Ranking the 50+ best Zelda songs of all time

With the re-release of Skyward Sword for the Switch, and the ever-present Breath of the Wild 2 anticipation, gamers the world over are buzzing about Princess Zelda and that guy that always tries to rescue her.

The Legend of Zelda series has sold over 100 million copies since its first release, The Legend of Zelda, in 1986. It has one of the largest fanbases in the entire video game world, having captured hearts for decades with its entertaining gameplay, stunning graphics, and captivating storylines.

I think the real star of the show, however, is the music. Each game in the series becomes memorable because of the soundtrack. There’s a reason why we can listen to certain tracks and instantly feel all the same emotions we once felt when we played the game for the first time.

And we have Japanese composer Koji Kondo to thank for the majority of these tracks.

Today, I’ve decided to do the impossible– listen to every Zelda song I could get my hands on, then rank my favorites from worst to best. It took many hours and I feel like my entire body is going to implode at any moment, but it is done.

Here she is. The very best music from The Legend of Zelda series, ranked from pretty good to awe inspiring.
(Be sure to check the playlist at the bottom to listen to them in order.)

56. “Saying Goodbye” — Spirit Tracks

55. “Ballad of the Windfish” — Link’s Awakening

54. “Return of the Hero” — A Link Between Worlds

53. “Riverside” — Tri Force Heroes

52. “Astral Observatory” — Majora’s Mask

51. “Korok Forest” — Breath of the Wild

50. “Sword Search on Koholint Island” — Link’s Awakening

49. “Final Hours” — Majora’s Mask

48. “Clock Town: Day 1” — Majora’s Mask

47. “Rito Village” — Breath of the Wild

46. “Mipha’s Theme” — Breath of the Wild

45. “Zora’s Domain” — Twilight Princess

44. “Palace Theme” — Zelda II

43. “The Dragons” — Skyward Sword

42. “Hateno Village” — Breath of the Wild

41. “Impa’s Fate” — Skyward Sword

40. “Grandma’s Theme” — Wind Waker

39. “Ballad of the Goddess” — Skyward Sword

38. “Skyloft” — Skyward Sword

37. “Kakariko Village” — Breath of the Wild

36. “Kakariko is Saved” — Twilight Princess

35. “Temple of Time” — Ocarina of Time

34. “Windfall Island” — Wind Waker

33. “Prince Sidon’s Theme” — Breath of the Wild

32. “Prince Ralis is Saved” — Twilight Princess

31. “Kokiri Forest” — Ocarina of Time

30. “Dragon Roost Island” — Wind Waker

29. “Queen Rutela’s Theme” — Twilight Princess

28. “Song of Storms” — Ocarina of Time

27. “The Great Sea” — Wind Waker

26. “Romance in the Air” — Skyward Sword

25. “Fishing Hole” — Twilight Princess

24. “Kakariko Village” — Ocarina of Time

23. “Outset Island” — Wind Waker

22. “Daruk’s Theme” — Breath of the Wild

21. “Hyrule Castle (Exterior)” — Breath of the Wild

20. “Great Fairy Fountain” — Ocarina of Time

19. “Gate of Time” — Skyward Sword

18. “Title Theme” — Wind Waker

17. “Overworld” — Spirit Tracks

16. “Lake Hylia” — Twilight Princess

15. “Save Ilia” — Twilight Princess

14. “Main Theme” — Breath of the Wild

13. “Courage” — Twilight Princess

12. “Lost Woods”/”Sacred Grove” — Ocarina of Time/Twilight Princess
(The two are basically the same song, just one’s a lot darker. I couldn’t decide between the two and didn’t want them as separate rankings. Sue me.)

11. “Message from the Goddess” — Skyward Sword

10. “Overworld Theme” — Link to the Past

9. “Zelda’s Lullaby” — Skyward Sword

8. “Hidden Village” — Twilight Princess

7. “Hyrule Field” — Twilight Princess

6. “Gerudo Valley” — Ocarina of Time

5. “Song of Healing” — Majora’s Mask

4. “Title Theme” — Ocarina of Time

3. “Fi’s Farewell” — Skyward Sword

2. “Midna’s Lament” — Twilight Princess

1. “Ilia’s Theme” — Twilight Princess

I know that not many (if any) people would put “Ilia’s Theme” at the top spot of their own lists, but there’s a certain unexplainable magic I feel whenever I hear it. I don’t think it has much to do with the character, though I do like her. It’s just a peaceful track with a simple melody that pulls at my heart.

And I think that’s what this whole list is about. The Legend of Zelda is so ingrained in many of our lives that we develop strong feelings toward our own specific songs. There are so many songs in this series, and I’ve covered a good chunk of them. but it’s entirely possible that your favorite didn’t make the list. And I think that’s really cool. We each have our own memories, our own stories, our own treasured moments.

I vividly remember coming home from volleyball practice back in the day and going straight to Twilight Princess. I also remember, years earlier, sitting in the basement, watching my brother beat Ocarina of Time. Notice how many songs from those two games made it on my list.

So whether you’re into the more minimalist stylings of Breath of the Wild, or the (mostly) upbeat vibes of Wind Waker, I’d love to hear your takes. Let me know what your top 10 songs are in the comments below. What did I miss? What should I cut?

As always, be sure to give us a follow on Twitter @altechomusic.

And have fun with Skyward Sword. I know it’s not everyone’s favorite, but come on. You gotta admit, the game’s got an insanely good soundtrack.

Featured image taken from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 Trailer via Nintendo Twenty.

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