I’m a big fan of the music featured in the Batman Anthology i.e. Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997). I believe the music is an important component of each film and helps to create the world that these movies inhabit.

While each film shares some musical similarities, every entry in the Anthology has its own unique sound, defined by the composers and artists involved with each production. Today I am taking a look at these musical artists, to answer the question: Who wrote the music for the Batman Anthology?

So, if you ever wanted to know whether Prince provided the Batman soundtrack(?), who scored Batman Forever(?) or where The Smashing Pumpkins fit into all this, you should most certainly read on!

Let’s start with Batman ’89.

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Batman (1989)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

The score for Batman (1989) was written and composed by musician, Danny Elfman – a celebrated singer/songwriter who has written themes for Spider-Man (2002), Hulk (2003) and long-running TV series, The Simpsons, amongst many, many others. Elfman’s score is composed of a series of individual tracks, with his iconic tune, ‘The Batman Theme’ topping and tailing the movie.

The Batman Theme was used to open and close Batman and has become an iconic piece of music in its own right. Although it was written for Batman ’89, it has also been carried over to Batman Returns and later reworked for Batman: The Animated Series, various Lego Batman games, and it was briefly included in 2017’s Justice League.

But The Batman Theme and Elfman’s complete score isn’t the only music featured in Batman – there are a number of songs written and performed by American singer/songwriter, Prince which also crop up in the film. Prince’s songs were not part of Elfman’s score and were instead weaved into the movie at different points in the story.

Due to the combination of Elfman and Prince’s input, two soundtrack albums were released in 1989, to coincide with the theatrical release of Batman. The albums were:

  • Batman Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Danny Elfman
  • Batman Soundtrack – Prince

The 1989 release of Danny Elfman’s Original Motion Picture Score for Batman included the following tracks:

  • The Batman Theme
  • Roof Fight
  • First Confrontation
  • Kitchen, Surgery, Face-off
  • Flowers
  • Clown Attack
  • Batman to the Rescue
  • Roasted Dude
  • Photos/Beautiful Dreamer
  • Descent into Mystery
  • The Bat Cave
  • The Joker’s Poem
  • Childhood Remembered
  • Love Theme
  • Charge of the Batmobile
  • Attack of the Batwing
  • Up the Cathedral
  • Waltz to the Death
  • The Final Confrontation
  • Finale
  • Batman Theme (Reprise)

As for the release of Prince’s Batman Soundtrack, this album included the following nine Prince songs:

  • The Future
  • Electric Chair
  • The Arms of Orion
  • Partyman
  • Vicki Waiting
  • Trust
  • Lemon Crush
  • Scandalous
  • Batdance

It should be noted that not all of Prince’s songs appeared in the movie. Only four of the nine tracks feature in the film: The Future, Partyman, Trust and Scandalous (written by John L. Nelson and Prince).

Batman expanded score

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

In addition to the above two albums, in 2010 La-La Land Records released a two-disc version of Danny Elfman’s Original Motion Picture Score. The release included 30 tracks on Disc 1 and 29 tracks on Disc 2.

Disc 1:

  • Main Title
  • Family/First Batman/Roof Fight
  • Jack Vs. Eckhardt
  • Up Building/Card Snap
  • Bat Zone/Axis Set-Up
  • Shootout
  • Dinner Transition/Kitchen Dinner/Surgery
  • Face–Off/Beddy Bye
  • Roasted Dude
  • Vicki Spies (Flowers)
  • Clown Attack
  • Photos/Beautiful Dreamer
  • Men at Work
  • Paper Spin/Alicia’s Mask
  • Vicki Gets a Gift
  • Alicia’s Unmasking
  • Batman to the Rescue/Batmobile Charge/Street Fight
  • Descent into Mystery
  • Bat Cave/Paper Throw
  • The Joker’s Poem
  • Sad Pictures
  • Dream/Challenge/Tender Bat Cave
  • Charge of the Batmobile
  • Joker Flies to Gotham (Unused)/Batwing I
  • Batwing II/Batwing III
  • Cathedral Chase
  • Waltz to the Death
  • Showdown I/Showdown II
  • Finale
  • End Credits

Disc 2:

  • The Batman Theme
  • Roof Fight
  • First Confrontation
  • Kitchen/Surgery/Face–Off
  • Flowers
  • Clown Attack
  • Batman to the Rescue
  • Roasted Dude
  • Photos/Beautiful Dreamer
  • Descent into Mystery
  • The Bat Cave
  • The Joker’s Poem
  • Childhood Remembered
  • Love Theme
  • Charge of the Batmobile
  • Attack of the Batwing
  • Up the Cathedral
  • Waltz to the Death
  • The Final Confrontation
  • Finale
  • Batman Theme Reprise
  • News Theme
  • Joker’s Commercial
  • Joker’s Muzak (unused)
  • Main Title (alt 1)
  • Photos/Beautiful Dreamer (alt)
  • Batman to the Rescue (original ending)
  • Charge of the Batmobile (film edit)
  • Main Title (alt 2)

Now let’s take a look at Batman Returns….

