Top 10 Songs for your Superman Mix Tape

Heading out to see the “Man Of Steel” at some point in your life, citizens? Don’t forget to put together a playlist to pump you up before the show. The AV Club actually put together a pretty righteous list of Superman songs on their site, which are all worth a look. However, as a man of particular tastes, I’ve got my own suggestions:

  1. Superman March by John Williams. There will never be a better theme for Superman. How can there be? The iconic piece was written by none other than John Muggle Flippin’ Williams! It’s been in circulation since the first Christopher Reeve movie up to … Smallville, surprisingly. In the very last episode, when Clark finally accepts his destiny, the march starts playing and everyone one knows that Superman is finally on the scene! Seriously, there was no bigger crowd pleasing moment than when Clark does his Superman thing and the music is playing. (Incidentally, here’s a weakness of the new theme. It’s always been rule of thumb in any theme that you can hear “Superman!” in the music itself. You definitely can when the Williams score kicks up. Not so much in Hans Zimmer’s score. Zimmer, I love ya, and “Pirates of the Carribean” is fantastic, but I can barely hear the “Superman” part. Though… it IS there.)
  2. Jimmy Olson’s Blues by Spin Doctors. A fun little number where Jimmy Olson is lamenting the fact that he’ll never get a shot at Lois Lane … cuz his rival is none other than Superman. Think it might be out of character that he keeps a Pocket Full of Kryptonite, as the song says? I’m pretty sure he pulled the same stunt on Supes every other issue during the Silver Age.
  3. Save Me by Remy Zero. The theme to Smallville, the longest running Superman show of all time. Get ready to do your slow twirls with your hair blowing in the wind! Hilariously, even John Glover (as Lionel Luthor) got to do the sexy twirl, which shows just how iconic those long locks of hair are.
  4. (Wish I Could Fly) Like Superman by The Kinks. One of the most iconic and underrated British invasion bands sing about Superman. Chorus is catchy as hell. Song basically contrasts how we’re all “nine stone weaklings with wobbly knees” while Supes is the fitness model we all aspire to.
  5. Superman by Goldfinger. Superman goes ska. Song is about “doing everything, pretending I’m a Superman,” getting to the heart of what makes Superman great. Glen Whedon wrote that Supes will always put the needs of others over his own, and the song is about that: “What? Could I do more? I’m really not sure. I know I’m running circles and I can’t quit.”
  6. Superman by Five For Fighting. The Unauthorized biography mentioned that this was the first song performed at a benefit held at the wreckage of the Twin Towers after 9/11. It gives this song a more solemn edge, which is about a hero who’s being emotionally wracked by his duty to rescue everyone.
  7. That’s Really Super, Supergirl by XTC. Not really about Superman… though it is, kinda? The singer of the song croons about how Supergirl has not time for him when she’s going out on rescues, which causes him to retreat into his Fortress of Solitude. Wait … that’s Superman’s home. Kara’s your cousin, Supes. Song just got kinda creepy.
  8. Superman by REM. Cause you need a 90’s alternative rock song on your playlist. Besides, the chorus is great: “I am … I am Superman. And I can do anything.”
  9. You Don’t Mess Around With Jim by Jim Croce. Not really a Superman song, but the part where he’s mentioned remains one of the biggest truisms about Superman: you don’t tug on Superman’s cape. (Hey, how weird is it that Man of Steel and Lone Ranger are both coming out this year? You don’t pull the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger, either. Feel free to reuse this one later this year.)
  10. Sunshine Superman by Donovan. Finally, one of the few songs to mention two of DC’s heroes: the most well known one and the one played by Ryan Reynolds. “Superman or Green Lantern ain’t got nothing on me….” Plus it’s got that Donovan Summer of Love trippiness, which is always a treat.

Honorable Mention: Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down, Superman Song by Crash Test Dummies, Holding Out For A Hero by Frou Frou, Real World by Matchbox 20.

Bonus: me rocking my Superman shirt at Man Of Steel.

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3 thoughts on “Top 10 Songs for your Superman Mix Tape

  1. I was relieved to see Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down made the honorable mentions list. I was worried you’d missed it at first! Donovan’s entry is a particular favorite, I must say.

    1. Nothing against the 3 Doors Down song! It’s definitely a good one, about trusting someone enough to put you down in case you go crazy. (In some comics, Superman trusts Batman with a sliver of kryptonite just in case he loses control.) It’s just that I tend to play the other songs quite a bit more. 🙂

      And when I was a young nerd who listened to the Oldies station a lot back in the day (say the early 90’s), it was always great when Donovan’s song came out. There was little superhero stuff out there, so for a popular singer to reference something as obscure (at the time) as Green Lantern was thrilling. (Also, I think Sunshine Superman is a favorite of comic writer Grant Morrison. He even created a new character named Sunshine Superman.)

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