Soundtracks are one of the most important aspects of a video game. They are a huge design factor, and an underwhelming tracklist can truly make or break a game come launch day. Think about it, how many games just wouldn’t have been the same without the tunes in the background? I think of all the movie-tie-in games of the 2000s era. Games like Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue, A Bugs Life, and Rugrats: Search for Reptar all spring to mind.
These games were fun but far from astounding, but the spectacular musical assortment ensured that players bopped along to the beat regardless. Heck, I still listen to those Toy Story PS1 tunes every now and again when writing articles such as this. Well, that brings me neatly to another game that has a list of tracks that regularly pop up when I put my faith in the Spotify shuffle function. I am, of course, referring to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
After the roaring success of GTA: III, Rockstar decided to take the next brand of sandbox open-world chaos to the streets of Vice City, an area heavily inspired by Miami, Florida. This naturally meant that the game would be full of colorful attire, neon signs aplenty, and palm trees as far as the eye can see. The aesthetic tends to be the thing that many immediately remember. However, the musical assortment within this game was heavily influenced by the setting and time period.
Much like the GTA: San Andreas soundtrack would be a few years later. This soundtrack would be full of incredibly memorable 1980’s hits, and even though the general populous at the time were enjoying artists like Kelly Rowland and Nelly at the top of the charts in 2002, this set of tracks was a refreshing blast from the past.
So with that in mind, it is time for another self-indulgent, controversial, but ultimately fun article where we take all the tracks within GTA: Vice City and rank them from best to worst. We will be giving you individual rankings for each radio station, so every genre is accounted for; plus, we will be giving our definitive top ten as well.
It’s all subjective at the end of the day, but I’ll try my very best to rank these iconic tunes with every GTA mega-fan in mind. So without further delay, here is Every GTA Vice CITY Song Ranked from worst to best; enjoy!
So, just to clarify, every single song will be included here; we won’t be omitting any tracks. However, we do need some criteria in place to try and rank these tracks in as fair a way as possible.
After all, your tastes will differ from mine, so I don’t want this to be a rundown of all my personal favorites, but rather, a comprehensive list of the top tracks based on memorability, quality, and various other factors.
So here are the considerations I took into account:
- The track’s worldwide appeal (Based on overall Spotify listens)
- The track’s memorability within the confines of GTA Vice City
- Whether the track aligns with the genre/tone of the radio station
Okay, now it’s time to put on a putrid-looking Hawaiian shirt, completely forget how to swim, and buckle up for some amazing tunes!
Our Definitive GTA Vice City Song Ranked
We begin proceedings by ranking the absolute cream of the crop. We take all the songs on the list into account, and we rank our top ten below; and we will even tell you why we feel they deserve to be there. Okay, here we go!
#01 Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
Could it really have been anything else? Considering the overwhelming popularity that the King of Pop still holds years after his death, it would be hard to argue against slotting this one in at number one. I could play the allegations card, but I’ll save that rant for another day.
Putting aside Michael’s colorful past, you can’t argue that pretty much every song he released was a bop. Billie Jean is one such bop and, aside from Thriller, is probably the most memorable MJ tune.
So naturally, when you are cruising to the Malibu Club, and this song comes on, you might find yourself doing a few laps of the club until it fades out. It’s not my personal choice, but I can’t argue with the numbers in front of me. It’s what the people want.
#02 The Buggles – Video Killed the Radio Star
If you wanted my personal choice for number one, then look no further than The Buggles and their iconic track, Video Killed the Radio Star. Amongst a star-studded list of sublime artists, it was this track that, even as a child, I was constantly flicking over the radio stations to find. It’s a track that serves up vibes very similar to Mr.
Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra and offers an upbeat backing track to your needless murdering and drive-bys. Is it cheesy? Absolutely, but wasn’t all music in this era cheesy? It’s incredibly catchy, never gets old, and for me, it’s the most memorable song within the whole catalog of brilliant artists present in this game.
#03 The Outfield – Your Love
This might be a bit of a controversial one, but I have my reasons for slotting John Spink’s iconic track this high. It’s one of those tracks that you immediately think, I have heard that somewhere before, and in a lot of cases, you probably have. This ballad has been featured in movies like Tammy and Adventureland, but I first encountered this one when watching The Mighty Ducks.
