• Fred

(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman


I've been listening to Classic Rock WNCX a lot at work lately. Despite me being fond of WNCX, the one thing they don't do very often is surprise me.

So over the past couple of weeks, I kept hearing the same song, about once every other day, playing at inopportune times where I couldn't hear who the artist was. And it really irritated me that I had literally no idea of who was playing a song that was, at minimum, over 30 years old.

Finally, after spending WAY too much time racking my brain over music trivia, I got my answer. The song in question was (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman by the Kinks. The Kinks? It didn't sound like the Kinks. And definitely not the Kinks in 1979.

The Kinks were one of the most prolific artists in Rock and Roll History releasing 25 albums between 1964 and 1984. They went on to release a few more albums after that, but their albums stopped hitting the Top 100 Chart (in the US) after 1986.

What really threw me off about Superman was how different it was than all the other Kinks' material. For the bulk of their career, the Kinks were 3 guys, Ray Davies, Dave Davies, & Mick Avory playing fairly straightforward rock and roll. What was going on on their lead single from their Low Budget album was....

well, it was funny.

...There was a gas strike, oil strike, lorry strike, bread strike Got to be a Superman to survive Gas bills, rent bills, tax bills, phone bills I'm such a wreck but I'm staying alive [Look in the paper, what do I see, Robbery, violence, insanity.] Hey girl we've got to get out of this place There's got to be something better than this I need you, but I hate to see you this way If I were Superman then we'd fly away I'd really like to change the world And save it from the mess it's in I'm too weak, I'm so thin I'd like to fly but I can't even swim....

Ray Davies penned a sarcastic ode to both disco and Christopher Reeves' Superman. When I asked my wife if she ever heard the song, she goes "Oh yeah, Superman by the Kinks. My Dad listened to that song all the time."

Apparently I'm the one out of the loop. With over 50 charting singles to their credit, I am curious as to how WNCX chose this song as the representative of the Kinks's discography.

According to iTunes, this is the #59 most popular song with Superman in the title.


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