On June 20th, 1989 Warner Bros. Records released the score to the upcoming film “Batman”, the score, a concept album created entirely by Prince, was placed #1 on Billboard’s album chart for six consecutive weeks. It sold nearly three million copies in the United States alone. As a Warner Bros. stablemate, Prince’s involvement in the soundtrack was designed to leverage the media company’s contract-bound talent as well as fulfill the artist’s need for a commercial (if not critical) revival. The result was yet another multi-platinum successful cross-media enterprise by Warner Bros., in the vein of Purple Rain. Batman on Amazon | Batman on iTunes
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” (originally known as “Anna Waiting”, named for his then-girlfiend, Anna Garcia) 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, and “The Future” features strings by Clare Fischer sampled from the (then-unreleased) 1986 track “Crystal Ball” and samples of 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). All dialogue sampled on Prince’s Batman album is taken directly from a workprint of Batman and therefore lacks ADR and foley. This is especially noticeable in the beginning of the first track, “The Future”, with dialogue of Michael Keaton speaking as Batman.
Ownership of the Batman franchise is notoriously complex. Prince had to agree to sign the publishing rights to the songs used in the movie over to Warner Bros.; therefore, Prince’s hit singles from this album were not permitted to appear on any of his hits compilations, only the B-side singles “200 Balloons”, “Feel U Up” and “I Love U in Me”. Even on the concert T-shirts, which listed all of Prince’s album titles to date, the song “Scandalous!” appeared in place of the album 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 (although “Partyman” is still edited down from the original longer version, much to the chagrin of fans). Wedged between Lovesexy and Graffiti Bridge, the soundtrack serves as Prince’s final album contribution of the 1980s.
Prince – all other vocals and instruments
Eric Leeds – saxophone
Atlanta Bliss – trumpet
Sounds of Blackness – choir
Sheena Easton – co-lead vocals
Clare Fischer – orchestration