In the UK, it was featured exclusively on David Frost’s famous TV chat show and sold as many as 3,500 copies in one day.
Martin Sullivan, The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral and former Archdeacon of London, supplied liner notes for the sleeve of the single. “There are some people who may be shocked by this record,” he wrote. “I ask them to listen to it and think again. It is a desperate cry. ‘Who are you Jesus Christ?’ is the urgent enquiry, and a very proper one at that… The singer says ‘Don’t get me wrong, I only want to know.’ He is entitled to some response.”
The single performed more strongly outside the UK than inside its home market, rocketing to number one in Holland above Led Zeppelin and Elvis, and also in Belgium and Brazil, and making the Top 10 in Australia and New Zealand. In the US, it reached number 14 and ‘Superstar’ was number 27 in Billboard’s ‘Top 100 Songs of 1971’ list, above hits such as George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’, the Carpenters’ ‘Rainy Days and Mondays’ and ‘Proud Mary’ by Ike & Tina Turner.
Photo credit: Decca Records.