October 14, 2015

Ringtones are long overdue for a resurgence – a Great Ringtone Renaissance, if you will. For over a century the custom ringtone was a luxury that eluded us. We were instead shackled to the shrill, bland chimes of the telephone. It is in the spirit of that victory – brought to us by the mobile era, that we formally commend the following top ten ringtones of all time:

#10) I Feel Good (James Brown)

That scream hits hard at the beginning and the rest is history. James Brown’s “I Feel Good” ringtone is a timeless favorite.

#9) Knight Rider Theme Music

Three sounds, that’s all it takes to create one of the greatest ring tones of all time. The quick-tempo staccato, the slow bump of the base, and that synthetic, moog-fueled wind gust that ties it all together. If you’re familiar with the Knight Rider theme music, then you can surely understand why it’s such a popular ringtone and thoroughly worthy of this list.

#8) The Pink Panther Theme

An iconic, snazzy, some might say classy, little diddy that’s graced many mobile phones over the years.

#7) The Original iPhone Ringtone

You know what we’re talking about—that xylophonic, white-noise cacophony that made everyone over 25 shrug their shoulders and say: “That one’s good enough for me. Besides, who has time to worry about ring tones? There’s too many other cool things to do on this phone.” Is the iPhone tone truly one of the best ring tones ever? Hard to say. But it’s certainly one of the most impactful and most prolific. 

#6) Lights (Ellie Goulding)

For a good while, back in 2010, the chorus of “Lights” by British pop artist, Ellie Goulding, was a mobile mainstay.

#5) The Power Rangers Wrist Communicator Ring

If you don’t quite recall, or would rather not recall, the wrist communicators worn by the Power Rangers, here’s a quick refresher. Whenever there was danger afoot, a simple midi-like chime—set to the “Go Go Power Rangers” opening theme—would go off on the wrist watch of the nearest Power Ranger. The simplicity and nostalgic potency of this ringtone has allowed it to remain a favorite, spanning several generations of mobile technology.

#4) Party All The Time

The 1985 Eddie Murphy billboard favorite may be emblematic of the vacuity and decadence of the 80s, but what more could we want in a ringtone other than vacuity and decadence?

#3) Hello Moto

Perhaps the hay day of the hello moto ringtone has come and gone, but our “all-time,” “most popular” list is a home for both contemporary favorites and bygone classics.

#2) The Imperial March (Darth Vader Theme)

This is the immensely popular ringtone that lets everyone in the surrounding vicinity know that you’re someone not to be messed with and definitely not a nerd.

#1) The Nokia Tune

There’s something about that succession of broken chords, gently lowering into a still plateau. The famous Nokia Tune is a versatile ring tone. It relaxes the nerves some before we’re forced to take a difficult call. It complements our giddiness when we get that highly anticipated callback. And it’s certainly not the most annoying ringtone one could ever overhear in a public place. A good all-around winner.