Study Guide

Batman Music (Score)

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Music (Score)

Danny Elfman, With a Soundtrack by Prince

Danny Elfman is a little musical elf to the Santa Claus that is Tim Burton, delivering us delightfully creepy little films wrapped up in pretty packages, like Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Elfman scored all these films for Burton. In fact, he has scored all but three of Burton's flicks—Ed Wood, Sweeney Todd, and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children are all without Elfman's zany touch. Need more proof of his zaniness? The guy wrote the Simpsons theme song and founded a band named Oingo Boingo.

But before that, he scored Tim Burton's Batman. Experienced with only quirky comedy, Elfman almost had a "nervous breakdown" attempting to score Batman. (Source)

Making things even more complicated at this time was the purple one. Not the Joker— Prince. After Michael Jackson declined to write any songs for the soundtrack, Prince not only obliged, but wrote a whole freaking album of Batman-inspired songs. Prince actually finished his album first, even though only two of his songs play during the actual film. (Source)

After Prince's death, Ira Madison III argued that Prince "understood Batman better than anyone." (Source

It's a good argument, but we'd venture that while Prince wanted to identify with Batman, he was more like Joker – disregarding societal conventions to create art. Prince himself even revealed that the original idea was for Michael Jackson to be Batman and Prince to be Joker on the album. (Source)

Burton may have even seen Prince as a villain of sorts, having Vicki Vale say this line to Joker during the film's climax.

VICKI: You're so powerful. And purple!

Does that mean when the Joker fell off the building, Gotham experienced a sudden burst of Purple Rain?

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