Kinks – (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman

I hope everyone had a great July 4th!

I liked every era of The Kinks but I first bought their current records in the late half of the 70s and early eighties. This song was on the album Low Budget released in 1978.

This song was written by Kinks singer/songwriter Ray Davies, he called this “a very political song about people going on strike.”

Clive Davis who ran  Arista Records wanted the Kinks to do a club-friendly song.

The Kinks didn’t love disco but it was huge at the time. They found a groove they liked and infused it with their sound. Davies sings about how an ordinary person has to be Superman to survive in these difficult times…kinda applies today also.

Ray Davies:  “It was kind of a joke, taking the piss out of Clive wanting us to do a club-friendly record.”

The song peaked at #41 in the Billboard 100 and #43 in Canada in 1978.

Dave Davies:  “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.”

The live version is a little more guitar based than the studio version.

(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman

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
I 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

Woke up this morning, what did I see
A big black cloud hanging over me
I switched on the radio and nearly dropped dead
The news was so bad that I fell out of bed
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

Superman superman I want to fly like superman
Superman superman wish I could fly like superman
Superman superman wish I could fly like superman
Superman superman I want to be like superman
Superman superman I want to fly like superman

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

17 thoughts on “Kinks – (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman”

    1. Same with me except I started with Give The People What They Want…which I love…
      I did buy the single Rock and Roll Fantasy off of Misfits…that started me on their then newer music.

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  1. Looking back, I see this chapter of the Kinks as a bridge to their 1980s success. In my eyes anyway, it qualified them as one of the elite enduring British Invasion bands. Honestly, I don’t remember this very much now, but I liked it then. Even though it went on and on repetitively, you could sense the Kinks’ brand of satire in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t know this song and, wow, it’s hardly recognizable to me as a Kinks tune. It actually reminds me a bit of Kiss’s “I Was Made for Lovin’ For You” – as you noted, disco and club music ruled at the time. Even the Stones kind of went disco with “Miss You” and “Undercover of the Night”!

    I will also also add I’m more drawn to the Kinks’ 60s music, though I also like some of their ‘70s and ‘80s tunes.

    Ray Davies wrote great lyrics throughout their career!

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  3. Don’t agree with Dave Davies about it, though I would concur it wasn’t one of their greatest singles. Decent enough though. I never listened to the lyrics really though, more to them than I thought.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I was lucky enough to see them in the early eighties…My first album by them not counting greatest hits was Give The People What They Want…I still listen to this day.

        Liked by 1 person

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