One of the most interesting realizations in gathering these Batman songs has been that while the Caped Crusader has absolutely nothing on Superman in the disco department, he’s got it all over the Man of Steel when it comes to 60s r&b. There are some seriously kick-ass songs in that genre and they easily comprise the best of the music I’ve heard in this project.
I’ve also realized that Batman has quite a presence in hip hop, a genre outside of my purview but one that I hope someone with more knowledge will tackle at some point, because there’s a lot out there.
Next week we move onto songs about the rest of the Batman Family, but if you enjoy this post, I invite you to go take a look at Part 1 and Part 2 of my Songs about Batman series, and maybe even my collection of songs about Superman and the Superman Family. If nothing else, these will fill up your day.
And as my own personal Batman Trilogy comes to an end, I offer, once again, a list of bands performing the 1966 Batman TV theme, probably the most-recorded superhero music ever in the history of superheroes and music. Go listen to versions by The Kinks, The Bat Boys, TBA, Hawaii Samurai, Megaraptor, Clarinet Fusion, Tony Monserrat, Sheena and the Rockets, Maxwell Davis, Larkhall Flute Ensemble, Adam West The Bat, Rusted Apple, Lipstick Pickups, Washington Dead Cats, The Malibus, The Erie County Monster Hunters, Lyn Taitt and the Jets, Kartoon Krew, Bobby Valentin, and Pylon. Or just listen to a whole album by The Villains building on the theme.
Bob Schneider – Batman
Austin, Texas-based musician Schneider offers this rollicking country-cajun monologue from Batman — but you can call him Bob. This Batman listens to his own theme song while he and Robin hang out with a six-pack and a bong, and takes the ladies back to the Batcave. This song speaks for itself, and it speaks pretty well for what it is. I wouldn’t have expected to love this song as much as I do. And I do. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
The Shapes – I Saw Batman in the Launderette
The 1979 single from British punk band The Shapes is pretty much about what the title says, and is a great bit of catchy old-style punk that incorporates the Bat-theme for a sloppy, wonderful guitar solo in the middle of the song. They also gave the world such awesomeness as “Let’s Go (To Planet Skaro)” and “Wot’s For Lunch Mum” and have become one of those indispensible sidenotes that pop up often in music history. No collection is complete without something from these guys. Also, check out this cover version by The Phantasms just for fun. Buy it here or
Siguarajazz Orquesta – Nocturno Batman
This might technically count as a cover version of the Batman TV theme, sure, but whereas the majority of covers keep with the program, this one veers mightily and becomes its own thing, instantly making it something worth highlighting. This band from Medellín, Colombia and its handling of this song firmly places the kitsch of the original theme into the preferred noir of the comic and recent films but in a mambo style. Sublime! The band also offers “Supermambo,” from the point of view of Clark Kent, apparently.
Jumpin Gene Simmons – The Batman
Not the objectionable Kiss frontman, this Gene Simmons started his rockabilly career on the Sun label in 1958 and he’s mostly known for his one hit “Haunted House” in 1964. Two years later and he jumped on the Batman music juggernaut, co-writing this song, which relates some Batman and Robin adventures.
Earl Sixteen – Batman & Robin
This 1984 reggae release from the Jamaican-born singer references “Rockin’ Robin” and “Whole Lotta Rockin’ Tonight” among other songs. “All crime is prevented by the Batman,” he sings. This link also includes the flip-side, “Bat Fhink,” which seems to be a dub version of the A-side.
Sleepy Kitty – Batman the Ride
It’s about Batman, sure, but a DIFFERENT Batman, the one you climb into, sit down inside, and prepare for thrills. The first Batman rollercoaster appeared at Six Flags Great America in Chicago in the 1990s, and was successful enough to build them in a bunch of other Six Flags parks. The ride itself takes passengers through Gotham City. The most infamous aspect of the Batman rides was in 2008, when someone was decapitated by the Six Flags Over Georgia version not while riding it, but while trespassing too close to the ride after jumping a fence. As for Sleepy Kitty, you can find out more about them at their website. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
The Spotlights – Batman and Robin
“I know, I’ll be Batman,” concludes the introductory origin on this 1966 single produced by Snuff Garrett, who co-wrote it with, of all people, Leon Russell. But it gets better. The Spotlights are actually Greg and Duane Allman before they hit it big. By 1968, Duane was a major success as a studio musician for people like Eric Clapton, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, and many more. By the end of 1969, the Allman Brother Band debuted. And on October 29, 1971, he sadly died in a motorcycle accident. Greg chugged along with the Allman Brothers Band and solo work, was married to Cher for awhile, and died in 2017. Whether you appreciate their music or not, they certainly were legends and this is a great time capsule of their earliest work. Garrett later rereleased this on an album of comic book songs and credited it to The Super Dupers.
Bruce Springsteen – I’m A Rocker
Some might dispute my inclusion of this in a list of Batman songs since it only really mentions the Batmobile, but I think it’s worthy since a) both the Boss and Batman are named Bruce, b) the Batmobile is evoked as a brag of things he actually owns for the sole purpose of being there for the gal he is singing the song to, and c) he also mentions Kojak and Columbo as cowards who have abandoned her even though he is at the ready to save her from danger. All of this adds up to a good song that deserves to be on this list. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
The Stolen Minks – Batman (You’re the Sex)
Another worthy garage basher about the Caped Crusader, this time coming from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Taken from the Stolen Minks’ 2006 release Family Boycott, the band featured Rachelle Goguen on drums. If that name’s familiar, you probably know Rachelle from her long-running comics blog Living Between Wednesdays. I don’t think the band is together anymore, this song should inspire you to go pick up anything you can by the band.
