Tuesday, April 16, 2013

When Comics Meet Music

Please take a moment today to remember and reflect on the tragedy in Boston yesterday.

Doug:  Sunshine Superman?  I think it's probably safe to say that we've all heard that 1960's psychadelic standby recorded by Donovan, which of course also includes Green Lantern in the lyrics.  But what are some other examples of our four-color or even newsprint friends populating our favorite tunes?  I have several in mind, but you know this is going to get thrown out to you to fill in the blanks.  And should someone hog all the glory at the beginning, then certainly it becomes an exercise in which of those songs we like/don't like.

Doug:  Another fun aspect of today's conversation, and this could play off of Karen's post a few weeks ago on album covers, is to name any albums that actually featured a comic or comic book character.  I've pictured one below:  Joe Satriani's Surfing With the Alien.  I actually saw this in a record store some years ago -- not the album, but a huge tapestry on the wall.  I'm pretty sure there were roach clips for sale at that particular merchant...


david_b said...

A couple of quick mentions are obvious ones like Macca's 'Magneto and Titanium Man' which even featured the huge Kirby images on stage during the '76 Wings Tour (terrific song as well...), and Micky Dolenz-penned 'Randy Scout Git' for the Monkees mentioning DC's Wonder Girl.

Edo Bosnar said...

There's one that's so blindingly obvious by a much-loved rock 'n' roll icon that I think I'll also adopt Doug's approach and let someone else take the glory.
Another that came to mind immediately after that one is the more recent "Kryptonite" by 3 Doors Down, which also mentions Superman in the lyrics.

As for super-heroes appearing on album cover art, here's a really obscure one that I thought of right away: Wolverine on the cover to Doggapotamus World by the Crazy 8s (awesome Portland, OR based 1980s party/college band). Here's a link: http://www.allmusic.com/album/doggapotamus-world-mw0000614521. You have to click to expand the picture - an Art Adams (?) image of Wolvie (it's probably one of those cardboard promotional figures that you can see in an LCS) is near the lower right-hand corner, just behind that Golden Retriever.

Edo Bosnar said...

Looks like david_b posted while I was still writing my comment and looking for that link. Yep, McCartney's little Marvel super-villain tribute should be the first song that every self-respecting comic geek thinks of...

Anonymous said...

Spin Doctors album Pocket Full of Kryptonite. The song Jimmy Olson Blues on same album.

I have Surfing With The Alien stashed away somewhere...

The Kinks: Lola vs Power Man (although I don't think they're referencing either of the Marvel characters newing that name).


Anonymous said...

I know this is for genuine album covers, not mash ups, but this is such a great pairing, I had to share it with the group. Shame the art on the Doc is not better.



Anonymous said...

That should have read bearing that name...


Inkstained Wretch said...

They probably weren't thinking of the Marvel comic book when they wrote it, but I cannot hear Black Sabbath's Iron Man without thinking of the scene in the first Robert Downey Jr. film where Tony Stark breaks out of the cell terrorists have him in.

Matt Celis said...

Jim Croce sang "You don't tug on Superman's cape."

Lennon of course referenced Captain Marvel in Bungalow Bill.

Kinks wished they could fly like Superman.

just off top of my head

david_b said...

Ah, Matt I caught the backwards reference, well-played.

I know 'Beyond the Grave' from Buddah Records isn't in the perceived theme today, but while hokey, the musical numbers were cute for 1972.. One song even calls Spider-Man a “sex machine”, kinda odd for a young audience to hear. More bizarre is realizing that a young Rene Auberjonois was voicing Peter Parker/ Spider-Man (you knew him as Odo on DS9). Always LOVED the Romita back cover..:


Speaking of which, did anyone ever pick up “Rock Reflections of a Super-Hero”..? I know you can download the audio tracks off the 'net somewhere, haven't looked yet.

mr. oyola said...

One of my favorites is XTC's "That's Really Super, Supergirl" (which references Crisis on Infinite Earth in an oblique way)

but they also have a song called "Brainiac's Daughter" and "Sgt. Rock (is Going To Help Me)"

I also think Crash Test Dummies' "Superman Song" is a tear-jerker.

Also a lot of old rap song include encounters with Superman.

Oh and as for music IN comics, I have a soft spot for Dazzler, even wrote about her for a Sound Studies blog I contribute to. http://soundstudiesblog.com/2012/12/31/blinded-by-the-sound-marvels-dazzler-light-sound-in-comics/

Edo Bosnar said...

Well, since the title of the post is "When Comics Meet Music," there's also the reverse situation of the Beatles' "Rocky Raccoon" inspiring the creation of Rocket Raccoon.

And not directly comics related, but I always loved the reference to Captain Kirk in Nena's "99 Luftballons"

Garett said...

My band plays Superman by REM. My favorite REM song, and it turns out it was originally by another band called The Clique.

I am, I am, I am Superman
And I know what's happening
I am, I am, I am Superman
And I can do anything

There's Superman's Song by The Crash Test Dummies. Also mentions Tarzan.

Garett said...

Banditos by The Refreshments gives a shout out to "Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the United Federation of Planets"!

david_b said...

Don't forget the Who (among others...) covering the Batman TV theme, folks... From Steven Thompson's awesome 1966 Homage site..:


Here's the tune:


david_b said...

Ok, one more from me, looking at early rockstars with perhaps comic inspirations...

Paul from "Help!" with a dozen Superman comics on his organ, actually seen in the movie..:


And a young Byrds David Crosby peaking in Avengers:


Love these pics, too funny.

Redartz said...

On her album "the Hissing of Summer Lawns", Joni Mitchell had a song entitled "Edith and the Kingpin". I have no idea if there was any inspiration from the character, but I cannot hear the song without picturing Wilson Fisk. "The man with the diamond ring...his eyes hold Edith, his left hand holds his right. What does that hand desire, that he grips so tight?"

dbutler16 said...

