Twisted tunes about Beasts, Enchantments and Creeps to play while Trick-or-Treating
I can’t believe I’m already saying Happy Halloween! It feels like the summer season just ended, and we’re already looking at Christmas decorations in Walmart. While the weather sure has felt like summer wasn’t too far away, the temperature has steeply dropped just in time for a chilly Halloween; how spooky! To fit the holiday mood last year, I shared with you with my favorite songs that simply gave a creepy vibe. This year, I would like to talk about my favorite songs about the specific monsters, creepers and enchantments that scare you into looking in all directions while walking through the darkness this Halloween evening.
“Furry Happy Monsters”
Off the album: Songs from the Street: 35 Years of Music (2003)
Don’t worry, I did the same thing. You read the title in your head and you can even hear it being sung by vocalist Michael Stipe, but when did R.E.M. write a song called “Furry Happy Monsters?” A parody of R.E.M.’s “Shiny Happy People” (cue every reader saying “Ohhh!” as your mind was just blown), the band recorded this song on the set of Sesame Street for an episode way back in 1991. The tune is immortalized in Sesame Street’s official soundtrack, which includes classics “Rubber Duckie” by Ernie and “Bein’ Green” by Kermit the Frog.
“Eye of the Zombie”
By: John Fogerty
Off the album: Eye of the Zombie (1986)
No tigers here; the eye of this creature is much more menacing (yes, I know that’s a werewolf on the album cover, work with me here). John Fogerty, former frontman of Creedence Clearwater Revival, went on to a solo career after the band broke up in 1972. And while Fogerty’s voice is unmistakable, this song was clearly made in the ‘80s and sounds nothing like the singer, songwriter and guitarist’s former band. Still, it’s a fun song to listen to, especially if you’re in the ‘80s mood, and the album earned Fogerty the award of Best Male Rock Vocal at the 1987 Grammy Awards.
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“Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)”
By: David Bowie
Off the album: Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980)
Keeping the theme of awesome ‘80s songs, this tune tells of a woman who descends into madness because of scary monsters (and super creeps) keeping her on the run. Bowie specifically sang this song in a Cockney (working-class Londoner) accent to accentuate the creepiness tone of the song. This release was a big hit for Bowie, as the song reached #20 in the UK charts and the album was a #1 hit in his homeland.
“I Put a Spell on You”
By: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Off the album: At Home with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (1956)
With a name like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, you better have at least one song on a top Halloween songs list! Interestingly enough, this song is the reason the musician became the theatrical artist he is known for. The song was originally written as a legitimate blues love ballad, but the producer came up with the idea to make the tone more eerie with a commanding demeanor. “Before, I was just a normal blues singer,” said Hawkins in an interview. “I found out I could do more by destroying a song and screaming it to death.” When brought on to the radio show of legendary disc jockey Alan Freed, it was suggested by Freed to Hawkins that he base his live shows on the creepy nature of the song. Hawkins was a huge hit putting on shows dressed in a cape, wearing tusks in his nose, lighting fireworks on stage and having a cigarette-smoking skull named Henry on stage. These, among many other frightful acts of his, were among the first “shock rock” performances, and a major influence to acts such as Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath and Marilyn Manson.
By: Blue Oyster Cult
Off the album: Spectres (1977)
One of Blue Oyster Cult’s most famous songs is more humorous than many of the songs on this list, but it still demonstrates the insane amount of damage a giant angry lizard can do to a city. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics include goofy lines such as “Oh no, there goes Tokyo. Go, go Godzilla!” In the late ‘90s, band members Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma changed the song’s lyrics for their own parody of “Godzilla” called “NoZilla,” after being disappointed that the band’s song wasn’t included in the soundtrack of the 1998 Godzilla film. The parody was about the song “Godzilla” not appearing in the movie Godzilla. Yes, it’s as absurdly hilarious as it sounds.
By: Talking Heads
Off the album: Talking Heads: 77 (1977)
This song was originally written by founding Talking Heads members David Byrne, Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth when they were in their previous band, The Artistics. They later rerecorded it as the Talking Heads for their debut album and “Psycho Killer” became the band’s first big hit. Originally a ballad but turned into a funky new wave song, its lyrics present the inward thoughts of a…psychotic murderer (I know, what a twist!?). Byrne said in an interview that when writing the song, “[he] imagined Alice Cooper doing a Randy Newman-type ballad.” The lyrics in the song’s bridge were written in French and further exemplify the horrific contents of this killer’s mind. For those of you without a French-to-English dictionary, the section goes, “What I did that evening; What she said that evening; Fulfilling my hope; Headlong I go for glory, OK!” Yeah, it’s probably good they didn’t write the most disturbing part of the song in English.