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Batman Returns (1992)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

With Tim Burton back in the director’s chair for Batman Returns, Danny Elfman was asked to write and compose the score for the first Bat-sequel. However, unlike Batman where Elfman’s score was intertwined around Prince songs, this time around the composer had free reign across the entire soundtrack, although he did drop a couple of pop ditties into the mix where he saw fit.

A sample of Rick James’ Super Freak is briefly heard in the movie’s soundtrack, and the pop/rock song Face to Face – performed by English rock band, Siouxsie and the Banshees – was also included. Face to Face was composed as a collaboration between the band, Danny Elfman and American record producer Stephen Hague.

Face-to-Face appeared briefly in the movie (at Max Shreck’s ball) and during the end credits. It was also included as the final track on the official release of Batman Returns: Original Motion Picture Score.

The 1992 release of Danny Elfman’s Original Motion Picture Score for Batman Returns included the following tracks:

  • Birth of a Penguin
  • Opening Titles
  • To the Present
  • The Lair
  • Selina Kyle
  • Selina Transforms
  • The Cemetery
  • Cat Suite
  • Batman vs. the Circus
  • The Rise…
  • …And Fall from Grace
  • Sore Spots
  • Rooftops
  • Wild Ride
  • The Children’s Hour
  • The Final Confrontation
  • Penguin Army
  • Selina’s Electrocution
  • The Finale
  • End Credits
  • Face to Face (Siouxsie and the Banshees)

Batman Forever expanded score

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

As with Batman, in 2010 La-La Land Records released a two-disc version of Danny Elfman’s Batman Returns score which included:

Disc 1:

  • Birth of a Penguin/Main Title
  • Penguin Spies
  • Shadow of Doom/Clown Attack/Introducing the Bat
  • Intro/The Zoo/The Lair
  • Caught in the Act/Uh-Oh Max
  • Kitty Party/Selina Transforms
  • Penguin’s Grand Deed
  • The List Begins
  • The Cemetery
  • Catwoman Saves Joan/The New Woman
  • Penguin’s Surprise
  • Bad, Bad Dog/Batman vs. Circus/Selina’s Shopping Spree
  • Cat Chase
  • Candidate Cobblepot
  • The Plan/Kidnapping
  • Sore Spots/Batman’s Closet
  • The Plot Unfolds
  • Roof Top Encounters
  • Batman’s Wild Ride
  • Fall from Grace
  • Revealed/Party Crasher

Disc two:

  • Umbrella Source/The Children’s Hour/War
  • Final Confrontation/Finale
  • A Shadow of Doubt/End Credits
  • Face to Face” by Siouxsie and the Banshees
  • The Zoo (alternate)
  • The List Begins (alternate)
  • Cat Chase (alternate ending)
  • Roof Top Encounters (original)
  • Fall From Grace (alternate ending)
  • The Lair, Part I
  • The Lair, Part II
  • Selina Transforms, Part I
  • Selina Transforms, Part II
  • Batman vs. The Circus
  • Cat Suite
  • A Shadow of Doubt (alternate)/End Credits (alternate)
  • Super Freak

OK, that’s the music of Batman Returns, now onto Batman Anthology movie No.3…

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Batman Forever (1995)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Following the completion of Batman Returns, director Tim Burton left the Batman Anthology, as did composer Danny Elfman. A new director – Joel Schumacher – took over for Batman Forever, bringing along a new composer in the shape of Elliot Goldenthal, who wrote the score for the movie.

Instead of keeping Elfman’s themes, Goldenthal decided to put his own stamp on the Anthology, creating new sounds including a brand-new theme for the Caped Crusader. This new theme/fanfare was used to open the picture, making it clear this was a slightly different, yet equally as distinctive take on Batman.

