It's been four long years of waiting, but "The Dark Knight Rises," the conclusion of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, finally hits theaters this weekend. To celebrate what may be Christian Bale's final run as DC Comics' Dark Knight, we've put together a list of five epic Batman songs, from the iconic -- Prince's "Batdance" -- to the lesser-known -- Panic! at the Disco's "Mercenary."
Before you throw on your costume and stand in line for tickets this weekend, take a listen to this playlist to celebrate our favorite masked crusader (the one that's earned Warner Bros. more than a billion dollars over the years) and get ready to see Batman blow up the box office -- after Bane blows up Gotham City -- one last time.
Created for the 1989 "Batman" soundtrack, Prince's "Batdance" features the "Purple Rain" pop star dressed in a half-Batman, half-Joker costume. "I've seen the future and it will be / Batman, Batman" the song repeats as Joker, Catwoman, Dark Knight and Vicki Vale dancers break it down in the seven-minute video. "Batdance" peaked at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and the film's soundtrack spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 after debuting in July 1989.
Panic! at the Disco, "Mercenary"
Written for the "Batman: Arkham City" video game soundtrack, Panic! at the Disco's "Mercenary" takes a more subtle approach to the story of the caped crusader. As frontman Brendon Urie sings, "I dodge the blast and apologize for the collateral damage," the lyrics focus on the guilt Bruce Wayne experiences when others are caught in a Batman-induced crossfire. The song's Batman connection is vague until a villainous voiceover pops up halfway through -- "Do you feel sad? Full of rage? Or does that outfit help bury your feelings? Hiding your true self," it taunts.
R. Kelly, "Gotham City"
Named after the skyline Batman protects, R. Kelly's "Gotham City" -- penned for the 1997 "Batman & Robin" soundtrack -- paints a violent picture of the fictional city: "How sleeping awake because of fear / How children are drowning in their tears." But the chorus contradicts, showing the Gotham that Bruce Wayne is fighting to create. The R&B star croons, "A city of justice, a city of love / A city of peace, for everyone of us."
Snoop Dogg, "Batman & Robin"
"No one can save the day like Batman," Lady of Rage sings, starting off Snoop's "Batman & Robin" track. The rapper chimes in with lines like "Cold day in Gotham in the Bat Cave chillin' / Catnip for Catwoman so she caught the feeling" and throws shots at Riddler, Two-Face and even DC Comics' rival -- "We Marvel at you Comics, you ain't no superhero."
Bow Wow, "Batman"
Cash Money actor-turned-rapper Bow Wow pulls no punches in his "Batman" music video, relegating all the haters to Robin status as he shouts "you just a sidekick, now play the back man." He also makes veiled references to famed villains, from the Joker to Batman's frozen foe, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger -- "and don't stoppin' me, all this ice got me cold like Mister Freeze."