Top Ten Thursdays: Top Ten Halloween Songs (Sort Of)
The season for spooking is here, and to help awaken your inner ghoul who's been lying dormant, here is a list of ten songs to celebrate the holiday. Some are obvious, some have loose, vague, or quirky affiliations with Halloween themes (you'll be hard-pressed to find some of these on other Halloween top ten lists), and others are just local horrorific awesomeness. This is by no means an end-all Halloween list. In fact, such a list would probably be about 70 percent Misfits. So if you're thinking of hosting your own zombie zoo or rockin' to some tunes on your way to Moonfest, Propaganda, or the Bubble this Saturday, here is something to get you in the spirit.
Hit the jump for the list.
In no particular order:
1. Michael Jackson's "Thriller"
Amid all the Michael Jackson parties celebrating his life and work lately, Halloween is one holiday through which his memory will always live on. Thriller, with that Vincent Price laugh, rad costuming, and epic choreography, was released in 1983 and was, at the time, the most expensive music video ever made at $500,000. It recently helped improve behavior among inmates in a Philippine jail after their fitness routine incorporated the moves. Plus, you'll be a hit at any get-together if you know some of the moves, whether it's Halloween or not. See full video here.
2. The Misfits' "Halloween"
There's no band that embodies Halloween more than the Misfits. "Ghoul's Night Out," "Horror Business," "Last Caress," "Die Die My Darling," "Skulls," "Night of the Living Dead," the list goes on and on. But because they have a song called Halloween, it seemed fitting for this list. Side note: They actually have another song titled Halloween II. Check it out here.
To hear the song go here. For a performance from the '80s see video:
3. Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You"
Considered one of the first shock rockers due to his use of eerie props and theatrics, he was probably one of the best stage performers of his day. He was very influential on artists like Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, and The Horrors, to name just a few. So in many ways, modern music may not have been as dark without him.
4. Bobby "Boris" Pickett's "Monster Mash"
Released in 1962, "Monster Mash" was the Halloween song of its time, reaching number one on the Billboard charts. It resurged a decade later, reaching number 10. The Beach Boys, Misfits, Smashing Pumpkins, and countless others have covered it.
5. Ween "Voodoo Lady"
Henry Rollins once said, "You will get down on your filthy knees and crawl to the altar that is Ween." If that's not enough to intrigue you, the anarchic rock of this quintet draws from all over the music universe. Think Queen, Prince, Motorhead, Butthole Surfers, The Beatles, and even Jimmy Buffet. Often parodic and satirical, and sometimes edging on the distasteful, Ween is one of the only bands that feels just at home on Beavis and Butthead as it does creating tunes for SpongeBob. "Voodoo Lady," fun, wild, hilarious, and about a black-magic woman from the bayou, is one of their concert staples. But I've never seen it on a Halloween list:
6. Murderous Rampage "Programmed to Kill"
Remember the good ol' days when the Poor House in downtown Fort Lauderdale was scary? Remember the back bar in all its macabre glory? Well that bartender, Tommy Newman, seems to have channeled all of it into his band. Pushed on by fist-pumping choruses, gutteral vocals, dirty metal riffs, special effects, and the never-satisfied thirst of the undead, "Programmed to Kill" by local group Murderous Rampage is as brutal and artful as you can get on no budget. Fun fact: The make-up in the video took over 3 hours. (Though they must have saved time on costuming, the zombie women don't have much of a wardrobe!)
7. Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer"
A song from the new wave group's 1977 album, Talking Heads: 77, "Psycho Killer" fits the holiday theme. They look totally harmless, but run run run (or dance dance dance) away.
8. The Cure's "Lullaby"
Gloom and doom are make what the Cure so lovable. In this sweet number of melodic melancholy, Robert Smith sings of a spiderman that's having him for dinner tonight. It's weirdly romantic for this dark holiday.
9. Zombies! Organize!! "Sycophantic Drudgery"
Politico rappers of the undead Zombies! Organize sing about politicians, the democratic process, and eating stupid people (which are often politicians). Thus they keep the holiday cheer... err, fear... going all year round. Check them out Saturday at Propaganda for "Nightmare on J Street" where they're scheduled to perform with other South Florida staples such as Timb and the Freakin' Hott.
10. Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead"
Leave it to lords of the underworld Bauhaus to kill Dracula with song. "Bela Lugosi's Dead" was the band's first single and is on the album of the same name. The original song clocks in at over nine minutes and was used as the intro for the SNL skit "Goth Talk." One YouTube user described the following video best by asking, "Is anyone else sexually aroused by the passionate love that Mr. Murphy makes to the stage light?"
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