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written by Sam Greenspan

People have done brilliant (and insane) tributes based on the iconic music from Mario. Here are some of the best.

I can’t believe how many people have taken the Super Mario Bros. theme music and, to regrettably quote American Idol, made it their own.

While I was researching this list I found the theme played on every single instrument I could think of (up to and including the diggery doo). I also found a capella versions, orchestra performances, marching band routines, and on and on and on.

Seeing all of those set the bar pretty high for me as I compiled this list. Merely hearing a faithful reproduction of the Mario music on an instrument wasn’t enough.

I needed more.

Here are 11 musical tributes to Super Mario that stood out from the pack. Hopefully you’ve got headphones plugged in at work…

1 | The live violin

I absolutely love this because it’s not just a guy playing the Super Mario Bros. music on a violin — which wouldn’t have made this list — he’s playing it live, matching up with the action. Especially worthwhile are Mario hitting the 10-coin block, his invincibility and going down the flagpole at the end. Plus, this made me realize that the Game Over music is a perfectly natural fit for a violin — the world’s most depressing instrument.

This guy also has a video playing along live to Super Mario Bros. 3. Where, once again, he’s wearing his sweet white tuxedo.

2 | Super Mario beatbox

It’s the Asian Michael Winslow!

3 | Dr. Mario

As a big Dr. Mario fan, the “Fever” music choice is one of my all-time favorite video game songs. (SO much better than “Chill”… and, obviously, quite different than “Off.”) I really like the way it was used here as the melody for a professionally-done animated tribute/parody song about Dr. Mario. Throwing in the old Mario Bros. crab is a good touch. (Plus Yoshi having rabies. I knew there was something off about him.)

4 | Church organ

This isn’t a particularly strong rendition, but I give this kid all the credit in the world for actually playing this to end a church service. I hope when he got in trouble afterward he didn’t sell Milhouse his soul.

5 | Mario Kart love song

Putting aside that this is an all-around good song… and looking the other way on that regrettable yarn mustache and vacuum cleaner in the background… I found myself most impressed with the true-to-the-game accuracy of the lyrics.

Using accurate lyrics like “Blue shell is coming, so I’ll go ahead, if you hang behind it will hit me instead” as symbolism for love isn’t just funny and spot-on… it’s accurate. This guy deserves all 5 million views he’s gotten, and the eleventy billion theoretical dollars that’s worth.

6 | Tesla coils

Do the guys from Insane Clown Posse know how Tesla coils work? Because I’m pretty sure I still don’t. Although maybe my understanding is clouded by David Bowie’s performance as Tesla in The Prestige where he created a device that let Hugh Jackman clone himself. At least I think that’s what happened.

7 | Super Cocoa Brovaz

A few rap songs have sampled Mario but this one does it best. It turns out the Cocoa Brovaz guys sampled it illegally, so this track was completely underground. Underground, eh? I guess that explains the primary use of the World 1-2 music instead of World 1-1.

(That’s a nerdy conclusion to draw, even for me.)

8 | RC car and bottles

What were people like this doing before YouTube? Were they still spending days setting up stuff like this?

9 | Call me?

While the other 10 on this list were “good”… this definitely ventures more into “weird.” What blows my mind is how much effort went into this. It must’ve taken the post-production guys 100 hours to put this together. I’m not sold on the lead singer — she (and the director) *really* think she’s more of a purring sex kitten than she actually is — but I’d definitely hire the editor.

10 | A beautiful version of the Super Mario Land music

I always thought Super Mario Land for the old, old, old school Game Boy had great music. The way these guys play it, the music sounds downright elegant. Well… elegant may be a stretch. But throw some lyrics about how great it is to have a loving family and this totally could’ve been the theme song to an ’80s sitcom.

11 | Hand farts

Naturally, the oldest performer on the list is the one playing the Mario theme using hand farts.