Batman Family

In compiling this list of songs about the Batman Family, some musical issues cropped up that demanded parameters. When it comes to denizens of Gotham City other than Batman, when they are captured in music, it’s often in an instrumental. Musical numbers about the Joker were released by Lyn Taitt and the Jets, Sun Ra, The Ventures, and The Marketts.

Batman FamilyThe Marketts also recorded music named after The Riddler and Cat Woman. The Riddler was also given tribute by Robin and the Batmen, plus Sun Ra, who also made music about The Penguin and Robin.

Neil Hefti recorded music about Mr. Freeze and King Tut.  Oh, Hefti has a Robin song too  as does Butch Baker.

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It’s dizzying.

For the official list of songs about the Batman family, I erred on the side of lyrics, which whittled it down but gave it more impact, I think.

If you enjoy this list, check out these previous lists of Batman songs, Superman songs, and Superman family songs. Next week? A general rundown of songs about DC Superheroes.

Batman – Un mauvais farceur (A Bad Joker)
The other side the 1966 Pharoahs single that was featured on the first part of the Batman songs list, this one is about the Joker. If you missed the story of The Pharoahs and their strange relationship with Batman, you’re going to want to go back and read that. As for this song, the lyrics are in French, but the maniacal laughter throughout tells me this is definitely about the Joker, make no mistake.

 

Cast of Holy Musical B@man! – Robin Sucks
This vicious takedown of the Boy Wonder is from Nick Gage and Scott Lamps’ musical production Holy Musical B@man!, which was performed in Chicago in 2012, though you can see the entire thing on YouTube through the magic of Internet. The story is about Batman becoming Batman but realizing how lonely he is, then becoming friends with Robin, though the people of Gotham reject the Boy Wonder, feeling his presence ruins Batman’s image as a dark, brooding crime fighter. Eventually Superman gets involved. You should check out the song “Super Friends,” also from the show. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.

 

Clashing Plaid – Be My Batgirl
Philadelphia punk purists Clashing Plaid apparently had Yvonne Craig specifically in mind when they wrote this, and who can blame them? This is lots of fun. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.

 

Dr Know – Mr Freeze
Dr. Know is an early hardcore punk band from Oxnard, CA, so maybe Jaime Hernandez knew them? This is from a 1984 mini-album and it certainly makes Mr. Freeze sound like a horrible person, but I always thought he was a goofball. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.

 

Fifty Foot Combo – Robin Boy Wonder
This Belgian band specializes in surf and old style garage sounds, the type that Dick Grayson is probably too square to enjoy. This is off their 1997 album “Go Hunting!” I confess I’m unfamiliar with them but I love this song and also the very next song I heard by them, “Jennifer Jennings,” so I guess I’m a new fan. This is a cover of a pretty rare song from the 1960s by The Mercuries, which I assume was also a Belgian band, but the original single credits it to “Robin” and not the band’s name.

 

FSK (Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle) – Batgirl
From their 1985 album Goes Underground, this experimental German band takes the slow, brooding tactic in this mysterious song about Batgirl. No motorcycle action here. Since the lyrics are in German, I can’t tell you for sure what it’s about, but it certainly sounds like Batgirl is creeping up on someone.

Frank Gorshin – The Riddler
I don’t care who else they get to play the Riddler, Frank Gorshin is it, the ultimate. Some things can’t be improved on in this world, and this is one of them. His laugh alone, holy moley. Bizarrely, this song actually puts forth more an effort than you’d expect out of a character tie-in — it’s amusing and pretty groovy, and Gorshin’s in top form. For completism sake, you can check out the slow tempo b-side, “Never Let Her Go,” which has Gorshin displaying his sensitive side. Then you should probably go watch this great clip of Gorshin performing “The Riddler” live on the Dean Martin Show.

 

Hanschen & Ilse – Selina Kyle
Performed in a stairway by a couple of Seattle folkies, this is part ode to Catwoman, part reason to sing “meow, meow, meow, meow.” Either way, Selina Kyle is presented as someone who knows what she wants and the band has a lot more energy than so many Seattle folkies I’ve encountered, but they no longer seem to be together anymore.

 

Hox – Batgirl
This guy kissed Batgirl and now he’s no longer living with blinders. I hear the Joker’s laugh in there, but that’s not how I imagined Batgirl’s voice. This is a fun power pop song from 2008, but I can’t really uncover anything specific about the band, since there is one or two other musical acts with the same name, so I guess this is going to be a bigger mystery than Batgirl herself. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.

 

Jan and Dean – Robin The Boy Wonder
Jan and Dean’s “Batman” song was featured in Part 1 of the Batman song list but their odd concept album from 1966 also features their own strange comedy skits about … AND some other Batman-related songs, including this song, which could only be better if Annette Funicello had sung it. “Holy gastropod!” There’s also a song about The Joker and an instrumental tribute to Mr. Freeze that features a great horn section and musical shivers. In the 1966 Batman-record-release-rip-off sweepstakes, Jan and Dean were the clear winners — they actually put effort into it! Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.

