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5 Songs That Owe Their Popularity to Video Games

These tracks should thank video games for bringing out a whole new audience.

There are plenty of songs we know because they were in movies we love, but what about songs that we know from our favorite video games?  Lots of songs have been made famous because they were featured in notable video games. 

Here are 5 noteworthy songs that either hit the Billboard charts or made a resurgence after being featured in a game or game trailer. 

Rhythm and musical games will not be included, as songs are the main feature in those games. Songs from the Grand Theft Auto games will be also be excluded, as those titles tend to have many songs playing on the radio station. 

That said, here are a few songs that made it big thanks to gaming -- in no particular order.

"The Sound of Silence" -- Disturbed

Originally done by Simon and Garfunkel in the 60's, "The Sound of Silence" has been covered many times. But Disturbed took the cake with a stunning cover of it in 2015 that got praise from Paul Simon himself. After it was featured in the Gears of War 4 "Tomorrow" trailer, it rushed into the Billboard Top 100 and hit #1 on both the Hard Rock and Mainstream Rock Billboard charts.

Paint It Black -- The Rolling Stones

One of the most famous Rolling Stones songs, "Paint It Black" originally released in 1966 as a single and reached #1 in the US Billboard Hot 100. It later became the opening song for the 'Aftermath' album.

This song has been in several games and movies, but the the first time it was used in a game was Twisted Metal: Black for the Sony PlayStation 2 back in 2001. This led even more usage of the song in the years to follow, and an accompanying resurgence in the song's popularity with a younger audience. 

"Ride of the Valkyries" -- Robert Wagner

This classic German opera composition by Robert Wagner, written in 1851, is often associated with the Vietnam war helicopters. This is largely in thanks to the movie Apocalypse Now, which used the instrumental version of the song.

The relevant scene in that movie could be (and often was) recreated in the PC game Battlefield Vietnam. It also happens to be the quick march for the British Parachute Regiment in the game.

"I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" -- The Ink Spots

Probably almost entirely forgotten by today's generation of gamers, "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" was written and performed by The Ink Spots back in the 40's.

The group responsible for the song was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in '89, but the song was all but forgotten until Fallout 4 brought it back to the limelight, along with many other old jazz tunes. You might recognize it from one of many trailers for the game.

"Sympathy for the Devil" -- The Rolling Stones

Another Rolling Stones hit from their 'Beggar's Banquet' album, "Sympathy for the Devil" also made a resurgence, thanks to video games.

This time Call of Duty: Black Ops featured the song. It also appears in the game as a reward for defeating the manikins in the multiplayer map 'Nuke Town.'  Its timing in the game closely parallels the gameplay of Battlefield Vietnam.

Video games will continue to introduce new and old music alike to gamers of all generations. As gaming becomes more and more prevalent in popular culture, it will bring even more songs into the limelight that may not have made it there otherwise. So keep that volume up and make sure your game music is turned on!

Published Oct. 28th 2016

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