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Cult Soundtrack

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This is music in a film which becomes one of its major selling points or unique identifiers. Generally regarded as Awesome Music, this music really helps a number of cult films keep a profile through the decades and is often the thing that people mean when they defend it with talk about its "atmosphere".

Particular causes for such a soundtrack may be the use of a single popular band or musician for the soundtrack in contrast for using a score composer or using many songs from different sources.

It is the existence of several Cult Soundtracks from the late 70's and 80's that lead to the more modern practise of focusing on getting a soundtrack and movie tie in for mutual publicity that leads to today's Breakaway Pop Hit phenomenon.

Compare Just Here for Godzilla. A clue to spotting one of these is when the soundtrack announcement for the sequel leads to And the Fandom Rejoiced.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cowboy Bebop fans have two sections of their brains. One section is for enjoying the show. The other section is for the music which is a sound unlike most other anime and musical director/composer Yoko Kanno given as a reason to watch the show equal to everything else. It is observed through MRI scans that the bigger the fan, the more engorged the latter section of the brain.
  • To a lesser extent, FLCL's soundtrack by The Pillows.
  • The 13-episode TV version of Hellsing is considered by many to be a failed adaptation, but even the biggest haters tend to VASTLY prefer its music over the music in Hellsing Ultimate.
  • Bruce Faulconer's soundtrack for the English dub of Dragon Ball Z has a pretty noticeable fandom. The same thing had happened before to Shunsuke Kikuchi's score for the Japanese original, with many fans going so far as uploading all of the background music, even the ones not officially released outside of the show, in order of appearance and production numbers, on YouTube.
  • Initial D's high energy Eurobeat soundtrack became so famous that the whole genre is Song Association with the Anime version of Initial D. Songs like Max Coveri's Running in the 90s, Dave Rodgers' Deja Vu and Manuel's Gas Gas Gas became memes on their own right to the point most people know Initial D's soundtrack without even knowing what Initial D is.
  • Samurai Champloo was soundtracked by the late Japanese DJ Nujabes in collaboration with other artists. Physical copies of the music are hard to come by and highly sought after.
  • The whole OST of Saint Seiya is one of the greatest milestones of the anime music industry and arguably composer Seiji Yokoyama's magnum opus, jam-packed with everything from butt-rock insert songs to somber and majestic themes that are always timed just right to punch you in the heartstrings. To give an idea of its popularity in Japan, it was one of the first soundtracks to be released not with traditional J-Pop songs, but with just the background music.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Transformers: The Movie includes the synthesised score by Vince DiCola and notable songs such as "Dare To Be Stupid" by Weird Al Yankovic and "The Touch" by Stan Bush have received a certain cult status amongst popular culture and the soundtrack has been re-released and remastered several times (including a separate album of DiCola's music).
  • Message boards would have you believe that How to Train Your Dragon's soundtrack is its key accolade. John Powell's score has certainly developed a rabid fanbase.
  • Heavy Metal is well-regarded for its soundtrack featuring artists such as Don Felder, Blue Öyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Cheap Trick, Sammy Hagar, and Devo. Even though the music rights kept the film from getting a home video release until 1997, the soundtrack has constantly been in circulation since the film was first released in 1981.
  • One of Frozen (2013)'s major Sleeper Hit selling points was its soundtrack. Like The Bodyguard, many people got into the soundtrack just for the movie's big Award-Bait Song, "Let It Go". An influx of parodies and YouTube Poops of that particular tune only accelerated its source material's popularity among Internet users (in fact, "Let It Go FK YOURSELF" is one of the - if not the - most viewed YTP's ever).
  • Minions: The Rise of Gru received considerable online attention for its Jack Antonoff-produced soundtrack of 1970s cover songs by acclaimed 2022 artists. While it doesn't appear on the soundtrack album itself, a song for the movie was written by the rage-rapper Yeat (with uncharacteristically clean lyrics about hating Vector), which ended up soundtracking a fad where teenagers would go and see the movie in full 3-piece formalwear.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Queen's Flash Gordon film soundtrack and A Kind of Magic, an unofficial soundtrack album album for Highlander (using six out of nine of the album's listing). Flash Gordon and Highlander were quite kitsch and dated in their own way but the songs gave them both something memorable that people could look back fondly on and which nearly always get brought up in critiques.
  • Xanadu became a cult film in large part because of its soundtrack.