I love a good underdog story. So when I encountered this one again in GTA: Vice City, I was elated. Outside of my own ties to this song, though, it’s a perfect 80’s driving song where you can test your vocal range and comically come up short, but have a blast trying, and it fits the theme and setting of this title perfectly.
#04 Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message
GTA Vice City’s choice of hip-hop music differed from the next title San Andreas through its link to disco and funk. San Andreas tried to offer 80’s rap from the golden age with the likes of Big daddy Kane and Biz Markie, but Vice City paved the path with funky rap from the likes of Grandmaster Flash, and The Message is a tune that marries together with Vice City perfectly.
Alongside folks like the Sugarhill Gang and Brand Nubian, Flash was blending Disco with rap and doing so with aplomb. It’s something that seemingly lived and died within that short era, but as you can tell from this track, when it was good, it really was top tier, hence why it’s ranking so high on this list of greats.
#05 Blondie – Atomic
Speaking of songs that are iconic because of their placement in movies, many of you guys familiar with Danny Boyle movies will know this one from Trainspotting, but before that, it featured in GTA: Vice City, and before that, the track was a number one dance anthem. It’s easy to see why thanks to that incredible riff that never lets up throughout the entire run.
It might be a strange shout, but it’s a track that reminds me of Audio Bully’s remix of You Shot me Down originally by Nancy Sinatra. It’s a song that is a perfect backing track for you as you try to outrun the cops, or learn how to fly your Dodo for the first time.
It’s the blend of elation and euphoria that comes, before dropping back into that heavy bass and riff again that I love, and I reckon you will too.
#06 Toto – Africa
While many will scoff at me even giving this tune a space in the top ten with so many incredible songs to choose from, I think you cynics need to calm down because Toto did something pretty special here. The song is popular amongst the older generation as it was a popular track of the era thanks to one of the most explosive and emotive choruses in living memory.
Then later, it would transcend the generations thanks to a litany of memes and covers from countless bands, including the likes of Weezer. While many will say that this song is laughable and ripe for parody. When you lay down your pitchforks and just listen, we reckon you’ll be belting out the chorus in no time.
#07 Hall & Oates – Out of Touch
Next up, we have Hall and Oates, and while it isn’t my favorite track from the pair, You’re Making My Dreams Come True, it’s definitely their second-most popular track. It’s a classic eighties soft-rock ballad that sinks its hooks in with killer vocals, that unforgettable piano riff, and those signature harmonies from the pair.
If you are looking for a quintessential eighties tune that will have you sitting in the car meters away from the mission start zone because you just don’t want it to end, this is the one.
#08 The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary
This might be the first of all the songs in the top ten where I’m leaning purely on personal preference, and it’s to include She Sells Sanctuary, a tune that is still part of my heavy rotation decades after I first heard it in GTA: Vice City and then again in Dave Mirra’s Freestyle BMX. It’s a song that links up quite nicely with British bands of the era like The Cure, The Stone Roses, and others of that ilk.
This Yorkshire band’s brand of vocals that don’t sound too dissimilar to David Lee Roth, the zany intro riff, and the heavy drum line all culminate to provide a track that is handcrafted for Rockers, Skaters, and party-goers alike. Honestly, what would the rock and roll industry be like without effect pedals?
#09 Luther Vandross – Never Too Much
I can’t have this top ten exist without having a few smooth disco tracks included here, and if you want smooth, then you want Luther Vandross. Vandross, along with others like Barry White and Stevie Wonder, was a certified king of soul. He was a backing vocalist for a lot of his career, but this track shows how talented the man was on his own, and his range as an artist, as he blends disco, funk, and soul seamlessly.
You can just close your eyes and picture yourself rolling around an auditorium lit up by a glitter ball on rollerskates to this track, and while I may never think of Luther Vandross without also thinking of Always Sunny’s Frank Reynolds, He earns his spot here on merit.
#10 Oliver Cheatham – Get Down Saturday Night
Then wrapping things up, we have another iconic disco track that makes you want to plump your afro, put on your fanciest white spandex suit and get to steppin’.
I was torn between this one and Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, but when comparing the two, I just think this one has more of a lasting legacy, has a pure disco vibe, and has much more replayability. Plus, the vocal range exhibited in this track is surreal.
