The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Series is sadly all but a relic of the past. However, the old titles still provide just as much entertainment today as they did upon release. One of the most notable parts of the franchise was its stellar soundtrack. Earlier titles had an especially huge impact on gamers' taste in music, as they introduced a generation to songs they otherwise would not have heard, considering the games came out before the Internet's ubiquity.
To celebrate the music, the following list will present the ten best rock and roll tunes over the nine mainline titles. To keep things fair, they are all evenly spread out over the titles, with only one game getting two songs.
10 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater: Dead Kennedys - Police Truck
The Dead Kennedys were an early Punk Band, but they still played harder and faster than most bands do today. Jello Biafra's hectic vocal mannerisms were the perfect accompaniment to the series' frantic gameplay.
A few of the lyrics had to be censored for the release, but surely enough kids liked the song enough to buy the CD and check out their other records. "Fresh Fruit For Rotten Vegetables" is an all-time classic punk record, and while it doesn't feature the song, their other hits like "Holiday in Cambodia" and "California Uber Alles" did make it on the LP.
9 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2: Bad Religion - You
Bad Religion had a knack for melody which their contemporaries lacked. In the '90s, they were on every skater's walkman, so their inclusion was a no-brainer.
"You" has all the staples that made the band legends; fast tempo, tight structure, and a wall of meaningful thought out lyrics. At just two minutes long, the tune is over before you know it. Fortunately, it is almost the exact length of a run in the classic title.
8 Project 8: Toots And The Maytals - Time Tough
Not all the songs featured in the game are fast and upbeat. Sometimes it is equally enjoyable to skate some lines to a more laid back jam, such as "Time Tough" by Toots and the Maytals.
This reggae group formed in the early '60s and was integral in bringing the genre to the world stage. The song is arguably their most popular, and it kicks off with a simple, yet addictive guitar lick.
7 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3: AFI - The Boy Who Destroyed The World
The AFI of today bears no resemblance to the little kids who parodied Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs on their first album cover. They were always intent on expanding and changing up their sound, however, and "The Boy Who Destroyed The World" represents a time when they were still dedicated to hard-hitting melodic hardcore while also wanting to get a little spooky.
With obvious inspiration from groups like The Misfits, the fast and heavy tune is the perfect song for a punk rock Halloween but works just as well when pulling off two million point combos at an airport or in a foundry.
6 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4: AC/DC - TNT
AC/DC offers pure, unfiltered rock and roll best turned up to deafening volumes. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 is filled with classic tunes, ranging from Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast" to the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK," but TNT takes the cake for being the opening track.
Many skaters probably feel a kinship with the band's first singer, Bon Scott, since he too was also mostly seen without a shirt.
5 Tony Hawk's American Wasteland: Oingo Boingo - Who Do You Want To Be
Tony Hawk's American Wasteland is one of the lesser celebrated titles, but that doesn't mean its soundtrack was any less notable. Oingo Boingo's music is seething with frenetic energy. Most of their songs are fast, and Danny Elfman's vocals are all over the place.
The band hasn't played together in over twenty years, having broken up after Elfman suffered severe hearing damage from long term exposure to loud noises. While their lead singer has since moved onto movie soundtracks, Oingo Boingo's legacy forever lives on.
4 Tony Hawk's Underground: The Clash - White Riot
The Clash didn't earn the title of the only band that matters for nothing. Their politically charged music is relevant beyond their time period. Ideologies aside, they still wrote catchy aggressive songs perfect for skating.
Tony Hawk's Underground turned the formula on its head, adding a story and featuring significantly larger maps. As such, its soundtrack upped the ante with more variety and more songs.
Maybe The Clash has better, more experimental tunes in their catalog, but this straightforward rocker from their first album is still incredible.
3 Tony Hawk's Underground 2: The Explosion - Here I Am
Tony Hawk's Underground 2 has a varied setlist, filled with classics and modern gems. Perhaps The Explosion doesn't compare to The Doors in terms of relevance and staying power, but as a song "Here I Am" fits in perfectly with the aesthetic.
The song is so good, it also made it onto the Burnout 3 soundtrack. In addition, another one of their hits, "No Revolution," was in the prior game.
2 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3: Motorhead - The Ace Of Spades
Lemmy Kilmister is a legend. Even though he is no longer with us, Motorhead's music will forever pump people up to whatever task they have at hand, whether that be getting into a drunken fistfight, washing the dishes, or skating in the first Tony Hawk's Pro Skater game to feature reverts.
There will never be another rocker or bass player like Lemmy, but at least his music will be here forever.
1 Tony Hawk's Proving Ground: Bad Brains - Banned In DC
Tony Hawk's Proving Ground is arguably the worst in the series. It made some fundamental changes which made skating feel like it was from an entirely different series. One shouldn't bemoan changes, but it is sad when these adjustments render the franchise unrecognizable.
At least it has a couple of bangers on its soundtrack. Bad Brains' "Banned In DC" is a punk rock classic, and its inclusion in Proving Ground is one of the few saving graces. Be careful though; if the song comes on during a play session, your family is bound to open up a mosh pit in the living room.