Halloween is just days away and friends and families across the country are preparing for costume parties, visiting haunted houses, watching scary movies and of course passing out candy to trick-or-treaters.
Goblins, ghosts, witches, super heroes, Big Bird and even a political candidate might be the norm for this year’s Halloween costumes at festivities often accompanied with great music to fit the tradition. Whether driving to work, working out in a gym or entertaining at home, many people will put together a CD with a Halloween-inpsired playlist to help get in the mood for the holiday originally known as All Hallows Eve.
The following is a sampling of songs suitable for the occasion, all of which are on Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 Songs of All Time and available on iTunes and Google Play.
1) Sympathy for the Devil (Top 500 #32) – This highly controversial 1968 song by the Rolling Stones was often quoted as proof that members of this legendary British rock band were Satanists. But Mick Jagger claims the lyrics were about atrocities created by mankind, including the death of Jesus Christ and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
2) Superstition (#73) – “Talking Book”, the landmark Motown album by Stevie Wonder just celebrated its 40th anniversary. A Grammy-awarding album, it contained two of his most popular songs ever – “Superstition” and “You are the Sunshine of My Life”, while solidifying his status as one of the greatest music writers of his era.
3) Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (#102) – Taken from Jimi Hendrix’s third and final album in 1968, Electric Ladyland, the opening and closing guitar sequences are legitimate proof that this ill-fated guitarist was way ahead of his time and why he is often considered to be the greatest rock guitarist of all time.
4) Do You Believe in Magic (#218) – Not many people from the X and Y generation remember John Sebastian and The Loving Spoonful, but they were one of America’s top bands in the mid-60s and members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This magical 1965 song was their first in a string of hits that also included “Daydream” and “Summer in the City.”
5) Moondance (#231) – Werewolves and trick-or-treaters alike can revel in a little moon dance on Halloween in this 1970 song, courtesy of the Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, who’s also penned the equally popular “Brown Eyed Girl.”
6) Highway to Hell (#258) – It seems as though every single song released by the Australian rock band AC/DC was a knock down, drag out, hard rocking song and that’s probably true. But this song is definitely a candidate for their signature song, in addition to being one of their most popular.
7) Wild Thing (#261) – The Troggs is another band that’s not well known with the younger crowd but 1966 hit is definitely one that has endured through the ages and has been covered by a variety of music artists, including Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Springsteen. “Wild Thing” was further immortalized in the 1989 movie “Major League,” with Charlie Sheen, a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians with the crowd-inspiring nickname.
8) Iron Man (#317) – Long before the comic book hero was revitalized with the movie franchise with Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role, Ozzy Osborne and Black Sabbath recorded a buzz saw of a song that’s loosely connected to the original character. This 1970 song, taken from the band’s second album is a shining example of the band’s influence in pioneering heavy metal.
9) I Put a Spell on You – (#320) – This timeless 1956 classic by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins might not be remembered in its original form, but the song has been covered by several well known artists, including Jeff Beck and Josh Stone, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Nina Simone, Creedence Clearwater Revival and even Marilyn Manson.
10) Don’t Feat the Reaper (#405) – This 1976 song, with its familiar opening guitar riff, is Blue Oyster Cult’s signature song. The song has had such a Halloween influence that it has been used in a number of movies, most notably John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher movie, “Halloween.”
Honorable mention goes out to “In the Midnight Hour – #135,” “Rocketman -#245,” “Ziggy Stardust – #282,” “Spirit in the Sky – #341,” and “Beast of Burden” #443.
Some other obvious songs with a Halloween flair didn’t make the Top 500 but still are worthy of mention and well worth including in a playlist, such as “Witchy Woman”, “Monster Mash,” “Boris the Spider,” “Frankenstein,” “Black Sabbath,” “Season of the Witch,” “Dead Man’s Party,” ”Welcome to My Nightmare” and of course, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”