From The Vault: Halloween Oldies

Over the years the airwaves have provided us with a boatload of hits that are appropriate for the Halloween Season at hand. Some are just fun (the Monster Mash) or goofy (Ding Dong the Witch is Dead), others are just downright scary.

So let’s talk some “scary”: Metallica’s Enter Sandman video on YouTube is best not to watch before you go to bed (or if you have a fear of snakes). Bloodrock’s 1970 hit, D.O.A. is a lurid tale about an airplane crash — and it obviously doesn’t end well!

In 1970 the cover of Iron Butterfly’s 4th LP, Metamorphosis creeped me out (but I bought it anyway). The cover features a coffin sliding down steep rocks, plunging into the ocean below – and the coffin lid is coming off! Metamorphosis hit #16 on the U.S. charts. It spun off two, U.S. singles: Stone Believer and Easy Rider (Let the Wind Pay the Way).

In 1966 Donovan wrote and had a hit with his Season of the Witch, a solid psychedelic pop song. But when Vanilla Fudge covered it on their 1968 album, Renaissance, it sent a shiver up my spine. Turn the lights down and listen to this truly eerie version. It starts with a slow, long intro — then the creepy organ music followed by wailing, crying – then “talk” that’s almost seething with pain followed by the quivering voice pleading: “help me.” It’s classic metal rock that’s sure to put a serious chill up your spine.

On the lighter side, in 1956, showman-entertainer Screamin’ Jay Hawkins popped out of his coffin to “put a spell on you” (and millions of others). He was a singer, songwriter, musician and former middleweight boxing champion of Alaska. As a solo performer he delivered powerful and theatrical performances wearing leopard skins, red leather and wild hats. His performances used macabre props and Screamin’ Jay was considered the pioneer of “shock rock” — beating Ozzy and Alice Cooper to the punch! (Hawkins was born 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio and passed on in 2000).

So don’t be ‘fraid of no ghosts or fear the reaper. Run away from all the Werewolves of London and evil women, then open the creaky gate to the moldy oldie vault filled with these blasts from the past:

Headless Horseman – Bing Crosby (’55)

I Put a Spell on You – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (’56)

Witchcraft – Frank Sinatra (’57)

Monster’s Hop – Bert Convy (’58)

Love Potion #9 – The Clovers (’59) The Searchers (’64)

The Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers (’62)

Grim Grinning Ghosts – Buddy Baker (’62)

Beware – Bill Buchanan (’62)

(You’re the) Devil in Disguise – Elvis (’63)

Haunted Castle (instrumental flip side of Louie Louie) – The Kingsmen (’63)

Devil With a Blue Dress – Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels (’66)

Little Red Riding Hood – Sam The Sham and the Pharoahs (’66)

Boris the Spider – The Who (’66)

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead – The Fifth Estate (’67)

Season of the Witch – Vanilla Fudge (’68) and Donovan (’66)

Spooky – Classics IV (’68) and Dusty Springfield (’70)

Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival (’69)

Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum (’70)

Evil Woman (don’t play your games with me) – Crow (’70)

Black Magic Woman – Santana (’70)

Riders on the Storm – The Doors (’71) – a very eerie song

D.O.A. Bloodrock (’71)

Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult (’72)

Frankenstein – Edgar Winter (’73)

Superstition – Stevie Wonder (’73)

Devil Woman – Cliff Richard (’76)

Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon (’78)

Running With the Devil – Van Halen (’78)

The Devil Went Down to Georgia – Charlie Daniels (’79)

Ghost Riders in the Sky – Johnny Cash (’79) The Outlaws (’80)

Highway to Hell – AC/DC (’79)

Thriller – Michael Jackson (’82)

Twilight Zone – Golden Earring (’82)

Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell (’84)

Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr. (’84)

Dead Man’s Party – Oingo Boingo (’85)

Enter Sandman – Metallica (’91)


Load these seasonal classics into your favorite devices or check them out on YouTube — HAPPY ROCKIN’ HALLOWEEN!

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