Music has been a huge part of the Batman franchise, probably even more so than any other based on a comic book series.

Prince's soundtrack to Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie topped the Billboard albums chart ("Batdance," anyone?). Seal's "Kiss From a Rose" transcended its status as the anthem for 1995's Batman Forever and became a song that is probably always playing sometime, somewhere in the world. The Batman franchise now even has a song for the kids after Batman serenaded us with his techno and to-the-point ditty about himself in 2014's The Lego Movie.

Of course, the theme song from the 1960s Batman TV series, simply titled "Batman Theme," is the one that started it all. With a few repeating notes and only one word in the whole song, "Batman Theme," may seem like one of the most basic pieces of music of all time. However, it took a lot of work to actually get the song ready for the show. What better time than around Batman Day on Sept. 26 to dive into the song's surprising complexities?

Shortly before Batman premiered in January 1966, jazz composer and arranger Neal Hefti was enlisted to pen the theme to the new show. Though Hefti cut his teeth arranging for jazz greats like Count Basie, Woody Herman and Frank Sinatra, he was at first no match for Batman's theme song.

Hefti "tore up a lot of paper" and "sweated over" the Batman theme song more than any other single piece of music he wrote, he said in the 1996 book TV's Biggest Hits by Jon Burlingame, as reported by the Los Angeles Times after the composer's death in October 2008. Hefti even almost gave up on writing the theme song altogether. What made it so difficult to compose was the fact that the show was much more nuanced than it may have seemed on the surface.

"Batman was not a comedy. This was about unreal people. Batman and Robin were both very, very serious. The bad guys would be chasing them, and they would come to a stop at a red light, you know. They wouldn't break the law even to save their own lives," Hefti said in TV's Biggest Hits. "So there was a grimness and a self-righteousness about all this."

Hefti's son, Paul Hefti, later told The New York Times after his father's death, "He had to find something that worked with the lowest common denominator, so it would appeal to kids, yet wouldn't sound stupid."

After a month of toiling with it, Hefti finally completed the soon-to-be iconic "Batman Theme." With a 12-bar blues progression and bursting with horns, the theme song ended up being the tune we all know and love to sing today, always replicating the guitar riff ourselves with a "na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na."

The 1960s Batman series famously helped usher in a new campier portrayal of the character with its sickeningly bright colors, canted camera angles and flashing onomatopoeia, like "Whack," "Ka-Pow" and "Biff," across the screen to help punctuate fight scenes. With its sudden horn blares and a choir exuberantly singing "Batman," "Batman Theme" added to the extravagance of the show's animated opening credits sequence.

"Batman Theme" also fit right into its contemporary musical landscape. It had a similar thumping guitar riff to surfer rock at the time, such as The Surfaris' 1963 single "Wipe Out," and the swinging jazz feel of songs like Quincy Jones' 1962 single "Soul Bossa Nova" and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass' 1965 instrumental cover of "A Taste of Honey."

Soon, Hefti would realize that all of his hard work had paid off. "Batman Theme" would go on to earn Hefti a top 10 single and his only Grammy for Best Instrumental Theme in 1966. This is the guy who also gave us the theme to The Odd Couple.

In addition to all of those accolades, "Batman Theme" is also said to have been the most recorded song in the world in 1966, according to Hefti's official website, a fact that is bolstered by the number of artists that recorded cover versions of the song that same year, including The Who, The Kinks and Jan & Dean.

At some point, a rumor arose that the voices seeming to sing "Batman!" in the chorus of the theme song were not produced by people but by horns. So many people must have wondered this, that the urban legend even has its own page on This is one of those cases where once you hear that something could be there, you can't unhear it. Adam West could have added fuel to that rumor when he reportedly wrote that the voices in the song were actually horns in his 1994 memoir Back to the Batcave. However, Hefti has reportedly said that a chorus of singers was used, which has also been reported to be the Ron Hicklin Singers, who also provided backing vocals for songs featured in The Partridge Family.

Well, whoever or whatever actually produced those sounds in "Batman Theme," once you hear them, you can't get them out of your head. Whether or not that makes it an exceptional piece of music is subjective, but no one can deny that in nearly 50 years since the song's debut, it has become an essential part of Batman's identity.

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