Top 20 Super Hero Songs

Top 20 Super Hero Songs Comic Book Music Pop Art

Between the successful release of Iron Man (sorry, Speed Racer) and the mounting anticipation for The Incredible Hulk, The Dark Knight, and Hellboy 2, some have already dubbed 2008 the greatest summer in comic book film history! The noticeable influx of comics at the local cineplex got Hypeful to thinking about their influence on music. After all, there are buckets of songs influenced by super heroes and their tales…but what are the best ones?

After narrowing down an extensive list and making some very difficult decisions, Hypeful submits for your approval the Top 20 Super Hero Songs! (However, in order to keep a diverse list of songs and prevent certain heroes *ahem*Superman*ahem* from dominating, the rule was made that no one hero could appear more than twice.) Put on your cape and get ready to check out the list after the jump! Feel free to share your favorite super hero songs in the comments!

Vanilla Ice - “Ninja Rap”

SONG:
Vanilla Ice - “Ninja Rap”

SUPERHERO:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
One word: nostalgia. Also, the Super Hero Rap genre sadly hasn’t caught fire like, oh say, Wizard Rock. C’mon, hip hop artists - surely you have better comics-inspired tracks than Vanilla Ice! (Yes, we’re looking at you MF Doom…). Seriously, folks, stick with the list - it does get better!

MP3:
Vanilla Ice - “Ninja Rap”

Fink Brothers - “Mutants in Mega-City One”

SONG:
Fink Brothers - “Mutants in Mega-City One”

SUPERHERO:
Judge Dredd

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
If you thought the 1995 film starring Sylvester Stallone was an *ahem* odd adaptation of the Judge Dredd comic book, wait until you hear The Fink Brothers’ “Mutants in Mega-City One!” Produced almost a decade before the Sly flick, the song can only be described as a bizarre musical curiosity from the 80’s with lyrics that are painfully faithful to its source material (”From Justice Hall to Zappa Block, We patrol the streets around the clock! Judge, Judge, Judge, Judge, Judge, Judge, Judge, Judge Dredd! My God, my brain’s exploding!”)

MP3:
Fink Brothers - “Mutants in Mega-City One”

moe. captain america

SONG:
moe. - “Captain America”

SUPERHERO:
Captain America (i.e., Steve Rogers)

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
Superman gets a lot of attention when it comes to music, so it’s refreshing to see a song give priority to Captain America (even though Clark Kent does pop up in the lyrics). The opening lyrics (”Captain America said you gotta be like me, Or you’re gonna wind up dead last”) seem to particularly stand out in the wake of Captain America’s somewhat recent death.

MP3:
moe. - “Captain America”

Joe Satriani - “Surfing With The Alien”

SONG:
Joe Satriani - “Surfing With The Alien”

SUPERHERO:
Silver Surfer

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
Not only did Joe Satriani feature the Silver Surfer in both the title of this song, he featured the comic character on the cover of the album of the same name. The Surfer just may have been responsible for bringing Satriani some good cosmic vibes, considering some regard his Surfer-centric album to have established his reputation as a respected rock guitarist.

MP3:
Joe Satriani - “Surfing With The Alien”

Suicide - “Ghost Rider”

SONG:
Suicide - “Ghost Rider”

SUPERHERO:
Ghost Rider

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
As a wise critic once wrote, “Ghost Rider” along with Suicide’s other tracks are eerie, sturdy, steam-punk anthems that rank among the most visionary, melodic experiments the rock realm has yet produced. Oh, and the song doesn’t leave you feeling half as weird as Nic Cage’s performance in the Ghost Rider film!

MP3:
Suicide - “Ghost Rider”

BONUS COVER:
Jacques Du Valle - “Ghost Rider”

Rancid - “Sidekick”

SONG:
Rancid - “Sidekick”

SUPERHERO:
Robin (i.e., Tim Drake)

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
In a list filled with well-known heroes, this punk song dares to focus the spotlight away from the super-famous Batman on to the “lesser-known” Robin. It’s so catchy and anthemic, it could be better described as a well-deserved dose of respect to The Boy Wonder for always having to play second fiddle to Bruce Wayne.

