Picking the top Halloween tunes is not as easy as it sounds.
An informal survey of classic Halloween songs reveals predictable disparity in musical taste.
Well-known heavy metal classics and artists like Ozzy Ozbourne, Alice Cooper or Gene Simmons have a passionate following, but may appeal only to specific demographics.
So, with the broadest appeal possible as the primary criterion, here are the top five feel-good, crowd-pleasing, upbeat, time-honored and easy listening Halloween tunes:
5. Frankenstein. 1973. From the album, ‘They Only Come Out at Night.’ By Edgar Winter Group. This instrumental has 70’s sci-fi sound effects woven into a hard-driving melody that spins along despite being outcast, mismatched and weird. The synthesizer gets a creative work-out. And while this song is enjoying increased radio time right now, it’s really good all year; Frankenstein made #7 on Rolling Stone’s list of the Twenty-Five Best Rock Instrumentals.
4. Werewolves of London. 1978. From the album, ‘Excitable Boy.’ By Warren Zevon. This easy, almost folksy tune is hard not to hum the rest of the day. The funky, twangy piano speaks to flirty Friday nights and multi-generational dance floors.
3. Ghostbusters. 1984. The theme song for the film, ‘Ghostbusters.’ By Ray Parker, Jr. Another tune that sticks in your head all day, this promotional-style song has a celebratory attitude with celebrity status. If you only hear it once a year at Halloween, you can fall in love with Harold Ramis all over again.
2. Monster Mash. 1962. By Bobby (Boris) Picket. From the album, ‘The Original Monster Mash.’ The oldest of the Halloween classics, this one’s playful and 60’s spooky. A Halloween favorite for over 50 years, it’s rock-solid (like weathered granite), with an appeal similar to an old Addams’ Family rerun.
1. Thriller. 1983. By Michael Jackson. From the album, ‘Thriller.’ This top Halloween classic has sharp disco rhythm, real spooky sound effects and a Vincent Price voice-over. It sounds even better, once you brave watching the video.
But be warned: while the song Thriller alone is an easy favorite amongst the kid set, the video is too intense for many youngsters. Listen/watch Thriller here.
Bonus track: Boris the Spider. 1966. The Who. From the album, ‘A Quick One.’ As weird as it is - this tune crawls into your musical memory and spins a web there.
Have any other crowd-pleasing Halloween favorites you'd like to share? Leave a comment below.
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