Remembering Prince 👑, Batman (1989) & the Batdance.
It’s been a year since Prince died and i’m still a little bit in shock. I’m in shock because I still can’t really wrap my mind around the fact that he’s gone and because it already been a year! I’ve always been a big fan of Prince since I was a kid. As a kid, back in 1985 (I was 8) I remember going with my mom over to her friends house to play Scrabble every Saturday night. All of her friends had kids my age and we would play around the house while the adults sat in the dining room laughing and blasting music. Invariably it always came down to two choices of music by the end of the night. Prince or Michael? The debate was never answered or won, but it was always a source of lively discussion. The answer didn’t really matter because by the end of the night both Purple Rain and Thriller had both been played in their entirety. Those were two albums that were the soundtrack of my childhood.
A short 4 years later in 1989, Batman was released. Up until then the only live action Batman that I had seen were the old Adam West and Burt Ward serials. But as we all know now, this was NOT the same Batman from the Golden Age of comics. This was a dark and gritty (a phrase that gets thrown around WAY to often nowadays) Batman who patrolled the garbage strewn alleys and the gargoyle laden rooftops of a gruesome Gotham City. It seemed to perpetually dark and had a character all its own.
It seemed only natural that it had a soundtrack to match. The score was composed by Danny Elfman, whose “Batman Theme” is now iconic for anyone who grew up on this movie, it’s sequels and Batman: The Animated Series.
Batdance was one of two songs that made it on to the Batman soundtrack. The other being “Partyman” which was played during Joker’s parade of hot air balloons with Smilex gas canisters attached. Batdance is pretty much two different songs mixed together. The first part of the song is a crazy mix of electric guitar solos, soundbytes from the movie and and electro-synth piano/drumbeat mix. The middle of the song, the “Vicky Vale” section, features more drum beats, soundbytes and Prince adding signature vocals. The third act of the song is similar to the beginning with more craziness added in.
The video for the song, features Prince in one half Batman costume and one half Joker costume complete with white face paint and green hair.
The video also features one Vicki Vale wearing a black dress with the words “All this and brains too”, a reference to The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, in which a female news presenter wears a top with the same slogan.
Gemini is Prince’s astrological sign, and is a reference to the duality in his music. “Gemini” would also make an appearance in the “Partyman” video, but with the “Batman” half replaced by Prince’s face without makeup.
The Batman and Jokers alternate dance sections, while Prince (as both himself and Gemini) sings the lyrics. The video ends with Gemini hitting a detonator, exploding an electric chair (referenced in the song), and Prince (actually Michael Keaton’s voice) saying “Stop” as the video abruptly ends.
The video earned Prince a 1990 Soul Train Music Award nomination for Best R&B/Soul Music Video, and nomination for Best Video From a Film from the MTV Video Music Awards of the same year.
What do you think about the song? Have you heard it? Do you love it? What is your favorite Prince song? Let’s discuss below.