By Jordy Altman
Did you know your favorite musicians were also comic book nerds?
It’s true. Turns out that international rock star and comic book nerd are not mutually exclusive.
Some of our favorite bands took a break from writing about love, and instead wrote ballads dedicated to those spandex-clad men and women.
Check out which bands featured superhero cameos in their rock music videos.
Queen – “Flash”
Flash Gordon is an interstellar action from the 30s. He flew around the universe fighting crime and saving planets. When Brian May and Freddie Mercury were approached to write the theme song for the 1980 Flash Gordon film, they came up with an epic anthem that we still sing today. The song is still played today on many radio stations, and even at Philadelphia Phillies home games when Phillies reliever Tom Gordon, whose nickname is “Flash Gordon,” enters a game.
Seal – “Kiss From a Rose”
Ah, Batman. After the camp of the 60s but before the grit of the new millennium, fans of the Dark Knight were treated to Batman Forever, Tim Burton’s hokey-pokey fantasy. While the movie was a major flop, the soundtrack was a major hit. Seal wrote “Kiss From a Rose” as a love ballad between Val Kilmer (Batman) and Nicole Kidman. The song went on to win the MTV’s 1996 Movie Award for Best Song from a Movie.
Will Smith – “Men in Black”
Is there a better song to roll during the closing credits? Hell no! Will Smith as Agent J raps about his experience with the Men in Black organization (which doesn’t exist) in this 1997 song from the movie with the same name. The song won Smith a Grammy Award in 1998 for Best Rap Solo Performance. With so much success surrounding the MiB franchise, the sci-fi heroes got two sequels and a television show out of the deal.
The Ramones – “Spider-Man”
One of the most recognizable superhero theme songs of all time, The Ramones decided to cut the song as a hidden track on their vinyl version of their 1995 album ¡Adios Amigos!, Spider-man’s theme song was first released in 1967 for his Marvel cartoon tv show, and his since been covered by dozens of bands.
Vanilla Ice – “Ninja Rap”
Go Ninja, Go Ninja GO! The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared as anthropomorphic superheroes in 1984, but hit the big time in the 1991 silver screen sensation Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. Not only was Vanilla Ice invited to appear in the film, he even offered to write a new rap for the franchise. The “Ninja Rap” was born, and went on to be a smash hit. Vanilla Ice calls the event “one of the coolest experiences” of his career.
Method Man – “The Riddler”
More Batman Forever? Good grief. After Batman was given his own ditty, Tim Burton decided the movie’s villain, the Riddler, deserved his own theme song. Method Man produced the rap hit with fellow Wu-Tang Clan member, RZA. The video features Jim Carrey’s Riddler character laughing menially as Method Man wheels and deals in his own version of Gotham City.
Eminem – “Without Me”
Look over there! It’s a bird, it’s a plane – no, it’s Rap Boy! Eminem returned after his third album, The Marshall Mathers LP, with a sequel to “The Real Slim Shady.” Eminem AKA Slim Shady AKA Marshall Mathers AKA Rap Boy (that’s a lot of secret identities…) released “Without Me” as a commentary of his skyrocket to high-profile celebrity, his role in the music industry, and the importance of saving children’s lives by not allowing them CDs with a “Parental Advisory” sticker.