  • Kevin Smith's debut Clerks probably would not have been nearly as successful had he not ended up with a soundtrack filled with various alternative, grunge and punk bands. Most of the budget went towards getting rights for the music. In fact, the Clerks soundtrack made history. The movie was made by Smith selling his possessions and maxing out his credit cards, gathering a budget of just over $27,000. After Miramax picked it up for distribution, they decided it would be more marketable with a hit soundtrack. Securing the music rights cost over $50,000. This made Clerks the first film in history whose soundtrack cost more to produce than the actual film.
  • Until the End of the World — In 1991, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., Depeche Mode, and a number of other artists were asked by Wim Wenders to make for his 20 Minutes into the Future piece the kind of music they thought they'd be making in the year 1999 as the world was about to end.
  • Judgment Night mostly drew attention for its innovative Rap Metal soundtrack, which included collaborations between famous Alternative Rock and Heavy Metal bands (Sonic Youth, Helmet, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Biohazard, Slayer, Living Colour, Dinosaur Jr., Therapy?, Teenage Fanclub, Faith No More) and Rap groups (House of Pain, Cypress Hill, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Fatal, De La Soul, Run–D.M.C., Onyx, Ice-T, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.).
  • The 1958 French film Ascenseur Pour L'échafaud is generally more known today for the soundtrack done by Miles Davis
  • Friday is a classic buddy/hood comedy, but its soundtrack manages to gain even greater praise, blending hip-hop and classic funk and soul, and its tenth anniversary rerelease featured a second disc of nothing but additional old-school funk and soul.
  • The Wiz was a critical and commercial failure upon release, but having Diana Ross and Michael Jackson along with the cast of the original play led to a successful soundtrack album.
  • As well received as the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? was, one of its greatest achievements was to bring Old Time, Roots and Bluegrass Music back into the public ear. Its soundtrack album is legendary, having topped the album charts, sold over 7 million copies in the United States alone and won countless awards (including the Grammy for Album of the Year).
  • Tim Burton's film soundtracks, mostly done by Danny Elfman, have an extensive cult following.
  • Mean Guns. You don't believe how many threads in Russia and Ukraine music search forums are dedicated to finding at least something from the film's score. Though the film itself also has a dedicated fanbase.
  • The Phantom of the Paradise soundtrack, especially in Winnipeg, Canada where it went gold.
  • Hackers' soundtrack was a sampling of techno, rave and electronica in the nineties when rave was near its peak, though the most famous was The Prodigy's "Voodoo People"; it went on to have two more volumes note .
  • Clint Mansell is partial to these:
    • π's soundtrack sets the scene for its hallucinogenic plot. Pi r^2 is more famous than the film it was made for.
    • Requiem for a Dream features an amazing collaboration between Mansell and the Kronos Quartet. A remixed version of the main theme gained popularity for its use in the trailer of The Two Towers. It's commonly called "Requiem for a Tower."
    • The Fountain and Moon both have popular soundtracks.
  • Opinions are divided when it comes to the quality of TRON: Legacy, but most folks agree that the soundtrack Daft Punk cooked up for it is a level of perfection Clu would sign off on.
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982) composed by Basil Poledouris, is famously known for causing hair to grow on listeners in previously unknown places, along with causing heavy metal fans to develop a hankering for classical music. It's also considered one of the all-time great soundtracks, despite the film itself being a total Camp Classic. Intrada issued the complete score in 2012.
  • Lost Highway, The Social Network and Natural Born Killers featured soundtracks compiled by Trent Reznor.
  • Cool World is largely panned, but its soundtrack, featuring industrial rock, electronic and pop songs, is a cult favorite.
  • End of Days, likewise, was largely forgotten, but the soundtrack is noteworthy for featuring off-album tracks by Rob Zombie, Powerman 5000, Everlast, Eminem, Sonic Youth, Korn, Limp Bizkit and Guns N' Roses.
  • The scores to films by John Carpenter are quite often a large part of their cult appeal.
  • Amélie's soundtrack, composed by Yann Tiersen, received rave reviews and even went platinum in Canada. Its songs are still used as atmospheric music in a wide range of media.
  • While Space Jam's quality is debatable, to say the least, many consider its soundtrack to be one of the most underlooked albums of the 90's (although it has gone 6 time platinum). Hit Em High (featuring B-Real, Method-Man, Coolio, LL Cool J, and Busta Rhymes), in particular, is considered to be one of the most overlooked songs ever (at least based on by many YouTube commenters). There's also the Space Jam's theme song, with it constantly being mashed up with what seems like almost every other recorded piece of audio.
  • Singles was a mostly-forgettable Cameron Crowe romantic comedy, but its soundtrack was a huge hit. This due to the movie being set in Seattle and the soundtrack (and film) containing many of the stars of the then-nascent "grunge" movement. One of Soundgarden's biggest singles, "Spoonman," was originally conceived as a song playing in the background of a bar.
