Playlist: Halloween

Number 1: “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

Another song which needs no introduction, “Thriller” is the title track from the all-time classic Michael Jackson album which exploded like a pop-culture bombshell when released at the end of 1982. It went on to become the top-selling album in the U.S. in both 1983 and 1984, the only album ever to achieve such a feat. A winner of a record eight Grammys in 1984, it remains far and away the best-selling album of all time with estimated sales somewhere between 65 and 110 million copies. “Thriller” was the seventh and final song from the album to be released as a single. All seven made it to the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. For me, the song’s status as a Halloween fixture is sealed by the closing voice-over from horror icon Vincent Price, whose lack of avarice (and perhaps foresight) led him to choose a one-time payment of $20,000 over a percentage of the album sales, which would have amounted to millions.

The classic song, presented Halloween light show style:

buy the mp3 for 1.29 from Amazon: Thriller

The original music video, released in December 1983, set numerous records of its own and has been voted the most influential pop music video of all time. It was the first, and so far only, music video to be included in the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films”.

And so this wraps up my 2012 “Tunes from the Crypt” playlist. I hope you have all enjoyed my collection of spooky, kooky, and altogether ooky tunes.

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Number 2: “Halloween” by Aqua

Though the title of “Most successful Danish band ever” may seem to be a questionable achievement, there is no arguing that few music fans in the world have not at one time or another been entertained by (some would say subjected to) Aqua’s most famous song, “Barbie Girl”. After selling 33 million albums and singles, their popularity cannot be dismissed. Personally, I consider 1997’s “Aquarium” and 2000’s “Aquarius” two of my favorite albums. “Halloween” is a song from the latter. The pounding beat, driving tempo, and creepy story make it a Halloween pleasure. For those who still prefer to look down on this style of music, I will offer the same advice given by the judge who dismissed Barbie maker Mattel’s lawsuit against the band: “The parties are advised to chill.”

buy the mp3 for .99 from Amazon: Halloween

Number 3: “Monster Mash” by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett

What needs to be said about this song, the quintessential Halloween classic? “Monster Mash” was released as a single in August 1962 and made it to number one by October 20, just in time for Halloween that year. In England, the BBC actually banned the song from being played on the air as it was deemed “too morbid”. A U.K. re-release went to number 3 in October 1973. A movie musical starring Bobby Pickett himself as Dr. Frankenstein was released in 1995. Bobby Pickett died of leukemia in 2007 at the age of 69.

See my autographed copy of the “Monster Mash” sheet music here

buy the mp3 for .99 from Amazon: Monster Mash

Number 4: “Sympathy For The Devil” by the Rolling Stones

“Sympathy For The Devil” is the first track on the Rolling Stones’ 1968 album “Beggars Banquet”. In their list of the 500 greatest rock songs of all time, Rolling Stone magazine places it at number 32. Despite being a chronicle of the evil perpetrated by human beings throughout the centuries, the song caused an uproar among many uptight members of the public who saw it as evidence the band was a group of evil devil-worshippers. Mick Jagger points to this as the beginning of a prejudice which still has heavy metal bands today assumed to be associated with Satan and devil worship.

buy the mp3 for .99 from Amazon: Sympathy For The Devil

Number 5: “Mr. Crowley” by Ozzy Osbourne

buy the mp3 for .99 from Amazon: Mr. Crowley

Included on Ozzy Osbourne’s first solo album after parting ways with Black Sabbath, 1980’s “Blizzard of Ozz”, “Mr. Crowley” is a paean to the British occultist, mysticist, alchemist, mountaineer, and poet Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). Crowley’s accomplishments in the world of occult mysticism are almost too many to recount, but include numerous writings and studies into magical subjects as well as the founding of Thelema, his own mystical religious philosophy. At a 1934 trial in which he was suing a woman who called him a “black magician” in print, the judge characterized Crowley’s own writings as “dreadful, horrible, blasphemous and abominable stuff”. Nevertheless, Crowley has had a pervasive influence on elements of popular culture long since his death. Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page found the man so fascinating that he went so far as to purchase several of Crowley’s possessions, including Boleskine House, which served as Crowley’s home and estate from 1899-1913. One of Crowley’s later acquaintances, Gerald Gardner, went on to found the Wicca religion.
Read more: Aleister Crowley on Wikipedia

