23 May 2010

You’ll Know Who I Am by the Songs that I Sing

This Sunday Oz and Ends once again features the musical stylings of Mr. Richard Grayson.This performance was captured during a high-school campout in “The Teen-Age Gap!” a story published in Detective Comics, #386, dated April 1966. The script was written by Mike Friedrich, and the art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

The song is “Today,” composed by Randy Sparks for the New Christy Minstrels and used in the 1964 Civil War western Advance to the Rear. Here’s a video of the group performing.

Here are the full lyrics and guitar chords if you want to play along. I should note that a later issue of Detective revealed that Dick could finger-pick a twelve-string, so he may not just be playing the chords.

Today “Today” might be best remembered for John Denver’s live version from 1974, eight years after Dick Grayson essayed it. Denver’s performance is one of many by country musicians, but Dick’s biggest fans know which version they prefer.

11 comments:

sistermagpie said...

I never knew Dick sang this!

I wish they'd play up Dick's musical talents a bit more nowadays.

icon-uk said...

He should probably have stuck to the accordion.

Not the sort of song I imagine Dick being a fan of. Though at least he's not singing it in the Batcave as the implications would be... disturbing.

J. L. Bell said...

All the examples of Dick Grayson singing and playing music that I can think of now date from before Crisis on Infinite Earths. So I don’t know if those hobbies have remained part of his character. I like to think they have.

(Of course, I’m blocking my memory of Batman: Fortunate Son as a long exploration of Robin and music. I’m trying to fill my mind with thoughts of the Mad Mod episodes of Teen Titans instead.)

I think the song choice here is steered by DC’s attempts to be relevant to kids in 1966. “Kids like folk music, right? That Peter, Paul & Mary stuff. Especially when they’re on a high-school campout, right?“ And, to be fair, Dick is answering a request from a teacher to play something, so he might have chosen the song with that audience in mind.

Nowadays he might choose Lady Gaga. Oh, wait, that was a different Greyson.

A.C.K. said...

Dick's interest in music remains alive and well, although style fluctuates wildly from writer to writer.

Dini has him missing a jazz guitar performance (sheesh, Dini, you are OLD) to rescue Damian recently. Further back, in Flash plus Nightwing, Dick puts a White Zombie cassette into the taper deck in the car.

I'd love to see a guitar leaning up against the wall in his room though.

/taterpie

J. L. Bell said...

I think that’s Wally’s hand on the White Zombie cassette, but on the next page Dick asks about putting a soundtrack into his suit, so point taken.

I agree that it wouldn’t be too much to ask to see a guitar on a stand in Dick’s room sometime.

nyrdyv said...

Reminds me of that old "horror" line from a famous, Chicago-based movie in the '80s: "We got both kinds of music here, country and western".

Cheers!

Steven G. Willis
XOWComics.com

icon-uk said...

Nah, too obvious, let's see the accordion out on a table somewhere! :)

Or possibly a flugelhorn, just for the heck of it.

J. L. Bell said...

Or Dick and the current Squire enjoying a bagpipe duet.

sistermagpie said...

Doesn't Dick play guitar at Donna's wedding? Is that post-crisis?

I fully believe that he still plays various instruments, especially the accordion, and sings. I wish somebody would let him and Alfred chill out with some performing one night. Damian would probably comment on how this must be how "the help" amuse themselves backstairs or something. (Though I fear a moment later he would reveal he was a classical pianist, given his track record.)

I agree that "Today" had a very different meaning in 1966. Of course Dick would be handy with a folksong throughout that whole period.

J. L. Bell said...

Yes, Dick plays guitar at Donna Troy’s wedding. That was the first time I remember seeing him pick up a musical instrument.

That issue was dated in early 1985, and Crisis on Infinite Earths started a couple of months later.

nyrdyv said...

Doesn't everyone think of John Denver when faced with the Dick Grayson character?

Cheers!

Steven G. Willis
XOWComics.com