This song is built around a line donated to frontman Van McCann by Dale Norton, singer with Canterbury rockers Broken Hands. McCann recalled to Q magazine, "It goes, 'Oxygen's overrated, I don't even need to breathe.' I said, 'Gimme that, I'll make it a hit,' so Dale gave it to me for my birthday, and I'll give him a royalty check in return."
Oxygen was discovered independently by Carl Scheele, Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier. Scheele was first to discover it, Priestley was first to publish his findings, while Lavoisier was first to isolate it and understand its true nature. Here are some oxygen fun facts:
Lavoisier named the chemical element from two Greek roots, "oxys" (acid) and "genes" (producer) as he thought mistakenly that all acids contained oxygen.
Besides discovering and naming oxygen in 1778, Lavoisier also gave hydrogen its name in 1783.
By mass, oxygen is the third most abundant element, after hydrogen and helium.
Oxygen gas is colourless, tasteless and odourless; liquid and solid oxygen are pale blue.
Tiny ocean plankton perform half of all photosynthesis and oxygen production on Earth.
The lyrics for "Mary, Did You Know?" were written by Christian singer and comedian Mark Lowry, after his pastor asked him to write a Christmas musical for their church. Southern gospel musician Buddy Greene later added music to his words.