The Power of Rock

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"Hey, Antichrist-a! Beelzeboss!
We know your weakness, our rockin' sauce!
We rock the casbah, and blow your mind!
We will defeat you, for all mankind!
You hold the scepter, we hold the key!
You are the devil, we are the D!"

"Where I come from, this guitar makes noises. Here, it blows stuff up! So I can't wait to see what a full-blown rock show does!"
Jack Black as Eddie Riggs, Brütal Legend

In which the world is saved and the Big Bad defeated, not only through The Power of Love or The Power of Friendship, but through ROCK!!!

Yes, for some reason, music is the most capable form of creative expression when it comes to defeating the forces of evil. The battle often takes the form of a rock concert or music video. That in itself helps to explain why it's almost always music that saves the world. It'd take a very imaginative writer/director to defeat the villain with the power of Symbolism, also known as Modern Expressionism.

Incidentally, it's only "The Power of Rock" because 99 percent of the time rock is the musical genre of choice for this trope. Rock tends to be loud and theatrical, and therefore more powerful. As the examples below show, other kinds of music work too.

Can also refer to the many, many works of fiction in which characters fight for their right to rock (or party, or dance, or whatever as long as it involves music). Expect any video game involving musicians to have the "rocking heroes fight Culture Police" plot.

Seen quite a lot in shows that feature a literal Five-Man Band or a Fake Band, and associated performances. The weapon of choice of The Rock Star when he goes adventuring.

Note: Not to be confused with Musical Assassin. This trope involves actual music playing that the audience can appreciate, not just characters playing instruments with the sonic power to kick ass. There are few game examples of The Power of Rock outside of music-based games.

A form of Magic Music or Disco Tech.

Compare Care Bear Stare, The Power of Love, The Power of Friendship, Autobots Rock Out, A Little Something We Call "Rock and Roll", Great Balls of Fire, Brown Note, Rock Me, Asmodeus, Make Me Wanna Shout, Clap Your Hands If You Believe, Crowning Music of Awesome. Contrast Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll. May be presented as a form of Cool and Unusual Punishment.

Not to be confused with Rocks With Powers, or Rocks That Grant Powers, Power Over Rocks or Music With Rocks In. Possibly beaten by The Power of Paper, though the Power of Scissors hasn't made its appearance. This is also not the kind of rock that is poor and predictable, or Rachmaninoff.

Examples of The Power of Rock include:


Anime[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Princess Tutu. The whole anime is based around the power of Ballet.
    • Guitar ninjas.
  • Macross 7 is all about a spacefaring J-Rock band that fights giant space vampires by rocking them so hard they have orgasms (at least, Sivil does). In transforming fighter planes controlled by guitars. It works.
  • Nerima Daikon Brothers. Pretty much the whole thing.
  • Subverted by Interstella 5555. While rock itself is not that powerful, the Gold Records from an award show are powerful enough to allow a man to conquer the universe.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch combines this with Magic Music. Later in the series, the villains fight back with their own songs, too.
  • Mic Sounders the 13th of GaoGaiGar uses rock music from discs, microphones, and a key-tar from his flying soundstage to attack, disable enemies, and power up his allies. His Disc X is actually able to rip enemies apart at the molecular level or shoot a gigantic laser beam at them.
  • The Wave Motion Gun in Black Heaven is powered by a heavy metal guitarist's "groove". However, it's also partial to evil techno.
    • It's worth noting that the original title is Kachou Oh-Ji ("Office Boss Ohji", referring to the main character). The subtitle? Hard Rock Save The Space.
    • Black Heaven, or "The Legend of Black Heaven" is all about this. An aged, retired rocker (and later the rest of his old heavy metal band) is called back into action by a group of aliens to fight off an evil alien space empire with, you guessed it, the power of rock.
  • The Suzumiya Haruhi Drama CD had four-fifths of the Five-Man Band face a musical monster, which first has to be weakened by singing badly at it, before commencing to rock out.
  • The Science Ninja Team Gatchaman episode "Murder Music" had Galactor capturing a rock band, drugging and forcing them to play music personally created by Sosai X. With the recordings, a special ship with super speakers plays the music at a zillion decibels to create a devastating sound wave that can drive people insane and shatter matter.
  • In Ah! My Goddess, the demon Marller/Mara—on top of her weakness to good luck charms—can be forced to dance nonstop, and thus defeated, when she is exposed to Disco music.
    • Similarly, Belldandy's half-demon sister Urd, who is otherwise one of the most Badass characters in anime, can be put to sleep by the Japanese music genre of enka. She hates this.
  • One episode of Keroro Gunsou had the team combating a "bad funk virus" with the power of an Idol Singer trio.
  • How monster users in Buster Keel power up their monsters using guitars. Usually depends on what pick is used and what music is played.
  • The final battle in Shin Koihime Musou is a war between Idol Singers. The Chou Sisters versus an impromptu group formed from Enjutsu, Choukun and Kakuka. The war is not so much about the singers as it is controlling their fanboys to either take revenge or calm down. The final blow is dealt by Ryuubi and company singing an a capella version of "Ima wo Shinjite" that wins by The Power of Friendship alone.
  • In Grenadier, one of the Jutensen uses a miniaturized organ as a weapon that can project an impenetrable shield of sound, and can probably melt your insides with a riff.
  • This plays a massive part in Twentieth Century Boys, so much so that one of the major plot points of the final arc is that of Kenji uniting the rundown populace of the now Crapsack World and giving them courage through his protest song that is being broadcasted via pirate radio. It also serves as a way to let his friends know he is still alive, due to modified lyrics in the song. In the end, Kenji and his song are one of the main reasons that Friend is eventually defeated.
    • One of the best examples of this trope in the series is when Kenji returns after 10 volumes and 15 in story years. He shows up at a maximum security checkpoint on the outskirts of Tokyo, and is promptly surrounded by armed guards with orders not to let anyone pass through. What does he do? He simply whips out his guitar and begins singing his song, which mystifies the guards. However, the peasants in the checkpoint recognize it from the broadcasts and begin converging towards him. The guards become agitated when they notice the effect the song is having on the peasants, so they quickly shoot Kenji in the chest. Five seconds later, he's back up on his feet and singing his song right from where he left off. Just at that point, hundreds of his followers emerge from behind him and easily overwhelm the guards. This leads Kenji to deliver one of the most memorable lines of the series to one of the guards.

Kenji: I said I'm singing a song. And when someone's singing a song you. Don't. Shoot them.

  • In Fairy Tail, the Villain Vivaldus brainwashes Juvia with a magical electric guitar by playing various solos.
  • FLCL is set in a world where electric guitars are the most powerful objects in the universe.
  • Parodied in Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. Denbo, Jelly Jiggler and Don Patch fight J by singing, which makes stuff in the song become real. But the songs they think up are completely ridiculous, involving things like Beta-Carotene and a 49 year old man. There's even a little DDR section. This is recycled in the manga sequel, except that Pokomi is the one singing.


Card Games[edit | hide]

  • Magic: The Gathering has this with older enchantments' "verse counters", and with other cards like Glorious Anthem (and its green counterpart, Gaea's Anthem), Joraga Bard, Hymn to Tourach, and the like. Mostly music is seen as healing or inspiring others to go on. And yes, there was a Lotus Cobra is Evil cartoon about the Mirran-aligned planeswalkers forming a band because Mirrodin is a plane of metal.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • More than once, the eponymous protagonist of the Scott Pilgrim series has used the power of rock against his enemies, most notably at the ends of volumes one and three. Since he himself isn't that great a musician, usually other people are helping him out. And the music alone isn't enough to truly defeat the opponent, but it does weaken him sufficiently for Scott to take him out with some good old-fashioned fisticuffs.
    • Additionally, Matthew Patel could summon hordes of minion girls with his Bollywood-style fighting, and Crash and the Boys, rival group to Scott's band Sex Bob-Omb, can put audiences into a literal daze with their music.
  • The infamously deplored weekly series Countdown had one good thing: when the Pied Piper uses The Power of Rock to destroy an entire planet.
    • Not just the power of any old rock, either. Behold, the power of QUEEN.
    • Actually, he doesn't destroy the planet Apokalips, he just drives away Brother Eye/OMAC, the giant space entity. The planet always has those huge spouts of flame coming from it.
      • Which, considering everything he'd been through by that point, is still pretty darn impressive.
  • Occasional X-Men member Dazzler's powers work by converting sound to light (which she can then use as laser beams). Naturally, she picked a musical career. Fighting evil with the power of... erm... Disco.
  • An issue of the Marvel Comics Transformers Generation 1 series had Soundwave taking this trope literally when he harnessed the sonic power of a Bruce Springsteen Brick Springhorn concert to make energon cubes.
  • In The Power of Shazam! issue 18, Mr. Mind was just made into the last surviving member of his species, and to exact his revenge on the Big Red Cheese, he possesses the Wizard, who, running away from Mr. Mind, had fled into a sound studio. Knowing the worm species has a weakness against loud sounds, Captain Marvel gives the Wizard a headset, picks up one of the electric guitars laying around, and starts to play like "Hendricks".
  • In Joss Whedon's one-shot comic Sugarshock!, a band mistakes an invitation to an alien tournament for a Battle of the Bands and proceeds to try to use the power of rock. Played with in that the band wins not through epic rock but with the saddest song in the world. One voice. One guitar. In-universe Tear Jerker. Only squirrels were unaffected because squirrels have no souls.
  • The "Battle Rock" issue of John Ostrander's Grimjack, well... speaks for itself.
  • Image Comic's "The Amazing Joy Buzzards" is about a rock band and their luchadore friend who battle supernatural hipsters, demonic robots, and fallen angle.


