Monday, February 28, 2011

'We Are IRON MAN!': Iron Giant> Black Sabbath> The Cardigans

The British author Ted Hughes wrote a sci-fi novel in 1968 called "THE IRON MAN: A Children's Story In Five Nights". It was a sociopolitical parable about a young boy who befriends a huge metal man that he finds in the forest one night, a noble soul who is met with fear and distrust. (Hughes later wrote an environmental sequel called "THE IRON WOMAN".)

Pete Townshend of THE WHO loved the book and wanted to develop it into a film based around his rock opera score. When the film plans lagged, he released a solo album of the work.

PETE TOWNSEND -"A Friend Is A Friend" (1989)

After years of development hell, the film was finally made as the universally beloved animated classic THE IRON GIANT. The name change may have been to avoid confusion with the Marvel Comics superhero, Iron Man, who was popular since 1963.

THE IRON GIANT trailer (1999)

Funnily enough, for all the comparisons to the superhero Iron Man, the film robot has a touching admiration for Superman!

In 1970, a few years after Hughes' book, BLACK SABBATH recorded "Iron Man". Its lyrics about a misunderstood metal man very broadly parallel the book but are purportedly coincidental. On its own merits it is one of the coolest riff songs of all time.

BLACK SABBATH -"Iron Man" (1970)

Here's a rap and metal rethink of the song.

SIR MIXALOT with METAL CHURCH -"Iron Man" (1988)

To really throw some swing on it, here is a sexy lounge take on it! (The sultry coo of "Oh! Iron Man!" never fails to make me smile.)

THE CARDIGANS -"Iron Man" (1996)

And an avant Jazz run-through!

THE BAD PLUS -"Iron Man" (2004)

And the riff is the basis for this song from Thailand.

SORANG SANTI -"Khuen Khuen, Long Long"

Aside from always being compared to Hughes' IRON MAN book, the Sabbath song was also thought to be inspired by the superhero Iron Man. Although it wasn't, everyone always associates the two anyway, so it was inevitable that the song and the lyric "I am Iron Man!" became a crucial part of the film IRON MAN (2008).

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