31 Songs Of Halloween 2014

Throughout the whole month of October we will be wearing this cool animated cover, in the spirit of Halloween, and we'll be participating in the annual Countdown To Halloween blogging event.

We will be posting a Halloween themed song each day, counting down until October 31st.

Screams and howls from D//E.

Black Sabbath: Black Sabbatth

Possibly the greatest opener in the history of records, coming from the band which pretty much started what came to be heavy metal, there isn't a better way to kick off our this Halloween themed special than the timeless Black Sabbath.

The 31 Songs Of Halloween begin here…

Los Straitjackets: The Munsters' Theme

The instrumental song that scored the popular sitcom in the mid-60s, was brilliantly covered by Los Straitjackets in 1998 for the Halloween Hootenanny compilation.

Los Straitjacket are from Nashville and they have been around since 1988. So far they have released 13 full lengths, four live records and two collaborative albums, one with Eddie Clearwater and one with The World Famous Pontani Sisters. They were presented to a bigger audience a few times in the late nineties, when Conan’s Late Night show was still in New York and for it the band performed Christmas songs each year.

The following video is from a performance in New York circa 2007.

Screaming Lord Sutch: All Black And Hairy

As a politician Screaming Lord Sutch didn’t achieve much, but his musical career, always horror-themed and full of shock-rock theatrics, was very much influential to a ton of garage bands from the 1960s until today.

The following custom video of the 1966 Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages single, All Black And Hairy, features scenes from the 1961 film Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory aka Lycanthropus.

The Kingston Trio: Zombie Jamboree

…from the Hungry i was The Kingston Trio’s first live album, recorded in 1958 at the Hungri i club in San Fransisco. It featured Zombie Jamboree, written in 1953 as Jumbie Jamberee by Lord Intruder (Winston O’Connor), a calypso musician from Tobago.

Since then the song has been recorded either as Zombie Jamboree or Back To Back by many different artists, including Harry Belafonte who did five different versions of it over the years, as well as others like Peter Tosh, The Wrigglers, Harry Nilsson and more.

Roky Erickson: Night Of The Vampire

13th Floor Elevators founding member and long time resident (and in some cases fugitive) of some Texan psychiatric hospitals, Roky Erickson, could have multiple entries in this lift, as he was famously prone to writing about horror.

Following with the original electric version of the song comes a great acoustic live rendition, taken from the film Demon Angel: A Day And Night With Roky Erickson, a documentary/concert film about Roky, recorded on Halloween 1984.

King Diamond: Welcome Home

Part of Them, the first of the two King Diamond LPs about his mentally ill grandmother, Welcome Home finds King welcoming grandma who returns from the hospital with everything set for her arrival as she requested. “They” are still with her, as “they” were during her stay in the hospital, and there’s something on “their” mind…

The complete storyline is fully delineated in the entirety of Them and Conspiracy albums.

Next week King Diamond starts his first North American tour in a long time, after his very serious health scare that lead to a triple bypass surgery back in 2010.

Twisted Sister: Horror-Teria (The Beginning): a)Captain Howdy b) Street Justice

Horror-Teria's plot and its starring villain, Captain Howdy, paved the way for the 1998 movie Strangeland and its 4-issue comic prequel, Dee Snider’s Strangeland: Seven Sins. It's all penned by Dee Snider, who also stars in the film.

Twisted Sister’s slightly more commercial third album, Stay Hungry, came out in 1984 and has sold more than 3 million copies, led mostly by the music videos of its hit singles which ran on heavy rotation on MTV.

Too bad there never was a music video for Horror-Teria.

Donovan: Season Of The Witch 

Changing his sound quite a bit, Donovan put out Sunshine Superman in 1966, his most electric and most psychedelic-bent work up to that point. Season Of The Witch features a young Jimmy Page on guitar, and it’s been rumored that John Paul Jones is on the organ, without being officially credited, in what was possibly the spark that led to the formation of Led Zeppelin two years later.

Season Of The Witch feels like it has been covered millions of times. Among the most notable cover versions of the song are those by Julie Driscoll with Brian Auger and the Trinity, Kooper, Stills and Bloomfield in Super Session, Sam Gopal (Lemmy’s first psychedelic band - look it up), Vanilla Fudge, Terry Reid, Dr. John and Joan Jett.

The song gave its title to the third installment in the Halloween movie series, a 1973 film by George A. Romero and more recently, a fantasy flick starring Nic Cage.

In the following clip Donovan performs the song on a French TV program in 1967…

 Screamin’ Jay Hawkins: I Put A Spell On You

I Put A Spell On You was written and recorded for the first time by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in 1956 and despite all the notoriety it gained over the years, the song was never a charting hit for Hawkins.

The first time the song reached the Billboard charts in 1965 by Nina Simone. Others of the most worthy from its countless cover versions are those by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Arthur Brown, The Animals, Ray Charles, Them, The Birthday Party, Roxy Music, Marilyn Manson, Jarboe and She & Him.

