Top Ten Halloween Songs

Top Ten Halloween Songs

Oddly enough, The Beatles never wrote a song that applies to Halloween. Land of Punt can’t even think of a Halloween-type song recorded by John, Paul, George, or Ringo during their solo careers. They wrote songs about octopi, raccoons, meter maids, glass onions, and—heck!—even a car service (“Drive My Car”), but they never really wrote a tune dedicated to the macabre.

Fortunately, the ghoulish holiday has been tackled by several major artists like Michael Jackson, Rob Zombie, and The Who. What exactly makes a Halloween song a “Halloween song?” We have no idea but we do know this: “Thriller” is a “Halloween song” but “Witchy Woman” is not. “The “Monster Mash” is definitely in the Halloween genus but “Black Magic Woman” is not.

1. “Thriller” – Michael Jackson
It’s a cliché, but what are you going to do? You can’t leave “Thriller” off a list of great Halloween songs. This tune is not only perfect for the ghouls and goblins of Oct. 31 but it also forces those hosting Halloween parties to put in new flooring—dance flooring that is. The song also features Vincent Price, one of the all-time great actors of the horror movie genre.

2. “The Monster Mash” – Bobby “Boris” Pickett
This quintessential Halloween song went all the way to number one in 1962. Then it cracked the top ten when it was re-released in 1973. In the song, Pickett imitates horror movie legends Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. The musician who played the piano on this track is none other than the great Leon Russell.

3. “Purple People Eater” – Sheb Wooley
Sheb Wooley got the idea for this novelty/Halloween song from a joke he heard as a child. The single went to number one in 1958 and throughout most of the 1970’s the song’s title was used as the nickname for the defensive line of the Minnesota Vikings. Remember, the monster described in this song is not purple, but eats purple people.

4. “Ghostbusters” – Ray Parker, Jr.
Ray Parker, Jr. was inspired to write this song after he watched a really bad local commercial on late night television. The song went to number one in 1984 and was nominated for an Oscar. However, Parker was sued by Huey Lewis and the News for copyright infringement (“I Want A New Drug”). The two parties settled out of court—Lewis probably needed money for a new spa or something.

5. The Addams Family Theme – Vic Mizzy
This is another upbeat, cheery song dedicated to a holiday about death. By the way, the actor who played Lurch (Ted Cassidy) is the one “singing” the words “neat,” “sweet,” and “petite.” As popular as this song is among television fans and Halloween revelers, when the single dropped in 1964 it failed to chart.

6. “The Munsters” – Jack Marshall
The Addams Family always edged out The Munsters and our list is no exception. The show can take some solace in knowing that its theme is the only instrumental song selected by our team of experts. Even if you’ve never watched an episode of The Munsters you know, as soon as you hear the opening bars of this 44-second long song, that it’s all about Halloween.

7. “Dragula’ – Rob Zombie
“Dragula” is Rob Zombie’s most successful single and his most popular song. Released in 1998, and featured on the artist’s debut solo album, Hellbilly Deluxe, “Dragula” is not about a blood thirsty Transylvanian but an automobile. In particular, the car featured in the previously mentioned television show, The Munsters. The track features a sample from the film “The City of the Dead.”

8. “Boris The Spider” – The Who
Like many of the songs on our list, “Boris The Spider” was composed with great alacrity. John Entwistle, the Who’s bassist, wrote the song in ten minutes. He was inspired by a night of drinking with his counterpart from The Rolling Stones, Bill Wyman. The song was never released as a single but The Who played it all the time in concert. According to Pete Townshend, “Boris” was Jimi Hendrix’s favorite Who song.

9. “Grim Grinning Ghosts (The Screaming Song)” – Buddy Baker/X Atencio
This is one of the scariest songs on our list because it links William Shakespeare to the Disney Corporation—if Shakespeare can be a de facto part of the mouse ears than anyone can. “Grim Grinning Ghosts” is the theme to Disney’s popular Haunted Mansion attractions. The title is taken from “Venus and Adonis,” a poem written by the Bard.

10. “Nightmare on My Street” – DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
A few years ago, “Nightmare on My Street” was the first song I listened to after I got my computer repaired (hey, it was the night before Halloween and I’m a big Will Smith fan). This tune made Jazzy and the Prince drop some serious coin on a top-notch legal team. They duo was sued for copyright infringement by the producers of the film, “Nightmare on Elm Street.”

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