From This Might Be A Wiki
|song name||Particle Man|
|artist||They Might Be Giants|
|releases||Flood, Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants, A User's Guide To They Might Be Giants: Melody, Fidelity, Quantity, Rhino Hi-Five: They Might Be Giants, Flood + Apollo 18|
|first played||November 25, 1989 (1040 known performances)|
|sung by||John Linnell|
- Easily one of TMBG's most popular songs, this song was used in a musical episode of the cartoon Tiny Toon Adventures titled "Tiny Toon Music Television." The character Plucky Duck was a professional wrestler version of Particle Man who was clobbered by Triangle Man, Universe Man, and so forth.
- John and John discussing interpretations of the song in a 1994 radio interview:
John Linnell: I feel complete sympathy with the people in our audience who are like visibly, completely overinterpreting some song like... I can't even think of a good example.
John Flansburgh: "Particle Man" seems like a song that is a total...John Linnell: It's pretty on the surface, you know? And people really, they really want to know what the secret message behind "Particle Man" is, you know, and there just isn't one. It's what it is.
- According to Linnell, "Triangle Man was based on a friend's observation that Robert Mitchum looked like an evil triangle when he took his shirt off in Night of the Hunter. Nothing else not explicitly stated need be inferred." (Rolling Stone 2009)
- Occasionally John Linnell will lead the band in performing a small segment of other songs during the breakdown. Some of the songs that have been used include:
- "Don't Cry Out Loud" by Melissa Manchester
- "Elusive Butterfly" by Bob Lind
- "Here You Come Again" by Dolly Parton
- "I Love To Sing" by Bob Lind
- "Kumbaya," a traditional campfire song
- "Rain" by The Beatles
- "The Sign" by Ace of Base
- "The Tide Is High", made popular by Blondie, originally by The Paragons
- "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler
- "Clap for the Wolfman" by The Guess Who
- "Theme From Rocky" (with improvised lyrics), by Bill Conti.
- "People Get Ready" (with semi-improvised lyrics), by The Impressions
- "Chandelier" by Sia
- "Rocket Number Nine Take off for the Planet Venus" by Sun Ra Arkestra
- Linnell has sung "Excellent man" instead of "Powerful man" in several live shows.
- They Might Be Giants' YouTube page, ParticleMen, is named after the song.
- The opening line, "Particle man, particle man / Doing the things a particle can" is likely a reference to the opening lines of the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon's opening theme: "Spider-Man, Spider-Man / Does whatever a spider can".
- Several of British author Terry Pratchett's characters - most notably the beggar Foul Ole Ron - spout the nonsense phrase "Buggrit buggrit millennium hand and shrimp", which was generated by Pratchett using a computer program fed, among other things, the menu from a Chinese restaurant and the lyrics of Particle Man. It first appears in the 1992 novel Lords and Ladies.
- This song was featured in the films Apples & Oranges: Or, a Story of Fruit and The Greatest Fan Film of All Time.
- This song has been covered by the a capella group The Bobs. A different cover of the song was used in a trailer and commercial for the 2007 video game Geometry Wars: Galaxies.
- A video of Corn Mo performing this song with They Might Be Giants is likely one of the first TMBG-related videos ever posted to YouTube. It was posted on October 26, 2005 to Corn Mo's personal account. Watch it here.
- The lyrics "Powerful man, Universe Man" were the inspiration for the title and were quoted in the song "Universe Man" by hip-hop artist Open Mike Eagle in 2012.
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Particle Man is currently ranked #290 out of 910. (161 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.53)