“All Star”

“All Star”

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

Greg Camp
“All Star”

Written by Greg Camp
Recorded by Smash Mouth

Here’s how the story goes. When I was the guitarist for Smash Mouth, we’d go out on long tours and the bass player and I would take a bag of laundry and a bag of fan mail and go to a local laundromat in some of the deepest, craziest places in America. While we were doing our laundry, we would read the mail — this was when people actually still wrote letters.

We realized that a lot of kids were troubled with their family situations, parents who weren’t great at parenting, older siblings, school, friends. They thanked us for our music, saying that it helped to get them through the tough times. It made us realize that we do have a voice and can help people.

This song was 100% for the fans. I wanted to give something back to them for letting us know that they were actually listening to us and I wanted them to know that we were listening to them. It was my gift to them.

We had turned in the record — Astro Lounge — before I wrote “All Star.” The record company said they liked it, however they also said that they heard the third and fourth singles, but they didn’t hear the “hit.” They didn’t think there was a first hot single in the songs we sent them. They (and we) felt it should be uplifting, not another “the world sucks” kind of song. We decided that it should be a song about how to get through those rough times. Because of the inspiration I had received from the fans, I said, “I can do this!”

I wrote “All Star,” which became the first single, and “Then the Morning Comes” which was the second single from that album. “All Star” goes to our upbringing. It talks about our school years and how mean the world can be. In the intro, I talk about how people always tell you how you won’t amount to anything and how kids later put the “L” on someone’s forehead.

People used to say to me, “You’re a musician?! What a pipe dream. You’re never going to realize it.” But you have to overcome negativity and make your dream a reality. Be yourself and believe in yourself and you can make it happen. Even if your family is no help, if your friends make fun of you or try to steer you in another direction, do what you want to do. They can’t stop you unless you let them. That’s how I was able to succeed at what I love and have a passion for.

It was nice to know that people appreciate it when you are positive. Those songs catapulted the album and the group and I had the fans to thank. We learned what they needed to hear and people seemed to grab a hold of the song. They heard it on the radio and it made a big impact. It was also in the movie Shrek, so even more people and a broader audience heard it, including kids. The next bunch of fan letters we got told us that we really helped people with those songs.

As an aside, one of the reasons I agreed to participate in this book is because a long time ago, I was in a funk. I really wasn’t feeling well. Some good friends gave me a Chicken Soup for the Soul book and I read some of the stories and it definitely helped me. I read some of the kids’ stories to my daughter, who’s 10, and she really enjoys them too.

“All Star”

Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me

I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb

In the shape of an “L” on her forehead.

Well the years start coming and they don’t stop coming

Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running

Didn’t make sense not to live for fun

Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb.

So much to do, so much to see

So what’s wrong with taking the back streets?

You’ll never know if you don’t go

You’ll never shine if you don’t glow.

Hey now you’re an All Star get your game on, go play.

Hey now you’re a Rock Star get the show on, get paid

And all that glitters is gold

Only shooting stars break the mold.

It’s a cool place and they say it gets colder

You’re bundled up now but wait ’til you get older

But the meteor men beg to differ

Judging by the hole in the satellite picture.

The ice we skate is getting pretty thin

The water’s getting warm so you might as well swim.

My world’s on fire, how about yours?

That’s the way I like it and I’ll never get bored.

Hey now you’re an All Star get your game on, go play.

Hey now you’re a Rock Star get the show on get paid.

And all that glitters is gold

Only shooting stars break the mold.

Hey now you’re an All Star get your game on, go play.

Hey now you’re a Rock Star get the show on get paid.

And all that glitters is gold

Only shooting stars break the mold.

Somebody once asked could I spare some change for gas

I need to get myself away from this place.

I said yep what a concept

I could use a little fuel myself

And we could all use a little change.

Well the years start coming and they don’t stop coming

Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running

Didn’t make sense not to live for fun

Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb

So much to do, so much to see.

So what’s wrong with taking the back streets?

You’ll never know if you don’t go

You’ll never shine if you don’t glow.

Lyrics and Music by Greg Camp. © 2008 Warner Chappell/Squish Moth

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