Today marks the 25th anniversary of the release of “Batman,” a movie that is much beloved by much of the Hitfix staff, not only for Tim Burton’s dystopian vision of Gotham, but for Prince’s outrageously dynamic soundtrack and Danny Elfman's ominous score. Five years after Prince’s magnum opus, “Purple Rain”—and two years after the less-said-about-it-better “Under the Cherry Moon”—Prince’s songs for “Batman” became as synonymous with the movie as Michael Keaton’s doleful Batman and Jack Nicholson’s over-the-top Joker. Using Prince, who recorded for Warner Bros., provided nice synergy between the film studio and the record label.
Of course, by 1989, quite a few movies had featured soundtracks composed by one act: Simon & Garfunkel and “The Graduate,” Curtis Mayfield and “Superfly,” and Bob Dylan and “Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid,” to name a few. Not only was Prince's soundtrack a perfect fit for the movie, it was a commercial success, spending six weeks atop the Billboard 200 and selling more than 3 million copies in the U.S. alone.
Below are our top picks for best soundtracks by one artists. A few caveats: While in some cases, the artist also wrote some of the score, we did not include score-only contributions; we also allowed for a little leeway if one or two songs by another artist was included in the soundtrack, as long as the overwhelming majority was by one artist (that’s why “Saturday Night Live” isn’t among our selections). We also didn’t include vehicles about the acts where they provided the score (like The Beatles’ “Hard Day’s Night”).
Check out our other "Batman" coverage:
25 Years Later: What Happened to the "Batman" cast and crew
Kris Tapley's homage to "Batman"
Our Favorite lines from "Batman" we can't stop quoting
From Batman to Joker: Which Actor Played These "Batman" Roles Best?