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Scary Songs that Scare Me
Music can evoke a range of emotions. While typically we associate music with happy feelings, some songs make us sad. Music can also be used to get people thinking about social issues.
Certain songs have a jarring, disturbing effect. Either the lyrics, the melody, or both, put us on edge, instilling some level of fear. In this hub I share a few examples of songs that have this effect on me.
I welcome you to add your favorite scary songs, too.
Armageddon Meets Global Warming in 1969
"In the Year 2525" is the one-hit product of obscure duo Zager and Evans. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 list for six weeks, commencing July 12, 1969 and also reached number one in the UK the following month.
I'm not sure which affected me more, the ominous lyrics about the ultimate destruction of man and the earth, or the music that builds and builds with no chorus to break it up.
Here's a brief sample of the lyrics: "In the year 2525, If man is still alive, If woman can survive, They may find..." Worsening predictions follow for years 3535, 4545, etc. to "In the year 9595, I'm kinda wonderin' if Man is gonna be alive. He's taken everything this old Earth can give, and he ain't put back nothing ..."
Jim Morrison sings about "The End"
Jim Morrison wrote "The End" about breaking up with a long time girlfriend. It evolved through months of performances at Los Angeles' Whiskey-a-Go-Go into a nearly 12-minute opus. The band used to perform the song to close their last set. It was first released in January 1967. Gotta wonder if Morrison might somehow of known his own end would be coming only four years later, in 1971...
"The End" was ranked at #328 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (2004).
They said "Rapper" but I heard "Raper"
When this song came out I was an impressionable (and naïve) young lass. I had no experience with boys yet. I honestly did not know what they meant by "you know what he's after" but it sure put me on my guard!
From the Jaggerz web site I learned the story behind this 1970 hit. The band hailed from Beaver Falls, PA. In March of 1970 the band received a gold record for having the number one song in the country. Five years after the band formed, it was hard to escape "The Rapper" with its infectious, perky rhythms and smooth, almost bluesy vocal harmonics. With sales exceeding 5 million copies, "The Rapper" found itself being blasted all over the country.
"Eli's Coming" 3 Dog Night
Another song from 1969. In my boy-crazy/boy-terrified little brain I think Eli might have been the Rapper. I couldn't understand all the words, but knew that Eli was someone to run -- not walk away from.
Walk but you'll never get away No, you'll never get away from the burnin' a-heartache I walked to Apollo by the bay Everywhere I go though, Eli's a-comin' (she walked but she never got away) Eli's a-comin' (she walked but she never got away) Eli's a-comin' and he's comin' to git ya (she walked but... she walked but...) Get down on your knees (she walked but she never got away)
Black Sabbath's Black Sabbath
When I got turned onto this song and album in the mid '70s I knew nothing about Ozzy's on-stage antics involving live bats. I didn't even know there was an Ozzy Osbourne. I randomly picked this album off the shelf in radio station WZLY. Alone in the studio, I freaked myself out so thoroughly I just had to play Black Sabbath every week on my show!
Inside the creepy album jacket is the even creepier song Black Sabbath. Here are the lyrics:
What is this that stands before me? Figure in black which points at me Turn around quick, and start to run Find out I'm the chosen one - Oh no! Big black shape with eyes of fire Telling people their desire Satan's sitting there, he's smiling Watch those flames get higher and higher Oh no, no, please God help me!
Child cries out for his mother Mother's screaming in the fire Satan points at me again Opens the door to push me in Oh No! This is the end my friend Satan's coming 'round the bend people running 'cause they're scared You people better go and beware! No! No! Please! No!
Sounds from Silence of the Lambs
Goodbye Horses" is a song written and performed by William Garvey and sung by Q Lazzarus in 1988. We all know it as the "Buffalo Bill dancing in drag" song from "Silence of the Lambs."
I had never heard of this song and had to look up its name. Apparently it is also on the soundtrack to "Married to the Mob."
The song sounds harmless enough out of context, but man oh man! When you hear it playing in the background as Jamie Gumm applies make-up and dances in front of a video camera it takes on a most sinister tone.
I must admit I have never felt quite the same about "American Girl" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers after this movie, either. I refuse to sing it alone in my car...