Superman (The Clique song)

"Superman" is a 1969 song by the Texas band The Clique, made more famous in 1986 when it was recorded by R.E.M.

Single by R.E.M.
from the album Lifes Rich Pageant
B-side"White Tornado"
  • November 1986 (US)
  • March 1987 (Europe)
RecordedApril–May 1986
Producer(s)Don Gehman
R.E.M. singles chronology
"Fall on Me"
"The One I Love"

It was written by Mitchell Bottler and Gary Zekley and originally released as the b-side to The Clique's hit "Sugar on Sunday".

R.E.M. recorded it for their fourth album, Lifes Rich Pageant. It was released as a single and received a fair amount of radio play, but did not chart on the main US singles chart, though it did reach #17 on Billboard magazine's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[2]

R.E.M. version

Lead singer Michael Stipe was not as enthusiastic about recording the song as the other band members were, and as a result bassist Mike Mills debuted on lead vocals with Stipe providing background.

The B-side to the single, a surf rock instrumental entitled "White Tornado", was first recorded by the band in 1981. The version used on the single was recorded in January, 1984, during the Reckoning sessions, but remained unreleased until "Superman."

The scratchy spoken intro is attributed to a Japanese pull-string Godzilla doll.[3] Translated loosely from the Japanese, it says, "This is a special news report. Godzilla has been sighted in Tokyo Bay. The attack on it by the Self-Defense Force has been useless. He is heading towards the city. Aaaaaaaaagh...."

Songwriter Zekley joined R.E.M. on stage during a performance at Northern Illinois University in De Kalb, Illinois, on October 21, 1986.[4]

The R.E.M. version was played during the "Tempus, Anyone?" episode (3x14) of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

7": IRS / IRM 128 (UK)

All songs written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe unless otherwise indicated.

  1. "Superman" (Gary Zekley/Mitchell Bottler) – 2:52
  2. "White Tornado" – 1:56

12": IRS / IRT 128 (UK)

  1. "Superman" (Gary Zekley / Mitchell Bottler) – 2:52
  2. "White Tornado" – 1:56
  3. "Femme Fatale" (Lou Reed) – 2:50

12": IRS / ILS 65025 5 6 (Holland)

  1. "Superman" (Gary Zekley/Mitchell Bottler) – 2:52
  2. "White Tornado" – 1:56
  3. "Perfect Circle" – 3:30


Chart (1986) Peak
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 17


  1. Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2002). All Music Guide to Rock (3rd ed.). p. 930. ISBN 0-87930-653-X.
  3. " Frequently-Asked Questions list (2 of 3)".
  4. Natkin, Paul (October 26, 1986). "Michael Stipe And Gary Zekley On Stage". Getty Images. Retrieved May 27, 2020.