In surveying songs about DC superheroes who are not Superman or Batman or directly related to either of them, if you don’t curate vigorously you are going to find yourself suffering through a large number of songs about Wonder Woman that are very hard to get through.
And I don’t mean the theme to the 1970s TV show — and there are plenty of fun covers of that, like this by Richard Cheese or One Eye Open or The Rake’s Progress or Ensemble Petit or the Wonderland Disco Band.
I mean original songs about Wonder Woman that range from proclamations of self-empowerment by women to gushing tributes to amazing women in their lives by men, all of them cheesy beyond the point your ears can actually tolerate them. Not that some of what I present in this four-part round-up don’t wander into that territory, but I at least tried to stay in the vicinity of listenable for all of our benefits.
If you enjoy this and missed my previous superhero song round-ups, by all means work your way backwards with those, and the second part of DC Superhero songs will appear next week.
Adam West The Bat – Black Lightning
I featured this Los Angeles band’s song “Supergirl (Kryptonite)” on a previous list and promised they would be back and here they are. And this isn’t the last you’ve seen of them, for sure. This is a pretty straightforward tribute to Black Lightning, but I should point out that they also do a fun cover of the Wonder Woman Theme and the song “The End of the Watchmen” which appears to be the Smashing Pumpkins’ song “The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning,”and which appeared in the trailer to The Watchmen movie (and shouldn’t be confused with “The End Is the Beginning Is the End,” which was featured in the movie Batman and Robin). Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
All Mighty Senators – Superfriends
This funk outfit from Baltimore incorporates some jazz and hip hop stylings for this song that sure obsesses about the Wonder Twins. Sorry, no Wendy and Marvin love here, but lots of energy and clever sonics.
Andrew Allen Trio – Teen Titans Go Theme
We’ve all heard Puffy AmiYumi’s super fun original which certainly had elements that sounded like they were lifted unashamedly from Johnny Rivers’ “Secret Agent Man” but this is an equally fun cover version that manages to capture the energy of the original with some nice jazz playfulness. The Florida jazz musician has some releases that any geek interested in jazz should check out — a Star Wars album, a Star Trek album, an album of video game music, and the album of superhero instrumentals that this song came from.
Also, while I have your attention, here’s an acoustic version of the Teen Titans Go theme done by Argentinean band Howard (Manchester), just for completist purposes. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Bearnard Badie (feat. Jackie Haywood) – Wonder Woman
As near as I can tell, these are remixes done in 2000 of house music originally released in 1996. Haywood is a pretty capable singer, though it looks like she didn’t record much more than this. The song moves between singing about Wonder Woman herself and proclaiming that all women overcoming hardships are Wonder Woman, but never cheesy. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Arnold Bean – Captain Marvel
There is no person named “Arnold Bean”— rather it’s the name of a band from Georgia that recorded only one album, 1971’s “Cosmic Bean,” on which this trippy song about Captain Marvel puts the Hero Currently Known As Shazam in more transcedent terms. I mean, we could debate about this. After all, Captain Mar-Vell first appeared in 1967 and was given his own series in 1968, and there was the Captain Marvel that could shoot off parts of his body that had debuted for M.F. Enterprises in 1966. I’m voting for the Hero Currently Known As Shazam, though, unless someone uncovers something in the lyrics that proves otherwise. As for the band, they partially regrouped in a more power pop mode in the 1970s as the Michael Guthrie Band. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Patrick Bloom – Green Lantern
I don’t really know who Patrick Bloom is, but he sure has a Jeff Tweedy thing going on, and that’s not a bad thing. I do know he’s from Iowa City, though. The song outlines a mysterious relationship between Green Lantern and a woman named Maria that involves brief encounters scattered amidst more time spent with Maria passing time while Green Lantern is busy. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Boom Boom Deluxe – Swamp Thing
In working on this list, I’ve found that Swamp Thing unexpectedly provides some great inspiration for some fun songs that by evoking his name undercuts some of the darkness of the actual comic and takes it to a whole other level. In this Cramps-style garage rocker, Swamp Thing is a killer on the dance floor. The band is from New Zealand and has loads of great rockabilly worth giving a listen to. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Bossa Nova Beatniks – Swamp Thing