Fan Fic[edit | hide]

  • A Fanfic example is found in the Symphony of the Sword arcs of Undocumented Features. The main character has a rock band that plays a cover of Rockin' in the Free World during a big, onesided space battle, broadcasting their music over the bad guy's comm frequencies. Another arc of the same setting has a group of mercenaries who use a similar tactic that they call the "Goldfish Warning".
  • Subverted in With Strings Attached; though the entire book is about The Beatles, they play music just a few times, with only the effects one would expect from music on Earth. They even sneer a bit at the notion that their music might be magical.
  • In the Pokémon fic Latias' Journey, we have the Pokerockers. Their use of the Power of Rock has assisted in killing an Eldritch Abomination, a walking Diabolus Ex Machina, and was co-opted by the local goddess in the climactic fight. In the sequel, the Pokerockers return to compete in the Tournament Arc, and make it pretty far via this trope (and a vast army of roadies) -- they then stop a volcano with music.
  • Thirty Hs is a Harry Potter fanfic in which "Harry" wields the mighty guitar Fuckslayer and "Scrumblegort" has the immortal line, "HARRY, YOU MUST ROCK THE FUCK OUT." Too epic to be believed.
  • Wesker's New Life
  • Manchester Lost has the protagonists defeat Satan and everyone else by singing Don't Stop Believing.
  • Douglas Sangnoir of Robert Schroeck's Drunkard's Walk saga gains various magic powers from different songs, usually lasting as long as the song does: Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" lets him (and anyone else in the vicinity) relive the second half of his world's twentieth century; "Konya Wa Hurricane" from Bubblegum Crisis, unsurprisingly, lets him summon and control a powerful cyclonic storm; and "I'm a Pioneer" from Tenchi Muyo! makes him impervious to vacuum and capable of superluminal flight.


Film[edit | hide]

