Ray Davies writes in his book, "Americana":
It originated from a few evenings spent at Studio 54, where Bob Feiden and Michael Kleffner sometimes took me to see what, in their opinion, was "happening." I joked with them that I might write a disco song that could be played there. I understood some of the cultural origins of disco, but I really was not a fan of pure pop disco music. Yet it was in vogue at the time  and I thought it would be fun to take a stab at it, more for my own amusement than anything else. Feiden and Kleffner had thrown down the challenge, so when I got back to England for our next recording session and rehearsals for the upcoming UK tour I wrote "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman" with a disco beat straight out of Saturday Night Fever. The lyrical content, however, was different. The lyrics reflected the political situation in England. The "winter of discontent," the three-day week, the power strikes, the lorry strikes--everybody seemed to be on strike. I wrote this song about a world-weary person who was experiencing this unrest. The only light at the end of his tunnel was the fact that he imagined he could fly like Superman in an attempt to liberate himself.So far so good. I kinda knew that already. What I didn't appreciate were the efforts of the other Kinks--drummer Mick Avory in particular. Davies continues:
Listening back to the recording I thought what a trouper Mick Avory had been to do take after take on the drums until he got it right. During the recording he obeyed my instructions slavishly while I bobbed around next to him in the studio indicating when to play louder and when to play softer, and to mark the beginnings of verses and choruses. Then halfway through the track I made a gesture that indicated that I wanted to break up the monotony. Mick slipped in a skipped a beat, almost like a jazz player, but fell right back into the rhythm so that the listener felt change but was unaware of what happened. Only a drummer from Mick's generation could have done that. There were two rock drummers in the world capable of doing it at that time--one was Mick and the other was Charlie Watts.* No one listening to the finished record would be aware of this subtlety except me and Mick, but to me, it validated the whole rhythm track--it showed that the backing track was not robotic but had a human element._________________
*Mick Avory had auditioned for the Rolling Stones before Charlie Watts, and played at least one show with them.