  • Nineties cult classic Romy and Michele's High School Reunion notably features a soundtrack mostly comprising '80s pop hits due to its focus on reminiscing about their high school years (Class of '87).
  • Basil Poledouris' score to Cherry 2000 was so popular among film scoring fans that the album used to go for over $1,000 in online auditions (the score was so rare that Poledouris didn't even have a copy until John Waters gave him his personal copy when they did Serial Mom together). A pair of reissues have since remedied this problem but it's still one of Poledouris' more popular scores.
  • City of Angels is probably one of the most famous examples from The '90s. While the movie itself was largely forgotten within a few years, it featured songs by Goo Goo Dolls (including the still-popular "Iris", whose music video is based on the plot of this movie), Alanis Morissette ("Uninvited"), U2, and others. The album reached number one on the US Billboard charts for a while.
  • Eduard Artemyev is one of those composers whose entire filmography has a cult following.
  • Percy was an Awful British Sex Comedy which would have been justifiably forgotten, were it not for the fact that the soundtrack was by The Kinks. Features a bit of Soundtrack Dissonance in which a woman strips to the gender-bending song "Lola".
  • Trainspotting: Two soundtrack albums were released with various pop, techno and rock songs on it that helped its success.
  • Quentin Tarantino films reinvigorate the popularity of songs on their soundtracks as much as the careers of the actors in them. Tarantino generally selects them from his personal collection. Many Tarantino fans love his films especially for the soundtracks and have collected those as well.
  • Killing Zoe 's electronic score by musical duo tomandandy [sic] became and underground club hit in Europe, and also helped to set Roger Avary apart from former collaborator Quentin Tarantino. It's worth noting that the actual soundtrack album features the score in a drastically different form than was featured in the film.
  • Ennio Morricone: His music for Sergio Leone 's spaghetti westerns has sold millions of copies throughout the decades and is appreciated and recognized even by people who haven't seen the movies. And perhaps even truer to the spirit of this trope, as a prolific and indiscriminate composer, he also penned music for a lot of less popular and at times just plain bad movies. His music is often the only reason why those are still remembered.
  • The Third Man: A masterpiece of cinema, but equally remembered for Anton Karas' famous zither music, which sold over millions.
  • 200 Motels: Probably more Frank Zappa fans have enjoyed the soundtrack album than the movie itself, which literally is a Broken Base among fans.
  • Federico Fellini: The soundtracks of Nino Rota for his movies have become just as memorable as the films themselves.
  • John Williams: The music he wrote for the most popular films of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas is unforgettable in its own right.
  • The Bodyguard: The soundtrack album sold millions. In fact it's one of the most best selling albums of all time. And yet, most people only bought it for that one song that is much better remembered than the film itself: "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston.
  • Jerry Bruckheimer has said that given Top Gun only topped the box office after a month, the music probably helped with the promotion. The soundtrack sold over 5 million copies, and both Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" and Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" have become enduring hits.
  • Dangerous Minds: A mostly forgotten movie, but Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" became a universal number one hit single and is remembered still.
  • Moonwalker: Not a great or memorable film, but the music video for "Smooth Criminal" has become iconic.
  • Suspiria (1977): Still a cult favorite, equally because of the great soundtrack by Goblin.
  • The first Michael Myers film is still popular, but the soundtrack, oh boy! Many people who never saw any of the films in the Halloween franchise will recognize this catchy and haunting tune, because of its use in other movies and TV series.
  • Psycho: Most films by Alfred Hitchcock are memorable for Bernard Herrmann's music, but Psycho in particular has become a Pop-Cultural Osmosis in the sense that many people recognize the famous "shower stabbing" violins from the countless parodies.
  • The Godfather: Who could ever forget Nino Rota's mesmerizing score?
  • A Clockwork Orange: Wendy Carlos' iconic electronical scoring of music by Beethoven and Purcell has achieved lasting appreciation, most specifically for the iconic rendition of "Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary." The rest of the soundtrack are her own compositions and/or regular orchestral music.
  • Zorba the Greek: Mikis Theodorakis' music is more famous nowadays than the film itself.
  • The Great Escape: The music by Elmer Bernstein has become recognizable even to people who never saw this film.
  • The Sting: Similarly, this soundtrack did a lot to make Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" popular among people unfamiliar with ragtime. Unknown to many viewers, the music was anachronistic for the time period portrayed.
  • Chariots of Fire: It may be difficult to find people who still remember the film itself, but Vangelis' soundtrack is still famous even to those who never saw the picture.
