sister [Official Video]

With apologies to Kara Zor-El (Superman’s cousin in the comics and animation), this super song isn’t specifically about the Man of Steel, but the reason it is noteworthy is because it implies that Superman has an older sister. And she’s tough as nails, too. While the group’s frontman and creative inspiration, Ian Dury, can’t always be defended against misogyny in his songs, this particular tune’s lyrics tell the story of a chauvinistic man whose relationship with the opposite sex is radically changed by becoming involved with a female so imposing she could well be Superman’s big sister. Nice!

Why The Misspelling?

You might be wondering why the Blockheads purposefully misspelled Superman as Sueperman in this super song. They did so on the advisement of their solicitors to avoid any copyright problems with DC Comics. For Blockheads, they had a lot on the ball.

Lyrics

Till I met her, I thought I knew the answers
I thought a bit of treatment was all a body needs
I’ll take you where the haps are
All the handsome chaps are
Squeeze you till I make your feelings bleed

She put me right behind her in fifteen minutes
She could have had my things off, so sadly was I raised
I had a lot to learn, dear
If I’d gone on the turn, dear
It wouldn’t be surprising nowadays

You know she’s Superman’s big sister
Her X-ray eyes see through my silly ways
Superman’s big sister, superior skin and blister
It doesn’t seem surprising nowadays… yeah!

Superman’s big sister
Superman’s big sister

(Oh-oh-ooh-oh)
Superman’s big sisterSuperman’s big sister
(Oh-oh-ooh-oh)
I said she’s Superman’s big sister
It doesn’t seem surprising nowadays

And now I’ve had the sense to keep her friendship
And though I nearly miffed it in many little ways
The story’s got no sequel
‘Cause me and her are equal
Is that so surprising nowadays?

Because she’s Superman’s big sister
Her X-ray eyes see through my silly ways
I said she’s Superman’s big sister, his grown-up skin and blister
Is that so surprising nowadays?

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