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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Batman/Jan and Dean

This week Classics Rock! is featuring songs based on comic books in honor of Comic-Con 2009, taking place in San Diego July 23-26.

The sixties pop duo Jan and Dean capitalized on the craze stirred up by the campy Batman television series, based on Bob Kane's DC Comics character, with a tribute album called Jan and Dean Meet Batman, released in 1966. It featured zany sound effects and comedy bits mixed in with songs about the Caped Crusader, including this track, simply called Batman. Heavily influenced by Neal Hefti's guitar-driven theme for the TV show, the song lays out the basic facts behind the Batman mythos to a peppy sixties beat: He's known as Bruce Wayne by day, wealthy socialite/But incognito in dress, he fights crime by night. The Riddler, Penguin, and Joker are all mentioned (the Joker's laugh can be heard at one point), as are Robin the Boy Wonder, the Batphone, the Batcave, and even the Commissioner. The lyric Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot sounds like a line Adam West would have delivered on the show. No one can deny the truth of the song's repeated refrain: We need the Batman!

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