This is one of those things that I’ve always had thoughts on but try to never talk about because on reflection it’s cheesy as all get out. It’s also difficult because while I think that there’s a lot of songs out there (particularly in hard rock and various shades of metal genres) that can work musically
there’s not a whole lot that work lyrically
. And for me, if you’re going to step outside the bounds of orchestral music for Godzilla it’s primarily a hard rock/metal sort of thing. Granted that’s largely due to my own musical tastes, and there definitely are exceptions (mainly electronic or ‘70s prog rock).
Someone’s already mentioned Motorhead’s “King of Kings” so there’s one down. As an aside an old Final Wars
AMV in the early 2000s using that song was my introduction to Motorhead, so I’m grateful to the slew of cringy Godzilla AMVs so prevalent in that time for that at least.
One song I think actually fits fairly well lyrically is Van Halen’s “Atomic Punk,” and I’m suprised that I haven’t seen it bandied about more: you’d think the name alone would be enough for someone to make an AMV or something
Moving on to more orchestral pieces:
This particular rendition of Fabio Frizzi’s “Voci Dal Nulla” from his score for The Beyond
is a great piece and would fit nicely into an darker, apocalyptic sort of Godzilla film. Frizzi has worked on Godzilla in the past - he was part of the Magnetic System group that did the revamped version of “Prayer for Peace”
that served as the theme for the infamous 1977 “Cozzilla” (a poorly colorized Italian re-release of King of the Monsters
incorporating WW2 stock footage by director Luigi Cozzi) and it seems that Frizzi’s Zombi 2 score
two years later was influenced by it.
Rounding out this post, we have “Seigfried’s Funeral March” from Wagner’s Gotterdamerung
. I’m going to be honest, I mainly have 1981’s Excalibur
to thank for this one rather than a real appreciation of opera; the opening scene
with the knights doing battle in a darkened, burning forest to this piece is a really impressive bit and ingrained it in my mind as a timeless “battle theme” of sorts - I can picture mideval armies clashing to this just as easily as I can a tank battle on the 1980s North German Plains or starships lobbing relativistic kill vehicles at one another in the cold depths of space. I can easily picture a climactic one-on-one kaiju battle set to this as well; Godzilla battling some titanic and powerful foe in a burning city or a primordial, prehistoric landscape, almost like Fantasia
‘s Tyrannosaur-Stegosaur battle set to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (starts at the 15 minute mark for the impatient)