My Favorite Halloween
Yes, I like plenty of the "greatest hits" of Halloween even more
than many of the songs covered below, but these are some of the quirky
tracks that I always put on my playlist
and expect to for quite some time to come.
Gene Vincent - Race with the Devil (1956).
is only one of dozens of rockabilly songs with a Halloween
theme. There are plenty more novelty songs from this era that
might better suit a Halloween playlist, but thanks to the guitar
playing of Cliff Gallup and Gene's breathless singing throughout, this
is by far the best of the lot, musically speaking.
'Boris' Pickett & The Crypt Kickers - Monster Mash (1962).
is almost the "Jingle Bells" of Halloween. It's probably the
most ubiquitous song on a survey of any dozen compilation discs, but
what I like about it is the fact that it's all about character: The
song is sung in character and features the classic Universal
Monsters. It's the closest thing to a song in a costume.
Dooby Doo Where Are You? Theme (1969). It's funny that a
show that invariably (unless you count later episodes) debunks the
supernatural is the best song about Halloween. Then again, most
rational people view Halloween as a holiday that celebrates how we've
overcome superstition through science. Granted, the lyrics don't
fully touch on all that (it's a kids' show, after all), but it's an
anthem for rationality over fear... all wrapped up in a catchy melody.
Horror - Science Fiction Double Feature (1975). It's like
the Cliffs Notes for sci-fi and horror movies through cinema's golden
years as well as a beautiful song. In fact, Patricia Quinn only
took the role of Magenta because she got to sing this in the original
stage production of the show.
Cramps - I Was A Teenage Werewolf (1980). This was one of
the songs that kicked off psychobilly, and it totally rocked.
Great fun with lyrics showing singer Lux's awesome sense of humor with
great guitar playing to boot.
Duran - Hungry Like the Wolf (1982). It's the most oblique
song about a werewolf, but I love it. If you grew up in the '80s,
odds are you do too.
Patrick - Whatever Happened To Eddie? (1964/1983). The
former child actor who played Eddie Munster does a song about Eddie
Munster to the theme song from The
Munsters. It's too silly not
- Anything Can Happen On Halloween (1986). Possibly the
worst song on this list by any measure, and that's why I can't stop
listening to it. It's from the cheese film The Worst Witch with
the worst special effects ever. It's sad that Tim Curry is more
embarrassed about Rocky Horror
- Kiss Me Deadly (1990). She probably destroyed the ozone
layer with the spray it took to craft her image, but at least we got
metal-turned-pop songs like this one out of the era.
Before Christmas - This is Halloween (1993). This is our
new "Monster Mash." Like that song before it, this one gets at
various elements of Halloween. It's the rare song that
successfully defines what Halloween is about.
Spears - Toxic (2004). This was never conceived as a
Halloween song, but I (over-)extend the meaning to fall under the
"poison/murder" category with other songs like "Kiss Me Deadly"
(whatever that means). I do this one as a metal song at my
favorite karaoke bar.
DJ Bobo -
Vampires Are Alive (2007). Possibly the cheesiest song on
this list, the one with the most obvious lyrics, and yet I love
it! Even if you hate it, you have to at least admit that it's
well-produced and has a polished sound. The disparity between
that and the English-second-language lyrics make it that much more
Lady Gaga - Monster. Silly,
over-the-top lyrics again, but I love me some Gaga. This was off
her Fame Monster cd, which I
absolutely loved (and not just because it
had "Monster" in the title).
Coverage - Poison. This genre-jumping cover of the Alice
Cooper song is just awesome. Not that the original was really all
that metal, but this takes the original and goes in a completely
Ray Parker Jr. - Get The Party Started vs. Ghostbusters (DMC Mash-Up).
love mash-ups in general, and this is all the more interesting
because it blends two party songs to make for the best Halloween party
Lynch - Stayin' Alive. Another quirky cover. It's a
stretch to call this a Halloween song, but this is so weird that it's
Dr. Demento territory, and that's almost Halloween by association.
Mode - Waiting for the Night (Sonic Integration mix). The
original was wonderfully creepy like a fog rolling through a dream, but
then this remix adds more of a beat to it.
of the Opera (Baltimora techno dance mix). The title track
from the musical is instantly recognizable, but this moves it from
campy showtune to something modern and accessible (albeit still campy
in its own way).
Dodson - Bed Intruder Full Song (2010). Not really a
Halloween song, but it deserves a spot on everyone's playlist. I
know this is a novelty song that expired after its 15 minutes of
YouTube fame were up, but it will have nostalgia to prop it back up in
a few years.
- The Munsters Theme. This theme song has been covered
numerous times, but this version found the best sound and brought the
best sensibilities to the piece since the original.
Vega - Blood Makes Noise. A largely forgotten single, it
can be viewed as a weird, round-about retelling of Poe's "Tell-tale
Marilyn Manson - I Put a Spell on You.
is one of my favorite covers of all time. They take this
song in completely new directions and make it crazier than Screamin'
Jay Hawkins did to it the first time around. Quite a feat!
Halloween. It's the theme song for the season that
captures the dark side of the holiday. Lyrics like the one about
"Candy apples and razor
blades" just sums it up. And then you don't get tired of singing
the chorus, even though it's just the one wonderful word over and over.
Zombie - I'm Your Boogie Man. Here's another cover song
(this time by KC & The Sunshine Band), but what I like is how the
tone changes the meaning to something completely different.
- Every Day Is Halloween. It sure sounds like it could be
my theme song, but the lyrics tell a different story, one about someone
goth (which totally is not me). Still, I like it because it's a
blend of synthpop edging toward what would later be called
industrial. That's a great blend for this kind of song.
Sister - Burn In Hell. They were my favorite band in sixth
grade, not least of which because they and this song made an appearance
in Pee Wee's Big Adventure.
did this song once at karaoke, and it was awesome.
Cooper - Poison. His earlier hits are far more famous, but
I love this early '90s track. Great guitar parts, slow build
toward a catchy chorus. This is what metal should be.
- Of Wolf and Man. Another supernatural-themed song by
Metallica? Yes, but how many werewolf songs do you hear with this
kind of intensity? This is to werewolf songs what the
transformation scene in "The Howling" did for werewolf movies.
Nails & David Bowie - Scary Monsters. The original
song has the appropriate amount of dissonance to make the track work,
but the production made it all sound a bit thin. Having Trent's
band backing the original artist was a very welcome update to this song.
of Mercy - Lucretia My Reflection. They hate (HATE!) being
called goth rockers, but they can't run from the effect this track (and
bassist Patricia Morrison's look) had on their fans. Most awesome