Who covered Pumped Up Kicks for Peacemaker’s soundtrack?

Bruno Cooke January 14, 2022
Who covered Pumped Up Kicks for Peacemaker’s soundtrack?


Hot off the press is Peacemaker, a superhero series created by James Gunn (Guardians Of The Galaxy) and starring the invisible man himself – John Cena – as “the world’s biggest douchebag”. Peacemaker’s soundtrack has also got people excited, but who wrote and recorded the cover of Pumped Up Kicks that plays at the end of episode 2?

Pumped Up Kicks plays during credits of Peacemaker episode 2

Episode 2 of Peacemaker, which premiered alongside episodes 1 and 2 yesterday (13 January, 2022) on HBO Max, ended on a familiar banger – Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People.

But it wasn’t Foster The People’s original recording of the track that played during the credits. Instead, it was a cover by British film composer John Murphy, featuring the voice of Ralph Saenz, aka Michael Starr. 

Listen to the song below.

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Who are John Murphy and Ralph Saenz/Michael Starr, from Peacemaker’s soundtrack?

While you may not be familiar with the name, you’ve probably heard his film scores.

John Murphy, born 1965, is a film composer, self-taught multi-instrumentalist and recording artist from Liverpool, England.

He’s soundtracked such cult classics as Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. But he’s also enjoyed more mainstream success, having composed the soundtracks of 28 Days Later, Miami Vice, Sunshine, Kick-Ass and The Suicide Squad.

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Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Ralph Saenz, meanwhile – better known as Michael Starr – is an American singer, songwriter and musician from Chicago, Illinois. He’s the lead singer of the glam metal band Steel Panther. His voice and/or songs have featured in the soundtracks to Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Monster House and Biker Boyz.

How have people reacted to Peacemaker’s cover of Pumped Up Kicks, and the soundtrack in general?

Social media users have been quick to say how much they like Peacemaker’s soundtrack, and have commented with words to that effect on the Pumped Up Kicks YouTube upload.

“Another killer score for the DC universe!” commented one. “Keep it up Mr Murphy.”

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Peacemaker | Peacemaker Teaser | HBO Max

Peacemaker | Peacemaker Teaser | HBO Max

Someone else wrote that it was “so cool” that Ralph Saenz sang the track; another stated that “this is how you start a great series”.

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.