Guitar Hero SOngs

The Ultimate Guide to Guitar Hero Songs

Hey there, fellow music enthusiasts and gamers! If you’ve ever found yourself deep in the rhythm, hitting notes with precision, and feeling the adrenaline rush of nailing a solo on Guitar Hero, you know exactly why this game has become a cornerstone in both gaming and music culture.

As a passionate musician and an avid gamer, I’ve spent countless hours mastering tracks, battling friends in guitar duels, and exploring the extensive library of Guitar Hero songs. Today, I’m here to share the love, the challenge, and the sheer joy of what these games have to offer.

A Rockin’ Repertoire

A man playing a guitar on stage.

Guitar Hero has come a long way since its inception, bringing players an impressive collection of tracks ranging from rock and metal anthems to indie gems and pop hits. Among the standout tracks that have defined my Guitar Hero experience are heart-pounding numbers like “Tears Don’t Fall” by Bullet For My Valentine and the epic showdowns of Metallica’s “One”. But let’s not forget the classics, such as “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, and the intense energy of Slayer’s “Chemical Warfare”.

These songs, hailing from various editions of the Guitar Hero series, including the iconic Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and Guitar Hero: Encore Heavy Metal, offer not just a journey through music history but a challenge to gamers’ skills and a testament to the diverse tastes of the Guitar Hero community.

The Evolution of Guitar Hero

From its early days, Guitar Hero wasn’t just about strumming along to your favorite tracks; it was about immersing yourself in the life of a rock star. The series evolved with features like the band career path in Guitar Hero World Tour, where players could team up and embark on a journey to music stardom, and the inclusion of various track packs like the death metal track pack and the rock track pack, which expanded the musical horizons of players.

One of the game’s strengths has been its ability to bring a wide array of music to the forefront, from the Jimi Hendrix track pack to the soulful tunes of the Allman Brothers Band. The diversity extends to genres beyond rock, with the electro-rock of Smashing Pumpkins and the southern rock vibes of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”, making Guitar Hero a celebration of music’s vast landscape.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

Special Features and Improvements:

  • Quest Mode: A story-driven mode where players unlock characters with special abilities, enhancing gameplay.
  • Expanded Setlist: Over 90 tracks, focusing on rock and heavy metal, the largest number of songs in any Guitar Hero game at its release.
  • Quickplay+: Offers challenges for every track in the game, including those downloaded from the Guitar Hero store, adding replay value.

Warriors of Rock is known for its heavy emphasis on hard rock and metal. Here are some highlights:

  • “Chemical Warfare” by Slayer
  • “Dancing Through Sunday” by AFI
  • “Bat Country” by Avenged Sevenfold
  • “Black Rain” by Soundgarden
  • “Children of the Grave” by Black Sabbath

Guitar Hero Live

Guitar Hero Live

Special Features and Improvements:

  • Live Action Gameplay: Players perform in front of live crowds that react in real-time to the performance.
  • GHTV: A new game mode featuring a continuous broadcast of music videos where players can jump in and play along, with a rotating library of songs.
  • Redesigned Guitar Controller: Introduced a new 6-button layout, making gameplay more challenging and realistic.

Guitar Hero Live introduced a new live-action approach and GHTV, a video network. It featured a wide range of genres, including:

  • “Chop Suey!” by System of a Down
  • “B.Y.O.B.” by System of a Down
  • “Tribute” by Tenacious D
  • “Berzerk” by Eminem (Rock Genre Influence)
  • “Shadow Moses” by Bring Me the Horizon

Guitar Hero Encore: Rock the 80s

Guitar Hero Encore

Special Features and Improvements:

  • 1980s Theme: Focused exclusively on the music of the 1980s, offering a nostalgic experience for fans of the era.
  • New Characters and Venues: Featured era-specific characters and venues, adding to the 80s rock atmosphere.
  • Limited Edition Songs: Included tracks that were difficult to license, making for a unique playlist dedicated to the 80s.

