Strange as it may seem, the late Prince and Michael Jackson nearly did a collaboration not once but twice.
In 1987, Jackson wrote the song “Bad” for his seventh album. He intended to record it as a duet with fellow pop singer Prince. Jackson planned to spread a rumour of the two feuding in the media, culminating with the release of the song. However, Prince declined due to having concerns about the track’s lyrics. Years later, he explained why he opted out in an interview with Chris Rock.
“The first line in that song is,’Your butt is mine,'” recalled Prince. “Now, I said, ‘Who is gonna sing that to whom? ‘Cause you sure ain’t singing that to me, and I sure ain’t singing it to you!’ Right there, we got a problem!”
Although the Bad duet never happened, they almost collaborated on the Batman soundtrack. Tim Burton tried to use Prince’s tracks Baby, I’m a Star and 1999 in the 1989 film, but the singer instead created a whole album’s worth of songs. While composing the material, Prince reached out to Jackson with an offer to work on the soundtrack. He would create funk and pop songs while Jackson would write love ballads for the movie. However, Jackson had to drop out due to his concert commitments.
The Batman album proved to be financially successful for Prince’s career. It yielded the hit singles Batdance and Partyman. While Prince dismissed it as a minor work, the soundtrack is fondly remembered by fans.