Stop stealing them, start buying them: Guitar Hero Essentials now on iTunes

Activision has announced today the launch of the Guitar Hero iTunes landing page, and “Guitar Hero Essentials,” a series of songs and compilations featuring music from the games. Top tracks included Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” Cheap Trick’s “Surrender,” and Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.”

These songs are joined by the essential playlists for “guitar fans,” with names like “Shredders,” “Live Guitar Heroics,” “Killer Guitar Solos,” and “Guitar Anthems of the 80s.” Additionally, iTunes will also be offering playlists from Guitar Hero-related guitarists like Slash and The Sex Pistol’s Steve Jones. Jones chose M.I.A.’s “Boyz” as one of his essential tracks, a song which contains absolutely no guitar (or live instruments for that matter).

Believe it or not, there are some Guitar Hero players who have never heard Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” before playing the game, so this is actually a pretty brilliant idea to further capitalize on the game’s success. But really, any true “guitar fan” should have most of this stuff in the collection already.

Guitar Hero(R) Essentials Now Available on iTunes
Collect More Than 1300 Must-Have Guitar Anthems into 20 Essentials

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct 23, 2007 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATVI) announced that starting today a series of compilations featuring music from the hit franchise Guitar Hero(R) will be available for purchase and download on the iTunes Store (www.itunes.com)(1). The tracks will be featured in iTunes Essentials for Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero II, Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.

From “Surrender” to “Welcome to the Jungle,” to “Carry On Wayward Son,” nearly every song to appear in the Guitar Hero franchise has been gathered(1). A newly recorded version of “Anarchy in the U.K.” which the Sex Pistols recently recorded for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, is also available as a separate track. The series also includes Artist and Genre Essentials custom-created especially for guitar fans. Titles include Shredders, Live Guitar Heroics, Killer Guitar Solos and Guitar Anthems of the ’80s with tracks from Aerosmith, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Pearl Jam. Additionally, iTunes will be offering guitar-themed playlists from guitar legends Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols and Slash of Guns ‘N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver so fans can download the legends’ favorite anthems.

Fans can access the Guitar Hero landing page by visiting www.itunes.com/guitarhero.

“Guitar Hero fans have been clamoring for increased accessibility to their favorite songs from the set lists,” said Dusty Welch, head of publishing for Activision/RedOctane(R). “Where there’s music, there’s Guitar Hero, and with iTunes, we are able to provide fans with a central location for downloading their favorite rock anthems.”

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock will include explosive new content and features including a multiplayer action-inspired battle mode, grueling boss battles, a host of exclusive unlockable content and visually stunning rock venues. Expanded online multiplayer game modes will also allow axe-shredders worldwide to compete head-to-head for true legendary rock status. While continuing to retain all the key features from their prior legendary performances, fresh downloadable content will be offered on multiple platforms, and players can now shred to a killer set list from many of the most popular rock songs ever recorded.

For the first time ever, Guitar Hero fans will also be able to thrash and burn with new wireless guitar controllers available for each platform, including exclusive Gibson Guitar’s Les Paul model for the Xbox 360(TM) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Wii(TM) home video game system from Nintendo, and PLAYSTATION(R)3 computer entertainment system. PlayStation(R)2 gamers will also get to shred on a new exclusive shape, Gibson’s Kramer guitar, popularized by hard rockers and known for its body design, pickups, electronics and construction for furious finger fretting.

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, published by RedOctane(R) and developed by Neversoft, is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB and will be available October 28, 2007. For more information about the Guitar Hero franchise, please visit the dedicated community site: www.guitarhero.com.

(1) Songs available for download on the iTunes Store feature original artist master recordings; some songs in the Guitar Hero games feature newly re-recorded master recordings.

Nick Chester