Thriller: Top 8 Halloween Tracks

It’s about time we had another special playlist for you all, so here are our Top 8 Halloween tracks on The Rockhaq Community!

Ghosts, zombies, murder, blood, death and many other unpalatable things have inspired some killer (fnar!) tunes over the decades. Who are we to hide this weird stuff from you? We’ll be the first to acknowledge and celebrate it here in our very own Top 8 Halloween tracks. You will need a strong stomach for some of it. Don’t say we didn’t warn you….

Number 8: The Horrors – Sheena Is A Parasite

8. The Horrors – Sheena Is A Parasite, 2006

Before The Horrors became the saviours du jour of modern British post-punk, they were young emo-goth types with a fondness for spasmodic electro punk. Their debut single was the smash-hit Sheena Is A Parasite. Although not strictly scary on the lyric front, the song teamed with it’s Chris Cunningham-directed video featuring Samantha Morton as Sheena is pant-wettingly terrifying. If you’re scared of The Exorcist and poltergeists, we would advise you give this one a wide berth.

Number 7: The Doors – People Are Strange

7. The Doors – People Are Strange, 1967

This tune enjoyed a resurgence in the 1980’s thanks to a cover version by Echo & The Bunnymen featuring on the awesome Lost Boys film soundtrack. If you want to know what vampires did in cinema way before the sanitised, stupidly hot incarnations you see on the Twilight franchise, look it up! The Doors and Jim Morrison in particular, make this eerie tune delightfully trippy, subtle and sinister.

Number 6: The White Stripes – Jack The Ripper (live)

6. The White Stripes – Jack The Ripper (live), 2004

Although this is a cover version of Screaming Lord Sutch’s original song from 1963, The White Stripes knock seven shades of hell out of Jack The Ripper. Screaming guitar riffs, thundering drums and Jack White’s stuttering staccato all combine to imbue this with a frenetic, primal, terrifying energy. Simply unparalleled.

Number 5: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Put A Spell On You

5. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Put A Spell On You, 1956

When it comes to terrifying performers, the king of scariness this Halloween has to be Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. His iconic song I Put A Spell On You becomes legendary thanks to his unique vocals, which oscillate between a weird bellowing, soulful crooning, operatic histrionics and outright screaming. He looks and sounds possessed; a thrilling spectacle for Halloween.

Number 4: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand

4. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand, 1994

The God of ghoulish storytelling, Nick Cave, makes our Top 8 Halloween tracks with the killer blues number, Red Right Hand. Cave crafts genius lyrics throughout, weaving a tale of a sinister shadowy father figure, with an (implied) murderous streak. The Bad Seeds are equally on form, creating foreboding and mystery with pacing and minimal use of instruments. Fabulous!

Number 3: The White Stripes – St James Infirmary Blues

3. The White Stripes – St James Infirmary Blues, 1999

Yes, The ‘Stripes make our Top 8 Halloween tracks playlist twice! The horror. Is it deserved? We think so. Like Cave, Jack White is blessed with a gift for storytelling, although in this case we are dealing with another cover. St James Infirmary Blues was originally recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1929, although the song itself has a long history and can be traced back to a bawdy British 19th century folk song called The Unfortunate Rake. The narrator tells the story of death, from his lover, to that of his own. White’s rather liberated falsetto gives it a creepy undertone. Check it.

Number 2: Michael Jackson – Thriller

2. Michael Jackson – Thriller, 1982

Some people might be mad that this didn’t make our number one spot. Take us back to the 1980’s though and it definitely would have been. Michael Jackson’s Hollywood meets Zombie spectacular was a seminal event, both for the history of music videos, and for solo singers. It propelled Jackson to an entirely new level of superstardom. Thriller isn’t just for Halloween, or for the 1980’s, it’s an all-time epic. Featuring zombies, werewolves, ghouls and even Vincent Price, this is bitchin’.

Number 1: The Specials – Ghost Town

1. The Specials – Ghost Town, 1981

Why are an obscure British ska band at number one in our Top 8 Halloween tracks? Because like Michael Jackson’s Thriller, The Specials Ghost Town is not just about Halloween. Ghost Town is the voice of a broken, violent Britain, a forgotten generation of marginalised and unemployed in Thatcher’s England. The song was released around the time of the 1981 riots and has become forever known as a biting piece of social commentary. The picture the audience gets of impending doom was one that was reflected internally in the band too, as this was the last track The Specials recorded as their original lineup. A crying shame.

Do you think we missed any other Halloween songs, or do you agree with our choices? Let us know!