- B-Team Sequel: Neversoft took over the franchise starting with Guitar Hero III, after Harmonix left to create Rock Band.
- Cash Cow Franchise: The series broke the $1 billion milestone in 2007 and there was much rejoicing on Activision's part. However; an oversaturation of products released in 2009note hurt sales severelynote , ultimately causing the franchise to collapse. Good going, Activision.
- Cross-Dressing Voices: It doesn't matter if your singer is male or female, it'll sing whatever song is selected regardless. Justified because they could just be lip syncing... Handwaved in World Tour, where a microphone was added as an instrument.
- Development Hell: Activision claimed that a new game in this series would be released in 2012. Assuming they were telling the truth, and the fact that no Guitar Hero game was released in 2012, it probably fell into this, and ended up being cancelled anyhow.
- Dueling Games: with Rock Band. With the death of the GH series, Rock Band appears to be the victor.
- Executive Meddling: Minor example: While Guitar Hero: Metallica was in production, Lars Ulrich originally wanted Slayer's "Angel of Death" in the game, but the development team, deeming the lyrics too offensive, forced Lars to change his choice to "War Ensemble" instead. Justified, as the song is about the experiments of Josef Mengele. It's not that the development team didn't like Slayer's song or anything, it's that they would have had to censor it so heavily they might as well have had an instrumental. Which is funny, considering that the song was in Tony Hawk's Project 8 without much of a problem...
- If they had, it might have come out something like GH5's version of Iron Maiden's "2 Minutes to Midnight." No cuss words in the song, but apparently the anti-war message was just too vivid and the result is a lot of censorship, ironic given Maiden's view on those issues. The bigger problem with censoring this song, though, were the implications of children abuse (like when the chorus says "to kill the unborn in the womb", the "to kill" is omitted), so it came off whitewashed and with a rather broken message.
- The very first game had "Spanish Castle Magic" by Jimi Hendrix, but the lyrics were removed because Hendrix's estate didn't want an impersonator.
- Fan Nickname: The unnamed bassist in III seen during single player mode. He wears a Zildjian shirt (which had no logo in his previous appearances in the two first games), jeans, and has a face completely covered by long, shaggy hair, a thick mustache and massive beard. And thus, "Hairpile" was born!
- Follow the Leader:
- Originally of Guitar Freaks (where RedOctane got the idea from the guitar peripheral), and later, of Rock Band, from World Tour on. They were planning on making a separate drum game, and eventually integrate them - but MTV offered Harmonix the chance to do it all in one shot, so...
- Warriors of Rock is accused of cribbing its aesthetics and themes from Brütal Legend.
(referring to trailer using "Children of the Grave")
- Reviews, and even Tim Schafer, agree.
"Holy crap! They even stole our intro music!"
- Franchise Killer: Though its not one specific game responsible, the absolutely ridiculous number of released titles since Activision took over on the franchise in 2006 (and especially so since they booted Harmonix, who created the series in the first place, out of it in the next year - 13 new titles in the years between 2007 and 2010) have been pretty much confirmed to be the cause of the killing of at least the franchise, if the not the the whole band game genre.
- Promoted Fanboy: After Activision bought the series and it lost Harmonix, Neversoft stepped up to the plate as developer, saying they played it on breaks while making Tony Hawk games.
- Many custom note chart authors from the Guitar Hero fan community were also picked up by Neversoft to write charts for their game. Of course, these were the sort of players who were already very, very good at the game and wanted to write harder charts to challenge themselves, which carried over directly to Guitar Hero 3...
- The Red Stapler:
- The release of Guitar Hero caused a massive spike in sales for real electric guitars, and especially electric guitar lessons. Many a guitar player in the mid-to-late 2000s wouldn't be seen as all that odd if they cite Guitar Hero as a reason they got into the instrument.
- Lots of bands saw a spike in sales of any song featured in the series, leading to many new fans of old school rock and metal like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Kiss and Rush, to name a few. Power metal band DragonForce cite Guitar Hero as a huge contributing factor to their popularity, and their song "Through the Fire and Flames" remains the band's most popular song more than ten years after Guitar Hero 3 made it famous.
- Revival by Commercialization: The runaway success of the Guitar Hero franchise in the mid-to-late 00s exposed many young people to classic hard rock and heavy metal songs. As a result, the genres of hard rock and heavy metal returned to a level of mainstream popularity they had not seen since probably the early 1990s. Many of the songs that appeared in the games became popular downloads from digital music services such as iTunes.