As the title suggests, this game focused on the rock hits of the 80s, featuring:

  • “Round and Round” by Ratt
  • “I Wanna Rock” by Twisted Sister
  • “Nothin’ But a Good Time” by Poison
  • “Metal Health” by Quiet Riot
  • “Holy Diver” by Dio

Guitar Hero: Aerosmith

Guitar Hero Aerosmith

Special Features and Improvements:

  • Band-Centric Gameplay: Focused on the career of Aerosmith, mixing in historical video footage and interviews with the band.
  • Exclusive Aerosmith Tracks: Featured master recordings from Aerosmith, including some songs performed with other artists.
  • Venue Evolution: Players follow the band’s history, playing in venues from Aerosmith’s storied career.

This game focuses on Aerosmith’s hits, alongside songs from bands that have toured or played with Aerosmith:

  • “Dream On” by Aerosmith
  • “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith
  • “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith ft. Run D.M.C.
  • “Love in an Elevator” by Aerosmith
  • “Back in the Saddle” by Aerosmith

Guitar Hero: Metallica

Guitar Hero Metallica

Special Features and Improvements:

  • Expert+ Difficulty: Introduced a new difficulty setting for drums, allowing for the use of a double bass pedal.
  • Metallica’s Career: Players experience significant events in Metallica’s history, with setlists that include Metallica’s hits and artists that inspired or played with the band.
  • Detailed Band Animations: High-quality animations capturing the unique performance styles of Metallica’s members.

Dedicated to the legendary band, it also includes songs by artists that influenced or toured with Metallica:

  • “Master of Puppets” by Metallica
  • “One” by Metallica
  • “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica
  • “The Thing That Should Not Be” by Metallica
  • “Enter Sandman” by Metallica

Guitar Hero: Van Halen

Guitar Hero Van Halen

Special Features and Improvements:

  • Van Halen’s Hits: Focuses on the best tracks from Van Halen’s catalog, along with select songs from guest bands.
  • Eddie Van Halen’s Solos: Features iconic guitar solos, showcasing Eddie’s guitar prowess.
  • Van Halen Atmosphere: Captures the essence of Van Halen concerts, with detailed character models and animations.

Focusing on Van Halen’s biggest hits, the game also includes tracks by bands that influenced them:

  • “Jump” by Van Halen
  • “Panama” by Van Halen
  • “Eruption” by Van Halen
  • “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” by Van Halen
  • “Runnin’ with the Devil” by Van Halen

Band Hero

Band Hero

Special Features and Improvements:

  • Family-Friendly Playlist: Offers a broad mix of music, including pop, rock, and other genres, aimed at a wider audience.
  • Party Play Mode: Allows players to jump in and out of songs seamlessly, making it ideal for social gatherings.
  • Compatibility: Designed to be compatible with Guitar Hero instrument controllers, encouraging band play among friends and family.

Band Hero leans more towards pop and mainstream rock but includes some tracks for rock enthusiasts:

  • “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence
  • “Song 2” by Blur
  • “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down
  • “American Pie” by Don McLean (Rock Genre Influence)
  • “Paralyzer” by Finger Eleven

Guitar Hero: Smash Hits

Guitar Hero Smash Hits

Special Features and Improvements:

  • Best of Guitar Hero: Compiles the most popular songs from previous Guitar Hero games, all playable with a full band setup.
  • Full Band Play: For the first time, songs originally designed for solo guitar play are now available for play with drums, vocals, and bass.
  • Upgraded Visuals: Songs and venues are updated to the latest game engine, providing improved graphics and performance.

Smash Hits is a compilation of fan-favorite guitar tracks from previous games, remastered to play with a full band:

  • “Cowboys From Hell” by Pantera
  • “Killer Queen” by Queen
  • “Barracuda” by Heart
  • “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas
  • “Them Bones” by Alice in Chains

This list encapsulates just a fraction of the rock and metal anthems that have defined the Guitar Hero series, providing players with an expansive catalog of tracks to master. Whether you’re a fan of classic rock, hair metal, or thrash metal, Guitar Hero has something to offer every rock and metal enthusiast.

Each of these versions of Guitar Hero offered something unique, from focusing on specific bands or eras to introducing new gameplay mechanics and modes. This evolution ensured that the franchise remained fresh and continued to appeal to a broad range of players over the years.

