Sunday, October 28, 2012

Five Halloween Songs That Are Better Than "Thriller"

This time of year one is likely to hear two songs played over and over. One is "Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett & The Crypt Kickers. Not only is the song a classic, but it truly fits Halloween. With humorous lyrics that reference the Universal Monsters and creepy sound effects, it has become perhaps the song most identified with the holiday. Sadly, the other song played often this time of year is "Thriler" by Michael Jackson. The only truly creepy part of the song is the spoken part by legendary horror actor Vincent Price. Other than that it is a rather typical dance song by Michael Jackson, hardly suitable for Halloween listening. If you are looking for songs that are better than "Thriler (of which there are no shortage)," here are five songs that are both better and more suited to the holiday.

Here I must say, these songs are not presented in any particular order, as they are all truly great songs.

5. "Joan Crawford" by Blue Öyster Cult:

What could be more terrifying than a major film star risen from the grave to take vengeance on the child who wrote a less than flattering book about her? Especially who starred in her share of horror movies (albeit later in her career)? The song "Joan Crawford" was inspired by the book Mommie Dearest by Christina Crawford, not the movie. Indeed, it appeared on Blue Öyster Cult's album Fire of Unknown Origin, which was released in July 1981, a full two months before the movie. Of course, in the song I always wondered if after her daughter Cristina, Joan didn't go after her old rival Bette Davis, who was still alive at the time...

4. "Dead Man's Party" by Oingo Boingo 

I suppose "Dead Man's Party" could be considered a novelty song much like "Monster Mash," only rather than monsters holding a party it is the dead. It would   then seem to be a fitting song for the holdiay.

3. "Witchcraft" by Frank Sinatra 

Actually a love song rather than a scary song, given its subject "Witchcraft" fits the holiday quite well.

2. "The Black Widow" by Alice Cooper

If you want a song featuring the talents of Vincent Price, then this is it. In the intro to the song Mr. Price plays a museum curator who is every bit as crazed as his characters in his films. As to the song itself, "The Black Widow" deals with a real life terror, the extremely venomous spider known for the fact that the females eat their mates. This particular clip is from the television special Alice Cooper: The Nightmare, which featured music from the album.

1. "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" by Blue  Öyster Cult:

It might not seem fair to have more than one song from Blue Öyster Cult on this list, but in truth one could probably compile a rather long list of songs by the band suitable for Halloween (including "Godzilla" and "Nosferatu"). "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" is probably their best known song and probably already a Halloween standard for many.

Here I must address the misconception that he song is about suicide, a misconception that probably arose due to the reference to Romeo and Juliet in the lyrics. The song's writer, Buck Dharma (Donald Roeser) has said that the song is actually about love transcending physical existence. Indeed, if one listens closely to the lyrics it does not sound at all like it is describing suicide, but instead someone coming back from the dead for his lover. The song then owes more to Edgar Allan Poe's poem "Lenore" than William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.

No comments: