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BioShock Licensed Soundtrack

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For the official score composed by Garry Schyman, see I Am Rapture - Rapture is Me.

BioShock's licensed soundtrack helped contribute to the immersive atmosphere of the game with real world licensed music reminiscent of Rapture's time period. Most of them came from the mid-Twentieth Century and cast a feeling of the past in the ruins of the fallen utopia. Several other songs have been licensed without appearing in-game, though some are still present in the game's files, and two more were added for the release of the game on PlayStation 3 systems. Also, three modern tracks were recorded by Moby and Oscar the Punk for The BioShock EP album included in BioShock's Limited Collector's Edition released in August 21, 2007.

Background Edit

Several of the songs were culled from Emily Ridgway's personal record collection which included the artists Django Reinhart, Bing Crosby, and Noël Coward.

In an interview, Ridgway explains "The songs themselves, there's a really interesting juxtaposition of...a happy quirky musical...razzle dazzle number and then...they'd be singing about...how the world is ending...It was supposed to mirror the optimism and the decay at the same time...those two things sort of coexisting with each other."[1]

The licensed songs designed to be source music as if heard by the characters emanating from radios, phonographs, and jukeboxes rather than as incidental music heard from the game's score.

Other songs were chosen by creative director Ken Levine who researched music with the help of his dad and through iTunes. He emphasized that the music came from the pre-rock 'n roll era including the work of artists such as Johnnie Ray, Rosemary Clooney, Patti Page, and Billie Holiday. Levine was also inspired to include Django Reinhardt's recordings, in particular "La Mer", after hearing his music in the 1999 film Sweet and Lowdown and in the 2002 video game Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven.[2]

However, he expressed that there were sometimes difficulties obtaining the licensing for some of the songs given the age of the recordings and legal rights status. In several instances, songs were chosen to be performed by different artists or later re-recordings were obtained.

One of the first rooms to have completed ambient audio was Painless Dental in the Medical Pavilion. Ridgway chose Bing Crosby's "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" with the lyrics "What price happiness? Who can truthfully say? But for every share with tears we pay?" to play over an Art Deco aesthetic littered with dead families.[3]


Appearing in-game Edit

The following are the songs and music played while exploring distinct locations in BioShock.

Song title Artist Year Location(s) in game
"La Mer" Django Reinhardt 1949
"If I Didn't Care" The Ink Spots 1939
"The Party's Over Now" Noël Coward 1959[4]
"The Best Things in Life are Free" The Ink Spots 1947
"Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" Bing Crosby 1931
"It Had to be You" Django Reinhardt 1938
"God Bless the Child" Billie Holiday 1941
"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" Bing Crosby 1933
"Bei Mir Bist du Schön" The Andrews Sisters 1937
"Jitterbug Waltz" Django Reinhardt 1942
"Night and Day" Billie Holiday 1939
"Liza (All the Clouds'll Roll Away)" Django Reinhardt 1946
"Twentieth Century Blues" Noël Coward 1959
"Beyond the Sea" Bobby Darin 1959
"Waltz of the Flowers" Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 1892
  • In Fort Frolic's Atrium (during Cohen's Splicer battle)
"(How Much is) That Doggie in the Window?" Patti Page 1966[5]
"It's Bad for Me" Rosemary Clooney 1955
"Please Be Kind" Django Reinhardt 1938
  • In Upper Heat Loss Monitoring in Hephaestus
"Papa Loves Mambo" Perry Como 1954
"You're the Top" Cole Porter with Vince Giordano & his Nighthawks 2004[6]
"Danny Boy" Mario Lanza 1952
  • At Fontaine's Apartment in Mercury Suites
Bobby

Bobby Darin: Beyond The Sea

Additional Licensed Songs Edit

Only short snippets of the following songs are heard during gameplay.

Song title Artist Year Location(s) in game
"And All the While I'm Loving You" Essential Jazz Masters production music
"Wild Ride" The Faux Frenchmen 2007[7]
  • Featured on the BioShock EP
"The Ballroom Waltz"[8] Cliff Eidelman 1997
  • When Sander Cohen descends the staircase after completing the Quadtych

The following songs are found in their entirety in the game's files in streams_music_common_audio with the other period tracks, but are not known to play in-game.