MP3:
Rancid - “Sidekick”

Guided by Voices - “Matter-Eater Lad”

SONG:
Guided by Voices - “Matter-Eater Lad”

SUPERHERO:
Matter-Eater Lad (i.e., Tenzil Kem)

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
Obviously a super-hero ripe for ridicule, Matter-Eater Lad has what could be the all-time most ludicrous super-power - the power to eat matter in all forms. Fortunately, Guided By Voices put together a brief musical tribute to this forgotten hero that doesn’t take any cheap shots at him. Admit it - just hearing this song and thinking about Matter-Eater Lad eating a hat has got to make you grin.

MP3:
Guided by Voices - “Matter-Eater Lad”

Flaming Lips - “The Supreme Being Teaches Spider-Man How to Be in Love”

SONG:
Flaming Lips - “The Supreme Being Teaches Spider-Man How to Be in Love”

SUPERHERO:
Spider-Man (i.e., Peter Parker)

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
Originally titled “Spiderman Vs. Muhammad Ali,” the Flaming Lips later changed the title of this awesome track for the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack. (It was Superman who went up against Cassius in the ring, after all…) Only the Lips could deliver on the promise of a song this awesomely titled. The result is an ace track unfortunately relegated to a lackluster blockbuster soundtrack.

MP3:
Flaming Lips - “The Supreme Being Teaches Spider-Man How to Be in Love”

Queen - “Flash”

SONG:
Queen - “Flash”

SUPERHERO:
Flash Gordon

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
The cult classic film adaptation of Flash Gordon was one of the earlier high-budget feature flicks to use a score primarily composed by a rock band. No other band was better suited than Queen to deliver a theatrical sound that could match the campy style of the Flash Gordon movie. Maybe not the best of Queen’s radio-friendly repertoire, but it’s a song that induces a heavy slap of nostalgia for the super hero.

MP3:
Queen - “Flash”

Mark Aaron James - “Aquaman’s Lament”

SONG:
Mark Aaron James - “Aquaman’s Lament”

SUPERHERO:
Aquaman (i.e., Arthur Joseph Curry)

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
In the world of super heroes, Aquaman has long been regarded for his comparatively uninteresting powers. (Ever see The State sketch where Superman flippantly assigns Aquaman the task to “go…talk to some fish?”) So, it’s fitting to place the lament of Aquaman just outside of the top 10 - a place tragically familiar to the underwater hero. Despite its position, this underdog track sounds like a lost 90’s alterna-pop gem and deserves serious props for depicting Aquaman as a Vicki Vale worshiping, gin & tonic lovin’ drunk. Hypeful will happily have seven gin & tonics with this hero any day of the week.

MP3:
Mark Aaron James - “Aquaman’s Lament”

The Brunettes - “Hulk Is Hulk”

SONG:
The Brunettes - “Hulk Is Hulk”

SUPERHERO:
The Hulk (a.k.a., Dr. Bruce Banner)

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
You don’t have to get zapped by gamma rays to begin to empathize with the struggles of being a super hero - and nobody understands this quite like musicians. On this track, The Brunettes shuffle their feet and contemplate if love would be any easier if they had the brute strength of The Hulk. You’ve got to be charmed by The Brunettes for accepting their roles as puny musicians and foregoing smashing stuff.

MP3:
The Brunettes - “Hulk Is Hulk”

The New Pornographers - “Challengers”

SONG:
The New Pornographers - “Challengers”

SUPERHERO:
Challengers of the Unknown

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
After perpetual cancelation in comic book form, The Challengers of the Unknown saw their title taken away from them last year by The New Pornographers via this song on which Neko Case declared, “We are the challengers of the unknown!” Don’t worry, though - a song this beautiful makes it feel more like a harmonious tribute rather than a hostile takeover.

MP3:
The New Pornographers - “Challengers”

Elton John - “Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future)”

SONG:
Elton John - “Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future)”

SUPERHERO:
Dan Dare

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
Dan Dare is the most successful comic character in the history of publishing in the United Kingdom. So, only another legendary U.K. figure like Sir Elton John could pay adequate musical tribute to the hero. Surprisingly, Bernie Taupin’s lyrics to the 1975 song aren’t all admiration towards Dare. In the song, John laments that he prefers The Mekon to Dare’s rocket. Apparently, John isn’t so much of a rocket man, after all.

