Ravel’s “Bolero” Could Have Been The Theme To The Legend of Zelda

(By Brian Davidson)

Did you know Maurice Ravel’s Spanish dance “Bolero” was originally intended to be the theme song to The Legend of Zelda? Just a little known fact among hardcore Zelda enthusiasts! The composer Koji Kondo initially intended on using “Bolero” but had to back out, learning late in the game’s development cycle that the copyright on Ravel’s masterpiece had not yet expired. Whether it was due to legal hurdles or avoiding additional financial costs instead Koji chose to compose a completely new arrangement – all within one day.

Admittedly the piece would have been turned into a digitized arrangement on the NES’ limited sound board, but what the eventual association to one of videogames’ greatest franchise would have done to “Bolero” pop-culture-wise is unmistaken.

The Legend of Zelda theme music has gone on into geeklore as probably one of the most recognizable themes outside of the gaming medium itself and has now been performed in proper orchestra arrangements in the biggest concert halls in the world. Regardless to the plausibility of “Bolero” being as recognizable today as the theme to Zelda, there’s no denying the endless “what-ifs” for what could have been. Who knows, maybe dancing violinists would have been jamming to “Bolero” instead of this.

For a greater in-depth look at the Bolero-Zelda backstory, check out the link below.

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