Is it jazz? Listen, bud...
July 1, 2008 8:50 AM   Subscribe

The swingin' sounds of Spider-Man! After years of searching, Kliph Nesteroff found original reels of the incidental music to the classic Ralph Bakshi Spider-Man cartoon, and has included most of the masters in his podcast.

This follows an exhaustive search by Nesteroff to find the music... and turned up some cover bands that tackle the background music themselves. There's even an active discussion group about the original Spider-Jazz.
posted by Shepherd (25 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
You have GOT to be fucking kidding me! I've been looking for this music for years (in my lazy and haphazzard way). Thank you SO MUCH for posting this!
posted by Pecinpah at 9:05 AM on July 1, 2008

I tracked these down a few years ago. Can't remember where I found them. I have all the tracks. I don't know if I'd be so fascinated by this music if I didn't grow up watching episodes of this show. I watched Spider-Man so much, as I think many of my fellow Canadians did, growing up in the 80s. The show played on the CBC early in the mornings. I'd eat my breakfast and watch it before going to school. The fucked up and dank 60s visuals and the shitty animation along with the driving music made me a bit queasy somehow, especially the really weird shit, like the Fifth Dimension episode. My little brain didn't really know how to take all of it in, so it left an impression.
posted by picea at 9:08 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Cool stuff. I thought it sounded familiar, and then I read this:

Some of Spider-man's groovy licks surface in a low-budget 1966 Doris Wishman film Another Day, Another Man. The film was made in NYC and the melodies provided are courtesy a company called Music Sound Track Service. According to IMDB the company also provided music for three other Wishman productions as well as two for another sexploitation master, Radley Metzger.

I think from there it made it to the background music on the Something Weird Video promo clip that plays before a lot of their movies. And from there, straight into my brain. Thanks!
posted by Otis at 9:09 AM on July 1, 2008

And if you haven't grown up scarred/transformed by this weird-ass cartoon, here's a clip that shows some of the trippier material. Look at those skies and the cityscape near the beginning. They look like they were painted by a lunatic in a very bad mood.
posted by picea at 9:15 AM on July 1, 2008

Even as a small child, it freaked me out that Spider-Man was swinging above the skyline all the time. I rationalized that the Baskhi Spider-Verse was full of zeppelins and low-flying, slow-flying airplanes.

I'm just browsing the Yahoo! group now, and it looks like there are other aficionados out there who have assembled full CDs of the music, culled from various sources.
posted by Shepherd at 9:25 AM on July 1, 2008

Stretched out on the stinky carpet in the basement of our house in Halifax in the early seventies. That's where I am right now.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 9:37 AM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

What's funny about this post is that I had just listened to the Sun Ra Arkestra & Blues Project's Batman LP a few hours earlier. Thanks!
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:53 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wow, those are some greasy, swingin' horn sections. I feel like a superhero already...
posted by twsf at 10:38 AM on July 1, 2008

Now all they have to do is unearth the sound effects from The Mighty Hercules / Rocket Robin Hood and I'd be all set.

Fantastic post.
posted by C.Batt at 10:52 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think I used to watch that cartoon for the music. (I was in love with the lyrics to the theme song, too. But who isn't?)
posted by miss lynnster at 11:35 AM on July 1, 2008

Spider Man and Rocket Robin Hood were definitely part of the B-Team of Saturday morning cartoons for me, that's for sure. In fact, both cartoons were reserved for Sunday mornings in our household. All of American channels were broadcasting religious programming (ew!) on Sunday mornings, but Vancouver's CKVU provided some respite at least, by showing Spiderman, Rocket Robin Hood and Hercules. But the Smurfs were way better (but only showed on Saturdays).
posted by KokuRyu at 11:48 AM on July 1, 2008

I also love this. I did a fruitless search for this music few years ago, tracking down all the places the music was used but never found any copies of it online.
posted by chococat at 11:49 AM on July 1, 2008

Jan and Dean Meet Batman, anyone? A family friend foolishly left this in our basement along with The Chilling Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House. Both records DE-stroyed after being used in assorted kid taping projects. POW! BAM!
posted by AppleSeed at 12:02 PM on July 1, 2008

So... how long before every two-bit "DJ" samples all these sounds/music/dialogue and puts out a CD that people call "an amazing trip through age-old cartoon land"?
posted by revmitcz at 1:13 PM on July 1, 2008

Jesus. Bakshi took over Spiderman? That explains a lot.

*turns to door and grips handle, which becomes hand and drags Durn into opening vortex of blackness*
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:42 PM on July 1, 2008

I used to fill water-guns up with water and diluted Elmers glue so's that I could make my own webbing. I ended up with dozens upon dozens of f*cked-up water-guns. Now, I just watch
Spidey swing via my Spiderman 1967 DVD set. Man, what trippy tunes.
posted by doctorschlock at 1:58 PM on July 1, 2008

Also: requires the Bakshiinsane tag.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:01 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

I think it was the post-Bakshi early-80s Spiderman (sans Iceman & Firestar), but a few years back I was puttering around the house with the cartoon on in the background and heard Spidey say something like "not even OJ Simpson can get away from this web-slinger"; I was pretty stunned before realizing that they were referring to his old career and not his more... recent exploits.
posted by Challahtronix at 2:17 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Also: requires the Bakshiinsane tag.

Truer words were never spoken!
posted by Shepherd at 2:40 PM on July 1, 2008

Miss Lynster> I think I used to watch that cartoon for the music. (I was in love with the lyrics to the theme song, too. But who isn't?)

Speaking of which: the lyrics to the Iron Man theme song.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 5:02 PM on July 1, 2008

My favorite will probably always be the theme to Super Chicken, though...
posted by miss lynnster at 5:05 PM on July 1, 2008

and has included most of the masters in his podcast.

Hey, neat! And speaking of super chickens, my 21st birthday party was broadcast live on CITR back in 19mumphtyhumph. It seems strange that it's still there. Probably way less drinking after hours now, though.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:57 PM on July 1, 2008

Is he strong?
Listen bud,
He's got radioactive blood.
So as you might
He's very weak
From leukemia.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:02 AM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Canadian stations have been airing this for decades, because it's sorta Canadian content -- the voices were recorded in Toronto by Canadian actors. (Some say the first pre-Bakshi season of Spider-Man was animated in Toronto as well, but it's not conclusive.) The same voice actors, overseen by longtime CBC announcer Bernard "Bunny" Cowan, also worked on Rocket Robin Hood, Marvel Super-Heroes, and the Rankin-Bass series and holiday specials.
posted by evilcolonel at 9:13 PM on July 2, 2008

Oh, you can listen to the whole KPM library here. (Don't bother registering. Also the best vintage stuff is under "KPM 1000 LP Series" -- just search by "Libraries and cover art".)
posted by evilcolonel at 9:47 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

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