For most artists, a gig making music for a superhero soundtrack wouldn't necessarily prompt their most personal work. But Prince was never like most artists, and the songs he recorded for 1989's Batman offer enduring proof.

Of particular note is the album's fifth track, "Vicki Waiting." Written following the LP's overall conceit of presenting separate songs in the "voice" of Batman characters, Prince penned the track's lyrics in the persona of Batman's alter ego, billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne — but there was plenty of Prince's real life in there, too. In fact, like a number of the cuts he'd hastily rounded up for the soundtrack, "Vicki Waiting" had its roots in material he'd previously written and recorded.

Originally tracked in late 1988, the song started out as "Anna Waiting" — an ode to Anna Garcia, the teenaged singer and Prince protégé upon whom he'd bestow the moniker Anna Fantastic. Reportedly gifted to Garcia during her first day at his Paisley Park compound, the song was perfect for Bruce Wayne — a bundle of bravado and female-driven insecurities underscored by the gulf of wealth and celebrity separating the singer from the object of his affection. He's got it all, but he wants her; he wants her, but he's afraid of commitment.

Hear Prince Perform "Vicki Waiting"

The leap from "Anna Waiting" to "Vicki Waiting" wasn't terribly great — Prince bolted on some new lyrics, many making reference to Gotham City and the Joker, and sampled some vocals from Batman stars Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger to finish the effect — but it worked just as well in the context of the movie as it had as a rumored valentine for Garcia, and although the soundtrack itself is a bestselling curio in Prince's discography, the themes explored in "Vicki Waiting" are pretty much universal. The lines that capture the song's protagonist struggling with his hopes for, and fears of, lasting commitment and parenthood foreshadowed the complicated — and sometimes tragic — private life he'd lead over the ensuing decades.

 

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