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The Top Five Greatest Superhero Theme Songs

From metal to jazz, and from soaring suites to crushing crescendos, what's the best soundtrack to superheroics?

When superheroes make the leap from page to screen, they need memorable fanfare to mark the occasion or the whole experience will just feel woefully incomplete. When you call your favorite superhero movies to mind, odds are, it’ll be their theme songs that run through your head before anything else. And that’s how it should be. Even the most spectacular act of onscreen bravery won’t look too inspiring unless there’s a suitably rousing soundtrack to accompany it. That's a fact.

Join us for a countdown of the most memorable superheroic themes to ever grace our ears. As always, we make no pretense at any academic objectivity here. Do you disagree with the choices? Cool. Go on and put your own picks in the talkback. That’s part of the fun.

== TEASER ==

5. “The Man Without Fear (Daredevil theme)” by Drowning Pool

Metal’s a surefire way to get sticks-in-the-mud upset, so this pick’s guaranteed to put some pants in a twist. See, comics and metal share stripes of youthful rebelliousness - - they’re at their best when parents don’t approve of them - - and they’ve hardly ever come together as tightly as they do in this track. Not only does it have a riff so charged and driving that you can all-but-see DD clubbing ninjas to it, it also perfectly captures the circus sideshow quality you’d figure would be integral to a character called “Daredevil, the Man Without Fear.”

It also fits that the guest vocals are by Rob Zombie; a dude who’d fit right into DD’s rogue’s gallery.

4. Spider-Man theme [‘67 TV show] by Paul Francis Webster

Too often, we fixate on the serious side of superheroics and forget the fun side. It’s also easy to forget the times these characters were created in. This snappy jingle reminds us of how fun the Wallcrawler can be by setting his exploits up with the jazzy, swingin’ sound of the 60’s. With horns blaring and exuberance to spare, it also puts across the duality’s that made Pete Parker so popular, alternating verses of humorous, Stan Lee-style wordplay with ones that get right at the quixotic nobility of the character.

3. Batman theme [‘89 movie] by Danny Elfman

One needn’t be all that well-versed in the technical terminology of music to articulate how a piece like this can convey such strong concepts and feelings. This suite evokes brisk adventure, gothic romance, operatic iconography and heroic determination - - all the diverse and even contradictory qualities that define your quintessential Batman adventure. The tense minimalism of the Zimmer/Howard collaborations on Nolan’s films is great and all, but this dark Elfman magic gets ahead on the playlist, any day.

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about all the catchy and often inappropriate R&B that's graced Batman flicks. Keep coming along with us.

2. “The Anvil of Crom (Conan the Barbarian theme)” by Basil Poledouris

Maybe Conan didn’t start his adventures in comics, and maybe he isn’t a superhero of the mask ‘n capes variety, but if you’ve had a team-up with Spidey at some point, you deserve to be in this echelon. Regardless of classifications, this piece, with its elephantine drums and crystalline melody, is the bar-none, no substitutes, ultimate pump-up song. There's good reason this flick let the music tell most of the story. It throws down a percussive gauntlet and issues you a mighty challenge. Better than any theme in these times long after the days of high adventure, it fills you with a sense of legendary strength, indomitable will and all the other grand qualities we turn to these superheroic escapades for.

1. Superman theme [‘79 movie] by John Williams

You’ve got to be able to hum a theme - - that’s the measure of the best ones. Whether kids these days are familiar with an old movie from the 70’s anymore or not, you can be sure they’ll recognize this fanfare within just a couple notes. It’s as iconic as John Williams’ other major themes for Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but with an even more galvanizing to action. Listen to this and you won’t just be getting visions of glass fortresses, Red Suns and faster-than-light speed - - you’ll have an irresistible urges get up and “fly” around wherever you are at the moment.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

For some reason, the producers of the first set of Batman movies got the idea that funk jams and R&B ballads were the songs most suitable to accompany brooding tales of vigilante justice. Whether you were around at time or not, you can’t help but smile over such bizarrely off-mood song selections from the likes of Seal, R. Kelly and, his royal badness himself, Prince.

“Kiss from a Rose” [Batman Forever] by Seal

La la la.

“Gotham City” [Batman and Robin] by R. Kelly

“Partyman” [Batman] by Prince

"Wonder Woman" theme

"The Lonely Man" from the Incredible Hulk?

And let's not forget the Hawkeye Theme courtesy of Chris Giarrusso.

117 Comments
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Edited by NightFang
Posted by Doctor!!!!!

Damn! I wanted to make a blog about this! Oh well...

Posted by Mr.Hulk_Smashin'!

*cough* Lonely Man theme...

Posted by Wattup

The fact that the 1960s Batman theme isn't on the list is a crime on par with human trafficking.

Okay, maybe that's a bit too much but I am still upset. 8 (

Posted by fables87

I would have put the Wonder Woman theme on the top 5 list, but good to see it mentioned. Could have add a lot more too. Maybe do a top 100 instead.

Posted by Billy Batson

60's Spider-man ftw.
BB

Posted by ManiacMan

What no RoboCop theme?

Posted by G-Man

I just added the Lonely Man and Hawkeye theme.

Staff Online
Posted by crowncoke

Actually Prince is split... Half Bats Half Joker. I love the list. No mention for Save Me (Smallville)? :(

Posted by danhimself

ummmm you seem to have forgotten 2 of the best

Posted by Emperormeister734

Gotta love Seal, that song is epic to me. When did Prince dress like half Batman/Joker?

