Band Games: MIA Artists and Songs


posted 10/10/2008 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
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Shortly after E3 when Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero World Tour were formally introduced, I started thinking about all of the possibilities that the two games offered in terms of Artists and Songs.  At that point, I realized that there are scores of great artists and songs that simply have not found there way into any band games.  So about a month ago, I started compiling the list of these artists and songs that in my opinion would be fantastic additions to either game (I deliberately left out Konami’s Rock Revolution as it is still just a red-headed step child until proven otherwise.)  There have been many revisions, as announcements of DLC have been rolling in, but below are the artists and songs that made the final for this piece.  The list is lengthy and contains some good stuff, so it is segmented into four distinct time frames, including 1979 and prior, 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s.  The artists I chose are placed in the era that I felt best represented their becoming prominent or the time of their best success.

Each artist on the list is broken out to include their name, the album I feel best represents that group and any signature songs (not necessarily from the album of choice) that would be fantastic to play solo or as a group.  This is by no means a comprehensive list, and does lean toward the more popular songs.  Feel free to leave a reply with your own personal choices that would be great additions…..

1979 and Prior

Artist: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Beatles
The Skinny: This will probably never happen and is just wishful thinking on my part.  I don’t even have to explain these choices, but I felt the need to get it out of the way because we all want them, but it probably wont be in our lifetime.

Artist: Styx
Album of choice: Classics Vol. 15
Signature Songs: ‘Renegade’, ‘Crystal Ball’, ‘Blue Collar Man’, ‘Come Sail Away’
The Skinny: Styx is one of those Super Groups from the last couple of decades whose music is still renowned when it hits the radio.  While the music may not be the most challenging for hardcore players, the vocals would be out of site trying to keep up with the set of pipes that Dennis DeYoung routinely flashes.  This is a personal favorite band of mine and I still crank up their songs when they come on the radio.

Artist: Queen
Album of choice: A Kind of Magic
Signature Songs: ‘Another one Bites the Dust, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Under Pressure’, ‘One Vision’
The Skinny: With all the gifts that Britain has sent across the pond, Queen may be the best of them all, as they are one of the greatest bands that ever played.  Freddy Mercury may have the best vocal range of any singer we are discussing and the elaborate guitar and drum lines would make for some fun playing.  Queen touched on all types of music, so there is something for everyone if they ever make it into the games.  Not to mention, we all want to don our Wayne and Garth wigs and rock out to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’


Artist: The Eagles
Album of choice: Hotel California
Signature Songs: ‘Hotel California’, ‘Desperado’, ‘Heartache Tonight’
The Skinny: The Eagles songs lean heavily on the vocals and harmonization, but they also have some great guitar and Bass lines from the group of Walsh, Frey, Meisner, Schmit and Felder.  Couple that with the drums of Don Henley and you have another former “Super Group” that people would love to play the hell out of at parties or on their own.  At this time, ‘Hotel California’ has been confirmed as a song on GHWT set list.

Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Album of choice: Rumors
Signature Songs: ‘The Chain’, ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘Go Your Own Way’
The Skinny: With vocals from the likes of Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie during one of their most prosperous periods, Fleetwood Mac is ideally suited for Rock Band or GHWT to please any type of singer.  They have several mega hits and many other songs that are pleasing to play and listen to.  As of this time, ‘Go Your Own Way’ has been confirmed for both RB2 and GHWT.

Artist: The Doors
Album of choice: Greatest Hits
Signature Songs: ‘Light My Fire’, ‘Riders on the Storm’, ‘Love Her Madly’
The Skinny: Another band that has only a single song included in the Band games so far, as ‘Love Me Two Times’ will be part of the set list upon the release of GHWT.  There is just so much brilliance from the band, not the least of which would be singing the great Jim Morrison.  Also, this is another group that could feature a keyboard inspired peripheral for future playback.


Artist: Supertramp
Era: 1970’s
Album of choice: Supertramp - The Very Best Of
Signature Songs: ‘The Logical Song’, ‘Take the Long Way Home’
The Skinny: Supertramp produced so many hits that would be fun to play and are all catchy as hell.  Rick Davies has a unique voice and coupled with the song lyrics, would make for a great vocal challenge.  Another group that is just begging for a Piano inspired instrument….

Artist: Rolling Stones
Album of choice: All of them?
Signature Songs: ‘Paint it Black’, ‘Satisfaction’, ‘Jumpin Jack Flash’
The Skinny: Another super group with so many songs spanning so many decades.  The Stones have shown up in Guitar Hero and SingStar, so why not the Heavyweights of the genre?  Bring it on Activision and Harmonix, people will buy these songs like hot cakes.  As of this writing, the Stones ‘Gimme Shelter’ from Rock Band is the only song included in either of the games.


