How Batman Turned Kiss From A Rose Into A Hit

Show business is a peculiar beast, and Seal once managed to nab a #1 hit thanks to a heavily benippled vigilante. Let's dig in.

Way back in the 1990s, studios and filmmakers held fast to the strange but sacrosanct tradition of utilizing Get Out Of The Theater Music. Get Out Of The Theater Music went something like this: if you'd just watched a cartoon, an A-lister would perform a soulful rendition of one of the songs from the movie, a la Michael Bolton singing at the end of Hercules. If you'd just watched a Muppet movie, you'd suffer through the uncomfortable realization that somebody's agent told them "I think your next big step is singing a Miss Piggy original" before shamefully signing their paycheck over to their bookie.

And if you'd gone to see a summer blockbuster, you'd be regaled by the tones of an up-and-coming singer performing a song that had, generally speaking, nothing to do with the movie you'd just watched, available now on Warner Brothers Records. Chief among these was Batman Forever's "Kiss From a Rose," a heartfelt ballad about, among other things, a man's eyeballs getting big in the snow. In the 25 years since the film's debut, a lot has been said about "Kiss From A Rose," but one thing has remained true: it's not the sort of thing you listen to and go "yeah, that's Batman alright."

Batman Seals the deal

If it helps, Seal never listened to it and thought "yeah, that's Seal alright." According to his commentary of Genius Lyrics, "Kiss From A Rose" was one of the first songs that the artist ever wrote, an "experiment" that he was working on before he'd even signed a record contract. After recording an early version of it, he "threw the tape in the corner," stating that he was "embarrassed of it."

The song wound up on Seal's second album in 1994 after a friend clued his producer in on its existence. It flopped pretty hard and lived an unremarkable existence until the summer of 1995. Filmmaker Joel Schumacher was looking for a single that could play during a love scene in his upcoming movie, Batman Forever. Per Rolling Stone, Schumacher couldn't make "Kiss From A Rose" work with the scene, but stated that he loved the song and wanted it for the film's end credits. He even shot a new, Bat Signal-heavy music video for it free of charge.

The result: four Grammys and 8 million album sales. In a tribute video to Schumacher, who passed away in June of 2020 at the age of 80, Seal stated "I owe my career I guess in large part to Joel Schumacher, who took a chance..."