Best Guitar Hero Songs

There’s no greater way to spend an evening with friends than busting out the game system and competing amongst each other with a Guitar Hero song or two. The million-dollar question is, and always has been, what are the best Guitar Hero songs?

Higher Ground by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Higher Ground by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Song Year: 1989

Red Hot Chili Peppers have had many hits throughout the years. 1989 was especially good for them with the release of their album Mother’s Milk. One of the top songs from this album, Higher Ground, later made its way to Guitar Hero fam.

This song is a remake of a Stevie Wonder original. The overarching theme of this tune is to continuously work towards being a better person. With a great beat and fun guitar breaks, it was an excellent choice for the Guitar Hero series.

Dead by My Chemical Romance

Song Year: 2006

The album The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance saw a lot of hit songs that are still popular many years later. One of them to make it onto the Guitar Hero franchise was Dead from that same album.

The entire The Black Parade album was one long story of a specific character. This song, in particular, referenced the death of that individual. Among all of the songs available on Guitar Hero, this one is often on repeat.

Helicopter by Bloc Party

Song Year: 2005

Another top contributor to Guitar Hero jams was this hit song off the Silent Alarm album by Bloc Party. You can find this gem on Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. The song details the lead singer’s struggle with Westernized culture and how he used to idolize it as a young boy.

The lyrics continue to talk about how he realizes now that it isn’t as great as he once thought. However, being that it is the life he wanted, where does he go from here?

One by Metallica

Song Year: 1988

Every big franchise needs at least one Metallica hit, and Guitar Hero is no exception. On Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, you will find this song from the band’s album …..And Justice For All. This tune has won many awards since its release, including a Grammy.

One has lyrics that talk about being against the war. In it, a soldier who is fighting during World War I loses his limbs and jaw and is unable to speak or walk.

Through the Fire and Flames by Dragonforce

Song Year: 2005

When gaming fans found out that this song by Dragonforce was set to be part of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, there was much excitement to be had. That was until they discovered the intense level of difficulty associated with it and saw how hard it was to beat.

The song talks about the importance of overcoming the obstacles that are put in front of you. Even when times can feel tough, it’s imperative to push forward.

The Kill by 30 Seconds To Mars

Song Year: 2005

The Guitar Hero World Tour game featured this song from the band’s A Beautiful Lie album. Its inclusion in the game quickly sparked the band’s popularity even higher than it already was.

When you listen to the lyrics, it can be easy to resonate with what the song says. As the artist breaks down their personal struggles, it’s challenging not to put yourself in the same position.

In My Place by Coldplay

Song Year: 2002

From the Guitar Hero 5 game comes this song from the Coldplay album A Rush of Blood to the Head. All of the band members came together to write this song, which is one of the most popular options in the famous game.

In this song, the lead singer talks about being in love with a girl who doesn’t have the same feelings in return. The emotions connected to that are confusing and sad, as portrayed in the song.

Feel So Close by Calvin Harris

Song Year: 2011

When this song made it onto Guitar Hero Live, fans of the gaming franchise were stoked. While the song differs from the other music comprising the game, it’s a welcome addition that fans adore.

As a song that depicts the ultimate emotions of love, Feel So Close talks about the physical and emotional level of closeness that a couple attains over time.

The Wire by Haim

Song Year: 2013

As one of the most challenging songs on Guitar Hero Live, this song from Haim’s album Days Are Gone can be incredibly frustrating but also wonderful to listen to repeatedly as you work to conquer the notes.

This hit song has influence from many different genres of music and speaks to the complicated aspects of relationships and how to navigate them in the right way.

Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand

Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand

Song Year: 2004

This hit song took the world by storm and won several awards, including a Grammy for Best Music Video. Due to its success, you can find it on the original Guitar Hero game. The resurgence of the hit on the game sent the song back up in popularity.

The lyrics bring together the premise of love in a relationship and that of being taken out by a sniper. At times, you just want things to end to stop the anguish, or someone pulls the plug for you.

