It’s been awhile since I posted a musical blog, so in a way this is overdue. In a way, it is also sort of a twist on a combination of older blogs.
What Prompted This Blog?
While I wouldn’t consider my daughter a “TV Head,” PBS Kids or Disney Channel is usually on in the background while Sam and I play with her. Sam has the PBS Kids app on her phone and every once in a while, she will watch a show on there. She knows that every time she presses a new character, the new show will play.
There are three shows on the app that are Super Hero oriented: Hero Elementary, Super Why!, and Word Girl. As Ella presses the buttons, she usually listens to the theme songs and then moves to another show. For whatever it is worth, she must have played the theme song to Word Girl about 6 times in a row the other day. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a pretty cool theme song. I love the driving bass line and horns in it! Give it a listen:
Kudos to the gal singing that! Those are some pretty difficult lyrics to sing that fast.
Anyway, that song got me to thinking about how most super heroes have cool theme songs. So I thought I would present my Top 10 Super Hero Theme Songs. I’m sure yours may differ from mine. Feel free to comment with your favorites, your top 10, or ones you feel I missed….
10. The Greatest American Hero
Probably the wimpiest Super Hero ever, I agree! However, the song went all the way up to #2 on the charts for Joey Scarbury. It also was so popular that George Constanza created his answering machine message to the tune of it…
Fun Fact – William Katt is the son of actress Barbara Hale, who played Della Street on Perry Mason.
9. Batman Movie Theme (1989)
This ominous theme song by Danny Elfman set the tone for the Batman movie starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. Obviously, this is MUCH darker and more serious than the 1966 incarnation.
The Elfman score got it’s entire album. Some of the music went on to be a part of Batman: The Animated Series, and can be heard in many video games, too.
8. The Super Friends
Ok, maybe this is cheating a bit. This show contains many super heroes who will appear on this list separately with there own theme. However, this was the show that introduced me to many of them. From 1973-1986, there were 7 different versions of the Super Friends. The great Ted Knight (of Caddyshack and Too Close For Comfort fame) did the narration until 1977, when Bill Woodson took over.
As a bonus – here are all 7 intros to the show….
I never understood why the first series had Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog. They were more annoying than anything. I was never really fond of Aquaman, either, but thought Norman Alden (who voiced him) was a great actor.
I saw this in reruns/syndication. It originally ran from 1964 to 1967, and again in syndication until 1973. The theme song may have been one of the first songs I learned how to sing. I loved Underdog as a kid, but never realized he spoke in rhyme until much later.
George S. Irving (the voice of Heat Miser in the Year Without a Santa Claus) was the narrator and Wally Cox voiced Underdog. Fun Fact: TV Guide ranked Underdog as number 23 on its “50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time” list
I remember seeing this in the theater. I was probably not in band yet, but I remember the trumpet fanfare opening of this song and it really caught my attention. I will forever think of this song when I think of Superman.
This is just one of MANY great movie themes written by the great John Williams (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, etc…)
5. Wonder Woman
Let me be clear – the TV show Wonder Woman. Lynda Carter was one of my first celebrity crushes. She was (and still is) one of the most beautiful women. The theme for the show is just “funky.” “In your satin tights, fighting for your rights, and the ole red white and blue….” The running bass line throughout the song and 70’s “gospel-ish” singers singing her name – what’s not to love?
Fun fact: Lyle Waggoner, who plays Steve Trevor, once did a screen test to play TV’s Batman!
4. The Incredibles
Yes, the entire family has a theme song – and it is awesome! The film score was composed by Michael Giacchino. The film’s director, Brad Bird, was looking for a specific sound as inspired by the film’s design — the future as seen from the 1960s. It truly is a musical masterpiece.
Full Credits Score is here – The horns in this are just amazing!!
3. Hong Kong Phooey
How can a theme song sung by the legendary Scatman Crothers not make the list? Ok, to be fair, I might be a little biased. This show only aired in 1974 (and in syndication until 1976), and it is technically only 40 seconds long, but it’s cool! It’s “groovy!” The “number one super guy” had to be on my list ….
Fun Fact: The band Subline covered this song in 1995.
2. Batman (1966)
In 1966, the campiness of Batman took the TV world by storm! Adam West was Batman, Burt Ward was Robin and the celebrity villains were larger than life. The theme song for Batman was created by Neal Hefti. The guitar riff is instantly recognizable. The song was a top 20 hit for him, despite the fact that the lyrics consisted of repeating “Batman” over and over and over….
Here is the “hit” version:
The TV version:
The Marketts also scored a top 20 hit with their version:
Fun Fact: Give the Beatles “Taxman” a listen and see if you can hear a Batman influence. George Harrison based the music for that song on the Batman theme. He was a big fan of the show.
No surprise to anyone who knows me. This is one of the “baddest” and “coolest” theme songs. While I think there are other super heroes who are cooler than Spidey, he certainly has my favorite theme song! “Is he strong, listen bud, he’s got radioactive blood” – what a great line!!!
The original theme is cool, and then Michael Buble’ comes along and throws an amazing Big Band arrangement of it….. I absolutely love this! I wish I had the sheet music for this. Check out his cover:
Fun fact: The Ramones covered this, too, in 1995.
Ok, so what ones did I miss?