Song title Artist Year Notes
"Just Walking in the Rain" Johnnie Ray 1956
  • Specifically mentioned by Ken Levine, creative director of BioShock, in a post-release interview[9]
"World Weary" Noël Coward 1928
  • Taken from a live recording in the 1955 album Noël Coward at Las Vegas
  • Coward also recorded an earlier version in 1933

These song names are found in the game files, but are not playable. All are located in the audio files for the Medical Pavilion (streams_1_music_audio) along with the organ music (music_1_radiofuneral) for Twilight Fields Funeral Homes. In addition, some of the songs can be found in duplicated files associated with Neptune's Bounty (streams_2_music_audio) and Arcadia (streams_3_music_audio).

No artist name can be found in the metadata. Several versions of the songs may exist, but the most popular have been chosen to be representative.

Filename Approximate Length Possible Artist Year
music_1_radiorosalie ("Rosalie") 1:55 Artie Shaw 1939
music_1_radio_porgy ("I Loves You, Porgy") 3:04 Billie Holiday 1948
music_1_radiojiveatfive ("Jive at Five") 1:52 Count Basie Orchestra 1937
music_1_radiohappyfeet ("Happy Feet") 1:59 Cab Calloway 1930
music_1_radiolildarlin ("Lil' Darlin'") 2:32 Count Basie Orchestra 1958
music_1_radiotooyoung ("Too Young") 2:03 Nat King Cole 1951


Several more songs appear to have been licensed for the game but do not appear in the final version or in any of the game files.[10]

Song title Artist Year Notes
"Avalon" Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli 1935 -
"Let's Fly Away" Lee Wiley 1940 -
"Just One of Those Things" Lee Morgan 1957 -
"This is a Changing World" Noël Coward 1946 -
"You're Getting to be a Habit with Me" Bing Crosby/Harry Edison ?
  • Crosby and Edison have recorded their own takes on this standard. It is not known if there exists a recording where they've performed together
"Academy Award" Stanley Black production music
  • Referenced in the game files by "music_licence_academyaward", but actually plays Cliff Eidelman's "Ballroom Waltz".
  • The song's record label and music publisher, De Wolfe Music, is still listed in the BioShock Credits

PlayStation 3 ExclusivesEdit

Song title Artist Year Location(s) in game
"You're Getting to be a Habit With Me" Buddy Rich (drums) and Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet) 1955 loading screen
"Dream" Pied Pipers 1946 end credits; BioShock 2 "Sea of Dreams" teaser
"Getting Closer" Bill Brown production music BioShock PS3 Trailer

The BioShock EP Edit

The bioshock EP front

CD Sleeve front cover.

This album was recorded by Moby and Oscar the Punk for the Limited Collector's Edition of BioShock. The first two songs are remixes of original ones present in-game, while the third combines "Wild Ride", composed by Paul Patterson and Brian Lovely of the Faux Frenchmen, and various sounds and PSAs from the game.

  1. Beyond the Sea - 03:15
  2. God Bless the Child - 03:58
  3. Wild Little Sisters - 03:56

References Edit

  1. http://www.gametrailers.com/full-episodes/iar1ci/backtrack-composing-bioshock Composing BioShock Part 1
  2. http://forums.2k.com/showthread.php?20304-EGM-Interview-with-Ken-Levine-Spoilers Electronic Gaming Monthly November 2007 issue (recorded verbatim on the 2K Forums)
  3. http://web.archive.org/web/20090117183326/http://www.music4games.net/Features_Display.aspx?id=177 Music4Games Interview with Audio Director Emily Ridgway (archived)
  4. The game uses the short version from the 1959 album Noel Coward in New York. Coward did however, record a full-length version in the 30s.
  5. The game does not use the original 1952 hit recording which featured Patti Page singing with overdubbed vocals of herself. It is a re-recorded version made by Page in 1966 that instead has her solo voice accompanied by an orchestra.
  6. The song uses Cole Porter's original 1934 vocals, but overdubbs the piano with additional strings and drums from the CD It's De Lovely - The Authentic Cole Porter Collection
  7. The track has been re-titled and released by the band as "Eleventh Floor Stomp". It is available on their 2008 album Oblivion.
  8. The filename is mistakenly labeled as "music_licence_academyaward"
  9. http://forums.2k.com/showthread.php?20304-EGM-Interview-with-Ken-Levine-Spoilers Electronic Gaming Monthly November 2007 issue (recorded verbatim on the 2K Forums)
  10. "BioShock Music list" post by Major Nelson on his blog.

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