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Awesome Music / Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

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"The mainstream never popped like it did in the early 1980s.. And there never was a radio host like Toni. She bopped her way into Vice City's heart to the tune of classic songs by Hall & Oates, Laura Branigan and many others."
— GTA Vice City Website

Before we begin, it's worth pointing out that damn near the entire soundtrack can be thought of as one long string of Awesome Music. With many critics praising it as quite possibly the greatest video game soundtrack ever made, its mix of songs captures the feel of its time and place like nothing else before it or since. In retrospect this game was a Genre Turning Point for video game soundtracks, making it Awesome on a meta level as well. Before this game came out, music for video games was usually either composed by a single musician for that game or made up of a collection of underground or obscure artists and bands, while afterwards, it became the norm for games, especially open-world games, to feature dozens of songs by big-name musicians.

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Licensed Music

  • The association between A Flock of Seagulls' "I Ran (So Far Away)" and Vice City is so great, it made the game the former Trope Namer for Song Association.
  • Kool & The Gang's impeccably cool "Summer Madness", which plays over Vice City's very first trailer.
  • Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" is the first licensed song you hear in the game, playing if you chose to hop into the stationary vehicle parked right next to where you first spawn upon starting the game. The song serves as a perfect introduction to not only Vice City, but also to the era in which it was created in.
  • Flash FM is one long love letter to 80s pop. Filled to the brim with artists that defined the era such as Hall & Oates ("Out of Touch"), The Outfield (Your Love), The Buggles ("Video Killed the Radio Star"), Lionel Richie ("Running with the Night"), Laura Branigan ("Self Control"), and many, many more.
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  • Those not familiar with all that Latin music has to offer got a well-curated mix from Radio Espantoso, including a few Afro-Cuban jazz pieces from Deodato and an appearance by mambo king Tito Puente, one of the few non-pop Hispanic artists that most people know by name.

Original Music

  • It's not just the licensed music that kicks ass but the game's own theme, written and composed by Rockstar North's in-house musician of the time Lex Horton, is every bit as exceptional. Perfectly matching the tone and attitude of Vice City.
  • The soothing synth track that plays as the credits roll serves as a perfect conclusion to an awesome game.
  • Love Fist, the greatest Hair Metal band that never existed. Four of their songs, "Fist Fury", "Dangerous Bastard", "Down Down Down", and "Fist Till Morning", have since been digitally remastered and made available for download on iTunes and Amazon.
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