So if you find yourself grooving to this one, which it’s damn near impossible not to, just leave to high notes to the professionals.
The Radio Stations
Now that you know the best of the best, it’s time to check out the rest. Despite not making it into our top ten, there are still some unforgettable tracks listed below. So for those looking to bolster your 80’s playlist, check these radio station rankings below:
We begin our rankings of each radio station with Adam First and his brand of Post-Punk, Pop, and Synthwave tunes on Wave 103. If you are looking for a bunch of tunes that were unanimously popular in this era but have a little bit of edge, this is the station for you. Here’s how they rank below:
#1 – Blondie – Atomic
#2 – Gary Numan – Cars
#3 – Spandau Ballet – Gold
#4 – Tears For Fears – Pale Shelter
#5 – Corey Hart – Sunglasses at Night
#6 – Kim Wilde -Kids in America
#7 – A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)
#8 – Nena – 99 Luftballoons
#9 – The Human League – (Keep Feeling) Fascination
#10 – Romeo Void – Never Say Never
#11 – Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Two Tribes
#12 – ABC – Poison Arrow
#13 – The Psychedelic Furs – Love My Way
#14 – Animotion – Obsession
#15 – Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Love Missile F1-11
#16 – Thomas Dolby – Hyperactive!
After all that edgy pop, you might be in the mood for some straight-up formulaic pop music, and some really good pop music at that. Well, if you’re tuned in to Flash, you’re in the right place. Here is how we have ranked these iconic pop tracks:
#1 – Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
#2 – The Outfield – Your Love
#3 – The Buggles – Video Killed the Radio Star
#4 – Bryan Adams – Run to You
#5 – Hall & Oates – Out of Touch
#6 – Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart
#7 – Lionel Richie – Running With the Night
#8 – Laura Branigan – Self Control
#9 – Electric Light Orchestra – Four Little Diamonds
#10 – The Fixx – One Thing Leads To Another
#10 – Talk Talk – Life’s What You Make It
#11 – INXS – Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain)
#12 – Joe Jackson – Steppin’ Out
#13 – Go West – Call Me
#14 – Akena – Japanese Boy
#15 – Wang Chung – Dance Hall Days
Wildstyle Pirate Radio
If you are on the hunt for some hip-hop heavy stations, you might want to switch over to GTA: San Andreas, because even this hip-hop station has got some groove and some electro content thrown in there for a rather eclectic mix. All the same, it’s great stuff, and this is how we rank it:
#1 – Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message
#2 – Kurtis Blow – The Breaks
#3 – Run DMC – Rock Box
#4 – Cybotron – Clear
#5 – Herbie Hancock – Rockit
#6 – Man Parrish – Hip Hop Be Bop (Don’t Stop)
#7 – Zapp + Roger: More Bounce to the Ounce
#8 – Whodini – Magic’s Wand
#9 – Tyrone Brunson – The Smurf
#10 – Afrika Bambaataa + The Soulsonic Force – Looking For the Perfect Beat
#11 – Hashim: Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)
#12 – Mantronix – Bassline
#13 – Davy DMX – One For the Treble
#14 – Trouble Funk – Pump me Up
#14 – 2 Live Crew – Get It Girl
#15 – Man Parrish – Hip Hop Be Bop
Okay, let’s change the vibe a little, slow things down, and turn up the heat. It’s time for some emotional power ballads with a mix of soft rock. Emotion 98.3 lives up to its name, and if you listen to all the tracks it offers, you are bound to resonate with something. Here is how we rank these tunes:
#1 – Toto – Africa
#2 – Luther Vandross – Never Too Much
#3 – Foreigner – Waiting For a Girl Like You
#4 – Cutting Crew – (I Just) Died in Your Arms
#5 – Kate Bush – Wow
#6 – John Waite – Missing You
#7 – REO Speedwagon – Keep on Loving You
#8 – Roxy Music – More Than This
#9 – Mr. Mister – Broken Wings
#10 – Night Ranger – Sister Christian
#11 – Jan Hammer – Crockett’s Theme
#12 – Squeeze – Tempted
Too emotional? Well, wipe those tears because we have something that will swap those feelings of hurt and unrequited love for those of anger, angst, rage, and elation, all in the name of rock n’ roll. That’s right; it’s time for the rock and heavy metal station, V-Rock. Here is now the hard-rock tunes stack up:
