Jimmy Olsen's Blues

Album: Pocket Full of Kryptonite (1991)
Charted: 40 78
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Songfacts®:

  • This song is written from the perspective of Jimmy Olsen, a character in the Superman comic books. Olsen is a young photographer who in this song is envisioned with a case of depression, as he feels overshadowed by his co-workers, Clark Kent and Lois Lane. It's one of the few Superman songs that isn't about the man in the red suit.
  • The album title also has a Superman theme: kryptonite is substance from Superman's home planet that takes away his powers. Explaining the phrase "pocket full of kryptonite," lead singer Chris Barron said: "No matter who you are, how good-looking you are, how strong you are or what nationality you are, somewhere in your soul there's a kernel of uniqueness, goodness and beauty. The pocket full of kryptonite is a metaphor for the gem at the bottom of every soul."
  • A band composition, this was the third Spin Doctors single. It reached its peak chart position in America in October 1993, more than two years after the album was released.
  • Chris Barron was 19 years old when he wrote this song. "I was doing an internship in Providence, Rhode Island, at a country/western radio station," he said in an interview promoting the 20th anniversary release of the album. "I had some friends that went to Brown University and I was staying with them, so I was spending a lot of time at Brown and I was broke. So, I came up with this ruse to eat. I stole an apron from the cafeteria and I would put the apron on and I would walk through the cafeteria like I worked there. Once I got out into the eating area, I would take the apron off and I would just start eating. I'm an essentially honest person, so I didn't feel good about basically stealing food from the cafeteria. I was sitting there feeling kind of bad, but also being glad to not be hungry anymore. A young woman walked in and looked just like Lois Lane, so my songwriter mind was working. I was looking at her and thinking if she's Lois Lane, I'm certainly not superman, who am I in this drama. I thought I'm more like that nerdy photographer guy, Jimmy Olsen, and that was the beginning of that song."

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