Last night’s Legion featured a cover of the song Superman, which many people will know from R.E.M.’s Life’s Rich Pageant, even though the song was recorded way back in the late ’60s by The Clique, a band that had a hit with the song Sugar on Sunday, which had previously been cut by Tommy James and the Shondells.
Superman was the b-side of The Clique’s take on Sugar on Sunday, and the odd thing about it is how much it reminds me of Neutral Milk Hotel, specifically The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1 — not just the guitar chords that open the track, but also the vocal.
If you read the lyrics, this so-called Superman comes off more like a Lex Luthor, vowing to track down a girl who goes a million miles away and boasting he can see the pathway to her heart.
The Legion version kind of brings out that creep factor a bit.
But here’s a little something you may not know about the song.
It was co-written by Gary Zekley, who also co-wrote a song called Breakaway (aka I Can’t Breakaway), which, when covered by Big Pig, was a top 10 hit in Australia and Canada, and made the Billboard Hot 100 (not to mention the soundtrack of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure).
This, by the way, is the earliest version of ‘Breakaway’ I could find, recorded as I Can’t Break Away by Chuck Jackson, who had hits in the ’60s with songs like I Wake Up Crying and Any Day Now: