With Halloween a little over a week away, party planners rush to make last minute acquisitions to make their shindig perfect. Decorations must be hung, food and candy distributed, and, of course, no Halloween party is complete without some music to get in the spirit of the season. While Halloween does not have the same massive musical outpouring that Christmas does, there are some time-tested classics that should be added to any seasonal playlist.
5. Time Warp – 1973, Rocky Horror Show: There is no better way to get the party-goers moving than putting on this number. A classic song from the cult-classic Rocky Horror Picture Show, Time Warp teaches the listener how to “Do the Time Warp” with a catchy tune and just the hint of something sinister behind it. While the lyrics do instruct how to do the accompanying dance, they also mention a descent into madness and “a snake of a guy with devil eyes.”
4. Werewolves of London – 1978, Warren Zevon: The song has been covered by numerous artists, but no one can perform this absurd hit like the original singer. Werewolves of London easily has the best opening lyrics on the list, discussing the connection between the mythical beast and its love for Chinese food. A fun party game would be to see how many people can resist joining Mr. Zevon in the telltale werewolf howl spread throughout the tune.
3. Ghostbusters – 1984, Ray Parker, Jr.: The theme song of the film by the same name, Ghostbusters has been a staple of Halloween music since the beginning. One can not go through October without hearing the catchy, pop beat at least once. Parker Jr. did such an excellent job with the pseudo-commercialized jingle that it earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Song in the 57th Academy Awards. Just watch out for any oversized baked goods that may be terrorizing the city and don’t cross the streams.
2. Monster Mash – 1962, Bobby “Boris” Pickett: One of the few songs that was specifically made for Halloween, rather than simply adopted by the holiday, Monster Mash references all of the classic movie horrors, from the Wolf-man to Frankenstein to Dracula and his son. Though the lyrics claim the dance is simply a variation of the “Transylvanian Twist,” the Monster Mash was actually heavily influenced by the Mashed Potato dance craze popular at the time.
1. Thriller – 1983, Michael Jackson: The undisputed No. 1 Halloween song, the “King of Pop” proved to be the King of Halloween when he released Thriller in the early 1980’s. The funky, deep bassline of the song, interspersed with various creepy sound effects, like doors slamming or dogs howling, make it the perfect song to get the party into full-swing. The 14-minute music video, which shows off Jackson’s unique chorographical skills, will have party-goers shuffling like zombies throughout the night. Horror buffs will also recognize the voice of horror movie legend Vincent Price among the lyrics.
Honorable mention: A Nightmare On My Street – 1987, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince: Not quite good enough to make the Top 5, this horror rap tells the story of The Fresh Price’s encounter with Freddy Krueger, the villain from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. However, the real horror came later, as the use of the character got the rap group in a bit of hot water, after they were sued by New Line Cinema for copyright infringement.
Opinion by Jonathan Gardner