Pop Culture News
CD review: Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero (Winthrop Records)
Twenty-seven years before Spidey crossed over from comics onto the big screen to entertain millions and rake in zillions, he crossed over into rock'n'roll and entertained...at least several dozen comics geeks who weren't cool enough for Led Zep or silly enough for Kiss.
"Rock Reflections of a Super-Hero" is a camp time capsule full of very 70s "rock" music interspersed with deadpan narration by Spidey creator Stan Lee. It's a concept album (remember those)--a musical examination of Spidey's tortured psyche. In tunes that touch on various musical styles (jazz, hard rock, light rock, doo wop, reggae), we hear about Peter Parker's daily struggles as both high school geek and super-hero. Songs include "Peter Stays and Spider-Man Goes," "No One's Got a Crush on Peter," "Gwendolyn" (a doo-wop dedication to Spidey's girlfriend Gwen Stacy) and the two-part "Dr. Octopus," which verges on prog rock.
The album doesn't include that catchy "Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can" theme. That was from the 60s Spidey cartoon, an entirely different project altogether.
Taken for what it is--an extended bit of well-intentioned silliness that's very much a piece of its time--this reissue on CD is a lot of fun. The packaging even includes "Jazzy" John Romita's cover art, which includes illustrations of all the "backup musicians," such as Silver Surfer on keyboards, the Fantastic Four on background vocals, Captain America on tambourine and a remarkably restrained Incredible Hulk on drums. In reality those roles were filled by anonymous studio musicians. The only familiar name on the credits is that of Dave Sanborn, who went on to fame as a pre-Kenny G. jazz lite saxophone star.
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CD Review: Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Super-Hero
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