Halloween Songs from the Classics to the Lyrical in Setting the Mood
It’s getting to be that time of year when you’re preparing for a costume or haunted house party for children and adults alike this Halloween season. Of course you need all the trimmings that go along with Halloween such as pumpkins for carving out jack-o-lanterns, having an assortment of candies for the guests, buying apples to make red candied apples, and brewing apple cider for refreshments. A party at Halloween needs one key element to get everyone in the right mood, and that is Halloween music.
Here for you are ten Halloween songs played most frequently during this lively season whether on the radio or at stores you may frequent. Some of them are very lyrical and nonsensical, while others are truly classics, but can be scary at times. I should warn you about that. With that said and done, here are the songs that seem to be on many people’s top ten list of songs for Halloween.
10.) Purple People Eaters – Sheb Wooley: A novelty song from 1958 that has stood the test of time for over fifty years now. It actually reached #1 on the Billboard charts and is a favorite every Halloween. The song was inspired by the child of a friend of the singer/songwriter, Sheb Wooley. It’s about how a strange monster, described as a “one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater”, descends to earth because it wants to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band. The music video is definitely dated, but certainly not this classic Halloween song.
9.) Frankenstein – Edgar Winter Group: Another #1 song that is actually a rock instrumental. Oddly enough, the title of the song refers to the numerous edits, splicing, and piecing together of the recording. It went through a lot of detail much like the creation of the monster “Frankenstein”, which was coined by the band’s drummer. However, Edgar Winter referred frequently to the appropriateness of the song title because of its “monster-like, lumbering beat”. In my opinion, the very opening of the song makes it sound like Frankenstein is making a grand entrance.
8.) People Are Strange – The Doors: Not exactly one of their biggest or best known hit songs, but lyrically it’s a perfect song for Halloween. The Doors are known to be kind of “out there” musically, so I felt it was a perfect choice for its macabre feel in the song.
7.) Spooky – Classics IV: The song is basically about a girl who literally plays hard to get while being mysterious, yet intriguing to the suitor, hence the word “spooky”. The chorus in the song repeats “spooky” quite frequently, so it is an appropriate song for Halloween. Also, the song is sultry, and actually a little spooky.
6.) Running with the Devil – Van Halen: With a song title like that, David Lee Roth’s screams and wails, plus Eddie Van Halen’s brilliant guitar playing, you have yourself a true hard rock Halloween song on hand.
5.) Black Magic Woman – Santana: Excellent lyrics about a gypsy putting a spell on someone is truly perfect for Halloween. A complete contrast in tempo from the Van Halen song mentioned earlier. This is a slow, but sexy song that is easy to listen to.
4.) Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival: The song is another perfect match to be played at Halloween, because it was featured in the 80’s film “An American Werewolf in London”. This song lyrically will definitely get you in the Halloween spirit.
3.) I Put a Spell On You – Screaming Jay Hawkins (Live version): You must watch the “live” version of this on Youtube, where I have featured the link elsewhere in this article. Yes, it is a hand you see on his piano. The singer comes out with a cape, a staff with a skull, and some kind of bone pierced through his nose. When he sings the song it is in his fine bass operatic voice, and then he goes into screaming out the lyrics. You have to see it to believe his mad genius. Once again, the lyrics and his unique style of singing are ideal for Halloween music.
2.) Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Pickett: An absolutely brilliant song for Halloween if ever there was one. This novelty song from 1962 was originally released in October of that year right before Halloween, where it reached #1. Since then it has become a perennial holiday favorite. The song is narrated by the singer. It is the tale of a mad scientist whose monster, late one evening, rises from a slab to perform a new dance, the “Monster Mash”. The dance becomes “the hit of the land” when the scientist throws a party for the other monsters. It use of sound effects are extremely effective in making you feel like you’re in a haunted house.
1.) Thriller – Michael Jackson: This is without question the greatest music video from the greatest pop album of all time, by the late Michael Jackson. “Thriller” finishes out at the top of this list of the top 10 Halloween songs. The song captures the essence of Halloween in every way possible. The music video is stellar at any time to watch, but is more complete to have it on at Halloween. My favorite scene of all in the music video is when Jackson is dancing with all those ghouls. I never grow tired watching it. Hearing Vincent Price’s laugh at the end of the song is unforgettable.
If these songs haven’t scared you off you can order them from www.amazon.com or downloaded the songs at either www.amazon.com or www.iTunes.com. There’s no denying they are the right Halloween songs to set you in the party mood for this autumn holiday. Trick or Treat