This song was the main factor that led to Hawkins creating his bizarre stage character, that theatrical persona with all the macabre props and costumes who emerged onstage out of a coffin, and became one of the architects of shock rock.

In a rare TV moment captured in the following clip, Hawkins performs the song.

Lars Frederiksen & The Bastards: Army Of Zombies

Lars Frederiksen side project outside Rancid, released two albums between 2000-2005 when they where active, both on Hellcat Records, which just like its parent company, Epitaph, specializes in street punk, psychobilly, ska etc.

The band was put together to release some songs Lars and his Rancid bandmate, Tim Armstrong, had written about Lars growing up and coming of age in Campbell, California.

Army Of Zombies was featured in the band’s eponymous first album.

Dokken: Dream Warriors 

Dream Warriors, from the third installment of the Elm Street movies franchise, was one of Dokken’s most successful songs ever. It helped their 1987 album Back For The Attack hit #13 in the Billboard chart. The success Dokken had with this song was the main reason for the inclusion of more heavy metal tracks in the franchise’s following sequels.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors was one of the most enjoyable sequels in the series’ history. It is directed by Chuck Russell and marks Wes Craven’s return to the franchise, as well as the character of Nancy.

In the video that featured scenes from the movie as well as original footage, the band are the ones who rescue Kristen (Patricia Arquette) from Freddy Krueger by rocking his socks off!

Alice Cooper: He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)

There are about a million Alice Cooper songs that could easily fit in this Halloween special, but continuing from the previous choice, in a slasher flick motif, He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask) seems most appropriate. It's from the 1986 Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives movie and Alice’s Constrictor album.

Two more Alice Cooper songs were in the film, Teenage Frankenstein in the end credits and Hard Rock Summer which was recorder exclusively for the movie. Still, only He’s Back was released as a single, and it came with a music video directed by Jeffrey Abelson who had also worked on videos for Guns N’ Roses and Linda Ronstadt.

Too bad at the time there is no HD or at least a better version of the original music video available.

The Meteors: Michael Myers

In 1984 when The Meteors put out Stampede!, there had been only two Halloween films featuring the antagonist, Michael Myers, but those were enough to inspire the band to include a song in the album named after him.

Stampede! was The Meteors’ third studio album, released on singer Paul P. Fenech’s own Mad Pig label and it is one of the best albums in their very long catalog, and a psychobilly classic.

Halloween: Trick Or Treat 

Halloween is a heavy metal band from Detroit, formed in 1983 and released their debut LP, Don’t Metal With Evil, two years later. It's a great album, heavily influenced by NWOBHM, and entirely horror-themed.

Halloween never became popular. They remained inactive for many years after their debut, went through numerous line up changes and released a few albums and compilations, none of which compares to the originality and guts of Don’t Metal With Evil.

Slayer: Dead Skin Mask

Released in 1990, Seasons In The Abyss is Slayer’s 5th album… Slayer need no prose…!

The Cramps: I Was A Teenage Werewolf

On their debut album. Songs The Lord Taught Us, The Cramps included a song which is a straight reference to a cult 1957 horror film, directed by Gene Fowler Jr. and starring Michael Landon.

This performance of I Was A Teenage Werewolf comes  from 1980, an outtake from the film Urgh! A Music War, a concert film that featured many punk and alt-rock bands that were popular at the time, and which was also released as a compilation on records, tapes and later CDs with fewer tracks.

KC & The Sunshine Band: I'm Your Boogie Man

1977 was the best year for Harry Wayne “KC” Casey and the Sunshine Band. They released their fourth album, Part 3, which contained some of their biggest hits, two Billboard chart toppers. One of them was the classic I’m Your Boogie Man.

Here they are in an amazing performance on Top Of The Pops.

The Gaslight Anthem: Halloween

New Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem put out Halloween in 2012 as part of their end-of-year fan club 7-inch releases.

The song was also featured in the deluxe edition of their latest album, Get Hurt.

The Sonics: The Witch 

The Witch was The Sonics’ first ever single, released in 1964. It was also included in their debut album, Here Are The Sonics, a few months later.

One of the prototype bands for garage rock, The Sonics were from Tacoma, Washington, and their original tenure didn’t go further than 1969, but even with only a few albums and singles behind them, their legacy is unquestionable.

The Fuzztones: Strychnine

Garage rock revivalists, The Fuzztones, covered The Sonics’ Strychnine on the 12-inch version of their 1986 EP, Bad News Travels Fast.

The song has been covered by other top-level bands as well, like The Cramps, The Fall and Thee Headcoats.

Captain Clegg & The Night Creatures: Honky Tonk Halloween

Taking their name from the classic 1962 Hammer Horror film of the same name, Captain Clegg And The Night Creatures was a fictional band in Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, led by Texan country/rockabilly artist, Jesse Dayton.