#1 – The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary
#2 – Slayer – Raining Blood
#3 – Iron Maiden – 2 Minutes to Midnight
#4 – Anthrax – Madhouse
#5 – Twisted Sister – I Wanna Rock
#6 – Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon
#7 – Loverboy – Working for the Weekend
#8 – David Lee Roth – Yankee Rose
#9 – Quiet Riot – Cum on Feel The Noise
#10 – Megadeth – Peace Sells
#11 – Motley Crue – Too Young to Fall in Love
#12 – Judas Priest – You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
#13 – Tesla – Comin’ Atcha Live
#14 – Autograph – Turn Up the Radio
#15 – Alcatrazz – God Blessed Video
#16 – Love Fist – Fist Fury
#17 – Love fist – Dangerous Bastard
Metal is incredible, but it can be a hard sell. So if the head-banging was all a bit much for you, then maybe I can interest you in something that is muy Caliente. That’s right; we have Radio Esperanto and its blend of Latin jazz, mambo, Spanish soul, funk, and salsa. So get those maracas out and loosen those hips; it’s time to rank these bad boys:
#1 – Deodato – Latin Flute
#2 – Deodato – Super Strut
#3 – Mongo Santamaria – Mama Papa Tu
#4 – Unresta – La Vida Es Una Lenteja
#5 – Mongo Santamaria – Me And You Baby (Picao Y Tostao)
#6 – Machito And His Afro-Cuban Orchestra – Mambo Mucho Mambo
#7 – Tito Puente – Mambo Gozon
#8 – Beny More – Maracaibo Oriental
#9 – Cachao – A Gozar Con Mi Combo
#10 – Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra – Jamay
#11 – Lonnie Liston Smith – Expansions
#12 – Irakere – Aguanile
#1 – Michael Jackson – Wanna Be Startin’ Something
#2 – Indeep – Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
#3 – Oliver Cheatham – Get Down Saturday Night
#4 – The Pointer Sisters – Automatic
#5 – The Whispers – And the Beat Goes On
#6 – Fat Larry’s Band – Act Like You Know
#7 – Kool and the Gang – Summer Madness
#8 – Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King – Shame
#9 – Rick James – Ghetto Life
#10 – Mary Jane Girls – All Night Long
#11 – Rene and Angela – I’ll be Good
#12 – Teena Marie – Behind The Groove
#13 – Mtume – Juicy Fruit
Question: Are There Secret Tracks In GTA: Vice City
Answer: I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they are secret; they just aren’t included in the selection of tracks available on the various radio stations. There are a handful of tracks that are only heard in cutscenes and certain locations within the game.
It’s a weird decision as, if you pay for the license, you think you would want to milk that for all it’s worth. However. For whatever reason, Rockstar wanted to be subtle with these inclusions. Here they are below:
• Modern English – I Melt With You
• Los Super Seven – Company Gato
• Big Country – In the Big Country
• Al De Meola – Ritmo De La Noche
• Whodini – The Freaks Come Out At Night
• Blue Oyster Cult – Burnin’ For You
Question: Are All Songs present in the Definitive Edition?
Answer: Simply put, no, they aren’t. Due to lapsed licensing agreements and a general reluctance from the artist or their representation to renew these agreements, it meant that the track list had to be altered a lot, more so than in GTA San Andreas for sure.
For example, you won’t see any Michael Jackson songs in the new edition, no Kate Bush, Lionel Ritchie, or Ozzy Osbourne either. There are replacements, but it’s not quite the same.
Question: How Many Radio Stations Are There in GTA Vice City?
Answer: There are slightly fewer than in the sequels that would follow. There are a grand total of seven stations within the game, and unless you really like Latin Jazz, one of them is a bit of a write-off.
It Was Acceptable In the Eighties!
As you can see (and hear), the eighties and years before had an awful lot to offer, and paved the way for a lot of the music we know and love today. Whether it’s the King of Pop, some heavy riffs from The prince of darkness, or the rains down in Africa. We are sure there is something on this list that will suit your tastes, no matter how eclectic they may be.
This title had an incredible music selection, and now it has finally been ranked for your viewing pleasure. We hope you enjoyed this nostalgic musical deep dive with us, and as always, thanks for reading Grand Theft Fans.