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Awesome Music: Sonic the Hedgehog

It's no secret. Compared to the Super Nintendo, the Genesis wasn't exactly a killer in the sound department. It was fueled in part by what soundtracks really caught your ear, but for a real classic, you didn't have to look any farther than the Sega mascot.

Everyone's favorite hedgehog speedster has had quite a number of notable themes over the years which cements that, although the ride has been rocky with plenty of ups and downs, there's one thing that everyone can agree on, the music is nearly always awesome.

And you can now get a lot of this music on iTunes!

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Main Games

    Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, 3&K (Genesis/Mega Drive) 
Sonic The Hedgehog 1
  • There may be many themes people and fans associate with the Blue Blur, but the Green Hill Zone is the definitive Sonic tune. Like Mario and the very first beats of the Mushroom Kingdom, the melody of Green Hill would make sure Sonic's music stuck around just as long as his rival's.
  • Star Light Zone.
  • Spring Yard Zone.
  • The classic Robotnik boss theme.
  • Marble Zone.
  • The Scrap Brain Zone theme (especially the first part) is one of the best tracks ever written to give the impression of "prepare for insane difficulty". Notably it, along with Star Light Zone, was reused as the music on the option screens for Sonic Advance. Furthermore, Scrap Brain Zone's theme, along with Green Hill Zone's music, were both included in Super Smash Bros. Brawl's awesome soundtrack.
  • Labyrinth Zone.
  • Final Zone. The tune is more epic than the battle is.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • The Sonic 2 Final Boss Theme. Quite possibly the most epic final boss battle in the series. (Though Sonic & Knuckles' certainly gives it a run for its money.)
  • The Death Egg Zone Theme is, for a 16-bit era track, an eerie, haunting piece of genius, with an undercurrent of madness. You normally only hear a couple seconds of it as you run to the right and face Silver Sonic, but if you stand there and wait for a little while you'll start getting thoroughly creeped out. Bonus points for the top melody sounding like some sort of deranged lullaby.
  • No variant on the boss music is complete without a reference to the real boss theme. Where the original game had its own unique flavor and Sonic 3 would later aim for straight-up intensity, this is too iconic to go unmentioned.
  • Hidden Palace Zone's Beta music (a variation on the Special Stage from Sonic the Hedgehog) is really good. Listen for yourself.
    • The enhanced version for the iOS port. It's a shame that this song was never used in the iOS port in favor of Mystic Cave Zone 2-Player.
  • The Super Sonic theme in itself is almost enough incentive to get all the Chaos Emeralds. It's similar to the invincibility theme (itself a feel-good sound) but rocked up and really gets the impression of "powering up". Also, unlike the Sonic 3 version, it's not just a loop of a few seconds.
  • More or less every stage music deserves mention here:
    • With Emerald Hill, the game's soundtrack hits the ground running, the lively, upbeat music setting the stage for the fast-pace fun ahead. It also contains a Musical Nod to the Green Hill Zone theme from the previous game.
    • The strident Chemical Plant theme is ideal for the bright factory theme of the level.
    • Aquatic Ruin is energetic yet dramatic, befitting a level revolving around underwater ruins.
    • The jazzy Casino Night music really adds to the "vintage Las Vegas" feeling of the stage.
    • The "harmonica"-led music in Hill Top has a pastoral, almost bucolic atmosphere.
    • Mystic Cave starts with a bass-heavy introductory figure before leading into a tune that strikes the right blend of mystery and tension.
    • The heavily polluted Oil Ocean zone is well matched with a weighty yet eerie track.
    • Metropolis may have a simple melody, but it is incredibly catchy and infectious.
    • Sky Chase is appropriately light and ethereal for a level in which Sonic (or Tails if you're playing as him) rides on the wings of a biplane.
    • The martial music for Wing Fortress practically screams, "The final confrontation is coming up - go get 'em, Sonic!"
  • Similarly, the 2-player stage tracks hold their own against their 1-player counterparts in the awesomeness department:
  • Special Stage leads from a short fanfare to a relentlessly urgent track for the often chaotic journeys around the half-pipe stages.
  • The Two Player Results tune is a fairly happy and epic way to finish a 2 player stage.
  • The Ending Theme must be mentioned as a more than fitting a celebration for beating the game. All the more awesome that it's actually an arrangement of a song Masato Nakamura, the composer for Sonic 1 and 2, did as part of Dreams Come True.

