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Band Games: MIA Artists and Songs

Band Games: MIA Artists and Songs

Written by Dan Keener on 10/10/2008 for PS2   PS3   Wii   360  
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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)1990’s
This is a tough decade for me to choose from as I listened to a lot of music during my college years that influenced me.  It also marked the introduction of Grunge to the mainstream and spawned some of the biggest bands of all time.  It also is a decade that has been picked over to a degree with the existing songs that are in the games and available for download.  However, I was able to identify quite a few artists and songs that deserve the chance to be featured in the game.

Artist: Green Day
Album of choice: American Idiot
Signature Songs: ‘American Idiot’, ‘Brain Sew’, ‘Holiday’
The Skinny: Is there a bigger crime than not having any Green Day songs featured in Rock Band or GHWT?.  I can rattle off about a half-dozen songs off the top of my head I would like to play right now including numerous songs from three different albums.  These guys rock the house, and their music needs to be in one of the games.

Artist: Damn Yankees
Album of choice: Damn Yankees
Signature Songs: ‘High Enough’, ‘Coming of Age’, ‘Where you Goin’ Now’
The Skinny: Who wouldn’t want to play songs from a the group of rock gods including Jack Blades (Night Ranger), Tommy Shaw (Styx) and Ted Nugent?  So what if the songs sounded a little light an fluffy, they were catchy and featured great instrument play.  Unfortunately, there were only two albums recorded prior to the group splitting apart.

damn yankees

Artist: Pearl Jam
Album of choice: Ten
Signature Songs: Jeremy, Yellow Ledbetter
The Skinny: Ultimately crowned the kings of grunge (had Kurt Cobaine not taken his life) Pearl Jam has been putting out hits for years including their explosive debut album Ten.  There are so many choices of titles, it would be fairly easy to put together a full album or compilation album to make a large-scale DLC.  As of this writing, ‘Alive’ is the only song (included on the Rock Band 2 disc) for either game.

Artist: Chris Cornell
Album of choice:
Signature Songs: ‘Seasons’ (Solo), ‘Hunger Strike’ (Temple of the Dog), ‘Black Hole Sun’ (Soundgarden), ‘Like a Stone’ (Audioslave)
The Skinny: Seriously, anything this guy touches is money.  Two hits from the tribute band Temple of the Dog (collaboration with Pearl Jam members), multiple hits with Soundgarden and several great songs from Audioslave make his music desirable.  He also has some fantastic solo stuff (see the Singles soundtrack).  The music is really good, but Cornell’s vocals are the money when playing his music.  No one can sing/scream better in my opinion.

Chris Cornell

Artist: The Cranberries
Album of choice: Gold
Signature Songs: ‘Linger’, Dreams’, ‘Zombie’
The Skinny: Yet another female led band that produced several radio hits and good music.  Dolores O'Riordan had a fantastic set of pipes that would be fun to match, and the songs were varied in speed, style and type.  Adding their songs would be a nice change of pace from much of the DLC that we have seen to date, so maybe a small three-song pack may be what the good doctor ordered.

Artist: KoRn
Album of choice:
Signature Songs: ‘Freak on a Leash’, ‘Make Me Bad’
The Skinny: Although KoRn seems to have slipped into making covers recently, they make my list on the strength of their early work.    Their unique sound and songs should translate well into the games, which should satisfy both the casual and hardcore players of the games. 

Artist: Kid Rock
Album of choice: Devil Without a Cause
Signature Songs: ‘All Summer Long, ‘American Bad Ass, ‘Cowboy, ‘Bawitdaba’
The Skinny: With Kid Rock you get a little bit of everything including Hard, Southern and Country Rock and even a bit a rap.  The one constant is that his songs are pretty good, challenging and would be a great play.  Unfortunately, Kid Rock also has a thing about the commercialization of his music, hence why the hugely popular ‘All Summer Long’ and most of his discography has not shown up on any legit download service.  If he eventually decides to let his music flow from the electrons of the internet, there will be a wealth of titles to choose from.

Kid Rock
Artist: Godsmack
Album of choice: Godsmack
Signature Songs: ‘I Stand Alone’, ’Voodoo’, ‘Awake’
The Skinny: A nice blend of hard rock, metal and several radio hits to boot.  Godsmack is another band that flies below the radar, yet you instantly know their bigger songs when they come on the radio.  I would personally love to take a shot at both ‘Voodoo’ and ‘Awake’, as I think they are great songs.
Finally, here is a list of 15 individual songs from the 1990’s I would like to see hit one of the games.  Again, not comprehensive, but stuff I would like to play:
Beck – Loser (1993)
Incubus – Pardon Me (1999)
Metallica – Hero of The Day (1995)
Megadeath – Symphony of Destruction (1992)
Megadeath – Angry Again (1993)
Dio – Holy Diver (1983)
Bush – Everything Zen (1994)
4 Non Blondes – What’s Up? (1992)
Stone Temple Pilots – Creep (1992)
Ugly Kid Joe – Cat’s in The Cradle (1992)
Soul Asylum – Runaway Train (1993)
Kenny Wayne Shepard – Blue On Black (1998)
Rage Against the Machine - Guerrilla Radio (1999)
White Zombie - More Human Than Human (1995)
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication (1999)

Music that emanated since 2000 has been quite a mixed bag, with several different types of sounds.  We have seen some of these really good songs and artists already find their way into RB and GHWT, but there are still quite a few that haven’t even been mentioned at all.  So here is the list of artists and songs from the 2000’s I would like to see in the game.