- Urban Legend of Zelda: Rumors persisted for a while that The Rolling Stones' live DLC was recorded at their infamous Altamont, CA concert, with "Under My Thumb" being the song where Meredith Hunter was killed. It's actually from Get Yer Ya-yas Out, their live DVD which was recorded at Madison Square Garden earlier in 1969.
- What Could Have Been:
- The now-cancelled Guitar Hero 7 would have featured dynamic venues, unique music videos for each song, and a new six-button guitar controller with strings instead of a strum bar, while removing drums and vocals. Your mileage will definitely vary on whether this would have been a good direction, especially given the route they did end up taking the series in with Guitar Hero Live.
- Warriors of Rock was originally going to include, among other things, the song "Deliverance" by Opeth. They decided against it due to disc space issues.
- The first three games mostly used covers as opposed to the original songs. Awesome, sometimes hard to distinguish from the original, but covers nonetheless. Outside bonus songs, every song in the original game is a cover. Outside "Stop" and "John the Fisherman" (plus "Dead!" and "Possum Kingdom," plus some DLC in the 360 version), every song but bonus songs in Guitar Hero II is a cover. Same for Rocks the '80s, where the originals were "I Ran (So Far Away)," "The Hellion/Electric Eye" (okay, they credit only "Electric Eye" in the game, but...), "I Wanna Rock and "The Warrior" (and that's without mentioning "Because It's Midnite" which, for what it's worth, was as close to a bonus song as this game got). The widespread use of masters didn't start until GH3 and the first Rock Band.
- Ironically, the cover of What I Like About You was apparently so good, The Romantics tried to sue Harmonix over it. Which is doubly ironic when you consider it's not even one of the games' best covers.
- As for the originals present in Rocks the 80s, since both "I Wanna Rock" and "The Warrior" end in fade-outs, the in-game versions also end in fade-outs. Considering that later games by Harmonix (read the Rock Band series) and later games in the GH series that use masters bothered to raise the volume of the fade-out and create an ending (yes, those endings are made by the developers - compare "You Give Love a Bad Name" in Lego RB and GH5), it's safe to assume they didn't care. Then again, this was their last game before Activision hijacked their own series from them, and while not really bad, the final product did seem rushed for a summer release, so that's possibly the reason not much work was put in here.
- Of all the on-disc bonus songs in all the GH games, there's the sum total of one cover; "She Bangs The Drums" in GH3.
- In the time between Guitar Hero II's release and Harmonix splitting off from Activision, there were talks of a Guitar Hero animated series being pitched to MTV, among other names. Of course, given MTV's direct involvement in the series direct competitor after the Harmonix/Activision split, the kibosh was quickly put on this idea.
- The Bow Wow Wow cover of "I Want Candy" was going to be in Encore: Rock the 80s, and even appeared in some preview builds of the game, but was removed for undisclosed reasons. Rumor has it that Because It's Midnite was originally going to be a bonus track like "Trogdor" was in 2, but was ultimately moved to the main setlist as a replacement.
- Wolverine Publicity: The series could be a near Real Life example of a Deconstruction. After immense popularity throughout the mid-2000s, in 2009 Activision released seven titles under the "Hero" banner. The oversaturation, along with the recession occurring, led to sharply declining sales to the point where Warriors of Rock struggled to break 100,000 copies sold, and the series was promptly cancelled.
- The Sex Pistols actually reformed and recorded new versions of two of their songs ("Anarchy in the UK" for GH3 and "Pretty Vacant" for World Tour) specifically for the game (the original multi-track masters were not available; the band's theory was that they were stolen). Well, for this and for the same reason bands always reform.
- Hyperspeed was originally included as a joke, like the giant heads "cheat". Yeah, let's make the charts scroll twice as fast! Then people started using it, and noticing the faster speed makes them much better at the game than without.
- Guitar Hero Smash Hits (Beenox) and Guitar Hero Van Halen (Underground Development) were handled by third parties, which would explain some of the chart discrepancies between those games and earlier appearances. In the case of Smash Hits, it's mostly because masters were used instead of covers, but for Guitar Hero Van Halen (which has Hot For Teacher, which appeared on World Tour but didn't export), there really isn't much of a reason to change the chart itself if you're using the same masters.
- ...and on the other hand, some of the charts were changed just to make the tracks more assholish. The five-note chord at the end of "Raining Blood", anyone?
- For Smash Hits, it's worth bearing in mind that some note types were added in World Tour which weren't in previous games (tapped notes, extended sustains, open notes on bass). This meant that in songs which weren't covers in their initial appearance (such as Miss Murder), various parts could be represented more accurately. This also applies to One in Guitar Hero Metallica.
- You know that tiny print on the Guitar Hero II newspaper screen? Someone found exactly what it says.
Trivia / Guitar Hero