‘Batman Theme’ Composer Neal Hefti Dies
Neal Hefti, composer of the memorable Batman television theme music, passed away on October 11. He was 85 and had been in poor health for some time his son Paul reported.
In a career spanning many decades, the big band trumpeter was finally known for the theme in addition to other memorable film and television scores including The Odd Couple.
Hefti’s catchy “Batman Theme” was released as a single and went as high as #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. A version by the Marketts did better, cracking the Top 20 at #17. The theme song has been covered throughout the years by the Who, the Kinks, and virtually every surf-band on Earth.
A 1966 episode of the television series Hullabaloo, hosted by George Hamilton, featured two dozen girls dressed in faux-Batman costumes dancing to the LP version of the theme song.
His career began with writing musical charts for Nat Towles before moving on to compose and arrange for Woody Herman. Through the 1940s he had his own band from time to time but largely worked for other performers.
As live music waned in favor of recordings, Hefti changed gears and began writing scores for both television and movies. His credits include Sex and the Single Girl, How to Murder Your Wife, Synanon, Boeing Boeing, Harlow, Lord Love a Duck, Duel at Diablo, and Barefoot in the Park.
He received Grammy Award nominations and prizes for "Jazz Pops" (Li’l Darlin’, Cute, Coral Reef) as artist, two awards for "Basie" (Li’l Darlin’, Splanky, Teddy the Toad) as composer, three nominations (one award) for the Batman TV score, two nominations for the Harlow movie score (Girl Talk), and two nominations for The Odd Couple TV score.