Who doesn't love a bit of Halloween? On the scariest day of the year, we racked our brains at the Great Divide HQ to come up with our ten favourite Halloween songs. Check out our pretty much comprehensive list below.
The Misfits - Halloween
Of course this is the obvious choice, but come on, what a classic. Not only is it the greatest Halloween song of all time but it’s also a pretty damn good song outside of it’s gimmick too. Released in 1981 on Glenn Danzig’s label Plan 9 Records, the record was the last to feature guitarist Bobby Steele and though it never appeared on the planned album, the 7” will go down in Misfits history.
Arthur Brown - Fire
“I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE.” One of the strangest songs to reach the mainstream, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s ‘Fire’ became a cult classic when it was released in 1968. Debuting at the number one spot in the UK charts and reaching number two in the US charts, the song is a great example of the pretty crazy world of psychedelic rock of the period. Brown used to wear a flaming helmet for live performances, which often caused him considerable pain. Hero.
The Cramps – Human Fly
Human Fly comes from the first record in The Cramps long and illustrious discography, featuring on the ‘Gravest Hits EP’, released on Illegal/IRS records. As somewhat founders of the horror-punk scene, and later the Psychobilly genre, Human Fly is a two minutes and fifteen seconds horror movie in audio form.
Send More Paramedics – Zombie Crew
Zombie Crew is a song that you may not have heard but one that encapsulates Halloween in the perfect sense. Named after the 1985 classic horror-comedy Return of the Living Dead, Send More Paramedics played a fusion of 80’s thrash metal and hardcore punk which they entitled ‘Zombiecore’. After splitting up in 2007, not much has been heard from the Leeds zombies, but you can always revisit the dead with this anthem.
The Ramones – Pet Sematary
Punk rock and horror seems to go hand in hand very nicely, and this is a great example by some of the Godfathers of punk, The Ramones. Pet Sematary was written for the Stephen King movie adaptation of the same name, which also featured ‘Sheena is a Punk Rocker’. The song became one of The Ramones’ biggest hits and it’s not hard to see why.
The Specials – Ghost Town
Released in 1981, ‘Ghost Town’ is probably the most memorable of all The Specials songs. The song was the last to be recorded by the original members of The Specials and stayed at the number one spot in the UK charts for three weeks. According to Jerry Dammers, he wanted the song to convey the sense of ‘impending doom in the inner cities’ and realistically, what’s scarier than an apocalyptic England?
Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London
An absolute classic in our eyes and one that couldn’t be missed off the list is Werewolves of London by the late Warren Zevon. Rated as having one of the best opening lines of all time, the 1978 hit was released on Asylum records and features Waddy Watchel, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie of Fleetwood Mac on accompaniments. According to Watchel, who has worked with pretty much every legendary rock artist you can think of, it was “the hardest song he’d ever had to play in the studio” but apparently laid down his solo in one take, before he'd even had a chance to partake of the bump of coke and drink he'd placed in front of him. Fair play. Our choice is a cover by the excellent Magnolia Electric Co.
Big L – Devil’s Son
Sometime in 1993, Lamont Coleman aka Big L released his first promotional single, ‘Devil’s Son’. He was only 18-19 years old when he released this hip hop classic, claiming it was the first part of his ‘horrorcore’ related arsenal. Originally stated to be on Big L’s untouchable debut album ‘Lifestylez ova da Poor & Dangerous’, the chorus of this Halloween jam is a sample from an unknown rapper at the time, Nas, from a song that appeared on another classic hip hop album, ‘Illmatic’.
Talking Heads – Psycho Killer
Psycho Killer was the signature debut hit from legendary new wave band Talking Heads, and what a way to start off your career. Seeming to represent the thoughts of a serial killer, the song originally started out as a ballad and as a semi-narrative of the killer actually committing the murders. Appearing on the ‘Talking Heads: 77’ album, the song is creepily funky new wave tune that will stand the test of time.
Rockwell – Somebody’s Watching Me
Talking of funky, no Halloween would be complete without one disco banger. The song is the debut of R&B musician Rockwell and features none other than Jermaine Jackson on the backing vocals, and his little known brother Michael on the chorus. Released in 1984 on the Motown record label, the song relates to the narrator’s paranoid fears of being followed.