Batdance

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"Batdance"
U.S. 7" single
Single by Prince
from the album Batman
B-side "200 Balloons"
Released June 9, 1989[1]
Format 7" single, 12" single, CD single
Recorded Paisley Park Studios, 1989
Genre Rock, funk, dance, experimental
Length 4:06 (7" edit)
6:13 (Album/12")
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Prince
Producer(s) Prince
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
Prince singles chronology
"I Wish U Heaven"
(1988)
"Batdance"
(1989)
"Partyman"
(1989)

"Batdance" is a song by Prince, from the 1989 Batman soundtrack.[2] Helped by the film's popularity, the song reached number one in the U.S., becoming Prince's fourth number-one single, and first since 1986's "Kiss".

Song development[edit]

"Batdance" was a last-minute replacement for a brooding track titled "Dance with the Devil", which Prince felt was too dark.[3] Incidentally, although "Dance with the Devil" remains unreleased, some of the lyrics appear on the album's liner notes.

"Batdance" is almost two songs in one—a chaotic, mechanical dance beat that changes gears into a slinky, funky groove before changing back for the song's conclusion (except on the single version in which it eliminates the guitar solo before the middle section, then goes straight to the mechanical Joker laughter from the end of the movie and an earlier movie soundbyte of Michael Keaton saying "Stop"). The track is an amalgam of many musical ideas floating around in Prince's brain at the time. Elements from at least seven songs (some unreleased) were incorporated into "Batdance": "200 Balloons", "We Got the Power", "House in Order", "Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic" (later released on the album, Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic), "The Future", and "Electric Chair", as well as the 1966 "Batman Theme" by Neal Hefti. Some of these were mere snippets, and other segments showed up only in remixes of the track. The song was also loaded with dialog samples from the film.

Music video[edit]

The song's music video, directed by Albert Magnoli and choreographed by Barry Lather, featured dancers costumed as multiple Batmen, Jokers and Vicki Vales.[4] Prince appears both as himself, as well as a costumed character in face paint known as "Gemini", with one side representing the Joker (evil), and the other, Batman (good). The Batman and Jokers alternate dance sections, while Prince/Gemini sing the lyrics. Eventually the video ends with Gemini hitting a detonator, exploding an electric chair (referenced in the song), and Prince (actually Michael Keaton's voice) warning, "Stop" as the video abruptly ends. 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 throughout his music. "Gemini" would also make an appearance in the "Partyman" video, but with the "Batman" half replaced by Prince's normal appearance.

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.

Choreography was done by Paula Abdul.

B-side[edit]

The B-side to the "Batdance" is "200 Balloons", which was recorded for the film and serves as the musical blueprint for the main portion of "Batdance". The song was rejected for the film by Tim Burton and replaced with "Trust". The lyrics of "200 Balloons", as well as its namesake, reference the scene which it was created for to a greater degree than the replacement track, which only fits due to the fact that the Joker asks "Who do you trust?" after the song ends. Prince did little more than replace the lyrics of "200 Balloons" in its transition into "Batdance". Some lyrics even survived the transition, and more showed up in "The Batmix". "200 Balloons" also contains samples of "Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic", another song submitted for inclusion in the movie, but rejected (it was replaced by "Partyman").

Remixes[edit]

The 7" edit of the song is basically the album version without the guitar solo and the up-tempo part near the end. The 12" vinyl and CD Maxi versions of the single included two remixes of "Batdance" that were done by Mark Moore and William Orbit, "The Batmix" and "Vicki Vale Mix". "The Batmix" focuses on the chaotic "rock" section of "Batdance", and is supplemented with electronic distortion and sampling of voices, instruments, and larger excerpts of Prince's then-unreleased "Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic". The "Vicki Vale Mix" is an extension of the middle part of "Batdance", which includes dialogue between Bruce Wayne and Vicki Vale. In addition to "200 Balloons", the CD Maxi single (9-21257-2) features both of these remixes. An unreleased extended version, clocking at around nine minutes also exists, which, while having the same structure as the album version, features some new parts and some extended versions of the existing ones, mainly in the first section of the song.

Track listings[edit]

7" single
  1. "Batdance" (edit) – 4:06
  2. "200 Balloons" – 5:05
12" / CD single
  1. "Batdance – 6:13
  2. "200 Balloons" – 5:05
12" / CD maxi single
  1. "Batdance" (The Batmix) – 7:15
  2. "Batdance" (Vicky Vale Mix) – 5:55
  3. "200 Balloons" – 5:05
12" promo
  1. "Batdance" (The Batmix) – 7:15
  2. "Batdance" (The Batmix Radio Edit) – 4:09
  3. "Batdance" (Vicky Vale Mix) – 5:55
  4. "Batdance" (Vicky Vale Mix Radio Edit) – 4:13

References in popular media[edit]

  • Hot Chip's video for their 2008 song "Ready for the Floor" is an homage to Prince's "Batdance" video. The group's founder, Joe Goddard, explained, "'Batdance' was the first video I ever saw. [Prince's Batman music videos] had good visual ideas."[5] This would be Hot Chip's second tribute to Prince, in 2003 they released an EP titled Down with Prince.
  • Sir Mix-a-Lot sampled the "Vicki Vale" part of "Batdance" for the song "Beepers", from his 1989 album Seminar.
  • Comedy Bang Bang host Scott Aukerman has said that "Batdance" is his favorite song, on multiple occasions.[6]
  • The song was used for a dance-cum-fight sequence in Mukul S. Anand's 1991 hit flick Hum.

References[edit]

  • Uptown: The Vault – The Definitive Guide to the Musical World of Prince: Nilsen Publishing 2004, ISBN 91-631-5482-X
  1. ^ Uptown, 2004, p. 106
  2. ^ "Prince Goes Batty". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  3. ^ "Outtake A–Z Directory". Dtt-lyrics.com. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  4. ^ "Prince - "Batdance"". mvdbase.com. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  5. ^ "Features — Hot Chip: Which One Is Hot Chip?". ShockHound. Retrieved 2011-01-02. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Episode 95 - Natasha Leggero, Harris Wittels, Matt Besser". earwolf.com. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 

External links[edit]

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