The music of The Legend of Zelda has long been a talking point for fans. It doesn’t take long to find numerous tributes to the music of The Legend of Zelda around the Internet. YouTube is full of people playing their favorite songs on the piano, guitar, and other more creative methods. Of course, we cannot forget our friends at Zelda Reorchestrated and Radio Hyrule.
Everyone who hears the music is enchanted by it. This is the story of my enchantment with one of the best-loved songs in the series history: The Ballad of the Wind Fish.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening was the second Legend of Zelda game that I played. My best guess is that I was eight years old at the time. The game was given to me by a friend after he ended up with two copies, and it quickly became my favorite Gameboy game. At this point, I had already played most of, or completed, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
A Link to the Past has a great soundtrack, but it lacks an iconic song that becomes stuck in your head for hours at a time (though the Dark World theme is admirable). My eight year old self was not humming Legend of Zelda tunes regularly, but Link’s Awakening was about to change my humming habits.
At the beginning of the game, it is made clear that you need to play the Eight Instruments of the Sirens in order to wake the Wind Fish. However, the Ballad of the Wind Fish does not play at that time. The first time I heard any part of the ballad is after I completed Tail Cave and found the Full Moon Cello. After Link picks up the cello, an intro for the song plays. I immediately liked the song.
Then, I stumbled upon Marin hanging out in Mabe Village. After speaking with her, she began to sing a beautiful song. I found myself wanting to hear the song very often, and then began humming the song myself. Whenever I was in Mabe Village, I would stop to hear Marin sing.
Later in the game, Marin moves to Animal Village and I continued to stop and listen whenever I was in the area. I have finished Link’s Awakening many times, but even now, over a decade later, I will stop and listen to Marin sing.
Over the years, I’ve heard many tributes to the Ballad of the Wind Fish performed in different ways, and all of them are fantastic. However, there’s something special about hearing Marin sing the song that really sticks with you. Whenever I end up with the Ballad of the Wind Fish stuck in my head, it’s never an orchestrated version and it’s not even the Eight Instruments of the Sirens; it is always Marin.
For me, The Ballad of the Wind Fish defines the music of The Legend of Zelda.
Disappointment and excitement.
Unlike many of the best known Legend of Zelda tunes, the Ballad of the Wind Fish is exclusive to only one Legend of Zelda game. As a result, not a whole lot can be said about it. However, I have two distinct memories about the song being used outside of Link’s Awakening.
The Ballad of the Wind Fish is held in high regard by most people who played Link’s Awakening, but the console games have always been the more popular Legend of Zelda titles. So, I was excited when I read the words “Ballad of the Wind Fish” while playing The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask in 2000.
Unfortunately, what followed was severe disappointment. For some reason, Nintendo chose to use the name for a song that, while kinda catchy, is inferior. It would have been a great throw-back to Link’s Awakening, and I always considered it unfortunate that Nintendo chose to use a different song with the same name.
However, I have to forgive their slip up after hearing what is without-a-doubt the most beautiful rendition of the Ballad of the Wind Fish I have ever heard. I previously wrote about my visit to The Symphony of the Goddesses in Dallas this past January. I heard about every Legend of Zelda song I expected to hear and one I did not: my favorite ballad. And what better way to finish off a Legend of Zelda concert than with a fully orchestrated version of my favorite Legend of Zelda song?
Obviously, music is a huge part of the Legend of Zelda series. Why else would Nintendo choose to celebrate the 25th anniversary with a concert tour? The Ballad of the Wind Fish is my favorite song, but what about you all? What song defines the series for you?