Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

Spotify Superheroes

Posted in comics, music by Andrew Hickey on May 21, 2009

It’s been nearly two weeks since my last weekly playlist, hasn’t it? This needs to be rectified. Some of you may notice a slight theme throughout this week’s playlist

Superman by R.E.M is a song that many, many people arriving at my blog through search engines are looking for. A cover of a 60s track by The Clique, this is a joyous bit of powerpop fun.

Wonder Woman by Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint is not, as Spotify thinks, by the Attractions, but is from the Costello/Toussaint/Impostors album The River In Reverse, an album they recorded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This is an old Toussaint song from the 70s.

That’s Really Super, Supergirl by XTC is off what is possibly XTC’s most consistent album, Skylarking. Holly loved this one til she realised it really was about, as she put it, “Supergirl’s emo boyfriend”. I love it *because* of that…

“Batman” Theme by Neal Hefti is the 60s TV theme, in an arrangement that has an ocarina solo. Who could ask for more?

Sunshine Superman by Donovan is one of his better singles – a very enjoyable bit of pop-psychedelic 60s nonsense.

Sgt Rock Is Going To Help Me is our second XTC song, but given that they are both one of the best bands ever and bona-fide comic fans (Andy Partridge is a fan of Kubert and Ditko especially) it seems reasonable.
(Incidentally, one of my favourite facts from the About Time series, which I’ve read over the last couple of months, is that “Andrew Partridge of Swindon” was a runner-up in a 1968 ‘Design A Doctor Who Monster’ competition on Blue Peter. )

The Supreme Being Teaches Spider-Man How To Be In Love by The Flaming Lips is from the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack, though I don’t remember it from the film, and quite what Mohammed Ali has to do with anything I don’t know…

Boy Wonder by The Undertones is a classic bit of pop-punk from the late 70s. Annoyingly, Feargal Sharkey, the interestingly-named frontman of the band, went on first to record one of the most cloying, awful singles of the 80s (A Good Heart), and then to become an executive for ‘UK Music’ (the British equivalent of the RIAA). He was great as a teenager, though…

Superman by Benny Goodman is a surprisingly-raw sounding instrumental for the Goodman big band (Goodman usually saved the more dissonant stuff for the small groups). I don’t know any details of the recording, but that sounds very like Cootie Williams on trumpet, and he was only in Goodman’s band in 1940, after leaving Ellington, so we’ll say it’s from then.

Plastic Man by The Kinks is one of those attacks on The Businessman In His Suit And Tie that were so popular in the mid-60s, where rock stars attack people for daring to have jobs and live in suburbia. It’s a fun one though.

Barbara Allen by Lois Lane is a version of the old folk song by a Dutch band. Not my favourite version of the song, but a nice one.

Mr Sandman by The Chordettes is a song you all know. However it sounds stranger than you remember – those backing vocals almost sound sampled, a la I’m Not In Love/Star Me Kitten. Also, the Beach Boys fans among you could note that the ‘my children were raised’ section of Heroes & Villains was ripped off from it. The song definitely shows its age though in the line about “wavy hair like Liberace”…

1952 Vincent Black Lightning by Richard Thompson is a great song. And, well, Black Lightning’s a superhero.

Animal Man by Kim Fowley is as silly as you’d imagine.

And Wolverine Blues by Jelly Roll Morton is a great little track by the man who claimed to have invented jazz…

10 Responses

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  1. Don Alsafi said, on May 21, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Just responding to a parenthetical here, but the About Time series is undoubtedly the best television episode guide I have ever come across. Most such books are little more than episode recaps; the authors of AT go so far above and beyond that it’s really quite astounding. Even when I disagree with their assessments, I’m certain to have learned something I didn’t know.

    • Andrew Hickey said, on May 21, 2009 at 9:22 pm

      Absolutely. They’re actually now some of my very favourite books, not just good for books about TV.

  2. Holly said, on May 22, 2009 at 5:59 am

    I don’t at all remember saying “Supergirl’s emo boyfriend” but it does sound like the kind of thing I’d say (in one of my rare lucid moments, perhaps). I still love the song though.

  3. Debi Linton said, on May 22, 2009 at 9:46 am

    What, no Gecko-Man?

    • Andrew Hickey said, on May 22, 2009 at 10:15 am

      I don’t think it’s spotifiable, and also I was only doing actual comic characters…

      • Debi Linton said, on May 22, 2009 at 10:52 am

        I’ll actually use Spotify when they come up with a way that I can listen without installing and running new software on my computer.

        Meanwhile, I am going to give you points for finding a Black Lightning song.

  4. Gavin Robinson said, on May 22, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    What about Iron Man by Black Sabbath?

    • Andrew Hickey said, on May 22, 2009 at 4:51 pm

      Didn’t think of it! (Stupid of me).

  5. Hexar said, on May 23, 2009 at 5:03 am

    I always wanted to hear a remix that segued Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes into Sandman by Metallica.

    I also want to hear Tears of a Clown mixed with Vesti la Giubba.

  6. Brew said, on May 19, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Yep, “Superman” *IS* Cootie Williams on trumpet. The composer (and arranger) was Eddie Sauter. A timeless recording, though quite “echoed” on the “Benny Goodman Presents Eddie Sauter” LP. Well, they corrected that on most CD issues, I suppose.


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