While not all of these songs are directly about Halloween, each one is certainly inspired by tales of the macabre that are so closely associated with the celebration of the dead.
10. Metallica – Am I Evil
Am I Evil is a cover of a song originally recorded by a band called Diamond Head that was released on the B-side of Metallica’s Creeping Death 12-inch, called Garage Days Revisited. Yes, that means it was originally released on vinyl, an actual record, youngsters. In short, it is the story of a boy who vows revenge after witnessing his mother burned alive at the stake for practicing witchcraft.
9. Joy Division – Dead Souls
Most people know this song as it was recorded by Nine Inch Nails for The Crow soundtrack, but actually, it was originally written and recorded by Joy Division. A haunting tale of restless souls calling from beyond the grave, it certainly has a fitting place on The Crow soundtrack, but just watch the live video for the original version of this song on YouTube, and if the dark lighting along with the weird dancing and gyrating of lead singer, Ian Curtis’, aren’t creepy enough for you, the strange circumstances and urban lore surrounding his suicide, certainly should be.
8. Misfits – Skulls
You could easily make a top ten list of Halloween music comprised of only Misfits songs and not get much of an argument from anyone who enjoys punk, hard rock or heavy metal, thanks in large part to Glenn Danzig’s passion for the subject; but for the sake of variety, I only chose two. Download the song Skulls, along with the lyrics, and you’ll see why it has a place in any forum having to do with the macabre.
7. The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil
There is no good without evil and there is no evil without the Prince of Darkness, himself, and this Stone’s tune recounts the happy role of Lucifer in many of the atrocities that have been perpetrated throughout history.
6. Oingo-Boingo – Dead Man’s Party
Halloween is a celebration of the dead, and what would any party be without really good music. Danny Elfman has orchestrated enough Halloween music to fill a dozen top ten lists, but this Oingo-Boingo tune sums up what every great Halloween party is really all about. Dead people.
5. Third Eye Blind – I Want You
Any top ten music list needs at least one love song, and this one is no different; but since it is a list of Halloween music, why not have it be about death, decay, regret and vampirism as well?
4. Dave Matthews Band – Halloween
As with most of Dave’s lyrics, I’m not entirely sure what in the hell he’s singing about on this one, but by his own admission, he does write heavily about death and love, and they are not always separated. The music is creepy on this track, the nightmarish, obsessive lyrics are even creepier, and the maniacal way in which they are delivered makes you believe that there is truly something disturbing going on in this song. Creepy, Dave.
3. The Ramones – Pet Cemetery
O.K., so this is the commercial portion of the Halloween list. The movie version of the Stephen King’s reanimation story lost a lot of the edginess that the book had, due in large part to the need to curb the use of the murderous, foul language spewed out by three year Gage on film. However, getting punk legends, The Ramones, to do the theme song, went a long way in helping to redeem this movie to a lot of fans.
2. Lou Gramm – Lost in the Shadows
By now you’ve realized that I associate Halloween and Halloween music very heavily with movies dealing with the macabre; and as I am also a product of eighties pop culture, the film, The Lost Boys, plays heavily into that. Lou Gramm’s, Lost in the Shadows, will always be one of my favorite vampire anthems, and I think, in that, I would probably get a nod of agreement from legions of music fans, who may also be winding down their thirties.
1. Misfits – Halloween
My number one Halloween song of all time is as far from pop culture and commercialization as it gets. The second Misfits choice on my list, Halloween, is simply about that…Halloween night. Be warned, however, that it has nothing to do with the cartoonish, playful side of the holiday that the little kiddies enjoy, but instead, is completely devoted to the mayhem and death that is meant to terrify you on Halloween.