In 1956 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.  He later joined a band and eventually became a solo performer delivering 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” — sorry Ozzy and Alice Cooper – he way beat you to the punch!  (Born 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio and passed on in 2000).

While I Put a Spell on You is my favorite Halloween song of all time, the scariest song I know is the 1970 D.O.A. by Bloodrock, a lurid tale about an airplane crash.

Vanilla Fudge’s haunting and wailing version of “Season of the Witch” still sends a chill down my spine, and the Fifth Estate’s Ding Dong the Witch is Dead can still make me laugh.

Ghost Riders in the Sky, a lost country hit by Johnny Cash and then The Outlaws give us a lyrical story perfect for the season.

Edgar Winter’s Frankenstein was pure instrumental, but the opening riffs are sure to flash images of the clunky Frankenstein monster escaping from the creepy castle.

So don’t be ‘fraid of no ghosts or fear the reaper.  Run away from all the werewolves of London and evil women, then get your “spook on” as you open the creaky 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 Pharaohs (’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 the Sandman – Metallica (’91)

Load them into your favorite devices or check them out on You Tube – some of the videos are just plain fun!  HAPPY ROCKIN’ HALLOWEEN!


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