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10 Best Halloween Songs
When it comes to holiday songs, Christmas gets most of the attention. Sure, Adam Sandler has been able to create the Chanukah Song and the Thanksgiving Song, but it can’t come close to the plethora of songs revolving around Christmas. Countless artist have recorded their own albums of classic Christmas songs. When Boyz to Men and Bing Crosby are both on the Best 25 Christmas Albums, you know the audience is wide and diverse. However, Halloween has its own selection of classic songs that people love to wipe the cobwebs off and break out once a year. The following are my top 10 greatest Halloween Songs.
10. A Nightmare On My Street
Album: A Nightmare On My Street (Single)
Artist: D.J. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince
This song narrowly beat out Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon for the last spot on the 10 greatest Halloween songs. It deserves to be on the list because it reminds us that one of the biggest and most powerful men in Hollywood started out as The Fresh Prince. Thank you Will Smith for showing us what dedication and drive can help us accomplish. Plus, he calls one of the most sadistic monsters in modern culture...Fred.
The song was able to reach the number 15 spot in the U.S. charts and almost made it into A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master, but was stopped by the producers. It still made it into Halloween history, despite having to have the disclaimer, “A Nightmare on My Street is not part of the soundtrack...and is not authorized, licensed, or affiliated with the Nightmare on Elm Street films." on its cover.
9. I Put A Spell On You
Album: At Home With Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Artist: Jay Hawkins
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins version of the song never made any of the charts during its initial release, but it did make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll and Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. It has been covered by many artist; some who have topped the charts with it. The Jeff Beck and Joss Stones version was nominated for a Grammy. Not bad for a song that had originally been banned from some record stores and radio stations.
Jay Hawkins was a typical blues musician and planned on recording the song as a blues ballad love song. However, according to Hawkins, the producer got them all drunk before recording and by the time they finished this freaky version ended up being their final product. Jay doesn’t remember making the song, but he embraced its popularity by throwing himself completely into the gimmick of it all. The performance slowly evolved from wearing a long cape while rising out of a coffin surrounded by smoke and fog, to adding tusks on his nose, snakes, fireworks and a cigarette smoking skull. It would be one of the first Shock Rock performances and inspired future artist like Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Marilyn Manson and many more.
8. Sweet Transvestite
Album: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Artist: Tim Curry
Dr. Frank-N-Furter was first played by Tim Curry on stage in the 1973 British stage musical The Rocky Horror Show. Curry would make his film debut, when he brought his character to the big screen. His performance would launch his acting career and make him a star. Dr. Frank-N-Furter sings the song to introduce himself to Brad and Janet (and the audience). The song brags about where he’s from, what he is, what he does, and why he does it. This is one of the most famous songs in the show and contains the famous line “I’m just a sweet transvestite from Transexual, Transylvania”.
7. Looking For Dracula
Album: 10 Carrot Diamond
Artist: Charlotte Diamond
That’s right, I am putting a children’s song between two Rocky Horror Picture Show music selections. That is how diverse this list is. Looking for Dracula is a fun little song that lets you be silly and enjoy music with child like excitement. This song was part of Charlotte Diamond’s award winning “10 Carrot Diamond” album. It should come as no surprise that somebody who produced such great works as 4 Hugs A Day, I Am A Pizza and Octopus would write a classic Halloween song. To think these amazing songs came from somebody who studied French and Zoology at the University of British Columbia.
6. Time Warp
Movie: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
This song set out to be a parody of the dance theme genre and ended up being one of its most popular entries. The song’s verses are sung by alternating characters and the chorus by the Transylvanians. The lyrics themselves are mostly dedicated to giving directions to the dance moves. When the Rocky Horror Picture Show became a cult phenomenon with midnight showings known for its audience participation, this song became the biggest number in that audience involvement. The Time Warp has moved beyond its cult film and into everyday society. It has not only become a Halloween classic, but managed to work its way into weddings and dance parties. That’s right, the Time Warp is played alongside the Chicken Dance and YMCA.
5. This Is Halloween
Album: Nightmare Revisited
Artist: Marilyn Manson
The Walt Disney company had Marilyn Manson do a cover version of their classic Halloween song over a decade after its original release. Marilyn Manson was able to twist the song into a creepy version appropriate for the holiday and his style of rock, but still keep its roots. It speaks highly of an artist, whose music and persona is the exact opposite of the company that hires them to work on a creative endeavor. Disney is known for princesses, talking animals and family entertainment. Marilyn Manson created his stage name by combining the names of a female sex symbol and serial killer. His music is associated with anti-religious sentiment, references to sex, violence and drugs. The band receives a lot of publicity from their outlandish, obscene and shocking behavior.
4. This Is Halloween
Movie: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Artist: Danny Elfman
This is not a mistake. While Marilyn Manson did an amazing cover of the song, the original version of “This Is Halloween” composed by Danny Elfman and performed by the residents of Halloween Town is still the version in most people’s hearts and minds. Although it was not nominated for an Oscar, it did win Elfman the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films prestigious Saturn Award for best music.
Artist: Ray Parker Jr.
Who ya gonna call? This phrase has echoed through the decades and is just as popular today as it was back in 1984. The hit theme song to Ghostbusters was able to secure the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 and the number two spot on the UK Singles Chart’s for three straight weeks. It was even nominated for an Academy Award. Not a bad accomplishment for Ray Parker, who only had a few days to create a theme song for the movie. Luckily for Parker, he saw a cheap commercial late one night and was inspired to write his own pseudo-advertising jingle in the nick of time.
2. Monster Mash
Album: The Original Monster Mash
Artist: Bobby (Boris) Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers
This novelty song may have been released in August, but it has become the holiday anthem for Halloween. As luck would have it, October is when Monster Mash hit number one on the Billboards Hot 100. A song about a mad scientist who’s monster creates a brand new dance that all the monsters want to dance to is perfect for a night when people dress up like monsters. Any song that gets both adults and children to sing along and dance deserves to be high on this list.
Artist: Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson’s Thriller easily secures the number one position as the greatest Halloween song ever. The song quickly climbed the charts on its release and became one of Jackson’s most successful songs in a large library of hits. It is the music video that makes Thriller a timeless masterpiece. At 14 minutes, this music video was significantly longer than the song itself and was more like a short film. The 1950s horror film setting is a timeless backdrop and the zombie dance sequence is continually memorized with each passing generation. Not only did MTV list this as one of the 100 Greatest Videos Ever Make, but it was the first music video the Library of Congress has ever put in in the National Film Registry. To think it cost a mere $500,000 dollars to make. Wait...that is a lot of money!
*These are my top 10 Halloween Songs, but there are lot of other great songs out there. Feel free to give a shout out to your favorite Halloween songs below.