  • In the short film that forms the climax of his movie Moonwalker, Michael Jackson fights... bad people... or something... and he turns into a Transforming Mecha... point is, it involves music somehow.
    • He also saves an entire planet with music in the 3-D film Captain EO.
    • He also has magical, musical powers in the totally insane short film Ghosts.
    • We could go on for a very long time here, as Michael seems to like this trope a lot. But we can't forget the "Fight For Your Right" sequence that opened the original version of the Black or White short film.
  • Tenacious D plays with this trope on a regular basis.
    • In "Tribute", the boys tell a tale of defeating a demon by playing "the best song in the world," which is implied to be "Stairway to Heaven".
    • In Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, a shard of the devil's tooth is used to create the best rock music of the ages. JB dreams of using the pick to perform supernatural musical feats, such as literally blowing his audience's minds and bringing women to orgasm. The band later gets into a rock-off with the devil over the fate of their souls. The devil's song is a "masterpiece" and their song is "fucking lame," so the devil tries to take Kage to hell. He fires his evil energy at them, prompting JB to leap in front of the blast. His guitar, given to him by Kyle, reflects it back at the devil. This knocks his horn off, which allows Jables to send him back to hell.
  • In School of Rock, Jack Black's character teaches his class the power of self-confidence through rock 'n roll.
  • As far as movies that play the "fight for your right" angle totally straight, Footloose is easily the ultimate example. "Dancing is not a crime!"
  • Repossessed (a spoof of The Exorcist) after the devil accidently says it can't stand rock and roll has them exorcise it using the music. With Professional Wrestling commentators "Mean" Gene Okerlund and Jesse "The Body" Ventura providing play-by-play.
  • Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure begins because the titular garage band leaders will eventually save the world through their music. In Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, they are targeted by the bad guy for having saved the world through their music.
    • The Newspaper Montage at the end shows how they saved the world. Touring the Midwest causes harvests to increase 30%. Touring the Mideast causes peace to break out. The nuclear arsenals of the entire world are used to fuel amplifiers. Air Guitar cures smog. A rumored split causes a stock market crash. Quashing the same rumor causes record gain.
  • At the end of the Ralph Maccio film Crossroads, it came down to a blues guitar duel with the devil's servant, Jack Butler, played by and based on Steve Vai. In an oddly meta twist, Vai also who composed the piece that Ralph Maccio uses to defeat Jack, and dubbed the guitar part over Ralph's miming. So, essentially, Steve Vai defeated Steve Vai in a guitar duel.
    • Although technically, it's the Power of Blues-Classical Fusion DEFEATING the Power of Rock...
  • While they did not played music, the Kissmyanthia army from Role Models deserves a special mention for they are based on the legendary rock band KISS.
  • Back to The Future suggests that a competent performance of the song Earth Angel on guitar, combined with The Power of Love, is enough to heal a rift in the space-time continuum which is slowly obliterating a time traveller from 1985.
    • Having said that, The Power of Rock is most effectively parodied only moments later, when Marty McFly's 1980s-style guitar solo is met with indifference, apprehension and even fear from its 1955 audience.
    • On the other hand, The Power of Rock—specifically the Van Halen variety—is also demonstrated in this movie as a most forceful method of compelling individuals to your will (and to bolster theirs).
  • Toys has a sequence where two of the protagonists distract the Quirky Miniboss Squad with a performance in front of one of their security cameras.
  • And, of course, there's KISS Meet The Phantom Of The Park! No, really.
  • In Trick or Treat, Sammi Curr returns from the dead by the power of playing his record backwards.
  • Wild Zero! Japanese rock band Guitar Wolf fights off zombies and UFOs with the power of ROCK AND ROLL! It is awesome! ROCK!!!!!
  • Parodied in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. The mutant fruit are finally subdued by the Narm-tastic Silly Love Song, "Puberty Love".
  • In Young Einstein, an atomic beer keg is going to go off because it has reached supercritical mass! What can our hero do? Why, plug an experimental electric guitar into it and rock out! What else?
    • A physicist listening on the radio notes with awe: "Electrified music played in 4/4 time!?! That would drain the power out of anything!"
  • Add heaps and heaps of The Power of Love to this, top it off with a Bittersweet Ending, and you've got yourself Once. It's honestly a very good movie, mostly because they play this trope completely straight.
  • Casablanca. Victor Laszlo overhears Those Wacky Nazis singing a patriotic (and anti-French) German song around the piano, goes over to the band, and gets them to play La Marseillaise, with Rick's approval. The entire bar joins in, drowning out the Germans and emphasizing the passionate political undertones of the refugees and is the beginning of Rick's redemption.
  • Rock and Roll High School. The Ramones using rock and roll to take over a high school? It doesn't get much cooler than that.
  • The climactic end of Ghostbusters II won by use of "Higher And Higher" and the Statue of Liberty.
  • In The Blues Brothers 2000, when the Blues Brothers do "Ghost Riders in the Sky," they summon bad weather, the devil's herd, and the ghost riders; lightning even strikes down a sniper. And the "In the Blood/John the Revelator" sequence was certainly doing something.
  • In Evolution, singing "You Are So Beautiful To Me" brings the flying monster to the main characters in the mall, only for the poor thing to be gunned down.
  • As you'd expect, Six String Samurai is loaded with this, capping with an epic dueling duet between a katana-wielding Buddy Holly and Death (who looks suspiciously like Slash).
  • Shrek the Third, when Snow White unleashes the power of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song", causing the forest animals to attack the Huorns guarding the city gates.
  • Apocalypse Now creepily deconstructs this, when "Ride of the Valkyries" is played as the American helicopters shoot up a village. Because of the unpleasant connotations "Valkyries" has picked up, and the decidedly unheroic nature of the scene, it's not exactly rock-out material.
  • J-Men Forever, a 1979 Gag Dub of Republic Film Serial clips, has the villainous Lightning Bug scheming to conquer the Earth with Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll. His rock broadcasts from the Moon are powerful enough to cause cars to crash, cities to collapse, and record moguls to commit suicide. The J-Men counter this by broadcasting schmaltzy music, and the Lightning Bug eventually blows up the Moon when he cranks up his stereo too loud.
  • A Kid in King Arthur's Court
  • In the 1985 comedy Water the island of Cascara wins its independence thanks to a reggae performance at the United Nations by local rebel Delgado (Billy Connolly) who has sworn never to speak until Cascara is free (so he communicates through song). Unfortunately a Running Gag in the movie is Delgado's awful singing, so the Cascarans think they're stuffed until a cameo appearance by George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton save the day.
  • In Star Wreck V: Lost Contact, the Vulgars discover Earth after they hear a very powerful rock concert broadcast.
  • In Kelly's Heroes, Oddball's tank crew play loud music when they roll out into combat, to psych themselves up as well as confuse the opposition. Could be a subversion, as they're reluctant soldiers at best and hope that their show of bravado will intimidate the enemy so badly there won't be a fight.
  • Main villain of Slumber Party Massacre II is a supernatural rockabilly who kills his victims with an electric guitar infused with a power drill. He does a random musical number before impaling one of his victims. Moving on...
  • Scott Pilgrim goes into a musical power rock battle against Matthew Patel, Todd Ingram and the Katayanagi Brothers.
    • While Matthew Patel is the only one actually utilising music in the fight (his Bollywood-esque song, "Slick" summoning his Demon Hipster Chicks and revealing his ability to throw fireballs), Scott manages to sufficiently stun Matthew long enough for him to deliver the knockout blow by hurling a cymbal from Kim's drum kit like a frisbee.
    • Realising that hand-to-hand combat is ineffective against the telekinetic super-vegan Todd Ingram, Scott attempts to resort to a bass guitar battle in order to gain the upper hand; a battle which Todd wins in style by power-chording Scott through the nearest wall.
    • Against the Katayanagi Twins, Sex Bob-Omb is in an amp-vs-amp rock battle. The Katayanagi's music summons two dragons. Sex Bob-Omb's music summons a giant sasquatch, which proceeds to beat the shit out of both dragons.
  • The Disney Channel Original Movie Lemonade Mouth is this, but this time, to save a Lemonade vending machine from being removed. They succeeded, and later became rock stars.
  • A minor example in Cry-Baby, but still funny. The movie is set among teenagers in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1954 - on the eve of public-school integration. The title character, who is the leader of the "drapes," announces that he is about to sing something "colored" - causing the leader of the "squares" to cringe up and shriek.
  • In the live-action Masters of the Universe movie, Kevin uses his electronic keyboard to open a portal to Eternia, thereby allowed He-Man to return to Eternia and face down Skeletor.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Basically the main premise of "Heavy Metal And You".
  • Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, a poem by John Dryden, most famously set to music by George Frideric Handel, follows the old Pythagorean idea of music being a central force in the creation of the world if not the universe—and extends it to the end of the world, when "music shall untune the sky."
  • In Mercedes Lackey's Urban Fantasy novel Music To My Sorrow, the protagonists stop a riot and defeat the villain by staging an emergency magical rock concert. It helps that the main character is an elven-trained Bard who can rip holes in local spacetime with his music and their lead singer is gifted with the ability to influence the emotions of anyone who hears her sing.
    • Her earlier novel Jinx High contains a magirock battle between two demon-infested electric guitars supported by a dark sorceress and a hippie-infested guitar and a guardian/witch. It ends when the speakers, not intended for arcane use, explode.
  • War for the Oaks is another Urban Fantasy novel in which the main character is a bard, though in this case she is an out-of-work rock band leader putting together a new band when she is recruited as the required mortal for the titular Faery war. In the course of things she discovers her magical powers and ends up challenging the Queen of the Unseelie Court to a musical duel to determine the outcome of the war.
  • And then there's the often-overlooked (but excellent) Gossamer Axe by Gael Baudino, whose harper heroine was taken by the Sidhe from ancient Ireland - she escaped (to modern Denver), but was forced to leave her lover behind. Her rescue attempts have always failed, as the immortal Sidhe's harp skills simply overpower her own...until she discovers a new weapon in heavy metal.
  • In the Spellsinger series by Alan Dean Foster, the most powerful force in the world is Fly Like An Eagle.
  • Terry Pratchett. Discworld. Soul Music. However, although it saves the day at the end, Soul Music is more or less about something for which the Disc isn't quite ready.
    • In a non-rock variant, Sybil's timely rendition of a venerated dwarfish aria in The Fifth Elephant persuades every dwarf in Bonk that Vimes is entitled a hearing with the Low King. Not supernatural Power in this case, just a very potent cultural precedent.
  • In John Dies at the End, the heroes disguise themselves as a band to get past security at a Las Vegas hotel in order to confront a demon. They end up facing a swarm of monsters that are "natural dischordians", meaning they can't stand melody due to their hellish origin. The heroes proceed to play an original song written by the titular John himself: Camel Holocaust!
    • To which the lyrics go. "I knew a man No / I made that part up / Hair! Hair! Haaaairrr! / Camel Holocaust! Camel Holocaust!"
      • However, in the original version, the heroes perform Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine." This was changed for copyright reasons when the story was physically published.
  • The "Yahtzee" Croshaw short story The Spirit of Rock.
  • In Songs of Earth and Power by Greg Bear, any sufficiently great piece of music (or art in general) has inherent magical properties. In particular, there's a piece called the Infinity Concerto which legendarily transported a group of people to another world; later in the book, Mozart (yes, the real one) improvises another piece to transport them all back.
  • The Disaster Area concert in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Calculated to turn the planet Kakrafoon into, well, a disaster area, the inhabitants are only hosting it as a last-ditch distraction from their curse of telepathy. The effects are rather more wide-ranging. The band's agent afterwards labels it "a good gig".
  • In World War Z, the Americans set up in a defensive formation, then blast Iron Maiden as loud as they can to attract the Zombies and fire up the troops. This is more of a knowing nod to the trope, on the part of the characters as much as the writer, given that it's mentioned any similarly loud, sustained noise works just as well; the British, for example, use Highland bagpipes to much the same effect.
  • In 1632, the uptime forces get a Spanish army to surrender by demoralizing them with rock. Also country, opera, Shostakovich and a small amount of napalm.
  • The extreme example is probably the opening of the Silmarillion, in which the Ainur create the entire universe by singing.
    • Also, according to some obscure prophecies about the end of the world, the Children of Eru (Elves and Men - and by then, Dwarves) will be participating in the Second Music and either create a better world, or fix the marring of the extant one.
    • The power returns when Luthien raises Beren from the dead (usually impossible) by singing so movingly that Mandos (Ainu keeper of dead souls) relents. The genre of the music is unspecified.
      • Which is basically the Greek legend of Orpheus and Euridice.
    • Luthien also knocks out Morgoth's entire fortress with a song. She apparently had some pretty good pipes.
    • None has ever caught him yet, for Tom he is the master / His songs are stronger songs and his feet are faster
    • Also in the Silmarillion: The sorcerous duel between Sauron and Finrod Felagund takes the form of a song contest.
  • In The Magician's Nephew, Aslan sings Narnia into existence.
  • In John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor's newest Into the Looking Glass book, Claws That Catch, the crew of the Vorpal Blade II discover a giant artifact in a very strange star system that turns out to be a giant concert venue, they then proceed to defeat an attacking alien fleet with songs such as Freebird and Black Unicorn used to control the star system scale laser lightshow.
    • There is also a major Macross7 Shout-Out in the piece with the anime zone causing it to switch to Macross style J-Pop for a bit.
  • In Esther Friesner's Unicorn U. the apocalypse is averted with the power of samba.
  • Then there is L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s Spellsong Cycle, where a classically trained opera soprano is transported to a world in which music is magic. And nobody there has any training. And combined with some fancy lute playing, is powerful enough to create a city-sized nuclear fusion explosion from thin air.
  • In The Illiminatus! Trilogy, the Illuminati rock group American Medical Association intends to play an outdoor festival near a lake where Nazi Occultists sunk an invincible army. The power of rock will raise the army, which will slaughter the fans and allow the Illuminati to ascend to a higher plane of existence. It Makes Sense in Context—as much as anything in the book.
  • Gwyneth Jones's Bold As Love series.
  • In Wrack and Roll, the power of rock is used to stop a nuclear war.
  • In Nightingale's Lament, an exploited diva turns this trope on her Corrupt Corporate Executive bosses as a Shut UP, Hannibal.
    • Also from Simon R. Green, the embodied spirit of Jim Morrison leads a cadre of rock musicians who'd died young onto a battlefield, where their performance drives much of an invading army to desertion or flight, while reinvigorating the defenders of Shadows Fall.
  • The Dresden Files gives us probably the only instance in history of The Power of Polka. Don't ask. Actually, on second thought, do. Because it was AWESOME. Polka will never die!
    • Four-ish words "Polka Powered Zombie T. rex"
  • In Chronicles of Chaos by John C. Wright, Colin unlocks his powers by playing rock music. Deadpan Snarker Amelia notes that if he hadn't been playing in the middle of a war, the resultant noise would have been pretty bad.
  • The Gutbucket Quest, a novel by Piers Anthony, involves a guitar player, The Chosen One, from the real world being sent (by destiny/the fates/random chance) to a world where the South won the Civil War, and most of North America is called "Tejas". Everything revolves around a MacGuffin guitar called the Gutbucket. When played by The Chosen One, it granted nearly god-like powers. Instead of Rock, however, the music of choice is Blues.
  • In Kim Stanley Robinson's The Memory of Whiteness, the connection between mathematics and music is taken to extremes. The world's greatest physicist has also built the world's greatest musical instrument, and some people who believe that if you are the controller of this majestic instrument, you have some say over a controllable, deterministic version of spacetime would very much like to, uh, convert the Master of the Orchestra...
  • The band in The Last Days, by Scott Westerfeld, somehow is able to play music that calls the worms that live under the surface out so that they can be killed. The band ends up saving the world, though it is not stated how long it took.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Subverted in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Hush", in which only a human voice will kill the bad guys, which have taken away everyone's voices to prevent this. Willow offers to play a CD, but Giles informs her it won't do the trick. In "Once More With Feeling," everything happens according to the Power of Rock Showtunes.
  • The Monkees episode "The Devil and Peter Tork" uses a The Devil and Daniel Webster-style Deal with the Devil plot. Demonic pawn shop owner Mr. Zero claims he gave Peter the talent to play a golden harp in exchange for Peter's soul. However, Zero is defeated when Peter demonstrates that the true source of his ability to play the harp is his love of music.
  • MTV's Sifl and Olly had several of these. One, "Hellfire" ('it rocketh you!') had the titular heroes in a song-vs-song challenge against the Devil. (Subversion: The last words of the song are "Dude, that sucked, RUN!")
  • A The Kids in The Hall sketch had an aspiring young guitarist face off in a rock duel with Satan, ultimately defeating him with a barrage of Power Chords. While Satan is portrayed as being a much better guitarist than the hero, using six arms to play a blistering solo, the youth nonetheless manages to blow the Devil's mind simply by playing the opening riff of "Smoke on the Water". With a wah-wah pedal.
  • Sapphire and Steel loved to do this, although they mostly used traditional songs such as sea shanties, army chants, and murder ballads. No Cosmic Horror can resist a rousing rendition of "Drunken Sailor" with the Soul Brotha on lead vocals and the Emo Teen The Scrappy on backup!
  • I was working in the lab, late one night, when my eyes beheld an eerie sight, for my monster from his slab began to rise, and suddenly, to my surprise he did the mash! He did the Monster Mash!
  • In the Doctor Who story "Revelation of the Daleks," the DJ turns his rock albums into an intense sonic beam that he blasts Daleks with.
    • In the subsequent story Silver Nemesis, the Doctor had built a tricked-out boom box for Ace. At one point the Doctor and Ace use the boom box to broadcast jamming frequencies which disrupt communications among a fleet of Cybermen vessels, while listening to some jazz tapes (the Seventh Doctor is a jazz aficionado).

"I do love a good jam session."

  • Horribly subverted in the failed VH1 show Strange Frequency. The series was basically The Twilight Zone/Outer Limits with MUSIC! It was a good source of Narm (John Taylor vs. a hotel room! The cast of That '70s Show vs. an evil disco!) for the week or two it was on. But there was one genuinely eerie episode: a rock star attempts to get out of a Deal with the Devil by playing an impossible score that is being written by his own falling blood drops as his ill-gotten guitar's strings snap and slice at his fingers. He barely manages to finish the song when the (very irritated) devil points out that he missed a tiny symbol at the end, which means "repeat from the beginning". Cue evil laughter/BigNo.
  • This trope also provides a kick-ass example of Crowning Moment of Awesome for the Ho Yay-laced band Jeffster in the second-season finale of Chuck, when Chuck and Morgan (who are Heterosexual Life Partners, and how!) that 'We Need a Distraction' so he can get his sister out of danger - and Morgan has the band (backed up by a string quartet) do a world-class cover of Styx's 'Mr. Roboto' in the wedding chapel! They rock the church so hard, nobody hears a bit of the running gun battle in the reception area between a Special Forces team and the bad guys! The absolute most kick-ass moment - when one of the group sets off fireworks in the chapel. A reviewer of the episode said that the episode had so much concentrated awesome that it may be illegal in several states.
  • Kamen Rider Hibiki has music as the series theme and the Riders use music based attacks to finish off enemies. Falling more squarely in this trope, we have Todoroki, who uses a guitar (as did his mentor Zanki). When he visits Hibiki's world in his own series, Ditto Fighter Decade joins the fun by finishing off a literal Giant Enemy Crab in an epic jam session.
    • The Capricorn Zodiarts from Kamen Rider Fourze applies for this trope, and not just Instrument of Murder, because of his other powers. Not only does he go from pretty good to Epic Rocking, but his music benefits others, as shown when it allows his old friend J.K. to sing well and when it powers up the Switches of his fellow Zodiac-level Zodiarts.
  • The Tenth Kingdom easily shows that We will rock you is the best song about sheep ever. Despite having nothing to do with sheep.
  • The Mighty Boosh character Rudi van Disarzio, a Carlos Santana / Jimi Hendrix Expy, a "Psychedelic Monk" who embodies all the power of 70's experimental rock. Fear the power of his Fusion Lick...
  • Yo Gabba Gabba runs on Indie Rock.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Barbariön - My Rock. You've got the Grim Reaper on drums, barbarians playing guitar, a kid with a patch jacket, thunder and lightning, soaring vocals, large beards, the ability to yell so epically that it knocks a dissenting father through the wall, turns the mom into a groupie with a ripped up shirt and miniskirt, and lifts the house from its foundation into Valhalla. Fucking Metal.
  • U2: Elevation video shows Bono and The Edge fighting the Big Bad from the first Tomb Raider movie with a shockwave created by Edge's guitar.
  • The Darkness: I Believe in a Thing Called Love has the band fighting off a tentacled alien monster on their spaceship using the power of Rock.
  • Jason Forrest: War Photographer both uses and then ultimately subverts this trope by having a duel between humongous transforming viking mecha with laser-shooting electric rock guitars being decided by an acid-spewing marching band.
  • Dragon Force (video game): Operation Ground and Pound shows the band fighting off a fleet of enemy spaceships with the power of metal. (Yes, that guy did just shoot a bolt of lightning from his keytar.) There's also a guitar duel. Subverted, because most of the actual fighting takes place inside a video game played by guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman.
    • Also, in the video for Heroes of Our Time, the band appears to power a fleet of rockets with their music.
    • And then in The Last Journey Home, they blow up part of Los Angeles by rocking out too hard.
  • The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: "Burn It Off" has the band members using The Power of Blues-Influence Rock 'n' Roll to defeat various Ray Harryhausen monsters.
  • Using the power of rock to lead humanity into Nirvana would have been the plot of Pete Townshend's Lifehouse film, had it been produced when he first conceived of it in 1970. The project was ultimately released as a radio play in 1999, but its story was vastly different.
  • During live performances of "Octavarium" and "The Dark Eternal Night", Dream Theater shows short films of their animated selves fighting monsters with their musical prowess (or in the case of drummer Mike Portnoy, the power of his saliva).
  • The Styx Rock Opera/Concept Album "Kilroy Was Here" featured a dystopian future where the Culture Police have outlawed rock and roll. Dissident Robert Orwin Charles Kilroy, newly freed from prison, sets out to spark a revolution the help of an electric guitar, a synthesizer, and an arsenal of 80s power chords.
  • Subverted in "Fashion Zombies" by the Aquabats. The superhero band is chased around by teenager gangs dressed in various fashion trends: 80's, goth, punk, prep school, etc. When cornered they whip out their instruments and proceed to rock. Once they've finished with the song, the teenagers descend upon them. When the crowd recedes, the Aquabats have been transformed into fashion zombies.
  • Let's not forget the Charlie Daniels Band song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"!
  • Rush's 2112. However, the protagonist doesn't succeed by himself and ends up killing himself before seeing the Solar Federation overthrown.
  • In Hammerfall's video for the song "Hearts on Fire", they defeat an army of skeletons by using their music to summon a circle of runestones and cast a rather apocalyptic-looking spell.
  • The Music video for Earthquake by Labrinth has multiple shots of him waving his arms about causing shock-waves of bass, while the lyrics liken this to "dropping bombs leaving rubble and dust".
  • Finnish band Lordi in the video for their song "Hard Rock Hallelujah" use the Power of Rock to knock down part of a school gymnasium, transform a cute Goth girl into a sorceress, and, most importantly, kill people and resurrect them as zombies.
  • "Rock the Casbah" by the Clash is about a rock band inspiring a military coup in a middle-eastern country very similar to Iran.
  • In the music video for Dokken's "Dream Warriors", the band fights off Freddy Kruger.
  • We would be remiss not to mention one instance of the Power of Rock being an evil power, in its capacity to bring the dead back to life...for one of the most awesome music videos ever. Michael can't get enough of this power he seems to have over the dance floor.
  • British comedy jazz-funk-lounge-rock merchants Pillow Talk have a song called "Doctor Roland Parker Versus the Defibrillator", in which Dr Roland Parker (their bassist) defeats a monstrous killer defibrillator with "the awesome power of the bass".
  • Roger Waters' song "The Tide is Turning" was a tribute to Live Aid, and perhaps a tribute to this trope. "I'm not saying that the battle's been won / but Saturday Night all those kids in the sun / rescued technologies sword from the hands of the warlord". Does equal time as a Protest Song as well
  • The band Starship once sang about building a "city from rock and roll". Not sure how that's supposed to work. Can musical notes even be used as the foundation work for a building, let alone a city?
  • In this video for White Wizzard's song Over the Top, the white wizard uses the power of Heavy Metal to kill the evil wizard.
  • Dream Theater occasionally have cute animations playing in the background when they play some songs live of them turning zombies into happy people/defeating wolfmen/scaring spiders away/saving James La Brie (more's the pity) through their elemental powers of music.
  • The Protomen's music has been noted to rout armies of killer robots and save doomed cities. If they can't quite handle the job, their fans have been known to help.
  • Subverted by Boombox; the titular boombox makes people chill out, cease being enemies, dance, etc, which works fine at a dinner of the rich and privileged, and fine in the streets of New York, but at an old-folks home, the effects are rather unfortunate.
    • A boombox can change the world. / You gotta know your limits with a boombox. / This was a cautionary tale. / A boombox is not a toy.
  • In the music video for Damn Yankees' "Higher Enough," Ted Nugent repels bullets with the power of his guitar solo. Patton Oswalt based a comedy bit around noting the use of this trope in the video, hoping that dumbasses would actually try it.
  • Years later, Foo Fighters knocks a bunch of riot cops on their asses. Oswalt is, as yet, silent.
  • Twisted Sister. Specifically, their videos for "I Wanna Rock" and "We're Not Gonna Take It," in which being a heavy metal fan gains you absurdly godlike powers.
  • The Damned Things in We've Got A Situation Here. The band discovers how use the Power of Rock to shoot laser beams. They use that to "rock" Wallstreet, unemployment problems and even the junk size of men, and turn evil assailants into HOT punk rocker chicks.
  • Status Quo (band) released a song called The Power Of Rock - years after the idea had already become a cliche, but somewhat redeemed by having most of the song in a surprisingly slow tempo. They later took this a step further, releasing Rock Till You Drop (their own song, not a cover) which was a slow, folky 3/4-time ballad.
  • Harry And The Potters evoke this trope in concert when they introduce their song "The Weapon". Their song "Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock" also has shades of this.
  • During live shows, usually during the self-titled song, Iron Maiden's mascot Eddie shows up in robotic form and fought off by the band (Nicko Mc Brain, the drummer, throws drumsticks, whereas the guitarists beat him with guitars and play in his face).
  • In the video to Les Rhythmes Digitales' "(Hey You) What's That Sound", Jacques Lu Cont zaps passersby with a keytar, turning them into their more-inclined-to-dance The Eighties equivalents - for instance a group of teenagers loitering by a convenience store become boombox-wielding breakdancers. This all leads up to a massive eighties dance party in the streets.
  • Namgar combines Folk Music with The Power of Rock.


