Captain N's Influence on Music

This commentary was written on Sunday, December 8, 2002, from 1:30 PM to 2:47 PM.

I think that it's safe to say that every Captain N fan likes music of some kind or another. But how has Captain N influenced its fans' musical tastes? That's what I hope to answer in this essay.

10 of the 13 episodes of Season 1 of Captain N featured remakes of popular songs. One of those songs was a repeat, so 9 songs were featured during Season 1. Of those 9 songs, 2 were originally performed by the same artist, so viewers were exposed to the music of 8 different singers.

The artists and songs featured in the Season 1 episodes were:

Bob Seger - "Shakedown" (twice)
Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Born on the Bayou"
Billy Idol - "White Wedding"
James Brown - "I Got You (I Feel Good)"
Kenny Loggins - "Danger Zone"
Michael Jackson - "Thriller"
Stevie Wonder - "Isn't She Lovely"
Billy Idol - "White Wedding"
The Cars - "Shake It Up"

Captain N fans might have enjoyed these songs on the show, found out who the original artists were, and bought the albums that these songs are on. That could have made them fans of these artists and led them to buy the rest of the artists' albums.

Long John Baldry was involved with Captain N and may have sang a lot of the songs. Whether or not he did, Captain N fans may have noticed his name on the ending credits and later seen it on an album in a store, gotten curious, bought the album, and became fans of his (or returned the album, since he sings blues).

Also, Levi Stubbs, Jr., voiced Mother Brain, so Captain N fans may have bought albums by The Four Tops.

One episode of Season 1 contained a remade theme to "Bonanza". Some Captain N fans may have, in turn, started watching "Bonanza", discovered that Lorne Greene (Ben Cartwright) had put out an album with a vocal version, and become fans of his music.

Musical influences from Seasons 2 and 3 were probably less, since the songs were parodies, not the originals. Season 3 had only one action song. Still, some observant fans may have found out that "Do the Freak" in "Gameboy" is a parody of "The Monster Mash", and "Frustrated" in "Germ Wars" is a parody of "Satisfaction" (I found that out just a few months ago). This might have led to some Captain N fans becoming fans of Bobby Pickett and The Rolling Stones.

While it's true that Bob Seger's "Shakedown" was remade and played in two episodes, Billy Idol actually had two of his songs remade for the series. This is why I call Billy Idol "the Captain N artist". Probably most Captain N fans are Billy Idol fans.

Captain N fans may have also become fans of Cyndi Lauper, because "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" was remade for an episode of "The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3", which was coupled with Season 2 of Captain N. Also, most Captain N fans probably also watched "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show", on which Cyndi Lauper made two guest appearances. Captain Lou Albano (the live-action Mario) also played Cyndi Lauper's father in the "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" music video. In this way, Cyndi Lauper is "the Super Mario Bros. artist".

Other than songs and artists, Captain N fans probably enjoyed the video game music that was featured on the show, so they are now fans of video game music from the CastleVania, Mega Man, Metroid, and Zelda series and perhaps more. Most Captain N fans love video game music, and a lot of them have probably purchased video game music soundtrack albums.

Not only have Captain N fans bought video game soundtracks and albums by artists whose songs were featured or parodied on the show, but, if they happened to have bought the "Top Gun" soundtrack album for "Danger Zone" or a compilation album for any of the other songs, they they could have become fans of even more artists. Some fans, being introduced to music, may have started bands or solo acts themselves.

We'll never know how profitable Captain N was, and continues to be, for the recording industry, but the musical influence of Captain N can't be denied.