Video Games Introduce The Younguns To Roy Brown And Other Golden Oldies

Dec 18th, 2008 // 4 Comments

Like any self-respecting gamer, I’ve played a lot of Fallout 3 since its release (80 hours and counting, sigh) Though the game has its own soundtrack (in Fallout 3′s case, it’s très X-Files), the player can forgo that and listen to a number of radio stations that broadcast across the nuclear war-devastated landscape. I prefer Galaxy News Radio, the station run by raconteur Three Dog, who comments on your in-game progress in between spins of great pre-rock and roll tunes.

Though the music selection falls well within the game’s universe, game developers have to pay licensing just like anybody else, and I suspect that The Ink Spots’ fantastic “I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire” costs a lot less than Alt Rock Band X does. Last year’s near-unanimous Game of the Year Bioshock also featured old-timey licensed tracks from Billie Holliday, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, and the Ink Spots. This kind of smart licensing really immerses you into the game’s dystopian world in much the same manner as the hilarious and incredibly well-programmed radio stations in the Grand Theft Auto games. Good licensing helps bridge the Uncanny Valley a bit, bringing an extra smidge of needed verisimilitude, but an even better consequence is that its playlist contains two zippy numbers from rock and roll progenitor, gospel singer, and sometime boxer Roy Brown.

“Mighty, Mighty Man” is a swinging number driven by some truly wild and wonderful Brown vocal yelps. Brown’s band was called The Mighty Men.

“Butcher Pete, pt. 1″ is downright filthy and hilarious, one of those thinly veiled double entendre-based songs that Chuck Berry specialized in. Hell, I kinda wonder if it would even make it past today’s culture warriors. Sample lyrics:

Butcher Pete’s got a long sharp knife
He starts choppin’ and don’t know when to stop
All you fellows gotta watch your wifes
‘Cause Pete don’t care whose meat he chops

“Pt. 2″, by the way, is just as filthy and perhaps even weirder.

It’s funny to me, and more than a little bizarre, that a generation of gamers, most of whom just want to shoot Super Mutants in the head, are being inculcated with this semi-legend who, legend has it, was the inspiration for much of Little Richard’s shtick.


  1. Michaelangelo Matos

    Not just Little Richard: James Brown was a huge Roy Brown fan–as of course was Elvis Presley. (Brown recorded “Good Rockin’ Tonight” before Wynonie Harris.)

  2. Lucas Jensen

    @Michaelangelo Matos: That’s right. Don’t think I have that one. For some reason I knew you’d comment on this!

  3. natepatrin

    I’ve put just as many hours into Fallout 3 and actually started confronting the sad possibility that I was actually going to get sick of Roy Brown. Then I realized I had about 500 songs on my computer’s hard drive that fit the general postwar-through-1960 milieu and queued those up instead. Gotta love a video game that actually gives you an excuse to go through the older reaches of your music collection for alternate soundtrack purposes; now I’m sniping raiders to the strains of Wynonie Harris.

  4. Lucas Jensen

    @natepatrin: I really like listening to Three Dog’s updates on the stuff I do.

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