Mythology[edit | hide]

  • Orpheus, who had music to soothe the savage beast. And trees and rocks. And Hades himself. But not the Maenads, unfortunately for him.
    • It's also worth noting that there are, canonically, precisely two ways for a seafarer to escape the sirens' song. One is to stuff your crew's ears with wax and have them tie you to the mast. The other is to bring along Orpheus and have him tune up his lyre, turn every dial on his amp to 11, and totally rock the hell out so loud that nobody on board your ship can hear the sirens.
  • In Finnish folklore, Väinämöinen creates the first Kantele and his singing and playing is magically powerful and beautiful, such that he can charm the beast and birds.
  • In The Book of Joshua, the walls of Jericho fall after the Israelites march around the city for seven days blowing horns, "rock music" being Older Than Feudalism. The Clash referenced this in their songs Jericho and also The Sound of Sinners.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Warhammer 40000:
    • Although it's drifted out of focus, the Orks have overtones of this. In Rogue Trader times, there were even fully statted out Goffic Rokk band miniatures.
    • The Noise Marines blast the enemy with deafening noise, a way-beyond-sanity version of this trope. Back in older and funnier editions, they were equipped with electric guitars.
    • The Sisters Of Battle have the Exorcist, a rocket-firing artillery platform in the form of a pipe organ, with a Sister driving the tank and a servitor playing the organ and/or launching the missiles.
  • Starchildren: the Velvet Revolution has glam rock aliens come to the future where the danger of emotions means that Rock has been suppressed by the Culture Police. The titular Starchildren want to free the mass of humanity from their emotional blinders with the power of rock, and their alien magic powers.
  • Cyberpunk 2020 has the Rockerboy "class", who's special skill is "charismatic leadership". It allows him to influence ever greater crowds of people.
  • Dungeons and Dragons has, for some years, sported a Bard class. Bards do a little bit of everything... and also boast The Power of Rock.
    • Indeed, an epic level bard has at least a 30% chance of secretly being Freddie Mercury.
    • At the highest levels, they can kill you with their music. The concept is that they can rock you so hard that there's nothing left for you to live for. So you don't.
    • Some prestige classes allow a bard to sing down lightning or fire on their enemies.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • We Will Rock You! If you've guessed that the protagonists fight an oppressive government using the music of Queen, you win a cookie.
    • The Big Bad of the show, Killer Queen, was defeated by having the band play an instrumental version of Tie Your Mother Down.
  • The lovable gang in Rent brings Mimi back from death by HIV, exposure and drugs through the power of song.
  • In Sam Shepard's Tooth of Crime, apparently the primary form of entertainment in the future is watching cowboy/rock star/gangsters fight each other using rock's power.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Naturally, Rock Band and Guitar Hero are all over this trope like jam on toast:
    • The intro movie for Rock Band involves a band singing and keeping their balance on top of a moving car that appears to take turns at a near right angle on 2 wheels. The sheer power of rock kicks up debris in an old west ghost town the car flies through, and the band members fly off a cliff only to land on another vehicle.
      • Then there's the intro to Rock Band 2. Rock band duel on speeding cars, anyone? The one dude has a mic attached to a flail.
    • Guitar Hero II had an animated TV commercial in which a band plays "Woman" by Wolfmother. A giant asteroid headed straight for them is withered away to a pebble by the sheer power of their rock, capped with a Crowning Moment of Awesome when the guitarist catches it before slamming into the next phrase. The message appears to be that even an actual rock is no match for this trope.
    • Guitar Hero III has you battle the devil with, of course, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia". The intro has a guitarist literally climbing Mt. Olympus and defeating the gods of rock.
      • The intro movie of "Guitar Hero World Tour" has that same devil, this time in league with a Lawyer Friendly caricature of Kenny G (?!), defeated by an all-star rock band.
    • Lego Rock Band uses this in a number of game challenges. Including destroying a building, defending a castle, and jump starting a UFO. It runs on Rock-It fuel.
  • Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!, or its American counterpart, Elite Beat Agents. Elite Beat Agents ends with the Agents blowing up the aliens by having everyone on Earth dance to The Rolling Stones' Jumpin' Jack Flash.
    • Taken to nonsensical extremes throughout the franchise, in which the Power of Rock is used to destroy asteroids and even rekindle the sun.
  • Before Inis made Ouendan, they made Gitaroo Man for the PlayStation 2, a technicolour daydream about a superhero fighting aliens with his lightning-shooting guitar-weapon-thing. It was awesome.
  • Devil May Cry 3. Dante uses a guitar as a weapon to send electric bats flying at demons every time he shreds on it!
    • On that subject, in Gungrave: Overdose, you could play as Rocketbilly Redcadillac (no really, that's his name), a rockabilly ghost haunting an electricity-shooting guitar, who could fry enemies by playing it, even morphing it into an angel arm-esque beam cannon during one of his special attacks. Yeah, it's that kind of game.
  • Let's not forget the video game based upon the aforementioned Moonwalker. In it, Michael could turn into a Mecha using Bubbles the Chimp as a power-up, and he defeated enemies by leading them in a dance sequence and by Moonwalking. In case you doubt us (and we wouldn't blame you, really) watch this. Ah, the 90s.
  • In The Eye, the main character rebels to the tune of Queen.
  • Bust A Groove.
  • Space Channel 5.
  • The Puzzle Boss battles in Brave Fencer Musashi, Final Fantasy X-2, and Kingdom Hearts 2.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, there is a dark elf that is powerful enough to cast a field that makes anyone wearing anything metal unable to move or fight, making your party nearly useless against him. The only way to break his spell? Is a song played by the original Spoony Bard himself.
  • And then there was Aerosmith's arcade shooter, Revolution X, which featured a more practical example of this trope by including a gun that shoots exploding CDs. Needless to say, it was So Bad It's Good.
  • In the little-known PC game Total Distortion, the entire plot is revolved around making rock music videos in a Dimension based on Rock. Combat with your evil Guitar Warrior enemies is also carried out via sonic blasts from electric guitars.
  • In the music-themed Guilty Gear series, where everything under the sun is named after or in reference to a rock band, artist, or song, the antagonist and part-time boss I-no uses an electric guitar as a weapon by both physically smacking her enemies around with it and using it to make a number of musical special attacks.
  • Link in The Legend of Zelda series has used music to work magic ever since the series began, but in Majora's Mask he saves the universe from annihilation by summoning four gods with his ocarina. When he's wearing a Zora mask, he literally uses an electric guitar instead.
  • Brutal Legend is this trope incarnate. Starring the aforementioned Jack Black as Eddie Riggs, a roadie for a pretentious nu-metal band who wishes he lived in a time where the music was actual heavy metal ("like, the early seventies"). He soon finds himself Trapped in Another World, which is practically based around this trope, right down to literally being able to melt faces with the power of rock. As far as Eddie's concerned, he's in Ascended Fanboy heaven, at least until it gets worse.
  • Each of the five characters in Donkey Kong 64 has a musical instrument that can be used to instantly defeat all lesser enemies in the ape's vicinity. Naturally, this power comes up in the Final Exam Boss battle, although it's used more realistically as a way to get K. Rool's attention.
  • Also in Super Smash Bros Brawl is the Assist Trophy Barbara, who attacks all opponents in the area with sonic waves from her guitar.
  • In Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, Globox, having swallowed Andre, visits Dr. Otto to have him removed. Otto plays what sounds like a rock guitar solo using Globox's arm instead of a guitar but this has no effect. The second doctor they visit, Romeo, plays a drum solo on Globox's belly, but this doesn't work either. The third doctor Globox visits conducts a classical piece, performed by Otto and Romeo (again, using Globox as an instrument). This is too much for Andre, who finally leaves.
  • In Earthbound, the only way to pass through the tunnel to Threed is to befriend a blues band, who will give you a lift on their tour bus, allowing you to barrel through the tunnel full of ghosts while playing happy music, preventing said ghosts from grabbing you and throwing you back to Twoson. The band appears again to save you from the Clumsy Robot by jumping behind it and flipping the switch. Not exactly the power of rock but at least it's done by musicians.
    • Not to mention the main character's special attack is by default named "PSI Rockin." This is why it's very important to imagine Ness playing air guitar with his bat when you use it.
      • The Japan-only prequel MOTHER (AKA MOTHER 1) takes this a step further. You actually have to use the sing command to defeat the Big Bad.
      • AND AGAIN in the Japan-only sequel Mother 3 the band DCMC sees through King P's false promises and helps you destroy him (and his little robots, too!) from the inside. Also, a member of your party played bass for the DCMC while donning an afro wig.
  • A mod in Doom lets you unleash the most powerful weapon ever forged. Not so much rock as Easy Listening, but it still kills the demons.
  • One of the custom weapons in Garry's Mod is a radio. Which plays a song of your choice (Comes with Never Gonna Give You Up), which will cause enemies to spontaneously combust.
  • One of the characters in Chrono Cross is your typical Musical Assassin in league with the Spoony Bards of previous RPGs, but what brings it in line with this trope is the mandatory sequence that has him stage a Rock Opera in order to wake the dead, revitalize a Ghost Town, and wake up a sleeping dragon. All at the same time.
    • And let's not forget the way to get the Golden Ending of the same game, which involved playing the right Magic Music...
  • If you play as Achmed Khan in Backyard Skateboarding, doing a Big Air Guitar Solo beats the final boss challenge and starts the concert.
  • Kira Kira puts more emphasis on the mundane unifying potential that music has than the fantastical, but there's a humorous scene in Chie's route where Shika claims that one can manage movie-stunt-like feats while screaming ROCK! AND! ROLL!!! at the top of one's lungs. And then proceeds to jump from the back of a (speeding) pickup truck into its cab by doing so.
  • In Toontown Online, 2 of the gags are Bugles and Opera Voices.
  • In Legend of Mana, playing the right music on specially enchanted instruments will charm the elementals into giving you shiny things. On the other hand, Harpies can cause naval disasters just by singing.
  • The Bard, in The Bard's Tale (2004), is able to summon creatures with his music, which can be played by everything from a lute to a singing sword, to an electric guitar axe.
  • The obscure PlayStation title Mad Maestro! did a fair job of invoking this with classical music.
