Monday, 28 February 2011

I can hear music

Strange is the human mind and, just as we have a tendency to associate certain smells and sounds with certain places and events, so we can come to associate certain songs with certain objects.

Thus it is that, for various reasons - some straightforward and some more arcane - I tend to associate certain songs with certain comics I read as a kid. In one of my attempts to be inclusive, I thought I'd share which songs I associate with which comics and ask if you have any similar song/comic associations.

Nightmare #17, Kim Wilde and Kids In America

Kids in America by Kim Wilde, with Nightmare #17.

For some reason, I never appreciated Kimberley's monster early-1980s hit at the time but have come to recognise it as possibly that decade's finest three musical minutes. It was out at the same time as I first read the UK reprint of this comic.

In retrospect, I think the record was better than the comic.

Savage Sword of Conan #4, January by Pilot and Angie Baby by Helen Reddy

January by Pilot, and Angie Baby by Helen Reddy, with Savage Sword of Conan #4.

As mentioned elsewhere, I got this comic on a Sunday. Sunday was and is the day of Radio 1's UK singles chart countdown and I'm fairly sure both songs were played on that rundown on the day I first read this mag.

Nova #3, ELO and Shine A Little Love

Shine A Little Love by ELO, with Nova #3.

As Nova #3 came out in 1976 and ELO's Shine A Little Love came out in 1979, I don't have a clue why I associate these two things with each other but I do.
Mighty World of Marvel Annual 1975, David Essex and the Goodies and Gonna Make You A Star

Gonna Make You a Star by David Essex, with Mighty World of Marvel Annual 1975.

I remember David Essex being on Top of the Pops, doing the song in question as I read the annual for the first time. The Goodies were also present. They mimed the line, "I don't think so."

Avengers #66, Don Estelle and Windsor Davies and Whispering Grass

Whispering Grass by Don Estelle and Windsor Davies, with Avengers #66.

As I said mere days ago, I heard Don and Windsor while on a coach headed for Blackpool as I read the first part of this story in Marvel UK's weekly Avengers mag. To this day I can't see the panel where the Vision's stood over Wonder Man's grave without hearing those magical words, "I will not 'av gossiping in my jungle!"

Rampaging Hulk #9, Marshall Hain and Dancing in the City, Clout and Substitute

Dancing in the City by Marshall Hain, with Rampaging Hulk #9.

I seem to remember this being a hit around the same time I read Rampaging Hulk #9. The two are now inseparable in my mind, which is a bit of a shame as it's not a song that's ever overly interested me.

I also associate it with Substitute by Clout but there's no way I'm ever admitting to that on the Internet.

Mighty World of Marvel #5, ELO and Roll Over, Beethoven, Pond Street bus station

Roll Over Beethoven by ELO, with Mighty World of Marvel #5.

I remember singing this on Pond Street bus station escalators shortly after getting Mighty World of Marvel #5 from a nearby news kiosk. I don't think I liked the song at the time. I just liked the noise it made and also that "Beethoven" sounded like, "baked oven." The things that amuse you when you're eight.

Conan the Barbarian #5, ELO and On the Run

On the Run by ELO, with Conan the Barbarian #5.

There's a worrying amount of ELO on this list. I recall this playing on the radio while I was dutifully using my felt tips to colour this story in Fleetway's legendary 1972/3 Marvel Annual. Dave Lee Travis may have been the DJ. The fact that it'd taken me over six years to get round to colouring it in says everything about my dedication to the task.

X-Men #108, Gary Numan and Down in the Park

Down  in the Park by Gary Numan, with X-Men #108.

Now here's an odd thing. I remember hearing Gary Numan's We Are Glass on Radio 1 as I read this story for the first time, in Marvel UK's Rampage magazine. But, the human psyche being a perverse thing, it's not We Are Glass that I associate with the book but instead the more memorable Down in the Park.

If you sing Down in the Park without the accompaniment, it sounds like one of those nightmarish hey-nonny-nonny folk songs they always made us sing in primary school. This realisation always gives me more pleasure than it should.

So, am I alone in such madness? Or does this association between comic book and song afflict you as well? If it does, what songs do you associate with the comics you read as a child?


cerebus660 said...

Yeah, I always liked Kids In America by Blondie... sorry, Kim Wilde.

It's strange how the brain makes these connections, isn't it? I was given a cool, hardback collection of Don Lawrence's Trigan Empire as a kid, which I somehow associate with Kraftwerk's Autobahn and also with a contemporary news story of a sick child receiving a baboon's heart - even though they have NOTHING in common. I presume I must have been reading the comic when the other items were on the radio, or something.

Similarly I got a collection of Love And Rockets one Christmas, as well as Surfer Rosa by the Pixies, which I played to death and now always hear as a soundtrack to the works of Los Bros Hernandez.

I'm strange like that...

Steve said...

I had a hardback collection of the Trigan Empire too. I wonder if it was the same one?

I believe the baby with the baboon's heart got a mention in Paul Simon's song "The Boy in the Bubble". Clearly it lodged in his mind as strongly as it did in yours.

Anonymous said...

That was probably the Hamlyn "Trigan Empire" collection that came out in 1978.

Picks up a hefty price on eBay, I'm told.

B Smith

Steve said...

It didn't when I sold it. I only got £7.50. Everyone else was getting about £25. :(

Lazarus Lupin said...

I tend to associate characters with songs not individual stories. For example, I jumped in my seat when I first heard "I am iron man," in the Iron Man trailer. It was exactly how I heard the two in my head together.

Lazarus Lupin
art and review

Dandy Forsdyke said...

To complete my Americana experience I would often listen to Paul Gambaccini's American top 30 rundown on a Saturday afternoon on Radio 1, reading my Marvel comics for the week in my room. I certainly connect Hotel California by the Eagles and Howard The Duck (can't remember the issue number though).

Steve said...

I used to listen to Paul Gambaccini's American chart rundown too. I had no idea then what a huge comics fan he was.

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