"The Logical Song" is a hit single on Supertramp's 1979 album Breakfast in America and written and sung by band member Roger Hodgson. It was a huge hit and reached number 6 on the U.S. charts and number 7 on the UK charts on its original release. It is one of the band's most recognized songs, and still is played on radio today.
Among the contemporary sound effects in this song are the 'tackled' sound from a Mattel
digital football game, as well as the Trouble "Pop-o-matic" bubble - both popular at the time this song was released.
The signature 'crunchy' electric piano sound on this and other Supertramp hits of the era such as Goodbye Stranger is a Wurlitzer electric piano.
The song tells the story of a man who:
- is taken away from the unspoilt immediacy of childhood (When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical),
- undergoes education (but then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible, logical, responsible, practical),
- sees a future prepared for him lacking any spontaneity of reaction (And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable, clinical, intellectual, cynical),
- feels constricted in his freedom of speech (Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, liberal, fanatical, criminal),
- is put under pressure to conform (Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel you're acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable)
- and ends up confused, without a coherent self-image (please tell me who I am).
Personnel on Supertramp version
- Roger Hodgson- Lead and backing vocals, Wurlitzer electric piano, electric and 12-string acoustic guitars
- Rick Davies- Piano, Elka and Oberheim synthesizers, Hammond organ, Hohner Clavinet with wah-wah, counter vocal
- John Helliwell- Alto saxophone, siren whistle, bass vocal ("A vegetable"), intro breathing
- Bob Siebenberg- Drums, castanets, timbales, cowbell
- Dougie Thomson- Bass
Legacy, remixes, and cover versions
There was a parody of this song called "The Topical Song" by The Barron Knights
It was sampled in 2001 by German techno band Scooter on the single "Ramp! (The Logical Song)". There was also a second remake by the German "Hands Up" band Rave Allstars in 2007.
On The History Channel's program History Rocks, which takes popular rock songs of the 1970s and plays them over an important historical event during the same time period, this song was played over a video montage of the 1979 Iranian Revolution and fall of the Shah.
The song was chosen as a desert island disc by Ara Darzi, Baron Darzi of Denham.
In 1999, it was covered by Brad Mehldau and Fleurine.
It was covered in 2000 by the German metal band At Vance on the album Heart Of Steel.