Case in point. Straight from Huntington, NY, this bongo-driven jazz-funk love song about a really cute Swamp Thing definitely has its own unique vibe going. It fits in with a lounge sound, but isn’t slavish to it. The Bossa Nova Beatniks have been around since 1992 and this track is from a live session they did at WVIA in Scranton, Pennsylvania, which was released in 2000 as The Moon Unit Live. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Brain Surgeons – Swamp Thing
Blue Oyster Cult drummer and founding member Albert Bouchard’s other band offers some classic swamp rock from 2000 evoking the Swamp Thing name, and featuring Tommy Hilfiger’s late brother Bobby on guitar. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Eben Brooks – Dinah Was Never
The Dinah in question is Black Canary, and here she is given a Celtic-tinged, English folk ballad style treatment to pretty hilarious effect. Brooks compiles the way in which Dinah is deadly in a conflict — “She could hold her own against Batman,” he assures us as he recounts her courtship with Green Arrow and also references the old school explanation that the Black Canary of the 1970s was the daughter of Earth 2 Black Canary, though she didn’t actually remember that for awhile, which is, of course, my favorite version of the character. Brooks has a whole album of superhero songs, which features his “Norwegian Wood” parody, “Being Doctor Fate.” Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
The Camberwell Now – Green Lantern
With a name like The Camberwell Now I expected some retro-psychedelic pop from this 1986, but actually this is firmly 80s art rock with some XTC percussion styles and a little bit of PIL in the mix, though firmly predating Stereolab, despite some sonic similarities. The lyrics are entirely the Green Lantern oath, which are sung by somebody who sounds like Feargal Sharkey’s little brother. Buy it here.
The Cavemen – Swamp Thing
More Cramps-inspired swampiness featuring surprising Residents-style vocalizing. This is another New Zealand band. Do they have swamps there? Turns out the answer is yes! Swamps and ass-kicking garage bands. There’s more to New Zealand than Peter Jackson definitely (though it’s possible he likes swamps and ass-kicking garage bands). Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
The Chameleons – Swamp Thing
This song from 1986 has a great guitar riff that guides it through its nearly six brooding ominous minutes that seem completely in sync with the Swamp Thing comics of that era, without ever specifically mentioning them. Surely the name is entirely an accident in context of the comic, but whatever, it works so well I can’t deny its inclusion in this list. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
The Corps – Booster Gold
When Booster Gold first appeared in 1986, I thought the character was dumb. And I’ve never totally warmed up to him, but certain appearances — Heroes In Crisis, for instance — have made the character more palatable for me. Anyhow, this song gets bonus points for mentioning Blue Beetle a couple times as it goes over the Booster Gold story. The album also features songs about Wonder Woman, Supergirl, the Rann-Thanagar War, Identity Crisis, and more. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Wayne County and the Electric Chairs – Wonder Woman
If you like Iggy Pop, you’ll probably like this. The Georgia native is considered the first openly trans rock singer who took part in the Stonewall Riots. Involved with the Warhol crowd, County was in stage musicals with Patti Smith and was acquainted with David Bowie, serving as a major influence on his Diamond Dogs album. County then transitioned into the NYC and London punk scenes, and appeared in the seminal punk movie Jubilee. She resurfaced in Berlin in 1979 as Jayne County and has been working in music continually since. Her evocation of Princess Diana in this song is typical of County’s riotous provocations on behalf of the queer community, but also functions as a manifesto of sours. Currently at the age of 72, she stands as a historical treasure of the trans community. Here’s County in 1996 performing the song live. Buy it here or stream it on Spotify.
Dark Horse and the Carousels – Wonder Woman
This retro-60s garage ballad is a mopey tribute that contains the line,“You’re my Wonder Woman, you make me wonder.” That women are a mystery to the emo boys who sing rock songs is a staple in our culture, so imagine what an unwieldy conundrum Wonder Woman herself is to these poor guys.
Dirty Coal Train – Kamandi Year of the Rat
This Portuguese band devoted a whole album to the creations of Jack Kirby, and any song focusing on Kamandi the Last Boy on Earth is going to get the highlight from me. There’s also this noise-surf instrumental dedicated to Mister Miracle and the assurance that these guys will definitely be popping up on a future Marvel-focused list, don’t worry.