Sun Ra – Unmask the Batman
From a long unreleased radio station session that popped up on the Of Abstract Dreams album, which was released last year. With vocals by James Jacson, it’s an abstract blues jam with some chanting from the band and braggadocio that “I’m gonna’ do what the Joker couldn’t do, I’m gonna’ unmask the Batman.” If Sun Ra’s cosmic jazz stylings are a little too out there for you, you could always make do with this 1966 album of Batman-themed groovy instrumentals that he and members of his band recorded as “The Sensational Guitars of Dan and Dale.” Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Joe Tex & Hugh Black – Batman & Robin
This is not the Joe Tex the R&B singer from the 1960s, but rather a 1981 release from a reggae artist with the same name who seems to have had a more modest career. I don’t know the exact count, but at this point I’ve featured several reggae songs featuring Batman and that’s something I didn’t expect from this journey.
Tommy and the Derbys – I Saw Batman
Tommy’s having a bad day, but he turns on the TV and sees his friend Batman doing the watusi and that seems to cheer him up. Cheered me up. Tommy’s full name is Thomas Gadson. He recorded this song in 1967 as the flip-side to a song called “Socking It Back,” a pretty awesome instrumental. They recorded a single the year before, but previously Gadson was in a doo-wop band called The Carpets with his brother Thomas, which apparently morphed into the Derbys. He later had some involvement in a single in the ’70s attributed to Spiderman and featuring the b-side “Spiderman Shuffle,” the only evidence of which I found on eBay for too much money.
Donald Trump – Batman Theme
I didn’t originally intend to feature a version of the Batman theme in this list, but rules are made to be broken and if Donald Trump can completely live by those words, why can’t I do the same, at least in regard to lists of songs about superheroes? This is some amusing sampling work by Barrymore and if we can’t have a decent, competantly-run country, we can at least have this, right?
Hank Wallis – That Man, Batman
This isn’t Ray Stevens, but there sure is something Ray Stevensesque about it. Focused mostly on the reaction of the crowds who witness Batman saving the day, the song features incredulous, hillbilly-like exclamations from witnesses, who also mention Shazam and Wonder Woman and the Green Hornet. Strangely I can’t find out anything about Wallis even though he sure has recorded a lot of songs. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Wammo – Batman
I’m not exactly sure the entire deal with Wammo, but he’s apparently from Austin TX and apparently was in the movie Slacker, which seems about right. This is his story of a childhood obsessed with the Batman TV show that results in a traumatic event that ends up giving him a strange kind of hope. This is a story every geeky kid can probably relate to in some way and it’s a great Batman song that gets to the heart of the character’s impact on kids.
Gate Wesley and Band – (Zap! Pow!) Do the Batman
Another great R&B dance song, this one from 1966 and having a James Brown vibe. This was the only record Wesley ever put out. It featured Billy LaMont on vocals. LaMont had a long career that you can read about.
Adam West – The Story of Batman
No countdown of Batman songs worth anything escapes the inclusion of a singing Batman himself, and on this one, we have a singing Batman singing about Batman. Recorded in 1976, West does a spoken word bit as the Caped Crusader himself between a back-up chorus going over the vague “story” of Batman. It’s pretty funny stuff, with West giving secret instructions to something special you can do if you have the actual, physical record. This was the b-side to the song “Batman and Robin,” which has West performing along with a Burt Ward soundalike and the same singing chorus providing the musical part around a story about the Dynamic Duo trying to catch a villain named The Tickler.
Ten years earlier West recorded the amusing single “Miranda” that features him actually singing in parts for a novelty record that features West as Batman flirting with the woman in the title and actually brushing aside Robin — in the song referred to as “Boy Genius” — in favor of the flirtation, despite Robin’s claim of a threat from a villain named Mr. ACDC.
Wally Wingert and the Caped Club – Adam West
In the annals of songs about Batman, this song from 1989 is THE ONLY ONE that is actually a parody of the Escape Club song “Wild Wild West” but is a lot better. The only oe. Wingert went on to become a prolific voice actor and actually played the Riddler in the Batman: Arkham series.
Mike and Bernie Winters – That Man Batman
These popular comedian brothers from England recorded this in 1966 and took the opportunity to dis British espionage heroes like James Bond and John Drake as well as all Batman’s villains. Bernie actually gets to team-up with Batman later in the song for a caper in London as Clockman causes trouble at Big Ben.
Wire – Ex Lion Tamer
I’m as surprised as anyone to realize that the legendary Brit punk/post-punk band recorded a song about Batman. Well, kind of. It’s about watching TV and though the Lone Ranger is in there, Batman and Robin are sung about. And fish fingers. It’s all good. Buy it here or stream on Spotify.
X – Batman
This is not the X that we all know, but that doesn’t mean they’re not the real thing. A first-wave punk band from Australia, their first album was recorded one afternoon in 1979, though they had been performing since 1977. The band split apart shortly afterwards and then recorded a couple other albums sometime after 1983. As for the song, it’s a fun, punchy punk ditty that pines for a real Batman to take care of things. Buy it here or stream on Spotify.
Did I miss Naked Raygun’s “Coldbringer” – the best song ever about The Dark Knight Returns.
If not, here is a link:
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