Batman is a concept album inspired by the film Batman by musical artist Prince. It the was sometimes promoted as a "soundtrack" as it contained a few of the songs featured in the film. As a Warner Bros. stablemate, Prince's involvement in the film was designed to leverage the media company's contract-bound talent as well as fulfill the artist's need for a commercial revival. Originally Prince was asked to record a couple of songs for the movie but came up with enough material release an entire album. Batdance was the album's leading single and became #1 hit on the billboard charts.
The album was quickly recorded in six weeks -- from mid-February to late March 1989 -- and Prince used three tracks recorded earlier: "Electric Chair" was recorded in June 1988; "Scandalous" in October 1988; and "Vicki Waiting" in December 1988. The album was performed entirely by Prince, with a few exceptions. Sheena Easton duets with Prince on "The Arms of Orion." "Trust" features a sampled horn part by Eric Leeds and Atlanta Bliss. "The Future" features strings by Clare Fischer sampled from the (then unreleased) 1986 track "Crystal Ball." "The Future" also samples the Sounds of Blackness choir. "Batdance" includes a sample of Prince's technician Matthew Larson, and "Partyman" features the vocal performance of then girlfriend Anna Garcia (credited as Anna Fantastic)
Ownership over the "Batman" franchise complexitiesEdit
Ownership of the "Batman" franchise is complex, and the hit singles from this album were not permitted to appear on any of Prince's "hits" collections. Even on the concert t-shirts which listed all Prince's album titles to date had the song "Scandalous" rather than Batman. Despite this, Prince has performed a number of the album's tracks in concert over the years. A 2005 special edition DVD of the Batman movie contains Prince's related videos as a bonus feature. Wedged between Lovesexy and Graffiti Bridge, the soundtrack serves as Prince's final album contribution of the 1980s.
Critically, the album was not particularly well received at the time, with many reviewers labeling it as mechanical and dull, and suggesting that Prince was just using the soundtrack as a means of jettisoning some of the excess tracks that had built up in the Paisley Park vaults over the years. In 1990, it won a Brit Award for best soundtrack/score. The album also reached #1 on the Billboard 200 charts, and went multi-platinum in the United States. The album has sold 11 million copies worldwide.
Danny Elfman's orchestral scoreEdit
This album is not to be confused with Danny Elfman's orchestral score for the movie. The two albums can be distinguished by their covers: The Prince album features the same stylized, black-and-gold Bat-symbol image used for promotional posters and home video releases of the film, while the cover for the Elfman score displays a still image from the film of the Batwing aircraft silhouetted in front of a full moon in a symbolic echo of the Bat-signal.
- "The Future" – 4:08
- "Electric Chair" – 4:13
- "The Arms of Orion" (Prince/Sheena Easton) – 5:03
- "Partyman" – 3:11
- "Vicki Waiting" – 4:47
- "Trust" – 4:24
- "Lemon Crush" – 4:15
- "Scandalous" (Prince/John L. Nelson) – 6:15
- "Batdance" – 6:13