Posted by PATTX
Posted by Ganthetsward20

I prefer wonder woman's theme and the spectacular spiderman theme

Posted by Mr.Hulk_Smashin'!

@G-Man: If this were facebook, I'd like that comment.

Posted by ZENOiR

That prince batman soundtrack is so funky good. PARTYMAN! Kinda surprised Batman: TAS theme isn't on this list...

Posted by leokearon
@G-Man
What about the 90's X-men Theme?
 
  
   Or Flash a-ah!
  
Posted by CrashLanden
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

  

Posted by Dakens son

the dudes name is Basil POLEDOURIS(conan's soundtrack)!

Posted by zackattack529

seal was definitely my favorite from that list!

i also liked velevt revolver for fantasic four

and i remember buying the punisher album it had another cool song from drowning pool..man i cant remember the name but so many good superhero songs lol

Edited by thanosrules

Everyone always forgets about these fantastic favorites!

Remember? "Reed Richards is elastic..." :)

Posted by Sidious

What? No Bat-Dance?

Posted by RedOwl_1

Spiderman's always made me laugh

Wait... Where's the 60' Batman series theme? That is all a classic, one time some friends and I were playing Batman Lego in PSP and were singing it, and is also very funny. Who doesn't like, once in a while, be singing "Nanananana Batman" ?

@danhimself: Oh I LOVE those, specially Spiderman's one, in my DVD instead pass it, I used to repeat it and Avengers is awesome

Posted by Deranged Midget

@danhimself said:

ummmm you seem to have forgotten 2 of the best

You sir... have excellent taste.

Moderator
Posted by HeroSupreme
Posted by jschambe

The Batman the Animated Series theme still pumps me up and the Superman/Batman Adventures theme wasn't half bad either.

Posted by tonis

I actually agreed with almost every choice in the order you put them. Definitely Supes gets the 1st spot :)

I would've thrown Hulk's Lonely Man in the top 5 though, that was pure soundtrack gold for that show.

Posted by thveej

@leokearon said:

@G-Man:
What about the 90's X-men Theme?

For real, this list is a disgrace without the X-men theme. Although everything on the list is dope (i was gonna hate on the Conan selection.... but I CAN'T ITS CONAN!!!!!!)

Posted by goldenkey

who decided these because Spider-Man got FUCT!!!!! Other then maybe the 79 Superman theme, Spider-Man just sticks in head like he shot a web thru your ear and into your brain.

Posted by Soldier zero

@PATTX said:

None of these theme songs match the Italian Dragon Ball theme song it's very awesome and energetic

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BvC7-aYbAI

It sound great, but believe me the text is nothing special.

Edited by Jackson_Hartley
Posted by CATPANEXE

I'd add Ghost Rider by Rollins for sure, and replace Kiss By A Rose (meh! lol ) with Face To Face by Siouxsie and the Banshees w/Elfman (Catwoman's Theme/Batman Returns).

Also maybe The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning - Smashing Pumpkins (Watchmen and one of the Batman films), and Spider-man theme Ramones version > any other version.

Posted by Bestostero

the Arkham City theme was my favorite!!!!

this aint no place for a herooooooo~!

Edited by Decept-O

TV Live Action:

Honorable Mention: Knight Rider ( I know, Michael Knight wasn't a superhero, but K.I.T.T. was)

Green Hornet TV theme song, Wonder Woman TV theme song, Incredible Hulk TV theme song, Six Million Dollar Man TV theme song. Batman TV theme song

Animated TV:

Honorable Mention: Speed Racer, Atom Ant, Superfriends, Astro Boy, The Tick

Underdog, Teenage Mutant Ninaj Turtles, X-Men, Batman The Animated Series(!),Spider-Man

Superhero Movies:

Batdance (Prince), Iron Man ( Ozzy/Black Sabbath version of course),The Watchmen theme by The Smashing Pumpkins, Batman, Superman

There are others I wanted to include but tried keeping the theme superhero.

Edited by Teerack

The only good one in that list is Spider-man's. 
 
This should of been number one 
  

Posted by BlackArmor

@Billy Batson said:

60's Spider-man ftw.
BB

definitely number 1

Posted by GothamRed

When there's trouble you know who to call:

And let's not forget the elite super team:

Posted by Arevish

Ehm guys, Hero from Nickelback??!

Btw, Frekazoid rocks

Edited by Eonidas

I had the Batman Forever soundtrack at a very young age but Lonely Man has always taken the cake for me, oh so very sad Dr. 'David' Banner.

Posted by thorwhore
Posted by Outside_85
Posted by geraldthesloth
  
Posted by haydenclaireheroes

There have been many great superhero theme songs over the years

Posted by cacarl

I gotta post this!

Posted by arw1985

I sorta did something like this on my blog, only I did TV shows and not specfic heroes. Nice list.

Posted by GiantsizeManThing

no a theme song, but a cool song about silver surfer.

Posted by butters911

That DD song sucked. And not cause its metal. Because it was done by no talent hacks

Posted by RigorMortis

Hanz Zimmer and his stubble disapprove of the lack of respect for their Batman scores.

Posted by EugeneSaxe

No 60s Batman theme? This list-nay, this article-is invalid.

Posted by slvrwolfang

@danhimself: thanks for posting spectacular spiderman, saved me the trouble of complaining they didn't have it posted :)

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