Rocks Off has learned a lot from video games over the years. Super Mario Bros. 3 taught us that the sun is an angry, malice-filled demon who will stop at nothing until you're dead (It's a 102 degrees as we write). Bioshock taught us that taking Ayn Rand a too seriously leads to fighting genetically altered murder mutants in an underwater city.
However, it's from Tetris that we gained the ability to move an entire one bedroom apartment in the bed of a Ford Ranger in a single trip, and for that skill we'd like to wish the game a happy 27th birthday. Alexey Pajitnov first developed the game in 1984, and some form of it has been ported to just about every single gaming platform there is.
The game is of course highly addictive while also being pretty simple and easy to play. It's also home to one of the most famous video game themes, "Music A," actually an instrumental arrangement of a 19th-century Russian folksong called "Korobeiniki." Dozens, if not hundreds, of musicians have covered it since the game was first released, and in honor of the game's anniversary we'd like to present seven of the best.
Yes, that Andrew Lloyd Webber, who with Nigel Wright released a Eurodance Tetris cover in 1992 under the name Doctor Spin. It is the only single the duo ever produced, but did reach No. 6 on the UK charts.
If you ever wondered what Russian folk music fused with American alternative rock sounds like, then Ozma's your band. The first half of their Douubble Donkey Disc was dedicated to Russian themes and included balalaikas and flutes in addition to their regular instrumentation. They called this genre Russian coldfusion.
Powerglove gives the theme a little progressive-metal injection with tempo and key changes. The result really expands the simple melody into something fairly symphonic.
Irish organist busts out the theme at St. Joseph's Church in Dublin.
A finger-style guitar cover that really captures the urgency of the theme later in the game when the pieces really start dropping. That speed is what makes Ewan Dobson one of the top guitarists of this sort in the world.
Not content with the melody, Pig With the Face of a Boy decided that the song needed lyrics. The result is the ingenious "Complete History of The Soviet Union, Arranged To The Melody of Tetris." This is seriously one of the coolest things ever.
Annnnnnd This... Whatever it Is
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Bilingual readers, please illuminate us Anglos on whatever this is in the comments.