Music · Podcast Unlimited · Television · Versus

Better earworm TV theme song: 1960’s “Batman” vs. 1960’s “Spider-Man”

spidermna_batman_themsong

 

(Editor’s Note: The following was originally written by Keith Feltenstein.)

In our next “Versus” round up, we take a break from beat-em-up, and change it to beloved TV show theme songs. We narrowed it down to two very catchy theme songs. In one corner of the sound stage, we have the Spider-man 60’s cartoon theme. And in the other corner of the sound stage, we have the Batman 60’s TV show theme song! Which of the two had the better theme song? I have posted the lyrics plus the videos for you to decide!

Spider-man Theme Song (60’s)

spidericon “Spider-Man” is the theme song of the 1967 cartoon show Spider-Man, composed by Academy Award winner Paul Francis Webster and Robert “Bob” Harris. The song’s opening lines, “Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can,” have become as synonymous with the Marvel Comics character as his costume. The original song was recorded at RCA Studios in Toronto (where the cartoon was also produced) featuring 12 CBC vocalists (members of the Billy Van Singers, and Laurie Bower Singers groups) who added to the musical backing track supplied by RCA Studios, New York. The singers were paid only for the session and have had no residuals from its use since then.

A long-standing rumor claimed that the bass line for the Spider-Man theme was performed by jazz musician Charles Mingus; however Ralph Bakshi confirmed the rumor as being erroneous, stating that Mingus did not perform on the theme song.

In addition to the original version, this song was covered by The Ramones on the 1995 compilation album, Saturday Morning: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits.

Spiderman, Spiderman,
Does whatever a spider can.
Spins a web, any size,
Catches thieves just like flies.
Look out! Here comes the Spiderman.
Is he strong? Listen bud—
He’s got radioactive blood.
Can he swing from a thread?
Take a look overhead.
Hey there! There goes the Spiderman.
In the chill of the night,
At the scene of the crime,
Like a streak of light,
He arrives just in time!
Spiderman, Spiderman,
Friendly neighborhood Spiderman.
Wealth and fame, he’s ignored—
Action is his reward.
To him,
Life is a great big bang-up—
Wherever there’s a hang-up,
You’ll find the Spiderman!


Batman Theme Song (60’s)

Batman-Logo-Poster-90x60cm “Batman Theme”, the title song of the 1966 Batman TV series, was composed by Neal Hefti. This song is built around a guitar hook reminiscent of spy film scores and surf music. It has a twelve bar blues progression, using only three chords until the coda.
The eleven cries of “Batman!” are sung by a chorus of four tenors and four sopranos (performed by The Ron Hicklin Singers). A long-held myth purports that the chorus is actually a group of horns. Adam West’s book, “Back to the Batcave”, also fuels this rumor by claiming the chorus is instrumental, not vocal. However, Neal Hefti, the writer of the theme, stated that the chorus was made up of eight singers, one of whom jokingly wrote on his part, “word and music by Neal Hefti”. “TV’s Biggest Hits” by Jon Burlingame, published in 1996, focuses exclusively on TV theme songs, and includes an interview with Hefti about the creation of the Batman theme song. According to Burlingame, the song consisted of “bass guitar, low brass and percussion to create a driving rhythm, while an eight-voice chorus sings ‘Batman!’ in harmony with the trumpets.”
In addition to Neal Hefti’s original version, and the television soundtrack version by Nelson Riddle, versions were covered by The Marketts (single “Batman Theme” and album The Batman Theme by The Marketts), The Ventures (The Ventures Play the “Batman” Theme, Dolton BST8042, 3/1966), Al Hirt, The Standells and actor/musician David McCallum.
The song has been widely parodied in the decades since its debut. The theme has been re-recorded by dozens of artists, including Link Wray, Voivod, The Jam, and The Who.

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Batman!
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Batman!
Batman, Batman, Batman!


 

Alright then! With all that said, who do you think would win in this theme song shake down, Spider-Man or Batman? Vote now! Your opinion matters!

Next Podcast Unlimited Poll: Better overall entertainer (comedy + acting): Jim Carrey vs Adam Sandler.

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