Metallica. AC/DC. Aerosmith. What do they have in common? Dead people.
Metallica bassist Cliff Burton died in 1986, when the band’s tour bus overturned, crushing his body after he fell out the window. Wild partying led AC/DC singer Bon Scott to choke to death on his own vomit in 1980. And Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Steven Tyler did so many drugs in the ’70s that they could have died.
Alas, we won’t be morbid. They’re also the subjects of music video games. Zing.
“Guitar Hero: Aerosmith” came out in 2008. “AC/DC” followed in the winter as a standalone Rock Band game (it’s really just a live concert with 18 tracks, but it counts). And now we have “Guitar Hero: Metallica.”
So who’s next? Here are our top picks:
Dead members: Yoko Ono’s husband and George Harrison.
Why? Harmonix, one of the brains behind Rock Band, has already announced a Beatles game. The Fab Four are set to be released in September.
THE ROLLING STONES
Dead members: Two former members have died, and Keith Richards’ corpse still plays, too.
Why? The other British Invasion band already has a few hits on the games, including Paint It Black. That means the band’s label is open to it. Make it happen.
Dead members: None.
Why? Rock’s most prominent band has hit after hit. It helps, too, that the band’s discography transcends rock and pop, so it would find a larger audience. No U2 song has appeared in Guitar Hero or Rock Band, so this one might be a long shot.
THE BEST OF THE CLASSIC ROCK
Dead members: Too many to count.
Why? OK, classic rock is cool, but it doesn’t have as large an audience as modern rock. So let’s combine some of the genre’s best: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Doors and The Who. Rumor has it there might be a Guitar Hero Hendrix in the works.
Dead members: None. Former drummer Bill Berry nearly died of a brain aneurysm on tour in the mid-1990s, but now he’s living out his days as a farmer.
Why? This one’s totally me, as I’m a huge R.E.M. mark. But tell me you wouldn’t want “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” as well as obscure classics like “Exhuming McCarthy” and “Country Feedback.” Maybe there’d be an add-on mandolin peripheral for “Losing My Religion.”
Many of these artists have released songs on the games, but their catalogs are huge: The Police, The Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen and The Eagles.