The Music of DC Comics
75th Anniversary Collection Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
The version of “The Theme From Batman” on this CD collection isn’t the one used on the 60’s TV show itself, rather, it sounds like a re-recording of the electric organ backed version from the 60’s vinyl LP Theme From Batman. This is a great version, but I wish this collection also included Jan and Dean’s version of the theme, from their album, Jan and Dean meet Batman. Jan and Dean’s song “The Flight of the Batmobile,” would have been well included in this collection as well. “The Flight of the Batmobile” version is reminiscent of one of the Beach Boys’ recordings of “Barbara Ann,” where it sounds like they recorded it once at a party, and left in all the errors and background noise because they had such a hoot singing it. (I had trouble getting the exact lyrics from listening to TFOTB, so I listed them below with the words I wasn’t clear on in italics, hoping some reader might know the proper ones.)
The theme song for the 60’s TV version of Batman, is about the catchiest of all super hero songs. Unfortunately, this catchy song also features the most lame ass lyrics in the history of super hero theme songs. They consist simply of a repetition of “Batman” a dozen times or so. At least the word “Batman” is sung in different notes throughout the song, (following what sounds like, a standard twelve bar blues progression in the song).
Contrasting the weak lyrics of the Batman theme is the 1967 theme from Spiderman cartoons, which features the best super hero theme song lyrics ever written. Included in that theme is an explanation of Peter Parker’s powers: “Is he strong? Listen bud. He’s got radio-active blood.” This theme song shows up in twenty-first century Spiderman movies as well, suggesting that Dr. Norman Osborn was lying about the spider which gave Spiderman his powers in the movies. Dr. Osborn claimed it was “genetically modified,” as opposed to it being a radioactive spider. (Who are you going to believe? The deranged scientist who becomes the Green Goblin, or the coolest super hero theme song ever?) I’m sure several comic fans reading this have already said out loud that Spiderman is part of the Marvel Comics universe, not the DC comics one.
Back to the album I’m actually reviewing: John Gart provides the awesome announcer guy voice narrative to several of the theme songs, including The Atom, The Teen Titans, The Flash and Green Lantern. These are examples of, to quote Strong Bad from homestarrunner.com/sbemail155.html, “...those crappy cartoon theme songs that bludgeon you over the head with the blunt end of the show’s premise.” Regardless, they brought a smile to my face.
This thirty-one track album also contains some of the themes of not-so-cool superheros, such as Aquaman, and and Hawkman.
The Flight of the Batmobile
Jan & Dean
It’s got an atom powered engine and a front like a bat.
It makes zero up to sixty in just five seconds flat.
It speeds Batman and Robin to the scene of the crime.
With its special gadgets they win every time.
Criminals and hoodlums, be careful what you do.
Beware the Batmobile is gunna catch right up to you.
You’ll never escape in your GT or ‘Vet.
Because the Batmobile is the hottest thing yet.
The Riddler tried to steal it but he quickly was stopped.
You see than when he turned the key the anisel when pop.
He tried to burn it but it extinguished the fire.
The Batmobile is every criminal’s desire.
Criminals and hoodlums, you never will escape.
It’s curtains rolling up the road and that you’ll be in shape.
Sure you try to duplicate it but you never can.
Because the only blue print is in Batman’s hand.
And as the mighty Batmobile roars along the open road.
Holy mix up!
Our champions of justice fight for law to uphold.
They dress for their force danger with grave?
And zoom in their Batmobile to their Batcave.
Review by Karl Johanson.
First Published in Neo-opsis issue 21.