Artist: Elvis
Signature Songs: ‘Don’t Be Cruel’, ‘Jailhouse Rock’, ‘Viva Las Vegas’, ‘Hound Dog’
The Skinny: I mean c’mon, it’s the flipping KING baby!  This may be the hardest of all artists to get into these games with acquiring the rights, but with a catalog that is loaded with some of the original Rock songs, this is an opportunity that simply cannot be wasted.

Artist: Steve Miller Band
Album of choice: Greatest Hits 1974-1978
Signature Songs: ‘The Joker’, ‘Fly like an Eagle’, ‘Jet Airliner’, ‘Take the money and Run’
The Skinny: Yes!  The ultimate classic rock band every college student gets introduced to.  The songs are cool, fun to play and cater to both the young and middle age enthusiasts.  More personal favorites that I hope to see expanded with DLC.  At launch, the Steve Miller Band has ‘The Joker’ on the GHWT and ‘Rock'n Me’ in RB2 in the set lists of the games.

Finally, here is a list of 15 individual songs from the 1970’s and earlier I would like to see hit one of the games.  Again, not comprehensive, but stuff I would like to play:

Peter Frampton – Baby, I Love Your Way (1975)
Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London (1978)
The Byrds – Turn, Turn, Turn! (1962)
Cream – White Room (1968)
Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit (1966)
Kiss – God Gave Rock and Roll to You (1973)
The Who – Love Reign O’er Me (1973)
Steppenwolf - Born To Be Wild (1968)
Jimi Hendrix - All Along the Watchtower (1967)
Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode (1958)
The Troggs – Wild Thing (1966)
The Yardbirds – For Your Love (1965)
The Kinsmen - Louie Louie (1963)
Derek and the Dominos - Layla (1970)
Blue Oyster Cult – Godzilla (1977)

The 1980s were filled with metal, rock and glam everywhere you looked.  It also happens to be the largest untapped market for Band games such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero World Tour.  So many great artists became prominent in this era, and many also disappeared as quickly as they became household names.  Again, this is not a comprehensive list and is based largely on the music that influenced me through the years.  

Artist: Van Halen, Def Leppard, Motley Crüe and Guns n Roses
The Skinny: All of these bands have been confirmed as appearing in some form in either Rock Band or GHWT.  However, the classic hits and songs that made them great is what I would like to see.  We will have to wait, but get me some Hysteria, 1984 or Appetite for Destruction out there and I will be a happy camper.

Def Leppard

Artist: Bruce Springsteen/John Cougar Mellencamp
Album of choice: Born in the USA/American Fool
Signature Songs: ‘Born in the USA’/’Rain on the Scarecrow’, ‘Small Town’
The Skinny: Where in the heck are two ICONS of American rock?  Two of the greatest rock singer-songwriters of our generation don’t even get a sniff into the band games.  I can easily click off hit after hit from both performers.  Heavy on the vocals and the guitar work, I know I would have fun playing these songs, so let’s see if we can get some love from Harmonix and MTV to try and steer some of these goodies our way?

Artist: ZZ Top
Album of choice: Eliminator
Signature Songs: ‘Legs’, ‘Gimme all Your Lovin’, ‘Tush’
The Skinny: Despite spanning four decades, the 1980’s defined ZZ Top with a string of Top 10 albums highlighted by the 10x Platinum selling Eliminator.  Their Southern Rock, multiple hits and signature beards make them a must-have for any band game.  The door has already been opened as ‘La Grange’ is playable song in Guitar Hero III.  Now let’s see some of their other songs make the jump.

Artist: U2
Album of choice: Joshua Tree
Signature Songs: ‘Beautiful Day’, ‘Vertigo’, ‘One’, ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’
The Skinny: I’m not sure why U2 isn’t in any of the games, as they have won more Grammy’s than any other band and have one of the best selling catalogs of all time.  The possibilities are limitless, but it probably boils down to money or one of the band members not willing to agree to license the songs.  Regardless, this is another one of those artists that Red Octane and Harmonix need to put a full-court-press on to get involved in the games.

Artist: Huey Lewis and the News
Album of choice: Sports
Signature Songs: ‘The Power of Love’, I Want a new Drug’, ‘The Heart of Rock & Roll’
The Skinny: Yeah, so what?  Huey Lewis and the News were a bit “soft’ for a rock band, but they still pumped out plenty of great songs whether anyone will admit to it or not.  I’ve seen worse come across the Rock Band store plenty of times….

