Sara Bareilles told VH1 that the song is about feeling broken and needing to ask for help. "I was trying to think about an image that conjures up a strong individual," she said. "This Herculean entity that is fearless and courageous."
In Greek mythology Hercules was the son of Zeus and Alcmena. A hero of superhuman physical strength, he is represented as brawny, muscular and short-necked. While serving Eurystheus, king of Argos, he performed 12 labours including the slaying of the Nemean lion and taking captive the Cretan bull. Here are a few more Herculean lyrics:
"Sand in My Face" by 10cc ("Hands like hams. Knees like trees. 200 lbs. Of surfboard Hercules.")
"Bucket List" by Nelly Furtado ("Climb a mountain swim the seven seas, Get your body to look like Hercules. Jump out an airplane with a parachute. Fly up and away on a hot air balloon.")
"Holding Out For A Hero" by Bonnie Tyler ("Where have all the good men gone. And where are all the gods? Where's the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds? Isn't there a white knight.")
"How'd Ya Do It Dee" by Run-D.M.C. ("Run-D.M.C.'s award nominee. The K-I-N-G's of all M-I-see's. Like Hercules, with rhymes like these. Never crackin' not lackin' and I still pull G's.")
"Superhuman" by Ginuwine ("Even Hercules wouldn't have the strength to leave. Once he fell under the spell of your kiss. So how could I even try (tell me). To leave your side and say goodbye baby...")
The song was inspired by the name of a music stand that Bareilles had in her studio. She said: "It's my story, but the spark came from a piece of metal."