Sweet Child o’ Mine by Guns N Roses

Song Year: 1987

Although this song was released in the 80s, it was a no-brainer when it came time to pick songs for the Guitar Hero game. Featured in the version of Guitar Hero II, this song gets everyone in the room pumped and ready to play.

Lead singer Axl Rose wrote this song about his wife and the problems they had in their relationship. While the marriage was ultimately annulled, the song went on to see very high levels of success.

Reptilia by The Strokes

Song Year: 2003

Another Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock addition is this top-rated song from The Strokes album Room on Fire. As an alternative and indie band, this song was perfect to include in the game and is one of the most played rounds.

On the unfortunate side, the song details a terrible break-up in which the guy cares more about the girl than she does for him. 

When We Were Young by The Killers

Song Year: 2006

It’s safe to say that the majority of the best Guitar Hero songs came from the Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock edition. This song by The Killers comes in slow but grows more complex the more you get into the beat.

The meaning behind this tune, written by the entire band, is about going forward in life and leaving the past where it belongs. There is no need to dwell on what could have been when so much awaits you going forward.

Everlong by The Foo Fighters

Song Year: 1997

It’s always a blast when a Foo Fighters song comes on and including this song in the Guitar Hero: World Tour game brings a lot of happiness to the band’s fans. From their album The Colour and the Shape, this song has been the recipient of many awards since its release.

The meaning of the song goes back to the lead singer. He wrote the song about the feelings of being in a relationship where you mesh in every way.

Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon

Song Year: 2008

This song, which you can find on Guitar Hero 5, comes from the band’s album Only By the Night. It’s no surprise that the song revolves around sexual activities. The overarching theme is the remembrance of sex that was so good you’ll never forget it.

Since being released in 2008, the song has won several awards, including a Grammy for Best Rock Performance By a Duo.

Counting Stars by OneRepublic

Counting Stars by OneRepublic

Song Year: 2013

You may initially think that this will be an easy, light song to learn on the Guitar Hero Live game. However, once you get started, you will realize that the guitar segments are much more challenging than you thought.

The message behind the song is inspirational to listeners. In it, the lead singer recalls lying in bed at night stressing about money. The thought popped into his head that he can’t wait for the day when he’s not counting money but instead can be counting stars.

Sing by Ed Sheeran

Song Year: 2014

The trick to this song, which you can find on Guitar Hero Live, is that it has periods of light strumming followed by times of intense guitar beats. Even the most seasoned players will find themselves struggling at times.

This song highlights an actual situation in Sheeran’s life when he hooked up with a girl in Las Vegas, and the encounter ended badly.

Surrender by Cheap Trick

Song Year: 1978

On Guitar Hero II, you will find this 1978 classic from Cheap Trick’s album Heaven Tonight. This war-inspired tune talks about a person who is fascinated with a girl his mother disapproves of but whom he wants to give a chance.

As a classic rock song, this tune is filled with great guitar segments to play along on during the game. For an extra challenge, bump it up to expert!

Shout at the Devil by Motley Crue

Song Year: 1983

Another Guitar Hero II hit is this incredible piece of music from Motley Crue’s album of the same name. When this song was released in the 80s, it faced a lot of criticism due to the lyrics and the album cover, which many felt was satanic.

However, many have come to the realization that the song was actually going in the opposite direction and telling the devil what he was deserving of, which is nothing.

You Really Got Me by Van Halen

Song Year: 1978

This hit song, which people around the world still recognize today, was from the band’s self-titled debut album. Many years later, it found its way onto Guitar Hero II and reached a whole new population of music enthusiasts.

When playing this song, there are places where the guitar elements get really complicated, catching people off guard. However, the challenge is what makes it fun!

Message In a Bottle by The Police

Song Year: 1979

You won’t miss out on this song when playing Guitar Hero II. This hit from the band’s album Regatta de Blanc is a unique blend of rock and reggae, which proves quite tricky when you’re learning the guitar.