Artist: The Bangles
Album of choice: Different Light
Signature Songs: ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’, ‘Hazy Shade of Winter’, ‘Manic Monday’
The Skinny: If there is one thing missing from Rock Band, it is artists with a female lead.  The Bangles could help fill that void with their collection of radio hits and quality songs.  They recoded a vast range of songs types, and who wasn’t in love with Susanna Hoffs?  Even at age 49 she is still a babe.

Artist: Tears for Fears
Album of choice: ‘Songs from the Big Chair’
Signature Songs: ‘Shout’, ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’
The Skinny: One of the biggest acts of the 1980’s (especially across the pond with two #1 and one #2 albums) produced a bit of a mellow sound that was influenced by new wave and punk.  They had many hits in the UK, but their 1985 album “Songs from the Big Chair” spawned several Billboard Hot 100 #1 songs.  Another one of those guilty pleasures that is better than much quite of bit of the content we have seen to date.
Artist: Cinderella
Album of choice: Long Cold Winter
Signature Songs: ‘Bad Seamstress Blues /Fallin' Apart at the Seams’, ‘Nobody’s Fool’, ‘Gypsy Road’
The Skinny: Most people under 25 probably have never even heard of Cinderella, but they were one of the best hair bands of the 1980's.  Long Cold Winter was an album that sucked you in and demanded you play it over and over until you knew the songs by heart.  I personally went through three cassette tapes of it and still love it to this day.  Night Songs also produced some good music including ‘Nobody’s Fool’.  The challenge to playing their music is the up and down tempo and trying to match Tom Kiefer’s vocals.


Artist: Queensrÿche
Album of choice: Empire
Signature Songs: ‘Real World’, ‘Silent Lucidity’, ‘Best I Can’
The Skinny: Queensrÿche was one of the best bands of the 1908’s both in studio and live.  Things slipped a bit in the late 1990s, but Operation: Mindcrime and Empire are some of my all-time favorite albums filled with music that is edgy as it is catchy.   Although “Empire” is loaded with radio hits, my personal favorite single is ‘Real World’, found only on the “Last Action Hero” Soundtrack.  I use this as a test song for any audio devices I am reviewing for GamingNexus due to its unique composition and how the music evolves from start to finish.  Of any of their singles, this would be the one I most desire to have.

Artist: Whitesnake and Coverdale/Page
Album of choice: Whitesnake, Coverdale/Page
Signature Songs: ‘Here I go”, ‘Still of The Night’, ‘Is this Love’, ‘Pride and Joy’
The Skinny: With power ballads galore and some heavy Led Zeppelin influence, Whitesnake finally cracked the US charts with success in the late 1980s.  The self-titled 1987 album spawned no fewer than three top hits that allow both instrumentals and vocalists to play some classic songs.  The 1993 album Coverdale/Page put out also had several band game worthy titles, including ‘Pride and Joy’.  This one has a little guilty pleasure for me, as I was a huge fan of Whitesnake (loved Tawny Kitaen!) and the one-album Coverdale/Page collaboration.

Artist: Heart
Album of choice: Heart
Signature Songs: ‘Barracuda’, ‘Never’, ‘These Dreams’
The Skinny: Another all-girl band that would be a great addition to the band games.  Ann and Nancy Wilson were the consummate Rock queens and had multiple top radio hits over the years including four from the 1985 Album “Heart.”  Previously, Heart has had songs appear in the Guitar Hero series, with ‘Barracuda’ in GH III and Crazy on You ion Guitar Hero II, so jumping to the band games shouldn’t be much of a stretch.

Finally, here is a list of 15 individual songs from the 1980’s I would like to see hit one of the games.  Again, not comprehensive, but stuff I would like to play:
Dio – Holy Diver (1983)
Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart (1983)
Grateful Dead – Touch of Grey (1987)
Jane's Addiction – Been Caught Stealing (1989)
Quiet Riot - Cum on Feel the Noize (1982)
Squeeze – Tempted (1980)
The Clash – Rock the Casbah (1982)
Talking Heads – Burning Down the House (1983)
Run-D.M.C. – Walk This Way (1986)
The B-52s – Love Shack (1989)
J. Geils Band – Centerfold (1981)
Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69 (1984)
The Go-Go’s – Vacation (1982)
Twisted Sister – Were not Gonna Take It (1984)
Europe – The Final Countdown (1985)
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