FEATURE: THAT WICKED INSTRUMENTAL RAY ELLIS SPIDER-MAN MUSIC FROM 1967

(When you want the real deal music for this amazing cartoon, you need to go back to the first season (1967) of the 60s version.  The Ray Ellis instrumental version is the amazing stuff that GrimSkunk would take and quake our bowels with in the 90s. This is by far the best comic book theme music ever written.  So much class and style, and our pals GrimSkunk do it justice and make it right friggin’ heavy.  Here’s some info we found about that first Spiderman television series from the 60s, plus the music of Ray Ellis, as well as the GrimSkunk heavy version.  Awesome. – FATS)

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Spider-Man was an American animated television series that aired from September 9, 1967, to June 14, 1970. It was the first animated adaptation of the Spider-Man comic book series, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, and was jointly produced in Canada (for voice talent) and in the United States (for animation). The first two seasons aired on the ABC television network, and the third was distributed in syndication. Grantray-Lawrence Animation produced the first season. Seasons 2 and 3 were produced by Krantz Films in New York City.

Spiderman1967The series revolves around the scientific-minded teenager Peter Parker who, after being bitten by a radioactive spider, develops amazing strength and spider-like powers. He decides to become a crime-fighting, costumed superhero, all the while dealing with his personal problems and the insecurities resulting from being a teenager. As Spider-Man, Parker risks his life to fight super-powered criminals such as Doctor Octopus, Mysterio and the Green Goblin; however, Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson views him as a criminal, and continually writes front page headlines declaring him as such.

The first season of the show dealt primarily with Peter’s job as a freelance photographer at the Daily Bugle. It focused on his relationship with the gruff, demanding J. Jonah Jameson and romance with receptionist Betty Brant, with Peter often being called into action as his crime-fighting alter-ego. Peter’s life away from the Bugle’s newspaper offices and his Aunt May’s Forest Hills home were almost never dealt with in these early episodes, and he was also never seen at college—although he would sometimes visit various professors he clearly knew (such as the opening of “Sub-Zero for Spidey,” when he went to see a professor by the name of “Smartyr”). The character design for young Peter combined the conceptualizations of both Steve Ditko (such as Peter’s primary-colored blue suit, yellow vest, white shirt, and red tie) and John Romita, Sr., who served as art consultant for the show.

SPIDER-MAN INSTRUMENTAL THEME MUSIC FROM 1967 by RAY ELLIS

 

Season 1 stories mostly involved classic Spider-Man villains from the comic book series, whose captures were often punctuated by a note signed “Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.” Stan Lee served as story consultant for this season of the show. The Ralph Bakshi-helmed seasons 2 and 3, however, almost entirely eliminated villains from the comic book as a cost-cutting measure, choosing to instead have Spider-Man face generic, green-skinned, and magical monsters. This enabled reuse of stock footage from Rocket Robin Hood, another animated series produced by Bakshi.

screen05The theme song of the show has become a popular standard. The lyrics were written by Academy Award winner Paul Francis Webster, while the music was composed by Bob Harris. The song’s opening line, “Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can,” became almost as synonymous with the character as his costume. The original song was recorded at RCA Studios in Toronto (where the cartoon was also produced) featuring twelve CBC vocalists (members of the Billy Van Singers, and Laurie Bower Singers groups) who added to the musical backing track supplied by RCA Studios, New York. The singers were paid only for the session and have had no residuals from its use since then.

The 2002 and 2004 film adaptations have featured characters as buskers performing the song; Jayce Bartok and Elyse Dinh respectively. Both films also feature some version of the song at the very end of the credits: the 2002 adaptation featured the original 1967 recording while the 2004’s Spider-Man 2 has a re-recording by Michael Bublé (also featured on the film’s soundtrack). 2007’s Spider-Man 3 features a performance of the song by a marching band at a public rally celebrating Spider-Man. In 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter uses a version of the theme as his ring tone.

RAY ELLIS SPIDER-MAN INSTRUMENTAL THEME MUSIC performed by GRIMSKUNK (1991)

 

Meanwhile the incidental music from the series, with its jangling surf guitar, groovy brass lines and jazzy scoring, is highly regarded by fans and much sought after by soundtrack collectors. The first season featured an original score written by Ray Ellis, who also adapted the Bob Harris theme, in the same way John Barry utilized Monty Norman’s “James Bond Theme” in various 007 films, or Nelson Riddle utilized Neal Hefti’s “Batman Theme” in addition to new material. The second and third seasons reused the Ellis score while adding a substantial amount of new music taken from KPM Musichouse tracks (“production music”) featuring such English composers as Johnny Hawksworth, Syd Dale, David Lindup, Johnny Pearson, Alan Hawkshaw, Kenny Graham and the team of Bill Martin & Phil Coulter. Other music came from the Capitol Library by U.S. composers Bill Loose, Emil Cadkin & Jack Cookerly. The Capitol tracks can also be heard on such earlier shows as The Untouchables, The Fugitive and 8th Man. Still other recordings came from the DeWolfe Library.