MP3:
Elton John - “Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future)”

The Kinks - “Johnny Thunder”

SONG:
The Kinks - “Johnny Thunder”

SUPERHERO:
Johnny Thunder

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
Not only is “Johnny Thunder” the namesake of three DC Comics characters, it was also the moniker of the villainous biker character on The Kinks’ 1968 concept album, Village Green Preservation Society. The name isn’t the only similarity - the lyrics could easily apply to the comic characters and…well, how many more reasons do you really need to include a song by The Kinks?

MP3:
The Kinks - “Johnny Thunder”

Sufjan Stevens - “The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts”

SONG:
Sufjan Stevens - “The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts”

SUPERHERO:
Superman (a.k.a., Clark Kent)

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
A lovely ode to both Superman and Metropolis, it was ironically an image of Supes on the cover of Sufjan Steven’s Illinois that allegedly caused Asthmatic Kitty to briefly halt sales of the album. Thankfully it wasn’t shelved for too long, because this track makes good on its title and is guaranteed to steal your heart.

MP3:
Sufjan Stevens - “The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts”

Bob Schnedier - “Batman”

SONG:
Bob Schnedier - “Batman”

SUPERHERO:
Batman (a.k.a., Bruce Wayne)

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
Some might think it blasphemous to give the #5 spot to Bob Schneider’s rollicking track over Prince’s “Batdance.” If you’ve ever seen Bob live, however, you’ll understand why this track is an audience fave. (Also, bonus points have to be awarded for the inclusion of the word “batarang” in the lyrics!)

MP3:
Bob Schneider - “Batman”

Tenacious D - “Wonderboy”

SONG:
Tenacious D - “Wonderboy”

SUPERHERO:
Wonderboy

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
“Wonderboy” is so unabashedly epic in telling the tale of the titular superhero and his lute-wielding arch-rival Young Nasty Man, one almost forgets they’ve never actually appeared in a comic book. Still, as far as superhero songs go, they don’t get much more super or heroic than Tenacious D singing about levitation, mind bullets, and hydras!

MP3:
Tenacious D - “Wonderboy”

The Traits - “Nobody Loves The Hulk”

SONG:
The Traits - “Nobody Loves The Hulk”

SUPERHERO:
The Hulk (a.k.a., Dr. Bruce Banner)

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
It certainly seemed like nobody loved Ang Lee’s 2003 Hulk and Universal is hoping film audiences will find some affection for this summer’s Incredible Hulk. However, it was this blistering pop confection from 1969 that first recognized that the Jade Giant can’t get no respect. You’ve got to admire the way this band really goes for it and brings their energetic a-game to this ditty about a comic book character who smashes stuff.

MP3:
The Traits - “Nobody Loves The Hulk”

Black Sabbath - “Iron Man”

SONG:
Black Sabbath - “Iron Man”

SUPERHERO:
Iron Man (a.k.a., Tony Stark)

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
Okay - so maybe it’s not technically about Marvel’s Iron Man, but it might as well be. Ozzy Osbourne’s song has what is easily one of the most recognizable opening guitar riffs ever and when the film adaptation of the comic was announced, even your grandma could’ve guessed this song was going to appear on the soundtrack. It’s a certifiable classic (just check out the collection of covers below!).

MP3:
Black Sabbath - “Iron Man”

BONUS COVERS:
The Bad Plus - “Iron Man”
The BMR4 - “Iron Man”
Bud E. Luv - “Iron Man”
The Cardigans - “Iron Man”
Four Tet - “Iron Man”
Giant Sand - “Iron Man”
Lounge Brigade - “Iron Man”
Opium Jukebox - “Iron Man”

The Flaming Lips - Waitin’ For A Superman

SONG:
The Flaming Lips - “Waitin’ For A Superman”

SUPERHERO:
Superman (a.k.a., Clark Kent)

WHY IT MADE THE LIST:
There’s a sea of songs out there about the Last Son of Krypton and plenty that acknowledge the difficulties of being a Superman. However, Oklahoma City’s very own tightless superhero, Wayne Coyne, was inspired by his father’s death to beautifully capture the desperation of waiting to be saved. It’s a track that is just as inspiring and comforting as Kal-El himself.

MP3:
The Flaming Lips - “Waitin’ For A Superman”

BONUS COVERS:
Iron & Wine - “Waitin’ For A Superman”
Nightmare of You - “Waitin’ For A Superman”

RELATED POSTS: