Supertramp – The Logical Song

Supertramp – The Logical Song

‘The Logical Song’ is a song by English rock group Supertramp that was released as the lead single from their album Breakfast in America in March 1979. It was written primarily by the band's Roger Hodgson, who based the lyrics on his experiences being sent away to boarding school for ten years. The song became Supertramp's biggest hit, rising to No. 7 in the United Kingdom and No. 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song achieved the most success in Canada where it spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Canadian RPM Singles Chart, was the top song of the year, and was certified Platinum in Canada. It stayed for three months on the Billboard Hot 100 in the middle of 1979.

The song was written primarily by Roger Hodgson, the lyrics based on his experience of being sent away to boarding school for ten years. It was a very personal song for Hodgson; he had worked on the song during soundchecks, and completed the lyrics and arrangement six months before proposing it to the band for the album. In 1980, Hodgson was honoured with the Ivor Novello Award from The British Academy of Composers and Songwriters for ‘The Logical Song’ being named the best song both musically and lyrically.

Hodgson has said of the song's meaning: "'The Logical Song' was born from my questions about what really matters in life. Throughout childhood we are taught all these ways to be and yet we are rarely told anything about our true self. We are taught how to function outwardly, but not guided to who we are inwardly. We go from the innocence and wonder of childhood to the confusion of adolescence that often ends in the cynicism and disillusionment of adulthood. In 'The Logical Song', the burning question that came down to its rawest place was 'please tell me who I am', and that's basically what the song is about. I think this eternal question continues to hit such a deep chord in people around the world and why it stays so meaningful."

Like another famous song from 1979, ‘Another Brick In The Wall (part II),’ this song rails against English schooling. "What's missing at school is for me the loudest thing," Hodgson said. "We are taught to function outwardly, but we are not taught who we are inwardly, and what really the true purpose of life is. The natural awe and wonder, the thirst and enthusiasm and joy of life that young children have, it gets lost. It gets beaten out of them in a way."

Stephen Holden of Rolling Stone called the song a "small masterpiece", praising the "hot sax" and Hodgson's "wry humor". The magazine also made comparisons between Hodgson and Ray Davies from the Kinks. Paul McCartney named ‘The Logical Song’ as his favourite song of the year. Billboard considered it to be possibly Supertramp's best song to date with "solid and incisive lyrics" and a catchy hook. Cash Box said that "a skillful and probing lyric and a raucous sax line are joined by a familiar circling guitar lick and excellent singing" and also praised the "emphatic" beat. Record World said that it "should hit the AORs first with Top 40 likely to follow."

Label – A&M
Songwriter – Roger Hodgson
Producers – Supertramp, Peter Henderson


[Verse 1]
When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful
A miracle, oh, it was beautiful, magical
And all the birds in the trees, well, they'd be singing so happily
Oh, joyfully, oh, playfully watching me
But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible
Logical, oh, responsible, practical
And then they showed me a world where I could be so dependable
Oh, clinical, oh, intellectual, cynical
[Chorus 1]
There are times when all the world's asleep
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned?
I know it sounds absurd
Please tell me who I am
[Verse 2]
I said, watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical
A liberal, oh, fanatical, criminal
Oh, won't you sign up your name? We'd like to feel you're acceptable
Respectable, oh, presentable, a vegetable
Oh, take, take, take it, yeah
[Instrumental Bridge]
[Chorus 2]
But at night, when all the world's asleep
The questions run so deep
For such a simple man
Won't you please (Won't you tell me)
Please tell me what we've learned?
(Can you hear me?) I know it sounds absurd
(Won't you help me?) But please, tell me who I am
Who I am
Who I am
Who I am
'Cause I was feeling so illogical, yeah
Yeah, one, two, three, five
Oh, oh, oh, oh, ooh yeah
Ooh, it's getting unbelievable
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