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5 Songs To Get You In The Mood For Halloween

Every good party, event, or holiday needs a great soundtrack to go along with it.  Admittedly, my knowledge of music doesn't go that deep, but I do know a good tune when I hear one.  

Halloween music is pretty subjective.  Spooky-sounding lyrics (Fresh Prince's A Nightmare on my Street) or a devilish theme (AC/DC's Hells Bells) are good enough for some people, while others insist it must include Halloween in the song.  Perhaps it's just a song featured in a Halloween movie or played at a party we've attended that makes us think of the holiday.

Let's take a look at (and listen to) 5 songs that I would recommend to help get you in the mood for the rapidly approaching Halloween season!  

1.  "Thriller" by Michael Jackson - 1983

A pretty obvious choice, no?  Definitely, Thriller is one of "The King of Pop's" biggest hits ever.  The music video for Thriller is probably better known than the song itself.  Spawning a dance craze across the nation and influencing pop culture and film for years to come, this Jon Landis (American Werewolf in London) directed video features Michael Jackson dancing with a horde of zombies and other ghoulies.  

The video premiered on MTV on December 2, 1983, to much anticipation.  Sales of the song doubled and sold over a million copies of the video on VHS.  It is credited for transforming music videos into a serious art form with several elements having lasting effects on popular culture, such as the zombie dance and his signature red jacket.  In 2009, the Library of Congress described it as "the most famous music video of all time."  Thriller also became the first music video inducted into The National Film Registry, being recognized as "culturally, historically, and aesthetically" significant.  

2.  "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon - 1978

Werewolves are spooky, right?  So, while this is not directly about Halloween, if you listen to the lyrics, you'll hear several mysterious things to get you excited for Halloween.  The lyrics of the song mention Lon Chaney and his son Lon Chaney, Jr.  Lon Chaney is most known as one of the original Hollywood monsters, starring in the 1925 classic "Phantom of the Opera."  Lon, Jr. is, appropriately, best known for his role in the 1941 monster movie "The Wolfman," and the Wolfman's various crossover films in the Universal Monsters franchises.  

PS - I dare you to not sing along with this one.  Ah-woooooooooooo! 

3.  "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker, Jr. - 1984  

There's probably no nostalgia nerd reading this that didn't rock out to this song when they were younger.  A large Ghostbusters fan myself, I've always loved this song.  Recently, it was on the radio in the car, and there was just something about blasting this song while driving down the road that makes it, and the memories from childhood, so special.  

Lindsay Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac) previously turned down the opportunity to create the "Ghostbusters" theme song.  After being successful with "Holiday Road" on Harold Ramis' "National Lampoon's Vacation," Buckingham feared he would be labeled a soundtrack artist, so producers turned to Ray Parker, Jr.  Given just days to create the song, Ray Parker, Jr. credits a late night television commercial that featured a jingle for a fictional business as the inspiration for this classic song.  

The theme song alone is estimated to have contributed over $20 million to the film's box office ticket sales.

4.  "I Put a Spell on You" by Bette Middler - 1993

My wife and I were never big Hocus Pocus fans growing up.  I remember watching it once, likely on The Disney Channel shortly after the film debuted, and not caring much for it.  A year or so ago, we sat down to watch it again during FreeForm's 31 Days of Halloween and fell in love.  It's a must-watch for us and is already recorded on our DVR, waiting for enough free time to sit and enjoy it.  

"I Put a Spell on You" is a 1956 song written and composed by Jalacy "Screamin' Jay" Hawkins, whose own version of the song was selected as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.  The song has since been covered time and time again. While the term "casting a spell" relates to the witches and sorcery of Halloween, it wasn't until 1993's Hocus Pocus, and Bette Middler came along that it became a popular holiday tune.

5.  "Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett - 1962

Of course, what list of Halloween songs would be complete without the classic Monster Mash?  The Monster Mash hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week of October 20-27 in 1962 and has been a perennial holiday favorite ever since.

Narrated by a mad scientist whose monster, late one evening, performs a new dance.  The name implies it is inspired by the Mashed Potato, a popular dance from the 60s.  The dance goes viral when the scientist throws a party for the other monsters, including horror film icons like The Wolfman, Igor, and Count Dracula.  

Pickett narrated the song using an accent similar to Frankenstein legend Boris Karloff.  He also impersonated fellow horror film actor Bela Lugosi's Count Dracula with the line about the "Transylvania Twist."  The scientist explains that the Twist was replaced by the Monster Mash, and Count Dracula joins the "Crypt-Kicker Five" backup band.