Almost Halloween — time to harvest those beautiful dark songs



Peter Murphy is coming to get you.

I’ve loved Halloween ever since I can remember. I think I enjoy it even more than Christmas. There’s something about the creativity and imagination it inspires. I also get a kick out of that little chill that comes from being scared of something you don’t really have to be afraid of. It’s cathartic I think.

Thinking back on Halloween makes me feel like a kid again, when I guessed the number of pumpkin seeds in a jar and won a jack-o-lantern at school, went trick-or-treating dressed as a pirate, came home and ate candied apples, went through the haunted house and felt the dead man’s eyes and guts (grapes and macaroni). Plastic vampire teeth and those little wax harmonicas that used to drive my dad batty. Sitting in the dark with my best friend and a flashlight, telling ghost stories.

Now that I’ve grown up it isn’t quite the same of course. I don’t dress up as anything for Halloween (although last year, I put on skull make-up for El Dia De Los Muertes for a parade in Austin). I mainly just get in the mood by playing awesome songs, and maybe that’s what I like best about Halloween when you get down to it: There are a lot of really cool scary songs. It seems to bring out the best in so many musicians.

Here are some videos for Halloween, things I really like. No “Monster Mash” here. I like things a little darker than that.

And just for good measure, a list of Halloween favorites (Let’s see your list of scary songs):

The Legendary Pink Dots  – “Hellsville,” “Needles (Version Sirius)” and many more…

Meat Beat Manifesto – “She’s Unreal,” “Oblivion/Humans.”

Doleful Lions – “The Rats are Coming, the Werewolves are Here”

Handsome Family – “When that Helicopter Comes,” “So Much Wine.”

Bauhaus – “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” “The Dog’s a Vapour.”

Concrete Blonde – “Bloodletting (The Vampire Song),” “Jonestown.”

Elysian Fields – “Hearts are Open Graves,” “Rope of Weeds,” “Queen of the Meadow,” and a lot more…

Tones on Tail – “Burning Skies,” “Movement of Fear.”

Peter Murphy – “Funtime”

The Shroud – “The Passion of Lovers is for Death” (Bauhaus cover–I like this version better)

NWA – “Natural Born Killaz”

The Cure – “Lullaby,” “Hanging Gardens,” “Other Voices.”

The Smithereens – “Blood and Roses”

Alan Parsons Project – “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and basically the entire Tales of Mystery and Imagination album

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Almost Halloween — time to harvest those beautiful dark songs

  1. Hey I wrote that song “The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here!” so thanks for putting it on the list. I have been checking music blogs today to let people know that we have a new EP out now called Halloween Is Coming, you can download it for free on Sound Cloud, Our new LP will be out on Halloween called Let’s Break Bobby Beausoleil Out Of Prison.
    Jonathan Scott

  2. Pingback: Doleful Lions put indie spin on Halloween « The MusicMissionary

  3. Pingback: Top 5 songs about death « The MusicMissionary

  4. Great taste in music, I only stumbled upon this today checking out who had tags for Hollow Hills. Better late than never 😉

  5. Uriel J. Garcia

    Hello musicmissionary!
    I stumbled on your blog seeing what people had to say about Bloodletting (The Vampire Song), and something caught my attention as I went down your list– Alan Parsons Project. Until today I have never heard of Alan Parsons Project, but now I’m glad I have. The reason I’m happy I found this post is, because I’m always on the look out for musicians that have been inspired by literature. It would be really helpful if you could direct me to articles explaining why the band dedicate a whole album to Edgar Allan Poe. Thanks :)!

    • Hey, I’m glad you found it. That’s one of my favorite albums. One of the first CDs I bought when the format came out. I did a bit of Googling and I didn’t really find any articles that do the album justice. I saw a number of lukewarm reviews that criticize the album for “not truly capturing the macabre spirit” of Poe’s tales. I think that’s irrelevant. The album and the book are two different things. I still love both.
      The best thing I’ve read about how the album came about was in the CD booklet in the version that Parsons re-engineered for the 1987. Not sure if that’s available online, but it’s worth looking for. Seems like it dealt more with the technical challenges, but I thought it was pretty interesting.

      As to WHY they did it… It was ’70s progressive rock. Pretty typical of the kind of thing some rock ‘n’ rollers were doing back then – making concept albums like Rush’s 2112. There was a double-album version of War of the Worlds. A lot of these bands had literary references in their songs. Also, somebody had to do it. Poe is awesome. 🙂

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