October 13, 2011

Guitar Hero II Songs: Where Are They Now?

A few months ago I looked back on the original Guitar Hero songs. Only seven tracks were totally MIA.

But what about Guitar Hero II? This was a huge sequel, with so many improvements over the legendary original:

  • Far better competitive two player modes. It’s easy to forget, but multiplayer in Guitar Hero was a tacked-on affair, offering only the oddball “you play a section, then I play a section” tug-of-war multiplayer mode.
  • Cooperative two player mode with bass/guitar and lead/rhythm tracks depending on the song.
  • A significantly larger on-disc tracklist, going from 30 core songs to 40 (48 on Xbox).
  • A few of the songs were original masters, predicting the wholesale switch to all masters later.
  • After a few months, finally available for the first time on a next-gen console as well as the original Playstation 2.

As far as I’m concerned, the “II” in the title stood for the best two player guitar game ever!

The Guitar Hero II soundtrack was killer, too. But it also predates reusable DLC song libraries by two years. So short of booting up the original game on a Playstation 2 or Xbox 360 — how can we experience these 48 classic tracks in a modern rhythm game? Let’s see:

Song Available in …
Surrender – Cheap Trick Rock Band DLC
Possum Kingdom – The Toadies none
Heart Shaped Box – Nirvana Rock Band DLC, Guitar Hero Smash Hits*
Salvation – Rancid none
Strutter – Kiss Rock Band DLC
Shout at the Devil – Mötley Crüe Guitar Hero Smash Hits*
Mother – Danzig Guitar Hero: Smash Hits
Life Wasted – Pearl Jam none
Cherry Pie – Warrant Guitar Hero: Smash Hits
Woman – Wolfmother Rock Band DLC, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits*
You Really Got Me – Van Halen Guitar Hero: Van Halen
Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight – Spinal Tap Rock Band DLC
Carry On Wayward Son – Kansas Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits
Search and Destroy – Iggy Pop and the Stooges none
Message in a Bottle – The Police Rock Band DLC, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits*
Billion Dollar Babies – Alice Cooper Rock Band DLC
Them Bones – Alice in Chains Guitar Hero: Smash Hits
War Pigs – Black Sabbath Rock Band DLC
Monkey Wrench – Foo Fighters Rock Band DLC, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits*
Hush – Deep Purple none
Girlfriend – Matthew Sweet none
Who Was in My Room Last Night? – Butthole Surfers none
Can’t You Hear Me Knockin – Rolling Stones none
Sweet Child o’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses none
Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo – Rick Derringer none
Tattooed Love Boys – The Pretenders none
John the Fisherman – Primus none
Jessica – The Allman Brothers Band none
Bad Reputation – Thin Lizzy none
Last Child – Aerosmith none
Crazy on You – Heart none
Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart – Stone Temple Pilots Rock Band DLC, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits
Dead! – My Chemical Romance none
Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine Guitar Hero: Smash Hits
Freya – The Sword Guitar Hero: Smash Hits*
Stop! – Jane’s Addiction Guitar Hero: Smash Hits
Madhouse – Anthrax Rock Band DLC
The Trooper – Iron Maiden Rock Band DLC, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits*
Rock This Town – Stray Cats none
Laid to Rest – Lamb of God Rock Band DLC, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits
Psychobilly Freakout – Reverend Horton Heat Guitar Hero: Smash Hits
YYZ – Rush Rock Band DLC, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits*
Beast and the Harlot – Avenged Sevenfold Rock Band 3, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits
Carry Me Home – The Living End none
Institutionalized – Suicidal Tendencies none
Misirlou – Dick Dale none
Hangar 18 – Megadeth Rock Band DLC, Guitar Hero DLC
Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd Rock Band 3, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits*

(* indicates the song is exportable to be used as DLC in current Guitar Hero games. All Rock Band songs are exportable with very rare exceptions.)

By my count, out of the original 48 songs in Guitar Hero II, that’s …

21 songs only playable by booting up Guitar Hero II
18 songs playable in Rock Band 3
20 songs playable in a Guitar Hero game

For reference, the complete library of songs are officially listed for each game here:

Unfortunately, the tale of the tape in this case is rather woeful — 43% of the Guitar Hero II tracklist is only playable in the original game. Here’s hoping we get a few more of these classic tracks as DLC in the future!

Possum Kingdom was a huge fave that people I played with had never heard before GH2. Would love to be able to rock it out with a full instrument set! Search and Destroy and Girlfriend would be fun too.

I forgot how great GH2 was, thanks!

October 14, 2011 at 7:48 am

What about the songs from the Guitar Hero II bonus tour?

I actually don’t think it’s that big of a deal that these songs can’t be played in a modern GH or RB game. At least they can be played on a modern console, (the Xbox 360.) Therefore, one only needs to swap discs in order to play these songs, (unless your console of choice is PS3 or Wii, that is.) The same cannot be said of Guitar Hero I or Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the ’80s, in which case you must use a PS2 in order to play the missing songs. Speaking of which, do you have any plans on doing a “Where Are They Now” for GH:80s?

October 23, 2011 at 9:29 am

Fair point BG, but I think part of the attraction is building a big reusable song library.

Man, I’d love it if the Guitar Hero franchise and Rock Band combined their work to produce a song library that works in either series of games. It’ll never happen of course (particularly since keys, harmonies, and pro guitar are now unique to Rock Band), but always nice to dream..

Jeff Atwood
October 23, 2011 at 9:39 am

You missed some stuff. Hanger 18 is Guitar Hero 5 DLC, Woman- Wolfmother is in Guitar Hero Smash Hits and is exportable, Free Bird- Lynyrd Skynyrd is on Guitar Hero Smash Hits and is exportable.

March 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm

@DQ Awesome, thanks for the pointer, I updated the post!

Jeff Atwood
March 10, 2012 at 4:03 am

What about the purchase songs from the bonus section, like Buckethead’s Jordan?

May 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Agreed that this list should’ve covered the bonus materials too. The two best songs in the game were in the bonus section!
“Prayer Of The Refugee” by Rise Against
“The Light That Blinds” by Shadows Fall

POTR is now DLC for RB, and I think is available in GH. But, sadly, “The Light That Blinds” has never seen re-appeared.

July 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm

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