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Welcome to GamesRadar's daily blast of all things pertaining to the ever-growing field of game music. Each post will introduce new sounds, games, composers and fan-made remixes of gaming's greatest aural achievements.
Bayonetta’s “Fly Me to the Moon (Climax Mix)” just might be the perfect battle ballad. This is a good thing, because a heroine with shotguns strapped to her boots and a bad habit of licking lollipops needs a soundtrack that truly rocks. Whenever Bayonetta’s busy sending angels to hell, the electrifying tune refuses to sit quietly in the background. Like Bayonetta, the song really stands out and fights for your attention as you try to focus on chaining hair whips and pistol punches together to punish anyone stupid enough to look at you the wrong way. But how did an American jazz standard from the 1950s evolve into one of the best musical companions to lusciously long combos? Find out as we track the history behind Bayonetta’s powerfully poppy battle song.
“Fly Me to the Moon” was written in 1954 by Bart Howard, a composer from Burlington, Iowa. The original title for the piece was “In Other Words,” and was first performed by singer Felicia Sanders. The song continued to gain popularity over the years. An instrumental version titled “Fly Me to the Moon – Bossa Nova” by Joe Harnell snagged a spot on the US pop singles charts in 1962. But the most recognizable mainstream version of “Fly Me to the Moon” goes to Frank Sinatra.
By the mid-60s, “Fly Me to the Moon” was already internationally known and a popular standard for many jazz bands. But once the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion picked it up, the tune began to earn the geek cred it enjoys today. Many different arrangements of the song were created for Neon Genesis Evangelion’s soundtrack, introducing Sinatra’s signature song to a new audience of otaku. The most show’s most popular non-instrumental versions were voiced by the actresses who played the show’s main female leads.
Above: “Fly Me to the Moon” was originally titled “In Other Words,” and was first performed by singer Felicia Sanders
The song’s melody could not have been lost on Hiroshi Yamaguchi, the composer for Bayonetta’s soundtrack. In a post on Platinum Games’ blog, he expressed an interest in creating a “nice up-tempo” beat, and goes on to explain that he used instruments like pianos, electric pianos, organs, vibraphones, flutes, double bass, and a female chorus to “express the idea of femininity.” Maybe this explains the violent undercurrent riding beneath the otherwise soothing melody in the remix featured in the game. The song’s softness is still there, but there’s an edge to it that mirror’s the ultraviolent action scenes that take place whenever the song kicks in.
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