Sonic 3 And Knuckles

    Sonic CD 
Sonic the Hedgehog CD Japan/PAL Soundtrack
  • You Can Do Anything, Little Planet, and Cosmic Eternity. The first 30 seconds could also qualify as a Tear Jerker.
  • The Boss theme, an upbeat theme that starts with a younger man and an older man laughing as if they're making fun of Robotnik for his continual defeats, getting your heart pumping as you "work that sucker to death!"
  • Palmtree Panic: the upbeat Present, the heavily-distorted Bad Future and Good Future. The Present seems good for a day at the beach, while the Good Future is fitting for an outright beach party.
  • Collision Chaos: the Ear Wormy Present and Good Future.
  • Tidal Tempest: the ever-so-ambient Present.
  • Quartz Quadrant: the catchy Present, the chaotic Bad Future, and especially the Good Future.
  • Wacky Workbench: the chaotic, fast-paced techno Present and the bright, mechanical Good Future.
  • Stardust Speedway: the funky Present, the darker Bad Future, and the much brighter, calmer, and peaceful-sounding Good Future. Note that the Bad Future music plays during the Metal Sonic race even in the Good Future.
  • Metallic Madness: The urgent Present, fitting for the final level, the you-screwed-up-big-time Bad Future complete with with sinister-sounding instead of jolly versions of the laughing men from the boss track and a robotic voice in the background saying stuff resembling anti-Sonic propaganda from Robotnik (e.g. "You can't do anything, so don't even try it," "Don't do what Sonic does," and finally, "Sonic, dead or alive, is mine"), and the a-winner-is-you Good Future that takes the instruments from the intro of the urgent present music and uses them for an upbeat background instrument.
  • Special Stage. Enough said.
  • Final Fever, when it's finally time to drive the man himself from the Little Planet once and for all.

North American Soundtrack

    Sonic Adventure series 
Sonic Adventure

Sonic Adventure 2

    Sonic Heroes 

    Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) 

    Sonic Unleashed 

    Sonic the Hedgehog 4 
Episode I

Episode II

    Sonic Colors 

    Sonic Generations 
Sonic Generations: Console Version

Nintendo 3DS Version

    Sonic Lost World 
  • The main theme, "Wonder World", is GLORIOUS.
  • The Final Boss theme. That fricking violin/guitar riff is made of pure awesomeness.
  • Sea Bottom Segue, which is the calming and so very beautiful theme to Tropical Coast Act 3/Lava Mountain Act 2.
  • The crowning jewel of Sonic Lost World's soundtrack, the insanely catchy Desert Ruins Act 2.
  • Desert Ruins Act 1 seems to be styled like a more extravagantly produced '60s surf rock number—think the popular version Dick Dale's "Misirlou", something to pump you up, with catchy, vaguely Egyptian-sounding guitar and horn riffs.
  • This variant of the Deadly Six's leitmotif is insanely catchy and awesome, and it could potentially be one of the very few video game boss themes to use a banjo throughout.
  • Sky Road 1's music seems to encapsulate the spirit of Lost World... You're on a journey through a strange, exotic, and beautiful land.
  • Silent Forest Zone 2 is perhaps the very first time a tango has appeared in a Sonic game and demonstrates that Sonic can handle ANY musical genre with mastery.
  • Dragon Dance, from Sky Road Zone 2, is a perfect song to serve as a prelude to your first fight against Zavok.
  • Honeycomb Highway, from Desert Ruins Zone 2.