  • 1492: Conquest of Paradise was a totally forgotten box office disaster, but Vangelis' soundtrack sold in the millions. In fact, three years after the film, "Conquest Of Paradise" became a big hit and is still played in sport stadiums to this day.
  • Blade Runner: Vangelis yet again. The film is a classic in its own right, but the soundtrack is so popular amongst synthesizer enthusiasts that it's single-handedly responsible for the Yamaha CS-80 being so expensive today because everyone wants to sound like the "Main Titles". Blade Runner even inspired an entire synthesizer, the Black Corporation Deckard's Dream which unsurprisingly tries to imitate the CS-80's sound.
  • American Beauty: The soundtrack album was a best seller, due to Thomas Newman's recognizable score, but also because of the alternative rock songs by Elliot Smith, Gomez and Eels.
  • The Harder They Come: One of the best examples of how a soundtrack album can become more popular and famous than the film itself. Even in the 1970s, when it first came out, many owners of the album were unaware it was a movie soundtrack. It's full with beautiful early Reggae music by Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, The Abyssinians and more.
  • The Virgin Suicides: The soundtrack is a cult favorite written by Air.
  • Beverly Hills Cop: The soundtrack with music by The Pointer Sisters and Harold Faltermeyer became a hit album by itself.
  • The German rock band Can even released a whole separate album, "Soundtracks" (1970), with all the music they wrote for nowadays almost forgotten films.
  • The Crow is well regarded, and part of that owns to a best selling rock soundtrack with The Cure, Stone Temple Pilots, and Pantera among other big names.
  • Popol Vuh scored several of Werner Herzog 's most famous films.
  • Many Blaxploitation films also fall in this category. Some of the films weren't that memorable, but the soundtrack albums were appreciated a lot better.
  • Dead Man: The echoing, desolate solo electric guitar soundtrack by Neil Young is a cult favorite.
  • Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai: The soundtrack album by the Wu-Tang Clan is also a cult favorite.
  • Run Lola Run, aka Lola Rennt: The soundtrack became a best selling record.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian: The single "Always Look On The Bright Side" from this album has become a popular song among the general public, even to people who aren't Monty Python fans.
  • Batman Forever and Batman & Robin both have eclectic soundtracks regarded MUCH more highly than the movies. Before that there was the Batman (1989) soundtrack by Prince.
  • This is Spın̈al Tap, which even led to additional Spinal Tap albums.
  • American Graffiti's soundtrack was a huge seller, and played a big role in reviving interest in "oldies" music in the '70s.
  • Forrest Gump has one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time, that downright serves as a good summary of American music between 1956 and 1980.
  • Turkish Delight has a very iconic soundtrack, performed by Belgian jazz musician Toots Thielemans.
  • The 1984 crime drama Mike's Murder is best known for its soundtrack by Joe Jackson, which was highly collectable due to being unavailable on CD for many years.
  • The soundtrack to the 1996 movie The Preacher's Wife, starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington, is to this day one of the best selling gospel albums of all time. It went 3x platinum in the U.S. and was nominated for 2 Grammys and an Academy Award.
  • Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks by Brian Eno: the music was originally meant for a documentary film about the Apollo moon missions: For All Mankind, but due to lukewarm audience reactions the project was delayed. The album came out in 1983, while the film only got an official release in 1989. Nevertheless: probably more people have listened to the album than does who ever saw the film.
  • The Josie and the Pussycats movie was a box-office failure, but its soundtrack, an Affectionate Parody of Power Pop, Pop Punk, and Boy Band tropes that was put together by a slew of late '90s songwriters and producers led by Kenneth "Babyface" Edwards, wound up going Gold and remains a cult item among genre fans. It was even rereleased on vinyl nearly two decades later, and is a big part of why the film itself hasn't fallen into obscurity.
  • Last Action Hero, aside from prefiguring this very wiki, gathered grunge, traditional Hard Rock, Progressive Metal, and Gangsta Rap on its soundtrack, standing as an enjoyable snapshot of tougher-but-mainstream music circa 1993.
  • The 1968 film Wonderwall is totally forgotten today, but the soundtrack written by Beatle George Harrison, Wonderwall Music, is still held in high regard and reached far more notability.
  • Backbeat has this due to the amount of alternative rock talent (Dave Pirnir, Dave Grohl, Greg Dulli) featured within covering old '50s standards with the same raw energy of the early Beatles.
  • Space Is the Place is a 1974 movie starring Sun Ra. The 1993 soundtrack album is the companion piece to it.