The lyrics of this song resonate with a lot of people in that the lead singer is expressing the feelings of loneliness he is experiencing and how he feels a need to send a message in a bottle to get help from someone.

Can’t You Hear Me Knocking? by The Rolling Stones

Song Year: 1971

The Rolling Stones have had no trouble turning out hit after hit throughout the years. This song from their album Sticky Fingers later turned up on Guitar Hero II. Like any Rolling Stones song, this one has some complicated guitar sections that will take some practice to move past.

In addition to being challenging, the original version of this song is over seven minutes long! Thankfully, it is trimmed down for the game.

Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine

Song Year: 1992

Rage Against the Machine has always been known for its explosive music, and becoming a song choice on Guitar Hero was a surprise due to its strong lyrics. However, the tune became an instant hit on the platform by people of all ages.

The questionable lyrics come from the fact that the song discusses police brutality and unethical behavior that comes from those in power.

Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Song Year: 1973

You may hear this song everywhere, including its neverending rotation on the radio. However, another place you will have it is Guitar Hero. In the game, you will find yourself immersed in the guitar segments as you learn to be a member of the band.

The meaning of this song is to remind people that you are free to go wherever you choose and be who you want to be.

The Seeker by The Who

The Seeker by The Who

Song Year: 1971

Would Guitar Hero really be the conglomerate of music it is without a song by The Who? Thankfully, we won’t ever have to know, thanks partly to it being included in Guitar Hero III.

Coming off of the group’s album Meaty, Beaty, Big, and Bouncy, the song talks about a person who is so unhappy in their own life that they make the lives of those around them worse.

Ace of Spades by Motorhead

Song Year: 1980

This rock song is deserving of its spot on the Guitar Hero franchise. In fact, the tune is so popular it appears in more than one of the games. It’s safe to say that certain parts of the song are challenging, which makes it both frustrating and fun.

The song’s lyrics speak to the vulnerability that comes with gambling, with the abrupt potential of losing everything or nothing at all.

Raining Blood by Slayer

Song Year: 1986

You can find this hit song by Slayer on Guitar Hero III. Coming from the band’s album of a similar-sounding title, Reign in Blood, the song has some heavy lyrics that lend themselves well to the many guitar segments.

When you get into the song’s meaning, it’s about an individual seeking revenge and the catastrophic means he takes to get it.

Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band

Song Year: 1979

While this song by The Charlie Daniels Band is highly popular for its solid croon and fun lyrics, it is brutal to play on Guitar Hero. Once you get into the solos, you will wonder why you ever liked the song, to begin with.

You can find this hit on Guitar Hero III. Just stretch out your fingers before playing!

Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana

Song Year: 1993

From the band’s album In Utero comes this top-notch song that later received its place in Guitar Hero fame. You can find it on Guitar Hero II, where you can spend time learning to play the jam yourself.

While musician Kurt Cobain claimed the song was inspired by children suffering from cancer, it was later discovered that the lyrics actually spoke to his wife, Courtney Love, and her nether regions.

Cherry Pie by Warrant

Song Year: 1990

This classic rock song by Warrant, released on an album of the same name, is the summertime anthem we have all grown to know and love. Therefore, it’s only fitting that it has a place of honor on Guitar Hero II.

While you may think the tracks are difficult to accomplish, players are often surprised at how easy it is to play the song.

Carry Me Home by The Living End

Carry Me Home by The Living End

Song Year: 2000

This indie rock band may be newer to the music scene than some of the classics on this list, but they are just as deserving of their Guitar Hero nod. You’ll find their song from the album Roll On listed on the tracks for Guitar Hero II.

Be prepared before you go in for the play, though. Those who have attempted it say that the most complicated parts are right at the song’s beginning.

Top Guitar Hero Songs, Final Thoughts

Everyone who has played one of the games knows that a Guitar Hero song can quickly get stuck in your head. When that happens, you want to repeatedly play that selection to hear it again. This guide highlights the best Guitar Hero songs on the various game versions for your reference.

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