Side Games & Spin-Offs

    Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (Genesis) 

    Sonic the Hedgehog 1/ 2 (Game Gear & Master System) 
Sonic The Hedgehog 1
  • Bridge Zone and Labyrinth Zone. There has been an effort to convert some of the songs into the Genesis version, so here's the same songs in that style (note that the latter uses the Sonic 3 drums).
    • The Scrap Brain & Sky Base music is great too.
    • How about the Act 2 Sky Base? Sure it loops after only about 15 seconds, but so did quite a few tunes in the Mario Universe.
  • It also helps that the soundtrack was composed by none other than Yuzo Koshiro, who did the impossible with the Genesis sound card by crafting the most epic video game soundtracks, EVER!
  • Jungle Zone is a nice song. It has a real Disney vibe to it.
  • The ending theme is one the most upbeat and happy ending tracks in the series.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • The Green Hills (yes, that's hills with an S) Zone tune from the Sega Master System version of Sonic 2. It's "Sonic ~ You Can Do Anything" from the Japan/Europe version of Sonic CD! Even better is that Sonic CD was made – or at least came out – way after the Master System version of Sonic 2, so for Sonic CD they took a tune from a (probably) lesser-known Sonic game and turned it into a song. THAT is awesome.
  • The fast-paced Master System boss theme is also very good.
  • Underground Zone from the Game Gear/Master System version (from the first stage of the game, at that) is a great track that really exemplifies the speed of the series.
  • Scrambled Egg Zone
  • Aqua Lake.
  • Bad Ending. *sniff*
  • Short, but oh so sweet, the Title Screen. If anything it sounds better than the same tune used in Sonic & Tails (a.k.a Sonic Chaos), which came out over a year later.
  • The Invincibility theme is one of the best in the series.

    Sonic Chaos 

    Sonic Triple Trouble 

    Sonic Spinball 
  • The Boss Theme tends to be overlooked but it's quite catchy!
  • Lava Powerhouse. Holy shit. Oh and the very catchy Toxic Caves, which is a great piece of music to start the first level with.
  • The options music often gets a bad rep, but it's still a great song.
    • That has largely to do (nowadays at least) with emulator issues that cause some of the synths in that tune to sound screwy. It sounds much better in the original Genesis cart (if you like that kind of music).

    Tails Adventure 

    Knuckles' Chaotix 

    Sonic Blast 
Sonic Blast
  • Red Volcano Zone has a catchy tune with a sweet hip-hop rhythm that was pulled off pretty nicely despite the limits of the Game Gear/Master System sound chip.
  • Green Hill Zone diserves mention as well. It's probably the most beautifully composed opening zone song to appear on the Game Gear.

    Sonic 3D Blast 
Genesis/Mega Drive

Saturn & PC

    Sonic R 

    Sonic Shuffle 

    Sonic the Fighters 
  • Metal Sonic's theme for this game, Never Let It Go, is one of the lesser known and more underrated themes in the franchise.
  • Lovers sets the player up for a good ol' brawl.
  • Sonic's theme for his stage, Fire Stone. A fast-paced and almost dangerous-sounding tune, perfect for a brawl on the wing of an airplane.
  • Bark's theme is an awfully smooth tune to have your tail repeatedly handed to you to. Sega apparently liked it enough to specifically pick it out for a remix sung by Takenobu Mitsuyoshi.
  • Bean's theme pretty much embodies the essence of Bean’s insanity and hyperactivity…regardless of whether or not he actually is either of those things.
  • Despite being Dummied Out in the original game alongside its associated stage and character, the salsa-esque Sunset Town still makes appearances on the official soundtrack and with rereleases, and deservedly so.
  • The game's fast paced and energetic main theme gets you pumped up and ready to take on Robotnic as soon as you start playing! Also, the remix kicks ass.
  • The character select music and its remix. Pump it!

    Sonic Advance series 
Sonic Advance

Sonic Advance 2

Sonic Advance 3

    Sonic Battle 

    Shadow the Hedgehog 

    Sonic Rush series 
Sonic Rush

Sonic Rush Adventure

    Sonic Riders series 
Sonic Riders

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity

Sonic Free Riders

General

    Storybook Series 
Sonic and the Secret Rings

Sonic and the Black Knight

    Sonic Rivals series 

    Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood 

Fan Games

    Sonic Before/After The Sequel 
Sonic Before the Sequel

First, here is a playlist of the soundtrack to Sonic Before The Sequel.

