Halloween is here. Aside from finding a costume, buying candy, and lining up some scary movies, there’s a dilemma every year. Where to find Halloween music that isn’t cheesy?
If you’re like me and totally sick of hearing “GhostBusters!”, well, who ya gonna call? Sorry. Never mind. You don’t have to call anybody. Just keep reading! I’ve done all the work for you, and lined up some spooky tunes. There’s something to fit almost every bill.
For a good lineup there should be songs of all different paces and moods. To make it even more convenient, I’ll even mention in parentheses which version I thought was best. I’m a proprietary girl—if a group of G-Men come to my door they’d better be in Halloween costumes. All my downloads are legal and these songs can all be found on iTunes. If you desire a broader list, I recommend checking out the album each song is part of. This works especially well for the instrumentals—e.g., Vampyre: Symphonies from the Crypt is wonderfully atmospheric. So are Mannheim Steamroller’s Halloween and Halloween 2.
I pared the crème de la crème of the terrifying tunes down to a final list. Some are standards. Surely everyone’s gone to Trader Vic’s with a “Witchy Woman” to see the “Werewolves of London.” If you haven’t, well, those are two songs that are in most Halloween party lists. The classic versions of those both work well. That’s the Eagles, and Warren Zevon, respectively.
But I promised songs you haven’t heard 1,000 times before. So how about feeling some “Fear” by James, while going to the “Graveyard” (Chad VanGaalen) along “Desolation Row” (My Chemical Romance), where “Pirate Jenny” (Nina Simone) is looking a bit “Coma White” (Marilyn Manson) as she runs into the nearby”Haunted House” (SPF1000, or Leon Redbone). Or maybe she’s just a “Whiter Shade of Pale” (Procol Harum). “Spooky” (Atlanta Rhythm Section)!
You might just hear Commander Cody doing the “Boogie Man Boogie,” if you keep going a bit, or Bobby (Boris) Pickett doing the”Monster Mash.” As you hum the Dark Shadows Theme Song (Mannheim Steamroller), Pickett might tell you to “Feed My Frankenstein” (Alice Cooper), along with his “Purple People Eater”(Kidz Bop Kids) and his various other “Scary Monsters” (David Bowie.) If you don’t feel like being Pickett’s flunkie, ask the “Witch Doctor” to do it (Sha Na Na.) Maybe if you sing to him. He likes “I Put A Spell On You“ by Bryan Ferry.
Are you getting sick of wordplay? “Welcome to My Nightmare” (Alice Cooper). Then again maybe double entendres send you into a state of “Rapture” (Alicia Keys). As you wind on past the “Graveyard” (Loudon Wainwright) and past the “Blackcat” (Ziggy Marley), “Don’t Fear the Reaper” (Blue Oyster Cult) or the “Vampyre” (Midnight Syndicate). Just sing along. Then again if you see the “Witch Queen of New Orleans” (Redbone, Tom Jones) and she’s “Doin’ the Zombie” (Chubby Checker) you might wish you were home safe with a stack of DVDs, watching “Spooky Movies” (Gary Paxton). After all she might be “Haunted” (Evanescence).
But what’s that overhead? Is it the “Ride of the Valkyries” (Budapest Symphony Orchestra)—or worse, Ghost Riders in the Sky“ (Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash)? You can tell by their “Ghost Voices”—just tell them to “Go To The Light” (both by Mannheim Steamroller). Pay heed to the “Listening Wind” (Talking Heads)—after all, “This Is Halloween” (Marilyn Manson), also known as the “Season of the Witch” (Donovan). So run!
Take the “Night Train” (Rickie Lee Jones) with “Rhiannon,” the”Sorcerer,” and “Beauty and the Beast” (all great Halloween slow songs by Stevie Nicks) with that “Space Oddity,” the “Starman” (both David Bowie). If they act a bit weird, just remember, “People Are Strange” (The Doors). Rhiannon does have this reputation for asking if she can “Cry, Little Sister” (I like Blutengel’s version best.) As you board, bypass the “Zombie” (The Cranberries) and ignore the “White Rabbit” (Patti Smith) whizzing by; he’s always running late. Out the window, watch the “Cat People” (David Bowie) prowl, stirring up “Fear” (Sarah MacLachlan, Hybrid mix.) Be brave. Let the others “Scream Like A Baby” or you may just sound like “Aladdin Sane” (Bowie again).
But most of all, have fun! After all, it’s not every day you can say “I’m Your Boogieman” (KC & The Sunshine Band) or ”I’m Your Witchdoctor” (John Mayall) and mean it. Any other day, “Creepy Crawling” (Chumbawumba) is just, well, sad and creepy. Act like the “Devil in Disguise” (Elvis Presley) any other day and you might end up on a 5150. After all, “Out Come The Freaks” (Was Not Was) just once a year. So get out there and enjoy it, you “Wild Thing” (The Troggs)! Whip up some terrifying treats in your ”Soul Kitchen” (Patti Smith), put these tunes on and rock! With songs like these, your “Night of Fear” (Carl Wayne) should be quite a “Thriller” (Michael Jackson).