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The 20 Best Songs in Videogames

January 14, 2011  |  6:35pm
The 20 Best Songs in Videogames

10. The Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop | Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3

You’ve heard this song everywhere, although you might not have known it’s called “Blitzkrieg Bop” from The Ramones. The legendary “Hey ho! Lets go!” gets played at virtually every sports stadium in existence, and countless movies and television shows have used it for action sequences.

Again, ubiquity does not have a correlation with low quality. Just because acts like The Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears were (and in Spears’ case, are) at the top of the charts for years doesn’t mean generations before them had no taste.

The rhythm and energy of “Blitzkrieg Bop” lends itself very well to a skating game, which is primarily based on those same characteristics. But to pull a song from the 1970s takes courage when marketing a game to a generation full of kids whose fathers love the music of that decade.

The jovial punk-rock group is a terrific addition to the Tony Hawk series. If only they added some more terrific games to the lineup.

9. Miles Davis - Move | Grand Theft Auto 4

While jazz doesn’t suit most games perfectly, the developers over at Rockstar Games once again created a radio station for the underplayed genre. Davis’s famous staccato trumpet can be heard on JNR Jazz Nation Radio 108.5 , hosted by DJ Roy Haynes. Other artists include John Coltrane, Duke Ellington and Dizzie Gillespie, but Davis’s name is arguably the most recognizable and songs the most accessible.

Driving around the grimy streets of Liberty City, running over pedestrians and clubbing cops with baseball bats while Davis’s laid-back succession of notes plays in the background feels… strange… but fun.

The track comes off the album The Complete Birth of the Cool. Can’t think of a better name.

8. Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire | Tony Hawk’s Underground 2

Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” co-written by his wife June Carter, is known by most everyone familiar with the iconic country artist. Most of the Tony Hawk series steers toward a rock/punk sound, but they diverged a bit to include such a renowned track.

Johnny Cash’s work has an ability to cross genres and ages, even drawing in people who normally listen to only one type of music. “Ring of Fire” has been covered by the likes of Frank Zappa, Alan Jackson, Dwight Yoakam and Social Distortion. While not exactly an “underground” song, “Ring of Fire” nonetheless feels somehow acceptable in a game populated by a younger crowd and located in a city dwelling, two aspects one wouldn’t immediately tie to a country song recorded in 1963.

7. Grandmaster Flash - The Message | Scarface: The World Is Yours

Scarface: The World Is Yoursis a pretty mediocre game by most anyone’s standards. Its soundtrack, on the other hand, is not. With entries like Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message,” which has been sampled a ridiculous amount of times (Puff Daddy and Ma$e anybody?), how can you not want to play the game with the sound maxed out?

“The Message”’s, well, message is still relevant today — and even more relevant to game/film about the underground drug world and being constantly surrounded by enemies but never letting them get to you. In related news, Flash’s clothes in the video are not relevant today (thank God).

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