When Prince Returned to Hollywood With ‘Happy Feet’
How much had American society and Prince come around to each other in the two decades since he first burst onto the scene? On Oct. 31, 2006, the man who had once been derided for the decline of family values in this country released a track called "The Song of the Heart" as part of the soundtrack to an animated film about penguins.
It came together when Happy Feet director George Miller asked Prince if he would allow "Kiss" to be sung by Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman in the movie, and also if Prince would write a new song for it. Prince was intrigued, but wanted to see the movie first.
Darren Higman and Gary LeMel, a pair of Warner Bros. executives, flew out to Paisley Park, where they got a tour of the complex that ended up on a soundstage that was also outfitted for performances. As they waited for one of Prince's friends to join them, the musician "got up on stage and was rehearsing, and Gary and I were were just sitting there and watching him rehearse," Higman told E Online.
"It was crazy," he added. "I was like, 'Oh, my God we are getting a private Prince show.'"
Listen to Prince Perform 'Song of the Heart'
The friend arrived after about 20 minutes, and they screened Happy Feet on a wall of the soundstage. "By the time we finished the movie, he said, 'OK, I know what I am going to do,'" Higman said. "Then he wrote it and recorded it and flew out to L.A. a week later and played it for us."
Bolstered by one of the jazziest horn charts Prince ever composed, the empowering message of "The Song of the Heart" was exactly what Miller was looking for. That said, the sped-up vocals recall Camille, his female alter ego who showed up on a few songs on Sign O' the Times, including the lewd "If I Was Your Girlfriend."
A few months after the movie's release, "The Song of the Heart" was nominated for, and won, the Golden Globe Award for best original song in a motion picture. Although he missed the ceremony while stuck in traffic -- with Will Ferrell almost getting up to accept the award on his behalf -- Prince performed at a celebrity-filled after-party he threw at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel's Presidential Suite.