Five Songs That Are Not In Fallout (But Totally Should Be)
(Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Bethesda)
Fallout games have a unique soundtrack. Where most games were developing dark and moody soundscapes to match the gritty feel of their game, Fallout was digging in crates finding the best of Americana – with an atomic twist. Here’s 5 songs that aren’t in Fallout games…but probably should be.
1. Little Caesar & the Red Callender Sextette – Atomic Love (1953)
Little Caesar (real name Harry Caesar) was a rhythm and blues singer who was born in Pittsburgh in 1928. If you lived in Pittsburgh in the 20’s chances are you you worked in the steel industry – which is exactly what Caesar’s family did. Eventually his family moved to Youngstown, Ohio where Caesar formed a gospel group during his stint in the army where he also boxed for Fort Ord. Caesar would eventually drop gospel and move on to R&B around the same time he migrated from Ohio to Oakland, California, where he recorded the body of his musical works. He was an active recording artist between 1952 and 1964. In 1960 Harry Caesar acted in his first film All The Fine Young Cannibals. He would go on to be in 26 movies between 1960 and 1993, most notable A Few Good Men and the 1974 version of The Longest Yard. Little Caesar died June 12th 1994.
It’s absolutely mind blowing this song hasn’t been used in a Fallout game. It has the perfect blend of 1950’s Americana mixed with the references to atomic technology making this a prime candidate for a game like Fallout.
2. Mike Fern & Del Royals – A-Bomb Bop (1959)
So, this choice might be a little divisive. The vast majority of Fallouts music is sourced from the 1930s, the 1940s and the 1950s and usually concentrates in the jazz, big band or country genres (and really country only because of Fallout: New Vegas). Rock & roll, even early rock, just doesn’t always quite convey the aesthetic of the world of Fallout.
See, but I think it does, just not in a mainstream way. In the Fallout universe there is a concept known as the divergence. The idea says that the Fallout universe’s version of Earth has a history that mirrors our own, right up until about the 1950’s. We know World War II took place in the Fallout universe, but it was like America’s culture stunted post-WWII. We got super into atomic technology and we never had things like the hippies, or counter-culture. But, let’s be honest – no society, no matter how strong, is that homogeneous. So, in my opinion there were absolutely rebels in pre-apocalyptic Fallout, which means that rock & roll was an inevitably. Plus, if you really want to get technical the most contemporary song the Fallout games use is the Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” which was recorded in 1966.
3. Ann-Margret – Thirteen Men (1962)
Ann-Margret Olsson is yet another singer-turned actress – though, she achieved far more success than Little Caesar. Her singing career began in 1961 when she began recording with RCA Victor records. She was hailed as the “female Evlis Presley” because of her sexy, throaty contralto singing voice. Many of her albums were recorded in Nashville with Chet Atkins, who also worked with Presley and was one of the chief architects of what’s known as the “Nashville Sound”. She even recorded with The Jordanaires, which was Elvis’ backup band, and did a version of “Heartbreak Hotel“. Her biggest hit came in 1961 with the song “I Just Don’t Understand” which peaked at number 17 and staying six weeks on the Billboard Top 40, but is probably even more notable because The Beatles covered it in a live performance on The BBC in 1963. Her most recent album was in 2004 and was a collection of Christmas Carols.
Ann-Margret started her movie career in 1961 starring in Frank Capra’s Pocketful of Miracles alongside Bette Davis. She would go on to have major roles in 1963’s Bye Bye Birdie, 1964’s Viva Las Vegas alongside Elvis Presley and the groundbreaking 1991 film Our Sons where she starred alongside Julie Andrews as mothers of sons who are lovers. She was also in 1962’s Kitten With A Whip which was featured on a classic episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 as well as the 1992 musical Newsies which starred a young Christian Bale. She’s still an active actress to this day appearing on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and the Netflix series The Kominsky Method in 2018.
“Thirteen Men” is probably the sexiest song ever written about a daydream where an atomic bomb explodes and you’re the only woman left alive with thirteen other dudes. She makes it sound like a blast, but anyone who has spent any time roaming the wastelands in Fallout knows…it’s probably not. At all. But what makes this a great Fallout song is that is displays the hubris of a confident America that is so distant from the notion of their own demise that they idealize post-apocalyptic scenarios……..HEY WAIT A SEC-
4. The Louvin Brothers – The Great Atomic Power (1962)
Charlie and Ira Louvin were prolific songwriters and studio musicians in country music throughout the 40s, 50s and early 60s. In 1955 they joined the Grand Ole Opry and stayed until the pair broke up in 1963. The Louvin Brothers performed a mixture of gospel and secular country songs but the majority of their work had a strong religious influence. The album cover for Satan is Real, which depicts the brothers standing in front of a 12 foot plywood effigy of the devil while hidden tires soaked in kerosene burned to create fire and brimstone, has become somewhat of a meme for how hilarious and bizarre it is. Sadly, Ira was killed in 1965 when he and his wife were traveling back from a performance in Kansas City and was struck head on by a drunk driver killing both Ira and his wife instantly.
I literally cannot believe that this song isn’t already in Fallout 76. It’s got the perfect tone to fit the Appalachian Wasteland. It’s got the western twang that you would expect to hear in a place like West Virginia and it references dying in nuclear blasts – a subject fairly uncommon to Nashville and country music at that time. What I’m not sure of is whether this song is for or against atomic bombs, which makes it a perfect candidate for the Fallout series.
5. Amos Milburn – Atomic Baby (1950)
Amos Milburn was a singer and piano player from Houston who was known for playing boogie-woogie and jump blues and as one commentor put it he “excelled at good-natured, upbeat romps about booze and partying, imbued with a vibrant sense of humour and double entendre”. Milburn was born in Houston, one of thirteen children and enlisted in the Navy at the age of fifteen. He returned to Houston after his tour of duty and organized a sixteen-piece band and began playing in clubs in the city. He would eventually become one of the main performers associated with the Central Avenue music scene in Los Angeles and was a popular touring artist. He would receive several accolades through his career and his 1950 song “Bad, Bad Whiskey” would reach number 1 on the R&B record charts. Amos’ final recording was in 1972 for a record by Johnny Otis after Milburn had been impacted by a stroke where Otis played the left hand parts. He died in Houston on January 3rd 1980 from a third stroke at the age of 52.
This is another song that I am just flabbergasted is not a part of the Fallout series. What makes it perfect for Fallout is that Amos is using atomic power to describe the woman he’s singing about. One of my favorite lines is “She keeps me so worried, that I call her U 92” – of course U 92 is the chemical symbol and atomic weight of uranium. Or the line “She’s got a high potential and a low resistance point” demonstrating that Amos actually put research into understanding the humor he was using. I respect the hell out of that!
There you go! Five songs that aren’t in the Fallout games, but totally should be! Fallout 76 is getting a major update in April with Wastelanders and one of the most requested things I’ve been seeing is more songs on the radio stations. Here you go Bethesda, next time you’re going to have to pay me!
By the way – if you want even more Wasteland wandering music, be sure to check out my Spotify playlist of over 100 jazz, blues, R&B and early rock & roll songs to keep your toes a’boppin’ even while you’re hunting Deathclaws.