  • Super Robot Wars also features cases of rock kicking ass. Nearly all of the Macross series (except for II, for obvious reasons) have appeared in the Alpha timeline (except for Alpha 2), while Frontier is set to make its debut in Super Robot Wars L. Alpha 2, Alpha 3 and Super Robot Wars W had Mic Sounders XIII as well.
    • For specific cases, one stage in the first Super Robot Wars Alpha allowed you to play the ending of the Do You Remember Love? movie, complete with the title song playing throughout the level. Granted, Minmay's music only triggers DYRL? plot points, but it a rare case of actually being in control of one big finale that was set to a giant love ballad.
    • In Alpha 3, you get to face Sharon Apple where her big song, Information High actually works against you in that you will be reduced to 50 morale (the lowest possible you can get) when you deploy AND have to slowly build up morale. Against multiple Ghost X-9's. Then, when it seems all hope is lost, out comes Basara Nekki and delivers his Catch Phrase: "Sharon Apple, LISTEN TO MY SONG!". All units jump up to maximum morale and proceed to rip apart the Ghost X-9's like no tomorrow.
    • Speaking of Basara, as impressive as his singing is in his series proper, the actual usefulness of Fire Bomber is in fact very minimal in the Super Robot Wars games. In both Alpha 3 and Super Robot Wars Destiny, Fire Bomber is practically a group of stat-boosters normally and cannot attack enemies at all (Destiny) or only inflict status changes on enemies (Alpha 3). However, when Protodevlin bosses (and ONLY bosses, mind you) show up, Fire Bomber rises to Lethal Joke Character status due to their music negating the natural defenses (normally, you'd need Valor or Soul just to do normal damage to them) of the Protodevlin.
      • Fire Bomber extends past this by exactly ONE boss in Alpha 3. This boss just happens to be Keisa Ephes, the final boss of the game and an amalgamation of dark emotions, wicked intent and all that stuff. Which is exactly why the Anima Spiritia of Fire Bomber is able to damage the cosmic horror, and even land the killing blow with them should the player wish. Yes, you can punch out Cthulhu with this trope.
    • As mentioned above, Mic Sounders XIII uses his Disk X to wipe out Radam Trees in Super Robot Wars W.
  • Bloodwings: Pumpkinhead's Revenge features a guitar that, when played, pushes all enemies back. It only has 6 charges though.
  • Johnny/Karyl Sheedan of Tales of Destiny fights with this; especially in his final Limit Break, where he summons phantasmal speakers and rocks out.
  • One of the Combo Weapons in Dead Rising 2 is an amplifier strapped to a guitar. It makes zombie heads explode.
  • In Song Summoner, you use songs from your iPod's library as catalysts to create "Tune Troopers" that battle the forces of evil for you. The Troopers level up when you listen to the songs used in their creation.
  • Alex's final weapon in The Colour Tuesday is her brother's guitar. It's required to defeat the final boss.
  • 5pb from the Neptunia series uses her electric guitar as a weapon. Like Compa, her weapon is more suited for shooting magic bullets than dealing physical damage.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • In Devil Bear , Bearalzebub rocks out on a guitar to defeat a teddy bear parody of Kiss.
  • Erfworld has a literal rock battle. Between Italian vampires and death metal midgets riding dragons dwagons.
    • Dancefighting zombies Uncroaked Troops led by a Croakamancer. Familiar?
    • Apparently, rocking out is even more powerful than standard dance-fighting, since rock music is the music of the Titans. Makes sense, since the Titans are mile-high Elvis impersonators.
  • My Name Is Might Have Been is the story of The Power of Rock After the End.
    • Inspired by Rock Band, of course. They cover pretty much everything. Character creation, DLC, buying new clothes, earning the tour van (and, by implication, the other vehicles), losing fans when you screw up, even Overdrive/Star Power is made into a major plot point.
  • Attack by German Composer in Not Quite Daily Comic.
  • An early Dresden Codak that's no longer on the site parodied this, by showing how well it would work in a realistic setting—i.e., not at all.
  • On the psychological warfare front Schlock Mercenary introduced the BuranaBots
  • Wonderella uses an electric guitar to subdue 500 of Hitlerella's angry bears in "The 500 BEARable Lightness of Being".
  • In The Challenges of Zona a somewhat NSFW computer rendered webcomic, Mentl, a struggling rock guitarist of slight and scrawny build, finds himself in a barbarian fantasy world where he almost immediately (and quite unknowingly) seduces the titular Zona, a Hot Amazon swordfighter, by singing a Beatles song. It turns out that he has latent magical talent and can use the lyrics of his favorite songs as powerful spells. For example, he accidently places every woman in a ballroom under a love spell while singing The Troggs' "Love Is All Around", and flash-fries an attacker by belting out Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire".
  • Keychain of Creation has the villain Resonance Ben who can, in his own words, "channel the rage of the Neverborn through my guitar strings," though it primarily harms his fellow denizens of the Underworld. Ben later reappears with a band made up of ghosts and undead monsters who use instrument weapons and magical music that harm the holy in general and Solars in particular.
  • In Sonichu, the 4-Cent Garbage building is demolished by, believe it or not, using Guitar Hero/Rock Revolution instruments to sing a song about how much better Power Rangers used to be, sung to the tune of "Cat Scratch Fever."
  • In Soul Symphony, the enemies in a metalhead's soul use this to battle, like strumming a power chord to shoot lightning bolts.
  • In Galactic Maximum, you need it to survive the Wretched Hive.
  • The Hook (by comic book vet Mike Baron) is set on the Granite Planet, where music has destructive power. Most of Earth's musicians fled there when music was outlawed, and now they're fighting it out among themselves. Baron cites the "battle guitars" in Ostrander's Grimjack (see above) as an inspiration.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Played with in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe: The hero team 4Justice is a quartet of young superhuman singer/dancers who won their place on the team by way of the "reality" TV game show "Who Wants to Be a Superhero". To date, they've not actually appeared in the field fighting crime, but have released four albums, had a nationwide tour, and a TV movie. While each member of the band has a "code name", they are all much better known by their real names among their fans (who are all tween- and teen-aged girls, apparently). Outside of their fans, they receive little respect from the hero community, and not much more respect from the musical community.
  • The My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic fan animation "Epic Wub Time" features an electronic music variant in lieu of rock; the sheer power of Vinyl Scratch's bass cannon generates a gigantic energy blast that proves capable of dispatching Discord with astonishing ease.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • This is essentially the plot of Yellow Submarine.
  • Quite a few of George Pal's Puppetoons. "Tulips Shall Always Grow" ends with a folk dance that reverses the effects of an invasion of goose-stepping robots!
  • And Rock and Rule. One editor said it best in her review of the movie: "A dark magician old-arse rock star's wicked plans are thwarted by Furries who sing early 80's rock music. Yes, that is the actual plot." To be more specific, the Power of Rock can summon a demon, and the Power of Love can send it back—specifically, the power of Debbie Harry of Blondie and Robin Zander of Cheap Trick singing a duet together.
  • And the series Kidd Video. The show, deftly summarized in this article, is a cavalcade of bizarreness.
  • Appropriately enough for one of the best singers in the Disney Animated Canon, Ariel defeats a Big Bad through singing in the The Little Mermaid series.
    • Parodied in Enchanted, where Princess Giselle can summon friendly animals and kick off an elaborate Crowd Song in Central Park just by singing.
    • Also parodied in Shrek, where Princess Fiona's high note is enough to make the friendly bird singing with her explode in a puff of feathers. Oops.
    • In the climax of the direct-to-video sequel, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, this is villain Forte's weapon of choice in the climax. Slightly subverted as it's not just the Magic Music, but also how loud it is.
  • On The Simpsons, The Who were able to use their amps to blow up a huge wall.
    • In a similar vein, the velvet-smooth bass of Barry White is used to lure snakes to safety during "Whacking Day".
  • Bubbles, in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls, reversed the evil effects of Mr. Mime's color and happiness draining magic by kicking off a cheery concert in the Townsville park.
    • The song is called "Love makes the world go 'round".
  • In Alvin and The Chipmunks Alvin and his gang actually use one of his concerts to pull down the Berlin Wall. Admittedly it was All Just a Dream, but not for long; the episode ran not even a year before the real thing, not a bad accomplishment for the little guy.
  • In The Devil and Daniel Mouse, the protagonists used rock to win a legal case against the Devil.
  • Used spectacularly in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, complete with a Twisted Sister parody and Patrick in suspenders.
    • The series also has a good relationship with this trope. Note the episode where Sandy rampages through Bikini Bottom, accompanied by Pantera!
    • Not to mention the hair-metal in the surrealistically awesome ending of "Band Geeks".
    • One of Plankton's evil plans involved a rock band and unedited music.
  • Parodied in Family Guy. Three words: KISS Saves Santa.
  • Parodied in South Park, where Korn relied on Scooby Doo-style detective work to solve the mystery. The one time they tried using thematic powers, it failed miserably. ("Korn Powers Activate! Form of... CORN!!!")
    • In "Mecha-Streisand", Barbara Streisand used a magical crystal to turn into a huge robot-dragon. That she was defeated by Robert Smith of The Cure (he turned into a parody of Mothra) certainly warrants a mention here.
    • And then there was the "World-Wide Recorder Concert" episode. Let's just say it's the one where Cartman learns about the original Brown Note...
    • Also Cartman managed to disperse a huge crowd of hippies with a Slayer record in "Die Hippie, Die" episode.
  • The Real Ghostbusters episode "Play Them Ragtime Boos" involved the guys facing off with a bunch of ghosts whose swing music turned time back to The Roaring Twenties... Yes, the boys played Rock and Roll. With specially-programmed instruments and a visual trip from fifties to eighties. (Yes, folks, Egon's hair got more insane.)
  • The Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres has Neil Peart, the legendary drummer/songwriter of Rush, raise Meatwad from the dead by performing the "Solo of Life". Tongue-in-cheek promotional material published before the movie's release suggested that the solo would be the climax of the film and would run 45 minutes long. In fact, it's closer to 45 seconds.
    • There's also the episode "Revenge of the Mooninites", where the Mooninites trick Meatwad into helping them acquire the Foreigner Belt, which gives the wearer super-powers based on songs by the rock group Foreigner. We get to see "Dirty White Boy",[1] "Cold as Ice"[2] "Double Vision",[3] and "Hot Blooded".[4] Then Carl accidentally inflicts "Head Games"[5] on himself.