 

The Kneejerk Reactions – Batgirl I Love You
From the 2014 album The Indestructible Sounds of, this is more a love song to Yvonne Craig than to Batgirl herself, which is in my opinion well-deserved, she’s my favorite member of the TV Batman Family, other than, maybe, Frank Gorshin‘s Riddler.. Aside from playing Batgirl, she was also in groovy movies like Ski Party, In Like Flint, TWO Elvis movies — Kissin’ Cousins and It Happened At the World’s Fair — a probably every single TV show that aired in the 1960s. Sadly she died in 2015, but she made quite an impression on this retro-garage band from England. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.

 

Burgess Meredith – The Capture
This 1966 single features Meredith in character as the Penguin bragging and describing his exploits. As produced and arranged by major player Don Costa — he produced some of Frank Sinatra’s best work in the early ‘60s on the Reprise label — the instrumental work on this is incredibly beautiful with a trip-hop vibe going on 30 years early. The b-side, “The Escape,” uses the same track with different narration by Meredith. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.

 

The Merriettes – The Penguin
“When a crime’s committed you can bet the guy who did it is the Penguin,” this song brags, and then adds, “and for every plot you’ll find the mastermind behind it is the Penguin.” The Penguin is responsible for everything bad, apparently, which makes this song even more boastful than the Burgess Meredith one, but much more jaunty, more like something out of Mary Poppins. This is from that Peter Pan label album Children’s Treasury Of Batman Musical Stories that was featured in part 3 of the Batman songs round-up, and which offers the more peppy “There Goes Robin” as well.

 

Anastasia Midnight – Catwoman
It’s a sure sign that times have changed when you encounter a Catwoman song. I’ve thought it interesting that the Batman music albums of the 1960s rarely dedicate music to Catwoman. Mr. Freeze and even King Tut are more likely to have a song than Catwoman. Maybe she was just too much for them back then. Nowadays, though, people really appreciate Catwoman and this electro-glam song by Anastasia Midnight captures why you’re more likely to hear a song about her now — it’s about the sheer joyous fun of busting out, stalking Gotham City, committing crimes, and just being the Catwoman. The 21st Century has recognized Catwoman as an icon of outrageous feminist individuality, which definitely makes for more fun in the world. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.

 

Naked Raygun – Coldbringer
I didn’t even know about this one until John commented on my first Batman installment, so I thank him. I decided to place this with the Batman Family list thanks to the attention it pays to Commissioner Gordon who, despite the song’s focus on the plot of the Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, really stands out as the emotional center of this song and hasn’t had a Batman Family song devoted to him on this list. The title refers to a Soviet nuclear warhead in the comic. Naked Raygun was a Chicago-based post punk band in the 80s that reformed at some point and are still around making music. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.

 

Robin & The Mercurys – Robin Is Coming
This is the flip-side to the original single of “Robin Boy Wonder” by The Mercuries, mentioned earlier. It’s definitely a slow dance song that sounds like something you’d hear performed at the Roadhouse on Twin Peaks: The Return. The heavy Belgian (I guess) accent makes some of the lyrics hard to understand, but I did make out, “The phone rings when things are going wrong.”

 

Nick Royale – Burt Ward Law
AKA Swedish musician Nicke Andersson, best known as a member of The Hellacopters, but also in two death metal bands — Entombed and Death Breath — plus two other current bands, this is yet another project of his among many more that I’m not listing. He sings a lot about fighting crime and super powers here, but whatever, it’s all good and loud.

 

The Smyrk – The End of Jason Todd
The Smyrk from New Haven, Connecticut, offer this musical version of one of the gloomiest seminal events in Batman Family history. Considering the subject matter, it’s pretty catchy. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.

 

Jim Steinman and Karine Hannah – I Need All the Love I Can Get
AKA “The Catwoman Song” from Batman the Musical. Never heard of it? Thank your lucky stars. Meat Loaf’s favorite collaborator Steinman started in the late ‘90s to work on a stage musical that was meant to help Warner Brothers loosen the Disney tight grip on Broadway. There were rumors that Tim Burton was hired to direct the production, but by 2005, it seem apparent it was not going to happen. A year later Steinman released demos online. To my ears, I don’t see how this isn’t any less silly than any of the Batman musical knock-offs from the ‘60s, but I’m not much for Broadway — or Meat Loaf, for that matter.

 

Burt Ward – Boy Wonder I Love You
Robin himself gets his say in this hilarious song written by Frank Zappa and released in 1966. Never has a Batman-related song been such a witty and hilarious poke at pop culture, teen enthusiasm, and celebrity obsession. This may be the prize of songs about the Batman Family list. Ward is in top form with his delivery and this is easily my favorite Zappa song, not that there was much of a contest for that. The flip-side is a bizarre version of “Orange Colored Sky” with a gobsmacking musical arrangement by Zappa — the band sounds drunk and Ward sounds like he was dipping into something else. Brilliant. On a later release Ward plays it straight — and kinda icky — on “I’ve Got Love For My Baby.”

 

Washington Dead Cats – Catwoman
This French punkabilly-with-ska-undertones release from 1991 is lots of fun and, once again, captures Catwoman as the modern Batman villain of choice. And, holy be boppin’ baby, these guys are still together and still rock. I can’t actually stop listening to them now. Oh, look, they redid this Catwoman song recently. And they did a version of the Batman Theme. Then they redid it recently. Wow.

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