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This song is about trying to fit in. It's written from Superman's point of view. The superhero is portrayed as misunderstood and not as powerful as people see him: "I'm only a man in a funny red sheet." Superman may be invincible, but he has feelings too, and while he's off saving the world he sometimes wonders if anyone thinks about what he is going through.
The song reflects what John Ondrasik (who is Five For Fighting) felt at the time. He later explained: "I've learned 10 years later that it's pretty damn easy to be me. I could never write that song now."
This became very popular after the September 11 attacks. The reflective tone fit very well with the mood of the United States, and many radio stations put it in heavy rotation. Ondrasik heard from emergency workers and others who found it a source of comfort after the attacks.
Ondrasik performed this song on October 20, 2001 at the "Concert For New York," a tribute to the police, firefighters, and rescue workers involved in the World Trade Center Attacks. It was a very touching moment, and he called this performance "the most important thing I'll ever do musically." Ondrasik stood next to James Taylor and Pete Townshend at the end of the show when they all sang "Let It Be
At the end of the video, John Ondrasik lies in the bed with his own wife and son. (thanks, Dan - West Hartford, CT.)
The band name comes from a hockey term. If you get a penalty for fighting, you serve 5 minutes in the penalty box.
Superman does not appear in the lyrics and the character was not used in any promotional materials for it. Since Superman is owned by DC Comics, Ondrasik had to be careful not to violate the copyright. Chuck Berry found this out when he had to turn over royalties for "Run Rudolph Run
" to the owners of the Rudolph character, as his song told a detailed story about the reindeer.
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