Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spooky Music

I heard “Werewolves of London” this morning driving in through a heavy fog on the Causeway bridge. That has to be, for me, the most recognizable Halloween song out there, followed closely by “Monster Mash.” However, both of those songs are funny rather than spooky, and that got me thinking. What are the actually spooky Halloween songs?

I thought of “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, and there were some elements of spookiness in that, particularly the riff by Vincent Price, but generally that song is a dance tune and not terribly creepy.

After some careful consideration, I decided to give my picks for best creepy/horror music. But maybe there’s something I’m not thinking of, so let’s see how your opinions differ.

Numero Uno: Alice Cooper, from the “Welcome to My Nightmare” era. In fact, the album, “Welcome to My Nightmare,” is the all time creepiest album out there. With song titles like “Devil’s Food,” “Black Widow,” and “Cold Ethyl,”, the last one about a man who freezes his dead lover so he’ll be able to have her with him always, you’ve just gotta see the horror elements. There’s even an awesome spoken word piece by Vincent Price in “Black Widow.” This is the music I play on Halloween.


Here’s Welcome to My Nightmare.

Numero Dos: Black Sabbath, from the early years. Especially the album “We sold Our Soul For Rock and Roll.” Most of the songs on this compilation album are about madness, horror, and evil. “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” “Black Sabbath,” “Paranoid,” “Am I Going Insane,” and “Children of the Grave,” are great examples. And don’t forget, “Iron Man” and “War Pigs.”


Here’s Black Sabbath.

So what do you think of my choices?
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53 comments:

G said...

I think that early Black Sabbath is still the best, especially the first. Favorite song off that one is "The Wizard".

Creepy all the way through, and the compilation is a very good intro to Black Sabbath.

H.E.Eigler said...

I'm going to vote for Alice Cooper because he rules. Nuff said.

Heff said...

Excellent. I was gonna bring up "Coop" my damn self.

jodi said...

Charles, Alice gets it all the way! Happy Halloween to you and the dear Lana!

writtenwyrdd said...

Those are excellently creepy choices! A bit angsty but with a creepy Goth moodiness is a lot of the Goth rock out there. I think Evanescence and Nightwish, Marilyn Manson, Otep, H.I.M. and some others have creepy songs that fit the mood of the season, fit into the mood as well. (But don't ask me to give you specific songs.)

Charles Gramlich said...

G, yes, love the creepy edge to almost all their music. I've got most of their albums but have two copies of I sold my soul.

H. E., I consider Welcome to My nightmare the best halloween horror music going for sure.

Heff, say, what is going on with your blog site. I haven't been able to access it?

Jodi, thankee. Yeah Alice. Yeah Lana.

Writtenwyrd, I have heard some pretty creepy goth music, like HIM.

Paul R. McNamee said...

Your choices are spot on.

This year, I discovered Warren Zevon's "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner". (yeah, I'd never heard it before.)

Maybe not spooky music, but lyrically a great ghost tale about modern mercenaries. (well, 20th century, anyway.)

==

p.s. - yes, Heff, I'm with Charles. We need to be invited to the bar? That's OK but don't know if you did that intentionally or not.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Funny there isn't more. And yet there is a lot of creepy music composed for films. Maybe lyrics dilutes the creepiness.

Heff said...

Charles and Paul - Heff is "on a break", so I locked EVERYONE out, lol. Nothing personal against you guys :)

G said...

"Roland, the Headless Thompson Gunner" I think is Warren Zevon's funniest one besides the title track off that album (Excitable Boy).

Steve Malley said...

I'm a little surprised you didn't find room in there for that young upstart, heir to the Alice Cooper Crown, Mister Rob Zombie himself.

Funny thing about Mr. Zombie: His parents named him Rob, a nice, normal name for a nice, normal life. Still he went on to sing songs like Living Dead Girl.

I suppose, though, with a last name like Zombie.... ;)

BernardL said...

Both are good choices. One of the creepiest ones I like for Halloween is the theme song from the original 'Exorcist' movie.

Travis said...

One night when I was a kid, I was home alone with my head phones on. Remember the big white radio head phones?

Anyway, those opening riffs of Iron Man came on and scared me silly. So Iron Man gets my vote.

Charles Gramlich said...

Paul R. McNamee, I don't know that Zevon tune. I'll have to check it out.

pattinase (abbott), you're right. Like the Halloween theme and the Jaws theme. You may be onto something about the lyrics.