Sonic After The Sequel

Other

    General 

    Scrapped Games 
  • Designer Chris Senn was able to release concept music for the scrapped Sonic X-Treme game for the Sega Saturn. One theme, Space Queens, was posted on Youtube, and the poster had asked Senn to do an extended version of it. This was the result.
  • Sonic Crackers Options Song 1/Attraction Stage, the beta version of Electoria, Techno Tower's theme from Knuckles Chaotix. Has the "Walkin'" lobby theme mixed into the track and it sounds great.

    Fan Remixes 

    People 
  • Sonic Team has featured a fantastic set of composers throughout the years. Let's throw a few names in, shall we?
    • Jun Senoue (Crush 40 guitarist; one of the main composers from Sonic 3 onward)
    • Tomoya Ohtani (Sound director for '06 and Unleashed)
    • Kenichi Tokoi (Sound director for Colors)
    • Fumie Kumatani
    • Richard Jacques
    • Howard Drossin
    • Mariko Nanba
    • Yutaka Minobe
    • Hunnid P. If it's Knuckles, he did it.
    • Hideaki Kobayashi
  • Julien K ("This Machine", "Waking Up")
  • Bentley Jones (a.k.a Lee Brotherton) is coming out nicely, what with his soothing tunes and remixes.
  • My Chemical Romance in the City Escape trailer for Generations. Yet more proof MCR are One of Us.
    • Not to mention Kele in the original trailer.
  • Masato Nakamura, the man who gave us the original Green Hill Zone and started a franchise trend for Music of Awesome. Sonic the Hedgehog would not be the same if it weren't for his original compositions for the start of this series.
  • Just how much of Michael Jackson's work on Sonic the Hedgehog 3 made it into the final product is debated, but his influence is all over the soundtrack for the game.
  • Cash Cash should at least be mentioned for their theme for Colors, as well as their work remixing stuff for Generations. Their auto-tuney power-pop sound fits in the series quite nicely.
  • Vernian Process has done orchestral covers of all the level tracks from the first three Sonic games as well as a handful from Sonic CD. It goes without saying they're Ear Worms.
  • Zebrahead provided two versions of "His World".

    Non-Game media 
  • Robotnik's theme from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • The SATAM theme
  • Look-a-like, the theme of the Sonic OVA, which actually made it onto the True Colors album!
  • There's also Sonic X's Japanese opening, Sonic Drive.
    • The Dub's opening isn't half bad either; try Gotta Go Fast.
    • The Japanese ending is sad enough without lyrics or context. When you remember what events "Hikaru Michi" underscored, it becomes an automatic Tear Jerker.
    • The Italian opening: the lyrics are nothing special, but the dance-ish music is pretty catchy.
  • Sonic Underground's theme.
  • While admittedly goofy (they did "I'm Too Sexy", after all), the music video for the Right Said Fred song "Wonderman" contains various references to Sonic the Hedgehog. The song itself was used in advertisements for Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
  • Sonic Live In Sydney was a pretty corny show, but of all the songs in it, "Sonic, Thank You For Being You" probably stands out the most.
  • An honorary part of this page, Sonic Youth by Crush 40 sounds like it could have been the main theme of Generations. Its lyrics contain nods to much of the most famous Sonic songs, making it an awesome tribute to the soundtrack of the series. Some fans have even considered it an unofficial theme to Generations.
  • The Sonic REMIX! Album contains remixes of gems from the JPN/PAL version of the Sonic CD soundtrack.
    (Love you) She never really shows how much it means to her. (Sonic!)
    (Love you) She will be yours, and that's forever, rain or shine. (Sonic!)
    (Love you) There isn't anything she wouldn't do for you (Sonic!)
    (Love you) Long as you tell her - Sonic please, say you love her.

    Misc 

    Mashups (Other Game Tracks) 

    Mashups (Other Franchises/TV Shows) 

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alternative title(s): Sonic
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