  • The swamp blues-esque Southern Comfort soundtrack by Ry Cooder is generally better remembered than the film itself.
  • Pink Floyd made two soundtracks for two obscure French hippie films. In fact, the films (More and La Vallée and More) are largely forgotten, but the soundtracks — More and Obscured by Clouds — are considered a part of the band's studio album canon.
  • Furious 7 quickly became one of the highest grossing movies of all time, and was accompanied by a highly acclaimed soundtrack consisting of an All-Star Cast of rappers, DJs, and pop artists. It also produced "See You Again", which became one of the biggest hits of the decade.
  • Inchon was a notorious Box Office Bomb that has never gotten a legitimate video release, but its score by Jerry Goldsmith was popular enough to get rereleased multiple times over the years.
  • Into the Wild was well received, due in no small part to the soundtrack which consisted of incidental music alongside songs by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam.
  • This was surprisingly common in R&B/hip-hop in The '90s. Many well known '90s R&B hits were from movie soundtracks, such as Waiting to Exhale, which had 5 top-10 Billboard hits and went 7x platinum, or Set It Off, which also went platinum and had four top-charting singles.
  • Black Panther has an interesting example of this. The film has 2 soundtracks, the official movie score album and Black Panther: The Album – Music from and Inspired By, which is an official Concept Album based on the movie. The latter has 3 top-40 singles, but interestingly enough, only 2 of them appear in the movie: "Pray for Me" very briefly in the casino scene, and "All the Stars" in the credits.
  • A lot of bad things can be said about the Transformers movies, but even the biggest detractors will admit that the scores by Steve Jablonsky are perfection. The soundtrack albums full of rock and rap also have fans.
  • Reality Bites was a modest hit at best, but the soundtrack sold over a million copies, with tracks like Lisa Loeb's "Stay (I Missed You)" and Big Mountain's cover of Baby I Love Your Way" (which wound revived by another movie 23 years later).
  • Raise the Titanic! was... a critical miss, to say the least. But the film also features a score from award-winning composer John Barry, with many fans considering it among his very best work.
  • The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh: A 1979 movie from Lorimar in which a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits use use astrology to win a basketball game. The movie is not held in the highest esteem. The Sound-Of-Philadelphia-filled soundtrack album is another matter. Columbia/Legacy issued an expanded edition of the Lorimar Records soundtrack album in 2017.note 
  • Mord Und Totschlag (English title: A Degree of Murder) is an obscure 1967 film from Germany that only got a DVD/Blu-Ray release in its home country in 2019, 52 years after its initial release. The film, however, is notable, in that it has a (still-unrelased) soundtrack that was composed by The Rolling Stones founding member Brian Jones note 
  • Howard the Duck: John Barry, George Clinton, Sylvester "Airwolf" Levay, Thomas Dolby and Lea Thompson! Intrada released a 3-disc set in 2019, fans of the movie or at least the talent involved were delighted.
  • Godzilla (1998) is a regretful, reviled Americanization of a Japanese icon. Its soundtrack, Godzilla: The Album, spawned three successful singles (Puff Daddy and Jimmy Page's "Come with Me", Jamiroquai's "Deeper Underground", and The Wallflowers' cover of "Heroes"), has exclusive tracks by Rage Against the Machine and Foo Fighters, and tracks by many other rock acts of the late 90s.
  • Soup for One, a forgotten melodramatic sex comedy, has a much better regarded soundtrack spearheaded by Chic and the Breakaway Pop Hit "Why", by Carly Simon.
  • Nutty Professor II: The Klumps got negative reviews from critics (26% on Rotten Tomatoes) but its soundtrack by the likes of Janet Jackson, Jay-Z, Musiq Soulchild, DMX, Eve, Method Man and a collab between Redman and Eminem is a snapshot of the best rappers and R&B singers of the year 2000.
  • Saturday Night Fever was a critical and commercial success at the time of its release, and still has fans today. But the soundtrack went on to become the best-selling soundtrack of all time, with over 45 million copies sold, and is still considered one of the most singular representations of the disco era.
  • Magical Mystery Tour is widely considered to be the weakest film The Beatles made. On the other hand, its soundtrack (particularly the American version, which fills itself out to full-LP size by adding five singles that, as per British convention of the time, had never appeared on actual albums before) is generally considered a strong point in an already-strong discography.
