The long-awaited Spider-Man: No Way Home lands in theaters this week. It’s been the subject of endless rumors about the possible return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield to the franchise thanks to Dr. Strange casting a spell for current Spider-Man Tom Holland that splits open multiple universes. Critics are doing their best to hold back on spoilers, but it’s no secret that Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus, Jamie Foxx’s Electro, and several other villains from past films get in on the fun.
One past incarnation of Spider-Man that’s unlikely to enter the movie is the Saturday morning cartoon series from the early Sixties. The show is fondly remembered by children of that era despite the cheap animation and lackluster scripts, but its most lasting legacy (beyond the triple Spider-Man internet meme) is the theme song by Paul Francis Webster and Bob Harris. It begins “Spider-Man, Spider-Man/Does whatever a spider can/Spins a web, any size/Catches thieves just like flies.” Sound familiar?
Buskers are shown singing the song in 2002’s Spider-Man and 2004’s Spider-Man 2, and Michael Bublé covers it in 2007’s Spider-Man 3. But without a doubt, the greatest cover of the song came when the Ramones tackled it on the 1995 tribute album Saturday Morning: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits. Here’s the original video where they play it on a rooftop.
The song entered the band’s live repertoire that year, and they even played it at their 1996 farewell concert at the Palace in Los Angeles right between “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “The KKK Took My Baby Away.” The former song was used in the teaser trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, and 1976 Ramones classic “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” is in the movie. But the Ramones’ take on the Spider-Man theme song has yet to appear in the Holland films. Maybe if there’s a Spider-Man: Still No Way Home in store, he can travel to our world circa 1996 and have a very confusing moment at the last Ramones concert when they start singing a song about him.