The band made an entire self titled album of horror-themed songs which was released together with the film, and they can be seen playing at the town’s Halloween party in the movie.

The Gun Club: For The Love Of Ivy

Combining the roughness of punk with traditional American music, country and the blues, The Gun Club’s first record, Fire Of Love, is one of a kind.

Mostly conceived by Jeffrey Lee Pierce and produced by Tito Larriva (The Plugz, Tito & Tarantula), the album was released in 1981 and has influenced countless musicians ever since.

As if a bunch of cowboys turned punk and flipped the bird on their hillbilly lives, The Gun Club was the most American post-punk could ever get. There’s nothing wrong in any of the rest of their discography, but their first two records, especially Fire Of Love, are the ones that easily qualify as masterpieces.

Siouxsie And The Banshees: Halloween

Their 1981 album, Juju, is considered to be not only among Siouxsie And The Banshees’ best records, but a seminal album for post-punk and gothic rock as well.

It is one the three Banshees albums which feature the late John McGeoch (Magazine, Visage, Public Image Ltd.) on guitar, who had joined the band the previous year, and who - according to Siouxsie - was “the most creative guitarist the Banshees ever had.”

The following video depicts the band in arguably their most creative period, in a live performance of Halloween, at Cologne, Germany, 1981.

Sonic Youth: Halloween

In late 1985-early ‘86 Sonic Youth released various versions of their single, Flower. Some of them featured the song Halloween as the b-side. Both songs were sung by Kim Gordon and they were both later included in the CD version of Bad Moon Rising.

Cathedral: Hopkins (The Witchfinder General)

Except from the band Witchfinder General, and later the Electric Wizard song, I, The Witchfinder, the 1968 British horror movie Witchfinder General also influenced Cathedral to release an EP in 1996 titled Hopkins (The Witchfinder General), featuring the same titled song that was also on The Carnival Bizarre LP.

The Dream Syndicate: Halloween

Written by the band’s guitarist, Karl Precoda, Halloween was featured in The Dream Syndicate’s 1982 album, The Days Of Wine And Roses.

In 6 minutes and with only a few lines of lyrics, The Dream Syndicate’s Halloween, tells the story of a twisted person who draws someone into enticement, claiming that things on TV aren’t always real, while the music works in different dynamics, with softer parts that lead into forceful explosions.

In general, The Days Of Wine And Roses was one of the best things to come out under the Paisley Underground flag.

Marilyn Manson: This Is Halloween

The album Nightmare Revisited  is a disc of cover songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas, including many interesting ones, like This Is Halloween by Marilyn Manson. The song was featured two years earlier on the special edition release of The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.

Rob Zombie feat. The Ghastly Ones: Halloween (She Get So Mean) 

The two founding members of instrumental surf/garage horror rockers. The Ghastly Ones, from Van Nuys, California, were special FX and movie make up artists with a great love for horror b-movies as well as sixties garage rock.

They released their first album, A-Haunting We Will Go-Go, on Rob Zombie’s Zombie A-Go-Go label in 1998 and around the same time they collaborated with him on a song for the label’s Halloween Hootenanny compilation, now a contemporary Halloween classic.

The Bollock Brothers: Horror Movies

The Bollock Brothers are mostly known for covering other artists’ songs, but they did have some noteworthy originals too, like The Slow Removal of The Left Ear of Vincent van Gogh, The Legend Of The Snake and Horror Movies.

Before every hip-hop artist in the business started doing the sampling thing, The Bollock Brothers sampled Classics IV’s Spooky on Horror Movies, the opener of their 1983 album, The Last Supper. In the song there are dozens of references to classic horror movies, from the Universal monsters to Hammer Horror, as the band shares their fascination with such films, in maybe their most memorable single ever.

Bobby 'Boris' Pickett: Monster Mash

Mostly inspired by The Hollywood Argyles’ novelty hit, Alley Oop, Monster Mash was #1 at the Billboard charts throughout almost the whole month of October in 1962 and has been a seasonal Halloween favorite ever since.

There are hundreds of covers and alternative versions of this classic out there, but nothing beats the original version b Bobby Boris Pickett and his impressions of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.

Here he is on American Bandstand, performing the song, introduced by Dick Clark.

The Misfits: Halloween

Released on this date back in 1981, Halloween was the first single to feature the Misfits now famous logo, inspired by the Famous Monsters Of Filmland.

The song was released as a 7-inch single. A different mix version of it was on Legacy Of Brutality and then later on the compilation releases, Collection II, 12 Hits From Hell and the Misfits (boxset).

The song has been covered several times by bands like Samhain (Glenn Danzig’s band after he left Misfits), Mudhoney, The Alkaline Trio, AFI and Winds Of Plague.

No better choice for our 31 Songs… on Halloween day.

Note: 31 Songs Of Halloween 2014 was originally published as 31 daily individual posts throughout October 2014, and was later merged into a single article for ergonomic reasons.


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