  • Streets of Fire, aptly described as “A Rock & Roll Fable” in its advertising, had mixed critical success and was a Box Office Bomb on its initial release. But it became a huge cult hit in no small part because of its soundtrack, produced by Jimmy Iovine (yes, that one), which is basically the epitome of '80s cool. Fans of acclaimed songwriter Jim Steinman (yes, that one) consider “Nowhere Fast” and “Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young” to be among his finest work, and “Sorcerer,” written (but not sung) by Stevie Nicks, is equally beloved among her fans. And then there’s the Breakaway Pop Hit “I Can Dream About You” by Dan Hartman, which cracked the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100, had not one but two music videos that were both fixtures on early MTV, and became by far the biggest hit of his career.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica gained as much praise for the score by Bear McCreary as it did for its diverse characterization, engaging plot, and high production values. For example, when the Season 4 album was released in July 2009, the only albums that outsold it upon release were of Michael Jackson.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer didn't become a cult hit just because of its theme, but the fact that even a decade and a half after the show ended, the theme is near instantly familiar speaks volumes.
  • Vangelis’ soundtrack is one of the most famous elements of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.
  • Doctor Who, particularly with New Who, has become renowned for the quality of its music, usually of the soaring orchestral variety. Large sections of the soundtrack are traditional standouts at the BBC Proms, alongside nationally beloved hymns like Jerusalem, and the theme tune — in all its many and varied remixed forms — is practically hardwired into the British psyche.
  • Cult Classic Supernatural naturally does this intentionally, with a classic rock soundtrack that makes it very distinct from virtually every other show on The WB/The CW. Creator Eric Kripke made a point of writing in an early draft of the Pilot's script: CUE MUSIC And you can take your anemic alternative pop and shove it up your ass. Dean plays bass thumping, pile driving Zeppelin, and he plays it loud. It's become one of the show's signature elements (though budget cuts in the later seasons have meant that we hear the music less often), and the pairing of many classic rock songs with iconic scenes on the show have resulted in many of these songs becoming anthems for the show's fans — perhaps most notably Kansas' "Carry on Wayward Son".
  • The Weather Channel has actually offered some of the music played during its 'Local on the 8's' forecasts on CD.
  • Twin Peaks: Who could ever forget "Theme From Twin Peaks" by Angelo Badalamenti? It became a hit in the charts and more famous than the amount of viewers the cult series itself ever got.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: The group released several albums with music and sketches from the series. One album, "Monty Python Sings", became the best selling record in their catalogue because it compiled all their famous songs from the TV series, the films and the ones written only for the soundtrack albums themselves.

    Video Games 
  • Touhou Project. The sheer number of fan-made remixes and arrangements of the series' music is staggering, and a large portion of the fanbase is into the games simply for those songs.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog series is known for having stellar soundtracks, to the point that it's one of the few things the infamously divided fandom can usually agree on.
  • Jet Set Radio is mostly known for its soundtrack by Hideki Naganuma, consisting of hip-hop and funk with heavy use of sampling, which could easily stand just as well on its own. Along with Sonic Rush, the games that Naganuma composed music for made him a sought-after name for video game soundtracks, as can be seen by the efforts Team Reptile took to get him on board for Lethal League Blaze.
  • An unusual example: the mindbogglingly cacophonous "music" for CrazyBus has been subject to this. It helps that it's the only thing of real noteworthiness, as the gameplay itself simply consists of driving from one end of the screen to the other.
  • Journey to Silius, a game just barely rescued from the scrapheap after the company lost the license the game was originally based on, is generally remembered solely for its soundtrack.
  • Donkey Kong Country: While the prerendered graphics for the original three SNES games may have aged poorly, the soundtrack still has quite a following to this day.
  • Grim Fandango: The soundtrack by Peter McConnell is made up of a mixture of Film Noir-style jazz and Mexican folk music, perfectly matching the game's aesthetic. When Tim Schafer picked up the rights to "remaster" the game, he spent most of the budget hiring the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to rerecord the whole score.
  • Deus Ex featured music composed by Alexander Brandon, Michiel van den Bos, Dan Gardopée (who were responsible for the equally cultic Unreal Tournament and Jazz Jackrabbit OSTs) and Reeves Gabrels.
    • Just like the actual game itself, Deus Ex: Human Revolution's sound track was praised for living up to the original Deus Ex while still being unique and suitable for the new generation of gaming.
  • The songs at the end of Portal and Portal 2 have become very popular.
  • Chrono Cross - the game itself is divisive, but the soundtrack is regarded by almost all who hear it as one of the best in the history of video games.
  • The soundtrack for Journey (2012) created by Austin Wintory was so well received that it very quickly became the best-selling Video Game soundtrack of all time, and was the first Video Game Soundtrack to be nominated for Grammy Award (nominated against such names as Howard Shore, John Williams, and Hans Zimmer) in 2013. The album was released on Vinyl in 2015 and Wintory has even toured, performing the soundtrack live.
