Top 12 popular Halloween songs

Published by siroutlier_tt2i6p on

I guess we first need to discuss what constitutes a Halloween song. I don’t want this to devolve into a silly, “Is Die Hard an Xmas movie” debate, cause to paraphrase Argyle, “This is a Christmas movie!” For me, a song must hit at least one of three criteria: have Halloween friendly lyrics, have a haunting melody or beat, or be associated with a scene in a Halloween or horror film. Hence, the Cranberries Zombie, a protest song about the violence in Northern Ireland, does NOT make the list simply because of the title. So, here’s the best Halloween carols we never get sick of. EVER!

Bonus: Psycho Killer by Talking Heads – While I’m fairly sure writing an iconic Halloween song was the last thing on David Byrne’s mind when he penned this one, “Qu’est-ce que c’est, right?” This funky new wave groove came during the golden age of serial killers and plays almost like their deranged anthem.

Tell me Bundy, Ramirez, Berkowitz, and Dahmer didn’t own this12-inch single.

12. Howlin’ for You by The Black Keys – This tune will not only get inside your head, but there’s also a chance its haunting beat will possess your soul. That’s why instead of an earworm, I call it a heart worm. Okay, that’s gross, but you get the idea.

I do think once a song gets designated as a Halloween tune, it should only be played during that time. I mean, no one wants to hear Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer in the summer

11. A Nightmare on My Street by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince – Aka the “other” Freddy rap song, and the one that got Will and Jeff sued. I know The Fresh Prince had bigger hits in the 90s, but there’s something so charming and playful about this track. I guess I’m trying to say it slaps!

Chris is just lucky I didn’t use my Freddy hand.

10. Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon – The fact that this was not used in the flick American Werewolf in London baffles me to this day. What a missed opportunity. But, hey, it was used in an iconic scene in The Color of Money. So, whether you’re rocking out with your Wolfman cosplay out or shooting pool, this is simply a great jam.

I’m not one to criticize the Tom Cruise, but even for the 80s, that hair’s not perfect.

9. The Hills by The Weeknd – Where the hell did this come from, Mr. The Weeknd? Hey, if you write a number one song that references Wes Craven’s 70s classic The Hills Have Eyes, you’re damn sure gonna earn a spot on this list. Also doesn’t hurt that it’s so atmospheric, it gives you those moody feels, almost like being a teenager again.

Got milk… never mind. Got baby?

8. Pet Sematary by Ramones – Doing a theme song for a big studio movie should be verboten for a punk rock band. But not the Ramones. They could do a jingle for a Chuck-E-Cheese commercial and get away with it. It helps that this is a snappy tune that you can blast while hanging out at the old Micmac burial grounds.

How did Joey Ramone not sue Slash for appearance infringement?

7. Superstition by Stevie Wonder – I can’t leave out this Stevie Wonder in his prime funkadelic masterpiece. I’m not a complete moron, regardless of what my psychiatrist says. If this one doesn’t move ya, you might actually be a zombie.

I think we can all agree everyone needs more Stevie Wonder in their lives.

6. I Put a Spell on You by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – This is pretty much a no-brainer. Whether it’s the OG, or any of the remixes, as long as you got Screamin’ Jay’s mesmerizing voice, it’s a winner winner chicken sacrifice dinner.

Just saying, he doesn’t look like he can’t put a spell on you.

5. Time Warp by Nell Campbell, Patricia Quinn, and Richard O’Brien – The best way to describe the catchy as hell song (other than catchy) is it’s the musical equivalence of a Red Bull and vodka. This tune is basically the epitome of a killer Halloween jamboree. One, that I unfortunately never get invited to.

Full disclosure, even though I know it’s just a jump to the left and then a step to the right, I have never done the Time Warp even once.

4. Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr. – Huey Lewis is probably rolling over in his grave (I’m trying to be evergreen here) with this pick. “You don’t want to do our theme song, fine. We’ll just steal one of your hits, speed it up, and let someone else make a billion dollars with.” Still, there is a reason one of the Ten Commandments states, “Thou shall include Ghostbusters on every Halloween compilation.”

Plagiarism never sounded so good.

3. Thriller by Michael Jackson – MJ in peak form creates an out of left field track that puts its stamp on all future Halloween parties (that I didn’t get invited to). Not only musically groundbreaking, Thriller was the Jaws of music videos, ushering in the blockbuster music video era.

It does beg the question; who would win in a fight, zombie Michael Jackson or werewolf Michael Jackson?

2. This Is Halloween by Danny Elfman – If there was a song that could get a perfect score on the Pritchard Scale, I’d wager it would be this one. A hit for all ages that captures the spirit of the holiday better than any tune before or since.

Let’s just ignore the skeleton in the closet—is this a Halloween or Xmas movie?
  1. Monster Mash by Bobby “Boris” Pickett – Novelty schmovelty, this is a banger that’s right up there with anything Mozart or Beethoven created. Those hacks ain’t got nothing on Sir Bobby Pickett. His song best encapsulates the reason for the season. Can you even imagine a time before this song? Like, what the hell vinyls were they spinning at those preMM Halloween bashes? It must have been “Purple People Eater” and “Witch Doctor” on repeat… horrifying.
Remember boys and girls, Halloween has nothing to do with the devil… aside from those slutty Satan costumes.

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