Anyone who says Superman is superior to Batman is fooling themselves. The Caped Crusader trumps the Man of Steel in comics, movies, outfits, nicknames, lady friends, TV shows, and dorky sidekicks — but what about music? There have been hundreds of songs written about both Batman and Superman, so in honor of Man of Steel, I thought we’d take a look at their musical history.
Some criteria: I only chose songs that are NOT on official soundtracks (i.e. no “Bat Dance,” which is obviously the greatest thing ever), and they have to mention either “Batman” or “Superman” in the title. With a “Vicki Vale, Vick Va Vicki Vale” in your heart, here are 10 examples.
#5. “Batman” by Rocky and the Riddlers
“Whoa whoa, Batman, he’s out catchin’ the crooks/Whoa whoa, Batman, he’s in the comic books/Even if he’s not real/He’s still our ideal.” That’s poetry.
#4. “I Am Not Batman” by Mogwai
If you’re a largely instrumental band, the only humor you can add to your songs, without resorting to old timey car horns and toilet flushing sound effects during the bridge, is in their titles. Scottish post-punks Mogwai are the Lenny Bruce of funny song titles: “Oh! How the Dogs Stack Up,” “2 Rights Make 1 Wrong,” “I Know You Are but What Am I?” and the deceptively clever, “I Am Not Batman.” Yeah, sure. *wink*
#3. “(I Saw) Batman (In The Launderette)” by the Shapes
To be a punk band in the U.K. in the 1970s meant that you had to write political songs. For the most part. The Shapes were much more absurdist than their peers, so while the Sex Pistols were recording “God Save the Queen,” they whipped up “(I Saw) Batman (In The Launderette),” which is about, yes, seeing Batman at the launderette. Must take place during Alfred’s once-a-two-decade vacation.
#2. “I Whupped Batman’s Ass” by Wesley Willis
In the battle between Batman and train station schizoid punk Wesley Willis, I’d take W.W. every time.
#1. “Batman and Robin Over the Roofs” by the Sensational Guitars of Dan & Dale
In 1966, the same year Adam West’s Batman debuted on ABC, famed producer Tom Wilson (“Like a Rolling Stone”) asked jazz composer Sun Ra and the psychedelic freaks in the Blues Project to record a half-hour of songs about the Caped Crusader, because $$$. So, thanks to a sponsorship from a toy company in Jersey, they did, working under the moniker the Sensational Guitars of Dan & Dale. It should have been embarrassing — it turned out great.