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This Is Halloween: 13 Essential Rock Songs for Your Fright Night Party Playlist

October 18, 2016

1. "Monster Mash"- The Misfits

 

This one’s a no-brainer— everyone loves doing the Monster Mash!

 

The classic by Bobby Boris Pickett is always a hit, but there are many other versions available because the song has been covered by a number of artists over the years.  The best version, for my money, is this fun and energizing riff on the archetype.

 

And no Halloween playlist could ever be considered complete without at least one song from the Horror-Punk Icons.    

   

 

 

2. "Highway to Hell"- AC/DC

 

Another classic! This one grabs you from the first crunch of Angus Young’s distorted guitar:

 

Da-Da-Da…Da-Da-Da… Da-Da-Da-Da-Da-Da-da-Da-Da

 

Then when the chorus kicks in everyone will be singing, “I’m on the highway to hell!”

 

 

 

3. "Don’t Fear the Reaper"- Gus Black

 

I know… I know… the Will Ferrell cowbell thing from SNL puts a smile on your face as soon as you see this one, but this is a must.

 

The original from Blue Oyster Cult was dark and brooding, perfect on the soundtrack of John Carpenter’s Halloween in 1978.

 

Gus Black’s version took the song into the 90s and was equally dark and brooding (if not even more so) on the Scream soundtrack.    

 

Either version should be on your Halloween playlist, but they’re different enough that you could probably sneak them both on there.

 

 

 

4. "Sisters of the Moon"- Fleetwood Mac

 

Speaking of dark and brooding…. This is Fleetwood Mac at their best.

 

After hearing this one you’ll see why rumors that Stevie Nicks is a witch exist.

 

 

 

5. "A Forest"- The Cure

 

This song features the signature sound of this classic goth-rock band.

 

There are many Cure songs that would work on a Halloween playlist, but Robert Smith’s vocals and lyrics on this one are haunting:

 

“I’m lost in a forest. All alone.”

 

What’s more frightening than that? Perfect for Halloween.

 

 

 

6. "Pet Semetary"- Ramones

 

This classic Ramones song was recorded for the movie version of Stephen King’s book of the same title.

 

This song is equal parts: creepy and sad, just like Stephen King’s story… and it’s the Ramones!  

 

 

 

7. "Deadman’s Party"- Oingo Boingo

 

This song by the new wave band is fun and dark (and I got to write Oingo Boingo). 

 

Imagine that, a song written by Danny Elfman being fun and dark? That’s right, that Danny Elfman –the one who collaborates with Tim Burton all the time— was in Oingo Boingo.

 

 

 

8. "Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)"- Concrete Blonde

 

“There’s a crack in the mirror and a bloodstain on the bed.”

 

Enough said.

 

 

 

9. "Zombie"- The Cranberries

 

Great bass-line! You get to yell “Zah-omb-eee” throughout the chorus!

Perfect for fans of, “The Walking Dead.”

 

 

 

10. "Psycho Killer"- Talking Heads

 

The title says it all, right? This is yet another fun and dark song for our Halloween playlist.

 

“better run, run, run, run, run, run, run, away.”

 

 

 

11. "Dead Souls"- Nine Inch Nails

 

Once again, either version of this song works for the playlist.

 

Trent Reznor’s take on the evocative Joy Division original. The NIN cover was just one of many great songs featured on the soundtrack of The Crow

 

 

 

12. "This Is Halloween"- Marilyn Manson

 

Another Danny Elfman song, this one’s from Tim Burton’s, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

 

This version by shock-rocker, Marilyn Manson, ups the creep-level and transforms the musical number into a true Halloween rock song.  

 

 

 

13. "Thirteen"- Johnny Cash

 

You may not think of Johnny Cash for a Rock Playlist, but this song was written for Johnny by Misfit, Samhain, and Danzig founder, Glenn Danzig. I guess you could say it’s from one man in black for The Man in Black-- and Johnny Cash is everything Rock is supposed to be.

 

Danzig recorded his own version much later, and it is more of rock version (which can be heard at the opening of The Hangover), but Johnny’s acoustic take, with his commanding baritone, is perfect for a Halloween playlist.

 

 

 

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