As had been the case with Batman ‘89, Goldenthal wasn’t the only musician to provide music for Batman Forever – in addition to his score, a number of pop songs appeared on the film’s soundtrack, including The Flaming Lips’ Bad Days, and Seal’s Kiss From a Rose. Due to the mix of music two soundtrack albums were released in 1995, to coincide with the theatrical release of Batman Forever:

  • Batman Forever: Original Motion Picture Score – Elliot Goldenthal
  • Batman Forever: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack – Various artists

The 1995 release of Elliot Goldenthal’s 18-track Original Motion Picture Score included the following:

  • Main Titles & Fanfare
  • Perpetuum Mobile
  • The Perils of Gotham
  • Chase Noir
  • Fledermausmarschmusik
  • Nygma Variations (An Ode to Science)
  • Victory
  • Descent
  • The Pull of Regret
  • Mouth to Mouth Nocturne
  • Gotham City Boogie
  • Under the Top
  • Mr. E’s Dance Card (Rumba, Fox-trot, Waltz & Tango)
  • Two-Face Three Step
  • Chase Blanc
  • Spank Me! Overture
  • Holy Rusted Metal
  • Batterdammerung

The Batman Forever: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack included the following 14 tracks:

  • Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me – U2
  • One Time Too Many – PJ Harvey
  • Where Are You Now? – Brandy
  • Kiss from a Rose – Seal
  • The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game – Massive Attack and Tracey Thorn
  • Nobody Lives Without Love – Eddi Reader
  • Tell Me Now – Mazzy Star
  • Smash It Up – The Offspring
  • There Is a Light – Nick Cave
  • The Riddler – Method Man
  • The Passenger – Michael Hutchence
  • Crossing the River – The Devlins
  • 8 – Sunny Day Real Estate
  • Bad Days – The Flaming Lips

Of the 14 tracks featured on the Batman Forever Soundtrack album, only five tracks featured in the movie. Bad Days, Where are you Know? and Smash It Up were briefly heard in the picture, while Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me and Kiss from a Rose played out during the end credits.

Batman Forever expanded score

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

In 2012, La-La Land Records released a two-disc version of Elliot Goldenthal’s score to Batman Forever. The release included 28 tracks on Disc 1 and 28 tracks on Disc 2.

Disc 1:

  • Main Title
  • Batmobile/Introducing Two-Face
  • Thug Fight
  • Obligatory Car Chase
  • Nygma’s Cubicle/Bat-Signal
  • Capsule
  • Rooftop Seduction/Roof Plunge
  • Nygma After Hours/Brain Drain/You Are Terminated
  • Suicide/First Riddle/Second Riddle Delivered
  • Dream Doll
  • Big Top Bomb
  • Circus Opening/The Flying Graysons/Death Drop
  • Flashback/Signal/Robin’s Lament
  • Have a Safe Flight/Through the Eye
  • Nygma’s Apartment/Two-Face’s Lair/Riddler’s Entrance/Schizoid Stomp/Brain Drain Expo/Heist Montage
  • Laundry Room Stunt
  • More Heists/Third Riddle/Nosy Robin
  • Building Nygmatech/Family of Zombies
  • Master Dick
  • Memories Repressed/Love
  • Alley Rumble/Screen Kiss
  • Batcave/Nygmatech Tango/Public Demo
  • Nygma & Chase Dance
  • Two-Face’s Entrance/Batman’s Entrance
  • Gas Trap/Batman Phoenix
  • Gratitude Problem
  • Go to Chase
  • Batcave Closeout/Dick Leaves Wayne Manor

Disc Two:

  • Happy Halloween/The Bat/Love Scene/Twick or Tweat/Seize and Capture
  • Riddles Solved/Partners/Battleship
  • Scuba Fight/Claw Island/Emperor of Madness
  • Fun and Games
  • Batterdammerung
  • Two-Face’s Demise
  • Bat Descent/Arkham Asylum
  • Wet Screen Kiss/March On!
  • Themes from Batman Forever (B-Side Single)
  • More Heists (alternate)
  • Main Titles & Fanfare
  • Perpetuum Mobile
  • The Perils of Gotham
  • Chase Noir
  • Fledermausmarschmusik
  • Nygma Variations (An Ode to Science)
  • Victory
  • Descent
  • The Pull of Regret
  • Mouth to Mouth Nocturne
  • Gotham City Boogie
  • Under the Top
  • Mr. E’s Dance Card (Rumba, Fox-trot, Waltz & Tango)
  • Two-Face Three Step
  • Chase Blanc
  • Spank Me! Overture
  • Holy Rusted Metal
  • Batterdammerung

And now onto the final entry in the Batman Anthology, Batman & Robin

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Batman & Robin (1997)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Following the commercial success of Batman Forever, both director Joel Schumacher and composer Elliot Goldenthal remained on board the Batman Anthology for the fourth and final entry, Batman & Robin. Once again, Elliot Goldenthal provided the score, alongside a number of pop songs that were incorporated into the soundtrack.