  • The Silent Hill series came to be known for its soundtracks as much as anything else - which is why the departure of composer Akira Yamaoka from Konami was seen by many fans as the final nail in the series' coffin.
  • Say whatever else you want about Way of the Warrior, but the one thing that people can at least agree on is that the soundtrack by White Zombie was probably the best part of the game.
  • Andrew Sega's techno/rock soundtrack for the Crusader: No Remorse and No Regret games is memorable and popular among a segment of older PC gamers.
  • Homeworld's OST by Paul Ruskay is regularly considered one of the best, most evocative soundtracks of all time, and combines the original score with one non-original piece of music. Agnus Dei, the choral version of Barber's Adagio for Strings starts playing when the mission "Return To Kharak" begins, where the Mothership returns to the home planet Kharak, to see half of the planet being consumed by flames, with the entire population exterminated from orbit. Combined with world class voice work that sells the despair and devastation of the scene, it creates one of the saddest moments in the history of gaming, and sets the player a steel resolve to make the enemy pay for what they did. Also, the song that plays over the end credits, recorded by no less a band than Yes, is pretty popular as well.
  • "Cheetahmen" from Action 52 is loved for its soundtrack and little else.
  • Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream is something of a hidden, No Export for You gem on Sega Dreamcast. Its soundtrack has a higher profile than the game, since it was composed by anime soundtrack great Yoko Kanno, with vocals provided by Maaya Sakamoto in select songs.
  • Hong Kong '97 has a "soundtrack" that's just composed of a fraction of a song looped throughout the whole game. Usually people enjoy getting it stuck in their head rather than dealing and coping with the horrendous gameplay and visuals.
  • Tim Follin is recognized by some as one of the best 8 and 16-bit composers out there, who was unfortunately doomed to have most of his work tied to games that are either terrible or utterly forgettable.
    • Silver Surfer (1990) is known for two things: being unfairly difficult, and having an amazing soundtrack.
    • Solstice: The Quest for the Staff of Demnos is considered a pretty okay game, but it's not particularly notable. Its title screen theme, on the other hand, is very often cited as the greatest piece of 8-bit music ever made, being a full-fledged Progressive Rock epic.
    • Plok is usually considered a decent game by those who played it, but those who know of the game but haven't played it probably know it for its impressive prog rock-inspired soundtrack, which pushed the SNES soundchip to its limit (story goes that Shigeru Miyamoto literally could not believe that such high-quality sound could come from the SNES).
    • Of all games, he wrote music for the licensed Pictionary NES game. His prog-inspired soundtrack brings the game to Mundane Made Awesome levels. As one comment on the game's title theme puts it:
  • Tetris has multiple examples:
    • The Game Boy version has a chiptune version of the Russian folk song "Korobeiniki", which is now universally known as "the Tetris theme". Even people who haven't played the game probably know it.
    • H2O, which mainly made Puzzle Games during the 5th generation of video game systems, would've been immediately forgotten after its debut game, Tetrisphere (despite using the Tetris name), were it not for its in-house composer, Neil Voss. Though Tetrisphere was never a high-profile release in any way, Voss was the one person on the team doing interviews with gaming magazines and websites and drawing attention to the game almost all by himself. He had also become notable among MIDI enthusiasts of the 90's, as his flavor of sample-heavy EDM and Trance music, created using the Nintendo 64's built-in sound programs, was completely unprecedented and raised the bar with what was thought possible with MIDI.
    • The Philips CD-i version had many obstacles: the system itself is quite obscure (outside of a few infamous exceptions), and the game itself is so famous on other systems that most people wouldn't care about yet another version on forgotten hardware. Nowadays, this version's main claim to fame is its extremely chill soundtrack, which is often compared to Vaporwave despite predating the genre by nearly two decades.
  • Much like Jet Set Radio before it, The World Ends with You just wouldn’t be the same without its eclectic mix of J-pop, hip-hop, rock, rap, and various amounts of funky tracks, which could easily be mistaken for actual licensed songs by the unfamiliar.
  • The soundtrack for the first few seasons of the Killer Instinct remake were a delight and some of the tracks like "I'm Back (to Rise)" found success even outside of the game. When Mick Gordon departed from the game for Doom (2016) and was replaced by Celldweller many were saddened (but the latter still has his fair share of fans).
  • NieR's music (composed by Keiichi Okabe and a few other composers at his studio MONACA) was one of the few aspects of the game that were praised by critics, and many consider it to be one of the greatest videogame soundtracks of all time. Its sequel, NieR: Automata, received similar praise for its own soundtrack.
  • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune is perhaps best known for its Yuzo Koshiro trance soundtrack. Ever since Namco decided to keep the series on the Eastern side of the Pacific from Maximum Tune 4 onwards, it's become the best-known aspect of the game in the western hemisphere.
  • For many fans, Super Smash Bros. is just as much a celebration of classic video game music as it is a crossover fighting game. Ever since "My Music" was introduced in Brawl, an absolutely massive and ever-growing list of composers has contributed to the series, many of which are already listed on this page. Whenever a new character is announced, it often leads to excitement and speculation regarding which songs will be included with them.
  • In addition to being one of the codifiers of the RTS genre, the Command & Conquer series also made composer Frank Klepacki a household name among the games' fans. For a time, one could buy a CD collection of the soundtracks for several of them.
  • Talk to any fan of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and they will tell you that nothing quite establishes and contributes to its retro Miami Vice/Scarface atmosphere quite like its soundtrack, comprised of Nothing but Hits from some of the most iconic popular musicians of The '80s. In fact, it's been suggested that the vast field of '80s nostalgia as we know it was first truly codified by this game. It certainly revolutionized the use of licensed music in video games; before, they typically featured original scores and/or a small handful of licensed songs, but after, soundtracks comprised of dozens, or even hundreds, of licensed songs became the norm. Rockstar Games, perhaps knowing how immediately iconic the game's soundtrack was, released a seven-CD box set featuring nearly a hundred songs from it, a tradition they'd keep up with future games in the series.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game features a soundtrack by famed chiptune rock band Anamanaguchi, which is considered by many to not only be one of the best things about the game, but contains some of the best and most recognizable work within the band's discography. The association between the properties was so beloved that Anamanguchi were brought on years later to score the anime adaptation Scott Pilgrim Takes Off.
  • While Undertale is a modern classic in its own right, it's hard to overstate how much of that is owed to the excellent music, which has inspired an unprecedented volume of fan remixes, covers, and memes. "Megalovania" in particular has been memed into becoming one of the most recognizable pieces of video game music ever.
  • The BEMANI franchise is, being a Rhythm Game series, very well-known for its massive library of music, and many musicians who produce tracks for the series have fandoms of their own. In the 2010s onward when Konami made questionable (at best) business decisions regarding their franchises, it was cause for celebration for particular in-house BEMANI-centric musicians to leave Konami and go freelance to be free of their Executive Meddling and produce songs for other rhythm games, with TAG being one of the most well-known examples.
  • The hyperviolent Wii game MadWorld is known these days for three things: being the debut of PlatinumGames; being one of the few Mature-rated titles released on that system (and boy, did it earn that reputation); and having a genuinely hard rap-rock soundtrack with beats from PlatinumGames in-house composer Naoto Tanaka and filled with talented indie rappers, which director Atsushi Inaba has said was inspired by the Jay-Z and Linkin Park collaboration album Collision Course. The MadWorld soundtrack still widely comes up as among the best examples of a hip-hop soundtrack in gaming history.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers had music by John Van Tongeren and Peter Wetzler with tracks sung by AOR bands FM and Refugee (cult bands in their own right). When Koch Vision was asking the fan list for DVD extras, the unanimous vote was for the soundtrack.
  • The music of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has been enough to inspire an entire genre of fan remixes. One fan was banned from the Film Score Monthly forums after making increasingly obnoxious and offensive posts demanding releases of the series' scoringnote 
  • The soundtrack album from The Raccoons, Evergreen Nights, is absolutely brilliant, to the point where "Run With Us", the series' ending theme, got to #2 on the Canadian music charts in 1987/88.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: The incidental music used in many of the cartoons has been compiled and released on CD. It's just as enjoyable as the cartoons itself.
  • The Simpsons: Many songs from the series have become beloved among fans and have been released on no less than three soundtrack albums.
  • Looney Tunes: Carl Stalling's compositions for the Warner Brothers cartoons have become cult favorites themselves because of the wonderfully entertaining and complex arrangements and shout outs to famous classical music tunes and popular melodies. Also, because he borrowed a lot from Raymond Scott's compostions Scott too became more famous as a result.
  • Hazbin Hotel: There are numerous fans who either don't like the show's plot itself or think it's alright but nothing special, but absolutely love the soundtrack and only watch the show for the high-quality Broadway-style musical numbers.


Video Example(s):


Stan Bush Rocks Transformers

The Honest Trailer for "The Transformers: The Movie" salutes Stan Bush's assume power ballad, "The Touch".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / AutobotsRockOut

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