Prince Throws a Party With ‘200 Balloons': 365 Prince Songs in a Year
To celebrate the incredibly prolific, influential and diverse body of work left behind by Prince, we will be exploring a different song of his each day for an entire year with the series 365 Prince Songs in a Year.
To celebrate the 200th entry in our 365 Prince Songs in a Year feature, we're throwing a fabulous party, with lots of balloons. Specifically, we've brought "200 Balloons," a track that was recorded during the sessions to 1989's Batman, and was released as the b-side to "Batdance."
Prince originally created the track for Tim Burton to use during the parade scene, in which the Joker (Jack Nicholson) rains money down on the residents of Gotham, only to pour gasoline on them via balloons. However, Burton rejected the song, and wound up using "Trust" instead.
It was all part of the contentiousness between Prince and Burton that marked the making of Batman. Famously, Burton asked Prince to contribute a couple of songs to the movie, and Prince wrote an entire album's worth of material. Although Burton liked the music, he felt it was wrong for the tone he was creating but Warner Bros., which was both Prince's label and the film's studio, saw a huge marketing potential.
"They’re saying to me, these record guys, it needs this and that," Burton told Rolling Stone, "and they give you this whole thing about it’s an expensive movie so you need it. And what happens is, you get engaged in this world, and then there’s no way out. There’s too much money. There’s this guy you respect and is good and has got this thing going. It got to a point where there was no turning back. And I don’t want to get into that situation again. ... it completely lost me. And it tainted something that I don’t want to taint. Which is how you feel about an artist. And actually, I liked his album. I wish I could listen to it without the feel of what had happened.'
"200 Balloons" wound up getting the last laugh, however, when it appeared on The Hits / The B-Sides three-disc set while "Batdance" – an actual No. 1 hit – missed the cut. The liner notes for the compilation slyly gave the reason why only one of the songs was included, calling it an "outtake from Prince’s wonderfully quirky Batman soundtrack album, '200 Balloons' was actually the prototype to 'Batdance,' which began as a sample-laden remix. Confused? Why not – '200 Balloons' sounds as much like it came from 'Batdance' as vice versa. Ask Bruce Wayne."
OK, we will. After Prince's death, Michael Keaton, who played the titular character at the time, heaped praise on Prince – saying his body of work placed him in rarefied air.
“I put him up there with Duke Ellington, Stevie Wonder, Miles [Davis] among the true greats,” Keaton told Variety. “Some musicians had their moments. He had what seemed like centuries of being great. He was one of those people you just assume, ‘I am going to be watching what Prince does when he is 80.' And it is going to be as good or better, and as innovative, as it is now.”