Aleister Crowley in ceremonial garb



Number 6: “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult

“(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” is from the 1976 album “Agents of Fortune”. It reached number 12 in November of that year to rank as Blue Öyster Cult’s most successful single and has been included on the soundtracks of numerous motion pictures (many of them horror films).

buy the mp3 for 1.29 from Amazon: (Don’t Fear) The Reaper

Number 7: “Season of the Witch” by Donovan

“Season of the Witch” is a song from Donovan’s September 1966 album “Sunshine Superman”, often cited as one of the first examples of psychedelic music. The title track had been released earlier in the year and went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

buy the mp3 for 1.29 from Amazon: Season Of The Witch

Number 8: “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky” by the Outlaws

This song warns of the fate which awaits cowboys whose spirits end up in Hell, where they are doomed to chase after the Devil’s own herd of cattle for all eternity.

Originally written and recorded by Stan Jones in 1948, the Outlaws’ version was the first track on their album “Ghost Riders”, released at the end of 1980. In 1981 the song reached number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the Outlaws’ highest-charting single.

buy the mp3 for 1.29 from Amazon: (Ghost) Riders In The Sky

Number 9: “Science Fiction/Double Feature”
from the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” soundtrack

Androids! Invisible Men! Giant Apes! Mad Scientists! Giant Spiders! Killer Plants! Satanic cults summoning fearsome demons to carry out a series of gruesome murders!

Talk about a song that has it all.

This is a very well-done and entertaining video, likely very similar to what the “Rocky Horror” creators originally had in mind for the beginning of the movie before budgetary concerns forced them to abandon their desired ‘clip show’ approach.

buy the mp3 for .99 from Amazon (or the entire soundtrack for $8.99):
The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Original Soundtrack

Number 10: “Hell’s Bells” by AC/DC

Because if you’re going to Hell anyway, you might as well go with bells on.

“Hell’s Bells” was the first track on AC/DC’s 1980 album “Back In Black” which as of July 2011 had sold 50 million copies, tying it with Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” for second highest-selling album of all time behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.

Number 11: “Godzilla” by Blue Öyster Cult

A hideous scaly beast rampages through a modern metropolis, scorching buildings with its radioactive breath and leaving a trail of utter devastation in its wake… No, it’s not Courtney Love on a new world tour. The beast we refer to is none other than the King of Monsters itself, the gigantic Japanese juggernaut Godzilla, memorialized by Blue Öyster Cult with this song from their 1977 album “Spectres”:

buy the mp3 for 1.29 from Amazon: Godzilla

Number 12: “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band

If you’re relaxing in the woods on a lazy afternoon playing a little fiddle music and the Devil shows up looking to start trouble, you don’t have anything to worry about.

As long as you’re good enough…

This video takes the original Charlie Daniels song and plays it over a very cool animation made for a cover version by the rock/metal band Primus in 1998. Video quality is poor, but I prefer hearing the original song. The Primus version, with much clearer video, can be seen here.

“The Devil Went Down To Georgia” was released in May 1979 and went platinum, going all the way to number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 (number one on the country charts). A sequel titled “The Devil Comes Back to Georgia” was recorded in 1993.

buy the mp3 for .69 from Amazon: The Devil Went Down To Georgia

Number 13: “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon

“Even a man who is pure at heart and says his prayers by night,
May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms, and the Disco Moon is bright.”

I believe that’s how the saying goes…

With its aged Gothic cathedrals and foggy back alleys roamed by such characters as Jack the Ripper and the bubonic plague, London has long had an attraction to the lycanthropically inclined among us.

Once Trader Vic’s started serving piña coladas, there was no keeping them out.

“Werewolves of London” was released as a single in April 1978 and went to number 21. It was Warren Zevon’s only Top 40 hit.

The B side was “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” – which itself would make an appropriate addition to any Halloween playlist.

Trivia: “Lee Ho Fook’s” is an actual Chinese restaurant in London. They keep a picture of Warren Zevon on the wall. Source: Songfacts

mp3s for .99 from Amazon:
Werewolves Of London

Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner


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