A highway to hell: 13 songs to get ready for Halloween
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Believe it or not, October is more than half-way over and Halloween is right around the corner.
To celebrate, I’ve created a spooky Halloween-themed playlist to get you ready a night filled of candy, horror movies, and of course…dancing.
Without further ado, let’s get started with the King of Pop.
Michael Jackson – Thriller
The gold standard of Halloween-themed music videos, the title track of Jackson’s 1984 Thriller is accompanied by a video that plays out like a short film.
It features a true “date from hell” as Jackson’s date is quickly surrounded by a hoard of zombies…zombies will killer dance moves.
The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil
One of The Rolling Stone’s most popular hits is written from the perspective of the Devil. Back in the 60’s, the band gained heat for the song, but it is meant to highlight the atrocities during the history of mankind.
They reference the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Crusades, the violence of the Russian Revolution and World War II. The song ranked at number 32 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
The Smiths – Cemetry Gates
If you like hanging out in cemetery’s, The Smiths have the perfect song for you.
The lyrics are a hollow take on morality as Morrissey reflects, “All those people, all those lives…where are they now?/ With loves and hates and passions just like mine/ They were born and then they lived and then they died/ Which seems so unfair I want to cry.”
Members of the grammar police will be terrified to find out the song was misspelled on purpose.
Kanye West – Monster
Love him or hate him, it would be a crime worthy of prison time if this song was left off.
“Monster” is the glue that holds 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy together. It has a million great features in it from the likes of Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Nicki Minaj.
Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London
His howl alone is good enough to be included here, 1978’s “Werewolves of London” was one of the last signature piano rock songs of the 70’s as new wave and disco was taking over.
Fun fact, the Grateful Dead would frequently cover this song during their sets from the 70’s-90’s.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll
Every playlist needs a few pump up songs, and this song will keep you dancing well into the witching hour.
“Heads Will Roll” gained further popularity in 2009, when it was remixed by EDM producer A-Trak. Another fun fact, I would get so excited to trick-or-treat during my childhood that I would throw up every year from too much excitement.
Missy Elliot – Get Ur Freak On
If you’re DJ’ing a Halloween party this year, play Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On” to bring out the nostalgia.
The 2001 hit is so iconic that it re-entered the Billboard rankings in 2015 after she performed it during the Super Bowl halftime show. It seems Missy was inspired by M.J., as the video also features dancing zombies.
Talking Heads – Psycho Killer
“Psycho Killer” was one of the new wave tunes nipping at the heels of the aforementioned hit “Werewolves of London” during the late 70’s.
The Talking Heads proved you don’t have to have “Saturday Night Fever” melodies to make people dance during this time. This became the band’s first big hit, despite it being about the inner thoughts of a serial killer.
Wilco – Spiders
There’s nothing wrong with a little indie rock on Halloween. The Chicago rockers’ third song off their equally-spooky sounding album A Ghost is Born helped win them a Grammy for Best Alternative Album.
They played a beautiful rendition of the song when they came to White River earlier this summer. Check out a live video below from the same tour.
AC/DC – Highway to Hell
This compilation wouldn’t mean much if it didn’t feature 1979’s “Highway to Hell.”
The song and album is produced by legendary producer Mutt Lange and was the last one to feature former lead singer Bon Scott. Tragically and full of irony, the song is about his wild life. He died from excessive drinking in 1980.
The Black Keys – Howlin’ For You
The Black Keys are one of the few former independent bands that seamlessly crossed into the mainstream music world without losing a beat.
Their 2010 album, Brothers, was their first project that helped them achieve that, peaking at number 3 on the Billboard 200. Check out the creative video below that’s shot in the style of a movie trailer.
The Cure – Lullaby
This holds the title of the down right spookiest melody on this list. The Cure’s Robert Smith constantly refers to “the Spiderman” as a symbol for his own anxiety and depression.
With his makeup and hair spray, going as the goth prince might be a heck of a Halloween costume. If no one realized who you are, just grab some tin foil and go as Edward Scissorhands.
Fleetwood Mac – Black Magic Woman
Did you know Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” was a Fleetwood Mac original?
Two years before Santana made it popular, former FM lead singer Peter Green wrote it in 1968. Check out a vintage live performance of it below.
Whether you need to get excited for a Halloween party or need some pump up music before you take your kids trick-or-treating, I hope this adds to your night.