Cast your mind back to 1995, and the release of the hit movie, Batman Forever. The film – directed by Joel Schumacher – starred Val Kilmer, Jim Carrey, and Tommy Lee Jones, and was a huge hit during the summer of ’95.
Not only was the film a phenomenal success, and one of the highest grossing movies of the year, but it was accompanied by a best-selling soundtrack, which featured songs including U2’s Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me, and Seal’s Kiss from a Rose. The Seal song in particular proved very popular, reaching the No. 1 position on the US Billboard Hot 100, as well as No. 1 in Australia, No. 2 in Canada, and No. 4 in the UK.
If you are familiar with Kiss from a Rose, then you are probably familiar with accompanying music video, and its strong connection to Batman Forever. The video featured Seal stood in front of the Bat-signal, was accompanied by footage from the movie, and was directed by Joel Schumacher.
Short of Seal being decked out in the Batsuit, the music video to Kiss from a Rose was Batman Forever through-and-through, and when people think of the song they often think of the movie. So, why then, did the lyrics not make any reference to Batman, the Batman mythology, or most important of all, the film?!
There’s no mention of Bruce Wayne in Kiss from a Rose, no reference to the Riddler, and not even a mere hint of Gotham City. Instead, the song talks about ‘a graying tower alone on the sea’, about ‘a growing addiction’ and ‘a kiss from a rose on the gray’. So, what gives?
Well, the reason that Kiss from a Rose doesn’t directly reference Batman Forever is because the song was not written especially for the movie. In fact, Batman Forever wasn’t even the first movie that featured the song!
Kiss from a Rose was originally written by Seal in 1987 – eight years prior to the release of Batman Forever. Seal penned the track, he didn’t think much of it, and he quietly put it to one side.
Four years later, Seal released his debut album, the self-title record, Seal. The album included tracks such as Crazy and Killer, but did not feature Kiss from a Rose.
Seal didn’t return to the song until he was working on his second album, Seal II, which made its debut in 1994. He presented the song to the album’s producer, Trevor Horn, who liked the track and included it on the album.
To promote Seal II, the song was released as a single, which was accompanied by a music video (a completely different one to the video you remember). The video was directed by Matthew Rolston and William Levin and featured Seal in the role of a studio photographer.
But this wasn’t the song’s only attempt at stardom in 1994 – Kiss from a Rose also appeared on the soundtrack to the children’s fantasy picture, The NeverEnding Story III (1994). The soundtrack was a compilation piece titled, Music From & Inspired By The NeverEnding Story III: Here Come the Fantasians, and featured songs from artists including Inner Circle, Roxette, Dave Stewart, and Aaliyah.
It was shortly after the song’s 1994 release that Joel Schumacher heard Kiss from a Rose and thought it would be perfect for Batman Forever. He believed it would work well as a theme for the film, and approached Seal about including it in his movie, where it played over the end credits.
And from here the song was re-released into the charts, accompanied by the new music video – the one directed by Schumacher. As noted above, it performed well in various countries that year, and in 1996 it picked up three Grammy Awards for Song of the Year, Best Male Pop Vocal, and Record of the Year.
Kiss from a Rose may not make reference to Batman in its lyrics, but it does share a strong connection with Batman Forever. The film helped to elevate Kiss from a Rose to a new audience, who perhaps missed it the first time around, and this in turn transformed the song into a well-loved track and one of Seal’s most popular releases.
Thank you for taking the time to visit I’ll Get Drive-Thru to read this post about Kiss from a Rose. For more Batman movie content, be sure to take a look around this blog or check out the recommended reads below.