Top Seventeen Post Halloween Songs

Not all of these are season specific. Some just allude to the creepiness that surrounds the holiday. I tried to stay away from Misfits songs and the other obvious choices, but Danzig creeps in with Samhain, and I could not resist giving credit to some of the other obvious suspects. I attempted to choose songs that were lesser known by some acts, but those like Eddie Noack's "Psycho" and Screaming Lord Sutch's "Murder in the Graveyard" are iconic. The mix is slightly schizophrenic; like the holiday it jumps in mood and sound. Old school country intermixes with rockabilly, rock 'n' roll, and pop punk. Horrific scenes intersperse with fun. It's a carnival ride with slight time for pause.

1. Screaming Lord Sutch -- "Murder in the Graveyard" -- One of my all time favorite tunes from the Lord. You really can't go wrong with any of the low budget collections that collect his "hits." A perfect basher for any and all Halloween parties.

2. Zacherley -- "Dinner With Drac" The country's all time greatest, and heavily contested, Horror Host, Zacherley brings the right surfiness to the party. A thin guitar surfily blazes like an undercooked Sonics, and Zach talks over the top. His rhymes are wry, cheesy and groan-worthy, yet the whole sloppy mix works.

3. The Cramps -- "I Ain't Nothing But a Gorehound" The psychobilly/rockabilly trash that you expect. Herschell Gordon Lewis would be proud of the Cramps' utter worship of his cinematic gore-filled sleaze.

4. Samhain -- "Archangel" Not often considered the greatest Samhain song, but one that deserves reconsideration, "Archangel" feels overproduced, yet is still murky as all hell. Danzig sings cleanly over music that sounds like it was recorded in an echo chamber (were they in a crypt?), interspersed with just capable musicianship. Yet the track is a winner due to his inspired performance. All of Samhain's albums are required Halloween listening, but Initium might be the best. Could you imagine what this song would sound like if Danzig recorded it with John Christ and Chuck Biscuits?

5. Eddie Noack -- "Psycho" Country weeping and demented killers could not make better bedfellows. His straightforward reading of Leon Payne's serial killer song borders on the edge of tedium. Even as the singer calmly lists off his killings, we veer steadily towards insanity with each verse.

6. The Mr. T Experience -- "Deep, Deep Down" One of the more upbeat songs on this mix. I never thought of this song as much more than another patented "song about a girl" in the band's pop punk arsenal. Yet the song's lyrics hint that there might be more than meets the eye. Is it a song about unrequited love, murder, death, necrophilia? Either way, it rocks.

7. T.S.O.L. -- "Code Blue" An obvious choice, yet so much better than "Black No. 1." Anthemic, charging, jockish hardcore from T.S.O.L's first full-length before they went goth or metal. One of the best songs about sneaking into the tomb for a midnight snack.

8. 45 Grave -- "Party Time" Creepy goth punk about murder. Don't let the title of the song fool you. This one ain't happy.

9.  Red Sovine -- "Phantom 309" The "Vanishing Hitchhiker" tale revisited as a trucker song. Sovine's talky delivery contrasts nicely with the ghostly tale he tells. He inverts the common tale where the driver picks up a hitchhiker only to find out she is a ghost. In this case, Big Joe, the trucker, is the ghost.

10. Camper Van Beethoven -- "Axe Murderer Song" Camper Van Beethoven visits every folkloric and horror movie trope in this song. From teenagers killed after sex to deformed killers, it is a great ride.

11. Big Black -- "Jordan, Minnesota" The drum machine squall and metallic percussion always make Big Black sound creepy and strange. Steve Albini turns it up yet another notch by taking the role of killers, rapists, etc. Is it for shock? The man sounds unhinged as he sings this song about alleged molestation from the viewpoint of the molesters.








12. Gun Club -- "Ghost on the Highway" Another murder ballad about a traveling murderer. Jeffrey Lee Pierce's vocals capture the bluesy feel of the losing life on the road, while the band rages through one of its tightest numbers.

13. John Leyton - "Johnny Remember Me" Covered years later by the Meteors as raging psychobilly, the original still packs a punch. The female backup vocals echo the winds in the hidden dales and autumn trees as you drive your car through the misty back roads. She will always be calling Johnny as the martial drums accompany the somber wails.

14. Dead Boys -- "Son of Sam" One of the few Dead Boys songs that focuses on death more than sex. The Dead Boys don't romanticize David Berkowitz; they just tell his story with a little bit of embellishment. I debated over including this or "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" by the Adverts. I wanted to stay away from an all serial killer mix. Otherwise I would have included "Jack the Ripper" by Screaming Lord Sutch and the list would go on.

15. Two Gallants -- "Crow Jane" This one is bluesy and traditional like most of Two Gallants' early work. Yet it is not the traditional song, "Crow Jane," but one of the bands' originals. Building slowly from the beginning, this tale of murder and tragedy still ends with the protagonist "running from the sheriff's rope."

16. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds -- "The Curse of Millhaven" Another murder ballad from Nick Cave's album of the same name. Schizophrenic and dark, it relates the tale of a 15 year old killer and their laundry list of murders because "all god's children they all gotta die."

 17. Leadbelly -- "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" We end with Leadbelly's classic reading of the traditional folk tune, also known "In the Pines" and "Black Girl." Many will be familiar with Nirvana's cover, but Leadbelly's take is the best.

 

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