Guitar Hero World Tour

Guitar Hero World Tour

Guitar Hero World Tour brought an expansive setlist to players, featuring a mix of rock, metal, alternative, and more, spanning several decades of music. It offered an array of songs that appealed to a broad audience.

Below are some notable songs that were included in Guitar Hero World Tour to give you an idea of the game’s musical diversity:

  1. “About a Girl” – Nirvana
  2. “American Woman” – The Guess Who
  3. “Are You Gonna Go My Way” – Lenny Kravitz
  4. “Band on the Run” – Wings
  5. “Beat It” – Michael Jackson featuring Van Halen
  6. “Crazy Train” – Ozzy Osbourne
  7. “Dammit” – Blink-182
  8. “Everlong” – Foo Fighters
  9. “Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor
  10. “Go Your Own Way” – Fleetwood Mac
  11. “Hotel California” – Eagles
  12. “The Joker” – Steve Miller Band
  13. “Livin’ on a Prayer” – Bon Jovi
  14. “Love Spreads” – The Stone Roses
  15. “Misery Business” – Paramore
  16. “One Way or Another” – Blondie
  17. “Purple Haze” (Live) – Jimi Hendrix
  18. “Ramblin’ Man” – The Allman Brothers Band
  19. “Scream Aim Fire” – Bullet for My Valentine
  20. “Sweet Home Alabama” (Live) – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  21. “Up Around The Bend” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  22. “What I’ve Done” – Linkin Park

The Challenge and the Thrill

Part of the allure of Guitar Hero is the sheer challenge it presents. The game has introduced some notoriously difficult songs, turning them into rites of passage for players. Tackling tracks like Dragonforce’s “Through the Fire and Flames” became a badge of honor, pushing players to improve their skills and conquer the most daunting challenges the game had to offer.

The competitive modes added another layer to the game, with guitar duels and multiplayer band showdowns allowing friends (and rivals) to go head-to-head in epic musical battles. The introduction of the live track pack and the ability to download songs through the online store kept the competition fresh and exciting, ensuring that there was always a new challenge around the corner.

Navigating Music Licensing

One of the unique challenges Guitar Hero faced was navigating the complex world of music licensing. The series’ ability to feature a wide range of songs was occasionally limited by music licensing issues, but despite these hurdles, Guitar Hero managed to secure an array of well-known songs and hidden gems alike. This effort allowed players to experience the thrill of playing along to tracks by legends like Jimi Hendrix and contemporary stars like Linkin Park, enriching the game’s musical tapestry.

Guitar Hero did more than just entertain; it introduced many players to bands and songs they might never have discovered otherwise. From the heavy riffs of Black Label Society to the punk energy of the Sex Pistols, the game served as a gateway to all corners of the music world. It wasn’t uncommon for players to find themselves diving into music catalogs of featured artists, expanding their musical tastes thanks to the game.

Moreover, Guitar Hero’s influence extended beyond gaming, impacting players’ interest in learning real instruments. The game sparked a surge in guitar sales and inspired many to take up music lessons, proving that video games could have a tangible effect on music education and appreciation.

A Legacy That Rocks On

A man listening to music on his headphones and playing "air guitar"

As we look back on the Guitar Hero series, it’s clear that its legacy is not just about the notes hit or the scores achieved, but about the moments shared, the music discovered, and the community that grew around it. Guitar Hero proved that video games could bridge the gap between gaming and music, creating a unique experience that resonated with millions around the world.

Whether you were aiming to complete easier gigs to unlock that next challenging track or diving into the full album pack to master every song by your favorite band, Guitar Hero offered something for everyone. It wasn’t just about playing music; it was about living out your rock star dreams from the comfort of your living room.

So, here’s to Guitar Hero — to all the late nights, the broken strum bars, the discovered bands, and the friendships forged through music. Whether you’re a seasoned player reminiscing about the glory days or a newcomer curious about the hype, Guitar Hero’s songs continue to echo, reminding us of the power of music and the unending joy of rocking out, one note at a time.