Carl: "I don't need no instructions to know how to Rock!"

  • And then there's Rock-a-Doodle (which Don Bluth fans normally do NOT like to talk about). The movie is a very loose re-imagining of the tale of Chanticleer, the singing rooster who believes he alone summons the sunlight with his voice. In this case, Chanticleer is an Elvis Expy who (very) gradually learns that his golden tones are the only thing that can stop an evil wizard owl who wants to plunge the world into eternal nighttime.
  • Metalocalypse is all about this trope. Death Metal band Dethklok rock so hard they can raise ancient Finnish trolls and cause volcanoes to erupt. They also have billions of crazed fans worldwide and their music seems to be gradually destroying civilisation.
    • The defictionalized Dethklok is backing DragonForce up on their Ultra Beatdown tour.
    • They're also touring with Mastodon, and has recently hired Eddie Riggs as a roadie. It's like they're creating a massive singularity of pure f[*guitar squeal*]ing metal.
    • The "Crush My Battle Opponent's Balls" music video has Skwisgaar killing dragons with his music, possibly in homage to the Yngwie Malmsteen artwork from the page image.
  • In Storm Hawks, the villainess Ravess built a massive sonic cannon that channeled the sound of her orchestra into blasts that could blow ships out of the sky. The heroes countered this by converting their hangar into an amp that similarly channeled Finn's electric guitar. The result can only be described as a Rock vs. Classical Beam-O-War.
  • In Chuck Jones' lovely adaptation of George Seldon's A Cricket in Times Square, Chester, the titular musical Orthopteran, saves a tiny newsstand after he learns he has a talent for playing classical music. In the finale, Chester plays his last "concert", a musical farewell to the city. All of the jaded New York City residents, every one of them, stop to listen. The sequence is illustrated almost entirely with Jones' own sensitive sketches of the City, and it's one of the most downright moving moments in animation.
  • Lest we forget, Hammerman. (In this case, it's the power of dancing, but it still counts.)
  • Val Hallen, from the Dexter's Laboratory Show Within a Show "Justice Friends," is based around this concept. He's the Viking god of Rock, and the local parody of the Marvel Comics version of Thor. Too bad he can't actually make it work.
  • Four words for you: Jem and The Holograms!
  • In the WITCH episode "S is for Self", Matt is able to fight off a Demonic Possession by blasting his possessor Shagon with a series of love-fueled guitar chords.
  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi.
  • In the Duck Dodgers episode "In Space No-One Can Hear You Rock", the Martians use the power of easy-listening jazz against Earth. Dodgers enlists the help of Dave Mustaine of Megadeth to destroy their saxaphone-ray. See for yourself.
  • British TV series Freefonix is set in the future, where, apparently, The Power of Rock can be used to make the musician fly, control people's minds, and reverse time.
  • The Re Boot episode "Talent Night" featured a guitar battle that faked the viewers out. Megabyte enters the stage and pops out of a coffin, sinister-looking musical equipment unfolds seemingly out of nowhere, and he turns his guitar to eleven. Bob confronts him, with Glitch taking the form of a guitar, and they have an epic rock fight. Then, after it's over... Megabyte hands his guitar to Enzo, says "I've always wanted to do that," and leaves peacefully.
  • The all-but-forgotten Stone Protectors were a toy line and short-lived cartoon series released on the heels of the troll doll revival in the mid-90's. These trolls were a literal Four Man Band who protected the Stones of Power from an evil troll using The Power of Rock.
  • In Transformers Animated, Soundwave can use music to control machines and can also overwhelm with the sheer volume of the sound. The show's version of Laserbeak transforms not into a tape, but a guitar and he can hack into computers (as well as mind-control both humans and robots.. Unfortunately, he hasn't appeared yet.
    • He has now. And it's awesome.