Heff, ahh, no prob. Everyone needs a break now and then.

G, I haven't heard it but I'll look it up.

Steve Malley, good point. and I've got Zombie's 5 CD white zombie compilation right here beside me. I didn't have it with me when I posted though but I would definitely include him.

BernardL, yeah, I should probably do one about theme music because there is certainly some good stuff. The exorcist is one of those, and Halloween.

Travis, Iron Man is definitely up there.

Ocean Girl said...

I know Black Sabbath only by name but they do look spooky.

Happy Halloween.

Scott Parker said...

Interestingly, I recently saw the Alice Cooper episode of the Muppet Show. Not very spooky.

For me, the spookiest music I know is from the classical realm. "Danse Macabre" by Saint-Saens is my favorite since you have Death playing his fiddle and the xylophones acting the part of skeleton bones.

Rowe said...

I'm a little more familiar with Alice Cooper than Black Sabbath's music. Not being a fan of either, I did like a couple of Alice's songs and remember thinking he was kind of cool when I was a teenager.

the walking man said...

*shrug* just ain't a Halloween kinda guy I guess.

Randy Johnson said...

A couple of good choices here, Charles. Both were big favorites in my younger years.

I second Zombie. And what' up with his movie career? He should leave Halloween remakes alone and do original stuff.

ivan said...

Alice Cooper is a clever man.

He's got a day job now. You can hear him on all the cutting edge rock stations.
He still rocks. Even if verbally.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ocean Girl, oh you are missing something, my friend. Listen to Black Sabbath. It's cool stuff.

Scott Parker, yeah, I saw the Muppet show. Pretty funny. I didn't get into the soundtracks or classical stuff but there is some great spooky music there for sure.

Rowe, I was never exposed to Alice until I was in my very late teens. He was frowned upon in the Bible belt.

Mark, man I am. It's the best season of the year.

Randy Johnson, Yes, I liked Zombie quite a lot, although more with White zombie than his solo work. I've been ambivalent about his movies.

ivan, yes, it's interesting to see how intelligent he is.

Middle Ditch said...

Agree with all of the above.

cs harris said...

Never really thought about spooky Halloween music. But both are definitely good creepy soundtracks for All Souls Day.

Charles Gramlich said...

Middle ditch, how wise of you! ;)

Candy, I should have included soundtracks. There are some great ones, but I don't typically listen to a lot of soundtracks.

laughingwolf said...

all good, but where are all the korn freaks... uh... fans? :P lol

http://www.dizzler.com/music/Korn/Freak_On_A_Leash

Aimless Writer said...

Love Werewolves of London! Now I'm going to be singing it all day.

Cloudia said...

Good choices all!





Aloha, Friend


Comfort Spiral

cloudia

Stewart Sternberg said...

I saw Alice in concert about a month ago. He was guillotined, hung by the neck, and run through with blades. He even managed to sing a few songs. Anybody doesn't like "Dead Babies" is just too classy for me.

Scott said...

Charles,

Excellent choices! I would also throw in some Blue Oyster Cult, such as 'Joan Crawford Has Risen From The Grave', and 'Don't Fear The Reaper'...and maybe some Type O Negative as well. Candlemass has some ominous sounding stuff, but they're very Sabbath-inspired, so there you go.

Cinnamon said...

Never mind the goth rock..

Tubular Bells, Mike Oldfield (theme from the Exorcist, a film I could not watch till the end; had to leave the cinema and have never seen since)- must be the creepiest music ever made..

and

The theme to 'Jaws'!!

sage said...

wow, you've brought back a lot of memories. Thriller the video with Jackson is pretty scary. It's not really scary (it's really hard for a song to be scary) but what about the Stone's "Sympathy for the Devil"

jennifer said...

There was a great look alike band at Six Flags performing Black Sabbath songs. War Pigs was especially well performed.

The songs that are scary to me are the soundtracks to horror movies.

Charles Gramlich said...

laughingwolf, I only really like one song by Korn, Wake up Hate, which is extremely good.

Aimless Writer, yeah, that's one that has broken through and is played times other than Halloween.

Cloudia, thankee.

Stewart Sternberg, wow, cool. I'd enjoy seeing Alice do a concert. He's got a lot of great songs.