Artist: Puddle of Mud
Album of choice:
Signature Songs: ‘Outside’, ‘It’s Been Awhile’, So Far Away’, ‘Psyho’, ‘Control’
The Skinny: Aaron Lewis and the band have created a nice body of work in a short amount of time.  Even though they burst on the scene in late 1999 during the Family Values Tour, they defined themselves during the early 2000’s and continue to produce today.  Their live rendition of ‘Outside’ with Fred Durst is still one of the best live songs to get radio play in my opinion.

Artist: Staind
Album of choice: Break the Cycle
Signature Songs: ‘Outside’, ‘It’s Been Awhile’, So Far Away’
The Skinny: Aaron Lewis and the band have created a nice body of work in a short amount of time.  Even though they burst on the scene in late 1999 during the Family Values Tour, they defined themselves during the early 2000’s and continue to produce today.  Their live rendition of ‘Outside’ with Fred Durst is still one of the best live songs to get radio play in my opinion.


Artist: Incubus
Album of choice: Make Yourself
Signature Songs: ‘Drive’, ‘Pardon Me’, ‘Megalomaniac’
The Skinny: Incubus is an interesting group, as many times their albums swing from nice melodic songs into sudden hard hitting metal. They have several fan-friendly radio hits in addition to some great untapped songs.

Artist: Creed
Album of choice: My Own Prison
Signature Songs: ‘My Own Prison’, ‘My Sacrifice’, ‘Higher’, ‘With Arms Wide Open’
The Skinny: So who cares if Scott Stapp is a problem child and a candyass.  The music they put out was good stuff and would be fun to sing and play.  With no less than three albums loaded with songs, I’m sure our friends at MTV/Harmonix and Red Octane/Activision can figure out how to wrest a couple away for the games.


Artist: Nickleback
Album of choice:
Signature Songs: ‘Rock Star’, ’Hero’
The Skinny: These guys seem to fly under the radar despite cranking out great songs on every album they have made.  Chad Kroeger has a very clear voice that should be fun to try and emulate in game.  The instrumentals also don’t seem overly hard on most songs, but would still be fun to play.

Artist: Audioslave
Album of choice: Audioslave
Signature Songs: ‘Like a Stone’, ’Show me How to Live’, ‘Cochise’
The Skinny: I already gave Audioslave a shout out in the Chris Cornell listing, but I felt they deserved their own slot as well.  This group of talented musicians was only together for six years and had three albums, but they managed to squeeze several radio hits and plenty of other great music onto those discs.  The music is great to play, and Cornell’s vocals should be exceptionally hard to emulate in the songs.  I see this as a big get for both Rock Band and/or Guitar Hero World Tour.

Finally, here is a list of 15 individual songs from the 2000’s I would like to see hit one of the games.  Again, not comprehensive, but stuff I would like to play:

P.O.D. – Youth of a Nation (2001)
Seether – Fake It (2006)
Linkin Park – In The End (2000)
Default – Wasting My Time (2001)
Foo Fighters – The One (2002)
Smash Mouth – I’m a Believer
Three Doors Down – When I’m Gone
Weezer – Hash Pipe (2001)
Finger Eleven – Paralyzer (2007)
Drowning Pool – Bodies (2001)
Disturbed – Land of Confusion (2005)
Santana (Ft. Chad Kroeger) - Into the Night (2007)
Three Days Grace – Home (2004)
The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army (2003)
Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out (2004)

Agree or disagree?  We want to hear from you, so post your responses or personal favorites that you would like to see in the comments…

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

About Author

Like many gamers in their 40's, I developed my love of gaming from my Commodore 64 after we wore out our Intellivision. I spent countless hours wandering around the streets of Skara Brae, as my life was immersed in The Bard's Tale series on the C-64, D&D Titles and any/all Epyx titles (California Summer and Winter Games) and sports titles.  After taking the early 90's off from gaming (college years) minus the occasional Bill Walsh College Football on Sega, I was re-introduced to PC games in the mid 1990's with a couple of little games called DOOM II and Diablo. I went all-in with the last generation of consoles, getting an Xbox 360 on launch weekend as well as adding a PS3 and Wii in subsequent years.  I now am into the current-generation (latest?) of consoles with the WiiU and Xbox One.  Recently, I was able to get back into PC gaming and have enjoyed it very much, spending most of my time going solo or playing with my fellow GamingNexus staffers in controlled multiplayer action.

While my byline is on many reviews, articles and countless news stories, I have a passion for and spent the last several years at GamingNexus focusing on audio & video and accessories as they relate to gaming. Having over 20 years of Home Theater consulting and sales under my belt, it is quite enjoyable to spend some of my time viewing gaming through the A/V perspective. While I haven't yet made it to one of the major gaming conventions (PAX or E3), I have represented GamingNexus at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in nine of the last ten years.

Personally, I have been a staff member at GamingNexus since 2006 and am in my third tour of duty after taking off the last year and a half.


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