Sari: "I've heard your music, Soundwave. I'm not impressed."
Soundwave: "I have upgraded my instruments."
* he plays a power chord on Laserbeak that sends Sari hurtling into the far wall*

      • And did we mention the guitar duel between Soundwave and Optimus Prime at the end of the episode?

Soundwave: "Your Axe is useless, Autobot"
Optimus Prime: "But yours isn't!"

  • The original Transformers had the episode "Carnage in C Minor". This featured a planet of beings who could use music as a weapon, which catered to original flavor Soundwave's musical abilities. It's also regarded as one of the worst episodes in the entire franchise.
    • More thanks to its horrendously Off-Model animation - at one point, Brawn and Huffer (who are dead) are shooting at a rocket engine, alongside Bonecrusher (who helped build it).
  • In Barbie and the Diamond Castle the protagonists defeat the villain's flute-based evil spells by playing their own magical instruments and singing.
  • On The Fairly Odd Parents, Timmy used the White Wand on the Darkness, which was essentially a guitar with magical properties, guarded by KISS no less.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog did it at the end of an episode of the Adventures series. It frustrated the Monster of the Day so much that he blew up and caused Robotnik to do a Team Rocket impression.
    • And speaking of Sonic, in Sonic Underground, not only were the characters in a rock band, their main weapons were their instruments.
  • In their "Cliptastic Countdown", Phineas and Ferb pulled it off by performing their extended version of "Gitchee Gitchee Goo" to save everyone who had been brainwashed by Dr. Doofenshmirtz's own music video.
    • Pretty much the motivation for Love Handel's Danny who claims that music has the power to change the world
  • The Ka Blam!! episode "Your Logo Here!" was about the main duo trying to make the show more educational, and bring in a Barney-esque otter, "Ed the Educational Otter". His teachings made the kids nuts, and Henry ended up trapping him. The lure? His electric guitar solo.
  • The Teen Titans couldn't beat Punk Rocket as the sonic waves from his guitar stopped all attacks until Beast Boy had him play so loud the sound system blew.
  • There was an episode of Alvin and The Chipmunks where they demolished the Berlin Wall and ended the Cold War through the power of a rock ballad. It was All Just a Dream, but a prophetic one. After the song, Alvin woke up to find the Wall still in place; he sadly muses, "So it was only a dream... But it doesn't have to be." Ironically this cartoon aired about eleven months before the real Berlin Wall came down.
  • In an episode of Squidbillies, Rusty sells his soul to Satan for the ability to be a better guitar player than his dad. Cue the ensuing power rock duel where Early unleashes the full power of his skill, playing so fast it reaches into the ultrasound range, easily outdoing his son's demon-powered solo. It turns out Early had struck a similar bargain with Satan, so it ends as hell on earth anyway.
  • The Regular Show episode "This Is My Jam". To combat an extremely catchy song come alive, Mordecai and friends form a band and sing their own Ear Worm to blast it. This results in manifesting two ethereal rockers who use their guitars as swords.


Other[edit | hide]


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Music has been used surprisingly often as an instrument of siege warfare:
    • During the US military's invasion of Panama to oust Manuel Noriega, psychological warfare specialists blasted acid rock at the building he was holed up in, which ran counter to Noriega's personal taste for opera. He eventually surrendered.
    • During the 1997 Tupac Amaru hostage-taking at the Japanese Embassy in Peru, police blasted martial music and opera around the clock to hide the sound of their teams tunneling into the embassy.
    • During both Gulf Wars, American tank crews would blast heavy metal with their loudspeakers, generally causing the Iraqis to run away or surrender.
    • At the siege of Waco, Texas, the National Guard blasted the holed-up terrorists with Barry Manilowe songs.
    • Heavy Metal in Baghdad
    • Guantanamo Bay, which uses rock as part of their "enhanced interrogation techniques".
    • At the battle of Gaixia (202BCE), Han forces outnumbered and surrounded Chu forces, but still couldn't break their defensive perimeter. Han forces began singing homesickness-inducing Chu folk songs, and the Chu army fell apart via desertion. The Han went on to rule China for over 400 years.
  • The Power Of Rock—or rather, the power of rock fans—was enough to win Finland the 2006 Eurovision contest. Traditionally the voting is done around political boundaries regardless of actual music quality, but the year Finnish rock/metal band Lordi entered, Finland not only won their first victory but got a record 292 points.
    • Even more awesome because the Genre Savvy band knew how the system worked and entered the contest primarily to increase their name recognition in Finland- now they have fans world-wide.
  • The Singing Revolution
  • In 1974, Portugal's entry for that year's Eurovision was broadcast at a certain time of day to signal the start of the Carnation Revolution, which successfully overthrew the country's 50-year fascist dictatorship.
  • A lighter use of Power of Rock involved Tina Turner songs being used as bird distress signals in Gloucestershire airport.
  • A town in Nevada repels cricket invasions by blasting the music of Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones at the marauding insects.
  • According to Myth Busters, plants in fact do grow better when exposed to classical music... but grow even better when exposed to rock!
    • More specifically, Death Metal.
  • Not quite rock, per se, but the Red Army during the Battle of Stalingrad used a variant of this trope: as they closed the noose around the Germans, loud speaker phones were set up to play tango of all things, mainly because it was felt they sounded sinister enough to demoralize the Germans. They would periodically interrupt with demands for the enemy to surrender, and then went right back to playing more tango tunes.
  • According to Andras Simonyi, Hungarian ambassador to the United States and former dissident leader, the music of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Cream, helped give Eastern European youth the resolve to stand up to their oppressive governments. Said Simonyi, "By keeping in touch with the music scene in the West, it kind of kept me sane and with the feeling I was part of the free world." That's right, boys and girls. Rock n' Roll defeated Communism.
    • Not just Communism—many people regarded John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix as anti-capitalist, anti-establishment revolutionaries.
    • Vaclav Havel, playwright and leader of the Czechoslovak anti-communists and first post-communist President of Czechoslovakia, was drawn into active resistance because of the Czechoslovak government's suppression of a band called the Plastic People of the Universe. He was also such a huge Zappa fan that he offered him a Cabinet post—but the US government, which didn't like Zappa after his testimony to Congress regarding content warning labels on recordings, intervened to prevent it. Most importantly, the revolution Havel led was the only completely non-violent one.
      • You left out the most awesome part of the story: Plastic People of the Universe was a cover band; which band? The Velvet Underground - inspired by the first two albums which Havel had brought back from New York before the Soviet invasion. And what was the name of Havel's revolution in late '80s? The Velvet Revolution. Yeah.
  • The leading singers of Brazil's progressive rock movement, Tropicalia, were inspired by the Beatles and other classic rock, but were censored and banned with threat of jail time by Brazil's then-oppressive government which declared the whole genre subversive because it inspired Brazil's youth.
  • Inverted by some store owners, who play classical music in their establishments' parking lots to discourage skateboarders or gang members from hanging around there.
  • In the Battle Of Mogadishu of which the Black Hawk Down book and movie is based, the Black Hawk Down pilot Micheal Durant was saved through the power of Rock 'N' Roll. AC/DC's Hells Bells from their album Back In Black was used to rescue him from his captors. Brian Johnson, the lead singer of AC/DC in an interview with Q magazine said "That was the best one. He was shoved in prison, his back was broken. They were kicking him, shooting bullets into him and he was terrified. His pals knew that AC/DC was his favorite band so they hooked up a speaker to the skid of one of the Black Hawks and they were playing Hells Bells over the rooftops. He took his shirt off and- 'Cause his legs were broken- he crawled up to the windows and waved his shirt. That's how they got him out. Ain't that amazing!"
  • According to "Wherever We Go", Newsboys music improves stock markets, reduces crime, and repairs the ozone layer, among other things.
  • Did you know you could increase a country's population with a single rock song? Seems ridiculous, but when the Scorpions power ballad "Still Loving You" was released in 1984, it became such a huge hit in France that it triggered a baby boom.

Notes

  1. Makes Meatwad act like a redneck
  2. Freezes Carl in a block of ice
  3. Gives Frylock double vision
  4. Makes the water in Carl's pool boil, scaring off the Mooninites
  5. Turns his head into a Connect Four board