Because I’m a little pressed for time, this week’s Sonic Second will be somewhat brief. I’ll cover something that’s already well known, plus something a little more obscure and cool.
Even though Sonic the Hedgehog is a property from the ’90s, some of the music from the games was composed many years before – in the ’80s.
The first example is Ice Cap Zone from Sonic 3, the BGM for which is directly based on a song by the short-lived Arizona New Wave band, the Jetzons. The song is called “Hard Times”, and it’s from 1982 – but it was not released until Fervor Records issued The Complete Jetzons boxed set in 2009.
Now, if you are a Sonic fan, you’ve probably already heard of this unless you’ve been living in Antarctica or something. But here it is again, because I can’t get enough of it:
It may seem weird that Sega would use an unreleased song by an obscure American band for a zone’s BGM, until you realise the common thread – Sonic 3 composer Brad Buxer was the keyboardist for the Jetzons.
The second example is by a composer we all know and love – Masato Nakamura.
While it’s fairly well known that the ending theme to Sonic 2 is based on Dreams Come True’s song “Sweet Sweet Sweet”, it goes deeper than that.
“Sweet Sweet Sweet” is from their 1992 album “Swinging Star” (which was being recorded in London at the same time Masa was composing the Sonic 2 soundtrack) but a demo of the song – simply titled “Sweet” – exists. This demo predates Dreams Come True itself, hailing from a time when they were still calling themselves Cha Cha & Audrey’s Project, which puts it at 1988 at the very latest.
The demos on this tape are extremely hard to find, but I got lucky and snagged some MP3s. Here’s “Sweet”:
The thing that I love about this demo version of the song is that – unlike the album cut – Masa himself is singing the duet with Miwa. I mean, it’s Masa, singing Sonic music, years before the game even existed. It’s way past cool!
It makes one think – are there any other Sonic songs that are partially or wholly from the ’80s and we just don’t know it yet?