Country Music Legend Says Guitar Hero Perverted His Song

Posted by on 04/12/2008
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 3 years, you probably have heard of a little game called Guitar Hero.

In a nutshell, the game lets players use a faux plastic guitar to hit colored buttons on the neck of the guitar which match the musical notes that scroll down the screen toward the player. It has become wildly popular amongst all ages, spawning no less than 4 sequels in its relatively short 3 year existence. Most bands and artists are happy to lend their songs to the game, especially given how much of a hit it's been.

Charlie Daniels however, is not happy.

A cover version of one of the country music artist's most popular songs, "The Devil Went Down To Georgia", is featured as the last (and hardest) song in the game. Appropriately enough, the player actually "duels" the devil, trading off phrases and solos in the song in an effort to win.

In a post today on his website, Daniels said that after seeing the game for the first time, "the whole thing bothered [him] and struck [him] as something that is not the healthiest thing in the world" for young kids. The fact that "the game really has a dark side complete with grotesque monsters on stage with the band, strange, eerie lighting effects and all manner of weird things popping up on the stage" really struck a chord with him.

The country music star goes on to say that the song "is supposed to be a lighthearted novelty about a fiddling contest between a country boy and the devil and the devil always loses" but the game "comes complete with a horned, guitar-playing devil who battles the player and very often wins."

I'm incredibly torn here. One part of me wants to shake Mr. Daniels and go off on a diatribe about how Guitar Hero is one of the more innocent games out there now. I'd tell him that most likely, the kids playing the game don't even see all of those images, because they're too busy concentrating on the notes on the screen (and believe me, as an avid player of the game, I can say this is 100% true).

On the other hand, I can't blame Mr. Daniels for being miffed about seeing one of his songs, to which he lost the publishing rights "many years ago", used in a way that he wouldn't have ever signed off on had he been more involved in the development of.

But alas, most likely his complaint will be just that, a complaint, since he no longer holds the rights to the song.

Let's just hope that Daniels doesn't find out that the devil is actually an unlockable and playable character; he probably wouldn't be too happy about that either!

The full text of Charlie Daniel's post is here.