Unlike Batman Forever, the soundtrack for Batman & Robin received only one release – Music from the Motion Picture Batman & Robin. This 15-track album focused more or less entirely on the pop songs which either appeared in the movie or were ‘inspired’ by the movie.

Goldenthal’s score only made one appearance on the Motion Picture Soundtrack in the shape of track 13, A Batman Overture. The track listing for the album is as follows:

  • The End Is the Beginning Is the End – The Smashing Pumpkins
  • Look into My Eyes – Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
  • Gotham City – R. Kelly
  • House on Fire – Arkarna
  • Revolution – R.E.M.
  • Foolish Games – Jewel
  • Lazy Eye – Goo Goo Dolls
  • Breed – Lauren Christy
  • The Bug – Soul Coughing
  • Fun for Me – Moloko
  • Poison Ivy – Meshell Ndegeocello
  • True to Myself – Eric Benét
  • A Batman Overture – Elliot Goldenthal
  • Moaner – Underworld
  • The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning – The Smashing Pumpkins

Of the 15 tracks featured on the album, seven tracks appeared in the movie. A Batman Overture, Lazy Eye, Fun for Me, Poison Ivy, and Moaner featured in the film, while The End is the Beginning is the End and Gotham City played over the end credits. 

Batman & Robin – The score

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Unfortunately for Bat-fans, Elliot Goldenthal’s complete score to Batman & Robin has never received an official release. However, over the years a number of bootleg copies have surfaced at conventions and online.

Here is a list of tracks that feature on Goldenthal’s score to Batman & Robin:

Disc 1:

  • Main Titles
  • A New Villain/Batman Drops In
  • Museum Mayhem/Blast Off/Surfs Up
  • Frozen Stiff/The Jungle
  • Bane is Born
  • The Nature of Family
  • Poison Ivy/Mr. Freeze’s Plan
  • New Family Arrives
  • Poison Ivy Arrives/Gotham Observatory
  • Mine for the Greening/Sad Moments
  • One More Diamond/The Costume Ball
  • Freeze Crashes the Party
  • A Chilling Chase
  • Matters of Trust
  • Freeze on Ice/Renovations
  • Main Titles Alternate

Disc 2:

  • Night Streets/Dick Saves Barbara
  • Secrets Revealed/Alfred is Dying
  • Escaping from Arkham/Mr. Freeze’s Revenge/Beauty and the Beast
  • Adam & Evil
  • MacGregor’s Syndrome
  • Partners Part/Seeing the Light
  • Access Allowed/Trust Me Now/Batgirl
  • Invading Ivy’s Garden
  • Ice Malice
  • Storming the Observatory/Final Battle/A Helping Hand
  • Partners Times Three
  • End Credits
  • Main Title Reprise

Please note, as the Batman & Robin score has never been officially released, there are slight variations in the track listing names of the different bootleg copies. The track names featured in the above list may be different to other copies which have circulated.

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Music to my ears

Across all four entries in the Batman Anthology, a wealth of music was created or became associated with the pictures. Not every piece was conceived specifically for one of the movies, but over time most songs/tracks have become connected to them in some shape.

For example, Seal’s Kiss From a Rose was originally included in the 1994 album, Seal (aka Seal II), with the track released in July 1994. It was a moderate chart hit, but pretty much came and went without too much notice.

The song was re-released in 1995 as part of the Batman Forever soundtrack, where it was given a new music video and much more air time. Ask most people today about Kiss From a Rose and they will mention its connection to Batman Forever, rather than its original release back in ‘94.

The Batman Anthology music at a glance

  • Batman (1989) – Danny Elfman & Prince
  • Batman Returns (1992) – Danny Elfman & Siouxsie and the Banshees
  • Batman Forever (1995) – Elliot Goldenthal & various artists
  • Batman & Robin (1997) – Elliot Goldenthal & various artists

What is your favourite piece of music from the Batman Anthology? Is Danny Elfman’s The Batman Theme your No.1 piece, or do you favour Elliot Goldenthal’s Fanfare?

How about the pop songs that make up the sounds of Batman? What do you think about The Smashing Pumpkins, U2 and Prince? Sound off in the comments section below.

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