What is it, do you think, about Superman, that makes us write songs about him? I was just listening to Five For Fighting’s “Superman”, and there’s Three Doors Down’s “Kryptonite” from a few months ago, the Crash Test Dummies’ “Superman’s Song/Eulogy for Superman” (probably my all-time favorite Superman song). Those three are off the top of my head; a quick net search also comes up with “Fire Escape” by Fastball, “Lois Lane” by Uncle Bonsai, “Superman” by Sister Hazel, “Superman” by REM, “Jimmy Olsen Blues” by the Spin Doctors, “Real World” by Matchbox 20, “Superman’s Midlife Crisis” by Joe Giacoio, “Sunshine Superman” by Donovan, and “Man of Steel” by Hank Williams Jr., and there are probably a lot of others.
In fact, wow, check out Superhero Songs and go check under S for Superman. Wow. For those interested, aside from Supes, Batman, Captain America, and Spider-Man have far and away the most songs about them. Still, Batman, who has the most, has about 15 songs listed on that page, whereas Superman has nearly fifty.
So what is it about him that makes us write songs about him? I mean, I’ve actually written a paper about the development of superheroes and why they came about when they did, and Superman is pretty much the first, and he’s certainly a part of the American (and perhaps the world’s) consciousness, but I find it fascinating that we keep writing songs about him. I wonder what it is, the hero or the alienation (both literally and figuratively), that gets us. I mean, music is a powerful thing. Why do we feel the need to put this character to music?