There are a million songs with Superman references, but Jimmy Olsen gets a mention in the Dar Williams song "Are You Out There?"
Also, Aquaman gets mentioned in "One Week" by the Barenaked Ladies.

Anonymous said...

I was going to mention the Crash Test Dummies "Superman Song" but Mr. Oyola beat me to it. Other songs with comic book references that come to mind:

In Weird Al Yankovic's "White and Nerdy" he mentions "browsing and inspecting X-Men comics".

In "Hail to the Geek" by Deaf Pedestrians the first line says "I got a Spider-Man t-shirt".

And in the Weezer song "In the Garage" he says "I've got Kitty Pryde/and Nightcrawler too".

That's all I can come up with at the moment.

Mike W.

Steve Does Comics said...

"Flash! Ah-ah! He'll save everyone of us!" I think everyone knows what I'm referring to there. If not, I've just made a total fool of myself.

In the mid 90s, the band Mansun released a concept album called "Attack of the Grey Lantern," about the adventures of a fictional super-hero. I think we can guess what the inspiration for that was.

I don't think anyone's mentioned Laurie Anderson's 1981 classic "O Superman" yet.

Supertramp's "Fool's Overture" mentions a number of Super-heroes in its lyrics, including Spider-Man and Superman.

A few years back, Stereophonics had a hit with "Superman" which also name-checked Lois Lane in the lyrics.

I seem to remember that ex-Police drummer Stewart Copeland used to release records under the pseudonym "Clark Kent".

dbutler16 said...

There is a death metal band called Entombed that had Wolverine on one of their album covers (Wolverine Blues").

Ace Frehley Jr. said...

In The Garage by Weezer mentions "Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler too" in the lyrics!

William Preston said...

David, I had the Rock Reflections of a Superhero, which I adored, as well as this album, which came up a month or so ago:


William Preston said...

I also owned a couple of 45s in oddly shaped cardboard sleeves, things like "The Joker is Wild" and other Batman-related songs.

Fred W. Hill said...

Pink Floyd used Dan Atkins artwork from an issue of Dr. Strange on the cover of their 2nd lp, Sauceful of Secrets from 1968. On yet another lp, their film soundtrack, More, Dr. Strange was referenced in the lyrics to Cymbaline: "And suddenly it strikes you/That they're moving into range/Doctor Strange is always changing size" (of course, that sounds more like they're singing about Henry Pym than Stephen Strange!).
Another superhero Kinks' reference is on the song "Catch Me Now I'm Falling" -- "this is Captain America calling". I've also read about but never heard the Kinks' song "Plastic Man". Seems Ray Davies, as well as Andy Partridge of XTC, were big comics fans.

Anonymous said...

My condolences go out to all the victims of the bombings at the Boston marathon. Someone once said that 'we are all New Yorkers today' in the aftermath of 9/11. Yesterday, we all became Bostonians.

'Kryptonite' by 3 Doors Down always pops in my head whenever someone mentions superheroes in songs.

- Mike from Trinidad & Tobago.

Crowdaddy said...

Waiting for Superman, by the Flaming Lips, is a good one, and a great song as well. I was going to mention Pink Floyd, but Fred W. Hill beat me to it! That's a good one, though. And the Greatful Dead song, "China Cat Sunflower", has the line,
"Comic book colors, on a violin river
crying Leonardo words
from out a silk trombone..."
Jerry Garcia was a comic fan, and had a complete set of ECs. That's all I can think of, now.

Crowdaddy said...

I can't believe I misspelled "Grateful".

Graham said...

From the blues side, Houston bluesman Roy Gaines had an album and a song entitled Superman back in the 70's. Great jazzy blues tune.

Doug said...

Thanks for all of the comments today, friends. It's been a busy day for yours truly, but I wanted to toss out a couple of ideas.

From Guns 'N' Roses "Paradise City":

Captain America's been torn apart
Now he's a court jester with a broken heart
He said "turn me around and take me back to the start"
I must be losing my mind "are you blind?"
I've seen it all a million times

And, while not specifically naming Marvel heroes, KISS's Destroyer album did have a couple of songs that reflect Gene's love of comics -- Flaming Youth and of course God of Thunder.


Arizona Mike said...

"Spiderman" by Katrina and the Waves - apparently sung from the viewpoint of Mary Jane.

"Captain America", by Jimmy Buffett

"The X-Men Song - A Super-Hero Rock Opera" by the Ray Wall Band

"The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts" by Sufjian Stevens

"The Spider Man Theme" cover by The Ramones

"The Shadow Knows" by The Coasters

"Superman (Scrubs Theme) by Lazlo Bane

"Superman" by Barbra Streisand

"Teen Titans" by Puffy Amiyumi

"Ghost Rider" by Suicide

"The Ballad of Barry Allen" by Jim's Big Ego - one of my favorites

david_b said...

Another great cover for Freddie McCoy..:


I picked this up minty a few years back. Love simple, magnificent Ditko art next to my other framed albums.

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid in the '60s, I remember a friend had an album "Jan and Dean Meet Batman and Robin". It was a spoof that really wasn't very good. But I remember that Jan and Dean transformed to Captain Jan and Dean the Boy Blunder by singing It's the Little Old Lady from Pasadena. Man everybody tried to capitalize on Batmania.


Matt Celis said...

Who was that fella who did "I Whupped Batman's Ass"?

Anonymous said...

MF Doom - Operation Doomsday - this album has multiple samples from the 70s FF cartoon.


Also The Last Emperor's song Secret Wars pairs hip hop artists vs Marvel Heroes:


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