Scott, Godzilla rocks, but is pretty campy. Don't fear the Reaper is creepy, for sure.

Cinnamon, oh I love Tubular bells. I've got it on CD. Definitely creepy. I should have thought of soundtracks.

sage, Sympathy for the devil is one of my favorite songs. I didn't think of it as horror but you're right, it's definitely got something of that theme running through it.

Charles Gramlich said...

jennifer, maybe I should have included some KISS in there but I've never been a huge fan of their stuff.

Lana Gramlich said...

Those aren't bad choices, but I'll still have to go with Danzig's "Black Aria" album, myself.

Erik Donald France said...

Yes, I go with yours, and add Screamin' Jay Hawkins "I Put a Spell on You" -- a very creepy and original version, indeed.

Maybe Iggy & the Stooges, "You're Pretty Face is Going to Hell" as a runner-up.

Erik Donald France said...

Oh, yeah - Danzig -- and "Some Velvet Morning" Thin White Rope

Erik Donald France said...

Thin White Rope: something menacing this way comes --
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuc-U8bvSEk

And: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds --

that dude is strange and often scary, Australia + Gothic American South . . .

Erik Donald France said...

Nick Cave: "Where the Wild Roses Grow" (from Murder Ballads if I remember correctly)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8srgfw7GDkM

He has a ton of creepy songs, many more hard-edged than this. I remember the line from one song, about "a warm arterial spray."

jodi said...

Oh Charles, I forgot! Billy Idol did some great ones too! "Dead on Arrival" is my favorite-in that genre!

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana Gramlich, I remember sending you that sweety. I'm glad you liked it so much.

Erik, I put a spell on you. I remember that one. Kind of creepy for sure. I've never heard of Thin White rope. And I only vaguely know the name Nick Cave. I'll have to check out the links you added.

jodi, I don't think I know that one, but White Wedding and Flesh for fantasy have a horror edge to them for sure.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Yeah, Alice Cooper is definitely a top pick. As for creep factor, Marilyn Manson might fit the bill as well.

Barrie said...

This is a good Halloween post. Alice Cooper gets my vote.

Charles Gramlich said...

JR, when I first heard Marilyn Manson's version of Sweet Dreams it evoked some of the same feelings I had listening to Alice as a teenager so I definitely agree on the creep factor.

Barrie, he's an orginator, definitely.

none the less said...

Charles you have great taste in music. That was one of the first things I noted of you when I originally checked out your blog.

I am a huge Sabbath fan. Amazing band.
Alice Cooper....
That guy , to this day , just a truly unique and outwardly intelligent fellow. I admire him quite a lot , and in recent years his Radio show work has been nothing short of outstanding.

It always such a breath of fresh air to check out your blog Charles.

Thanks.

Rick said...

I didn't even know Alice Cooper was still alive. If he is, doesn't that make him the oldest person on the planet after Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones?

Miladysa said...

Black Sabbath definitely :)

I LOVE Lullaby by The Cure - I listen to it when I am writing RoYds - it gets me in the mood LOL
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEx7pkmFc6s

I also like What's a Girl to Do by Bat for Lashes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1wnOUH2jk8

Neither of them are in the heavy metal hell league but they are both atmospheric in their own way :)

Charles Gramlich said...

none the less, yes, Alice really gave the lie to the stereotype that all metal hard rock folks are dumb. He's very articulate and intelligent.

Rick, not only is he alive but he's still decapitating himself on stage. Apparently a life of excess has agreed with him.

Miladysa, I will have to check out the link. I like atmospheric stuff pretty well, even if it's not truly heavy.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Charles,

Got to love the Warren Zevon song, but I agree not terribly creepy. His love songs, however, tend to be pretty spooky. Always loved Alice Cooper. I'd vote for welcome to my nightmare!

Mary Witzl said...

What about that song that goes, "Hey there, Little Red Riding Hood?" That was pretty spooky... failing that, I'd pick any of your choices here.

Charles Gramlich said...

Michelle, lots of love songs are kind of creepy. Consider Love Hurts. that one's creepy for sure.

Mary, yes, I like that song. I hadn't thought of that in ages.

bandit said...

Belatedly, "Sweet Leaf", Black Sabbath could be included. I know, not "dead on" the theme, but lovely riffs.

Charles Gramlich said...

Bandit, sweet leaf is a sweet tune if you will. So much good stuff in their music though.