|Batman (the motion picture soundtrack to the Tim Burton movie Batman) is the eleventh full-length studio album by Prince, and the first and only soundtrack album by Prince for a movie in which he was not involved as an actor. It was released worldwide in June 1989.
Director Tim Burton had used two Prince songs (1999 and Baby I’m A Star) in a rough cut of the movie, and felt they worked so well that in mid-December 1988, he contacted Prince to ask if he would re-record the tracks for use in the movie, or provide new tracks instead.
Prince was initially uncertain, until visiting the movie set in January 1989, where he met Burton, discussed the concept, and watched a rough cut portion of the movie. He became so interested in writing music for the movie that he considered cancelling the Japanese leg of the Lovesexy Tour, but it would have been too costly to do so.
Sessions and compiling
Prince began recording songs for the album in mid-February 1989, immediately after returning from the Lovesexy Tour, and he previewed eleven songs in late February, including Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic and 200 Balloons, intended to replace 1999 and Baby I’m A Star respectively), and Batman Theme.
He worked on the album further in March 1989, recording Partyman and Trust (to replace Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic and 200 Balloons respectively). Dance With The Devil was recorded for the album, but Prince considered the song to be too dark and replaced it with Batdance, which was the last song recorded for the album.
While the bulk of the album was recorded between mid-February and the end of March 1989, Electric Chair was recorded in June 1988, and Scandalous in October 1988. In addition, Vicki Waiting was a revamped version of Anna Waiting, initially recorded in December 1988.
Of note is that while the credits denote that Prince sings lead vocals, the lyrics are in fact attributed to characters from the movie, as if Prince is singing on their behalf. The Future and Scandalous are attributed to Batman, while Electric Chair, Partyman and Trust are attributed to The Joker.
The Arms Of Orion is attributed to Bruce Wayne (Batman’s alter-ego) and Vicki Vale, while Vicki Waiting is attributed to Bruce Wayne alone, and Lemon Crush is attributed to Vicki Vale alone.
Batdance attributes different lines to different characters from the movie and to Gemini, a character half-Batman, half-Joker created by Prince.
The only lines attributed to Prince, which seems very intentional, are the finale of Trust, "Who do ya trust if you can’t trust God? Who can you trust - who can ya? Nobody." and Batdance ("Stop").
The album produced five commercially-released singles, Batdance (which preceded the album), Partyman, The Arms Of Orion, Scandalous! and The Future (released in Europe only). Trust was also available as a promotional single in Hong Kong only (with no commercial release).
Prince did not tour to support the album, having just completed the Lovesexy Tour in early 1989, but several songs from the album were played on the 1990 Nude Tour, which took place before the release of Prince’s next album, Graffiti Bridge.
The album reached number 1 on the US Billboard Top Pop Albums Chart and stayed there 6 consecutive weeks, and number 5 on the Billboard Top Black Albums Chart.
It was certified Platinum x2 on 29 August 1989 by the RIAA, indicating 2 million copies shipped in the USA.