15 Sensational Superhero Songs
Put on your bat-suits and rejoice, for today (July 23) is National Batman Day! As part of the Caped Crusader’s 75th anniversary, DC Comics is celebrating with comic giveaways and movie showings around the country. The festivities continue tomorrow when comic-book fans from all over descend on San Diego to partake in the annual and highly popular Comic-Con.
In honor of these comic festivities, we're celebrating the best in superhero-inspired music, from Eminem's self-indulgent "Superman" to Queen's energized "Flash" theme song. There are quite a few songs for Batman and the Man of Steel, plus a little something for each of DC and Marvel's winged, masked and caped crusaders.
Prince, "Batdance" (1989)
"Get the funk up!" For the "Batman" soundtrack, Prince not only crafted the track "Batdance," which featured voice tracks straight from the 1989 film, but the Purple One turned himself into a half Batman, half Joker pop star for the nearly seven-minute video. Dedication to DC Comics? We think so, with the Vicki Vale breakdown sealing the deal.
Black Sabbath, "Iron Man" (1970)
Black Sabbath's most well-known song may be about a time-traveling, destruction-seeking man turned to steel rather than the Marvel character, but that didn't stop the filmmakers behind the first of the "Iron Man" films from tossing the 1970 heavy metal jam into the movie's credits. Their approval is enough for us.
.moe, "Captain America" (1999)
With Chris Evans fresh off the silver screen, where he reprised his role as Captain America in the new "Avengers" flick, moe.'s 1999 "L" release gives a nod to the Marvel super soldier, warning that anyone not like Captain America is "gonna wind up dead last / at the end of your rope."
Manowar, "Thor (The Powerhead)" (1984)
In this testosterone-dripping tune, iconic American heavy metal act Manowar pledge their allegiance to the almighty "Thor," complete with ear-shattering yelps and a guitar solo that never ends. Note the group harmonies that trace vocalist Eric Adams' chanting chorus of "Thor the Mighty / Thor the Brave / Crush the infidels in your way / By your hammer let none be saved."
The Traits, "Nobody Loves the Hulk" (1969)
The rights to this oddly upbeat rock track about the green behemoth's sorrows are not only owned by Marvel, but "Nobody Loves The Hulk" was also advertised in early '70s issues of Hulk comics. The Traits' dynamic single not only recounts the unfortunate tale of Bruce Banner's Jekyll and Hyde-like transformation into the Hulk, it sympathizes with it.
Snoop Dogg, "Batman & Robin" (2002)
"A cold day in Gotham, in the Batcave chillin'," raps Snoop on his 2002 "Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss" album, celebrating the famous superhero duo. Lady of Rage and RBX are featured in the chorus, singing "Deep in Gotham, fighting crime / No one can save the day like Batman."
Mandalay Victory, "Rely on Hawkeye" (2010)
In this emo/screamo medley, Washington outfit Mandalay Victory don't just channel the strength and virtuosity of Hawkeye, they embody it. Soaring guitar riffs, thunderous drums and pulsating, melodic post-hardcore low screams beckon, "Our Day is Done / Our Battle Here is Won," profiling the strife of Hawkeye's development from lowly orphan to super hero.
Eminem, "Superman" (2003)
Eminem sees himself just as powerful as any invincible superhero, rapping, "They call me Superman / Leap tall hoes in a single bound." The track is rumored to be about Mariah Carey, but Em is getting cozy with a porn star in the 2003 video for the track.
The Ramones, "Spiderman" (1995)
For the "1995 Saturday Morning: Cartoon's Greatest Hits" compilation, the Ramones channeled their bratty punk rock riffs into a super-charged take on the theme to TV's "Spider-Man" cartoon. Transforming a brassy vintage theme into an urban, PG-13 track, New York's favorite leather jacket punks flipped "Spider-Man" on its head. Now with 100% more percussion.
3 Doors Down, "Kryptonite" (2000)
It's common to boast about the power of superheroes, but this track is all about weakness -- named for the one substance that could bring DC Comics' superhuman down. "If I go crazy, will you still call me Superman?" asks 3 Doors Down in its highest-charting song to date.
Paul McCartney & Wings, "Magento and Titanium Man" (1975)
In a head-scratching move most Macca fans don't exactly remember, Paul McCartney wrote a Wings song about Marvel villains from across the superhero universe. From "X-Men" (Magneto) to "Iron Man" (Titanium Man and Crimson Dynamo), McCartney and his band have the comic world covered in this evil 1975 B-Side to "Venus and Mars/Rock Show." Wait, what?
Queen, "Flash" (1980)
If there is one thing Queen has never been short of, it's flash. Released in 1980, this legendary Queen track was created as the theme song for the "Flash Gordon" movie. Keyboardist Brian May plays little more than one note on his synth throughout the entirety of the song, propelling the track forward with Flash-like speed and energy. Queen also composed and performed all the music featured on the film's soundtrack.
R. Kelly, "Gotham City" (1997)
Recorded for the 1997 "Batman & Robin" film soundtrack, this R. Kelly track reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with lyrics about the city of justice, love and peace. The song revered the fictional city made famous by the DC comic, paying tribute to Bruce Wayne's crime-ridden home in lyrics like "I'm lookin' over the skyline of the city / How loud quiet nights in the mist of crime / How next door to happiness lives sorrow / And signals of solution in the sky."
Five For Fighting, "Superman (It's Not Easy)" (2000)
More about the vulnerable side of a hero than defeating Lex Luthor, Five For Fighting's hit single "Superman" struck a chord with listeners in 2000, with lyrics like, "I'm only a man / In a funny red sheet." John Ondrasik, the mastermind behind Five For Fighting, carries bittersweet sincerity with a delicate falsetto and an even more fragile piano melody, illustrating that even superheroes can be human.
Suicide, "Ghost Rider" (1977)
Marvel's Ghost Rider was a favorite of the band Suicide, who took its name from Ghost Rider comic book "Satan Suicide." The early punk band played tribute to the motorcycling anti-hero on "Ghost Rider," the opening track of its debut 1977 self-titled album.