Before the advent of phones with built-in ringtones, using your phone’s system to make a personalised buzz was not possible. Nowadays you can use any song in your library as a ringtone (if it passes copyrights), but before, you had to make do with sounds that came pre-installed or were customisable. These were either cartoon sounds, or songs that people traditionally associated with mobile phones; for example Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog”.
1. Nokia Tune (Nokia)
2. Nokia tune 2 (Nokia)
3. Mission Impossible (Soundtrack)
4. Superman The Movie opera theme
5. Star Wars Imperial March
6. The Pink Panther Theme
8. Tetris Theme
9. Zelda Theme
10. James Bond 007 theme tune
1) Nokia Tune – This is the most well known mobile ring tone of all time, being so iconic that it has been parodied in various TV shows (“I’m just saying the Nokia tune is stuck in my head”, The Mighty Boosh). It was composed by Demitri Maximoff for Nokias back in 1987, and was meant to be a chime for incoming calls. Nowadays it can be bought on iTunes or downloaded freely online (if you look hard enough). It has also spawned numerous variations, including “Nokia XpressMusic Tune” , which compresses the original tune into a smaller file size.
2) Nokia Tune 2- Another version of the famous Nokia tune with an added lead instrument in the beginning. It is also available on iTunes and online, but hasn’t achieved the same widespread recognition as its predecessor.
3) Mission Impossible – This is one of those ringtones that you probably recognise but don’t know where from. The original song was made by Lalo Schifrin for a TV show called Mission:Impossible back in 1966, although it started being used for mobile phones from around 2000 onwards when people couldn’t find or download popular tunes anymore. A shortened version was then uploaded to You Tube which became part of a ringtone craze in 2008/2009 . In 2010 , JJ Abrams re-booted the film franchise, re-recording portions of the original 1966 theme tune.
4) Superman The Movie opera theme – This is another well known song that has been spoofed many times on TV. It was composed by John Williams for the 1978 Superman movie and can actually be heard during a scene in the film when Lois Lane is listening to Clark Kent’s pocket radio. It wouldn’t have been put together as a ringtone if it wasn’t so catchy!
5) Star Wars Imperial March – As with most of these famous songs, this also follows the same pattern of being very recognisable but not knowing where from exactly. This particular ringtone is taken from another John Williams score , this time for Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
6) The Pink Panther Theme – This is another classic TV/Film theme tune that has been parodied multiple times. In the opening credits, a cartoon pink panther bounds across the screen to this song composed by Henry Mancini for the 1963 movie of the same name. It became a UK number one hit for trumpeter Chris Barber in 1969 and a popular ringtone from around 2003 onwards.
7) Ghostbusters – Although this isn’t an official release as a Ringtone, it is used extensively as such because many people already owned it from music downloads. The 1984 film by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis was accompanied by Ray Parker Jr’s quirky ‘Ghostbusters’ title music , which reached number one in the charts when released as a single. The song is also linked with these mobile ring tones because of its spookiness and use of bells .
8) Tetris Theme – Another well-known piece from an equally famous franchise. Unlike much of the other songs in this list, it is actually just a sound effect rather than any music being played. However, more people are familiar with this “engineer’s favourite” or have heard it more often on their phones , so here it sits at number 8.
9) Zelda Theme – This probably won’t come as too much of a surprise to some gamers out there! It comes from another Nintendo game called ‘The Legend Of Zelda’. A of games back then had their own respective theme tunes, with this one being composed by Koji Kondo.
10) Tetris Russian folk – The music is an old Russian folk song called ‘Korobeiniki’. However , most people probably know it as the main theme to Nintendo’s classic puzzler Tetris. It was originally composed back in 1879 by a band lead by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov .
And so there you have it, 10 of the most recognisable ringtones there are! Of course, there are tonnes more out there but these are just some of the best known ones. There’s so many mobile phones now that there really isn’t any excuse for not having at least one great tune set as your phone tone.