On Thursday, I posted my usual reminder about not using Halloween as a time to mock mental illness, even if it is unintended. Last year, to show that I’m not a fully fledged grouch – well, not yet – I thought I should show my ‘fun’ side and approach the ‘celebrations’ from the angle of my other main theme: music. It went tolerably well so I thought I’d edit and update the piece for those who won’t have seen it before.
There have been many songs which could be deemed to relate to the usual manifestations of this time of year, by which I mean monsters, ghosts, zombies, witches and general spookery. Most of these are tongue in cheek, and I’ve managed to avoid stretching the links too far: for example, I considered, but rejected, Time Of The Season by the Zombies. It’s a great song, but even my limited abilities at quality control told me that just using the band’s name was pushing it a bit.
Instead, I chose as my starting point a song which is probably the most popular ever for this time of year. Scoring absolutely no points for originality I give you….
That is the shorter version, which just gives you the song. If you want the complete 13+ minute epic, which is the full cinematic treatment, try this:
My second choice is one that was a hit in my childhood, way back in 1962, and was often played on the Saturday breakfast time radio requests show for kids, Children’s Favourites. This video is a homage to the song: watching it brings back lots of happy memories for me, and it is great fun:
Another obvious choice next. It’s probably worth keeping in mind that you may need to rid yourself of ghosts at some point, so do you know who to call? Do you have their number? Are you afraid? I ain’t:
I went for another oldie next. Perhaps this isn’t obviously a Halloween-related song but, on the theme of monsters, who wouldn’t be frightened by a great big one-eyed thing going around eating people? But it does only seem to have it in for purple people, though, so maybe we’re alright:
Another monster favourite of mine is next up. I know this one is stretching it a bit, too, but I like it and didn’t want to leave it out. And the video is fun:
Time to move on to witchcraft now, I think. This choice is very left-field, and is not really about Halloween at all. But it is very much of its time – late 1960s/early 70s, when prog rock was taking shape and there was a renewed interest in the occult. I had this on one of those sampler albums that some of the record companies issued back then: Bumpers was the album, from Island Records. It always intrigued me, and there is something about the insistent rhythm and chanted chorus that attracts me to it. I love this video that has been put together for the song – so many wonderful images!
Another ‘witch’ song now, from 1971. This was a classic one-hit wonder in the UK, and deserves to be included in my collection even if it doesn’t specifically mention Halloween, as it’s a very good depiction of how ‘witches’ can cast a spell over us: in this case with voodoo and black magic. And it’s still a Halloween favourite after all these years:
They say you should always leave the best till last, so that’s exactly what I’m doing. This is another UK one-hit wonder (no.87 in 1987, on re-release), though his albums fared slightly better: two of them charted. Well, they reached our top 200. He was the writer of incredibly original songs – try Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner if you don’t know what I mean – and was taken from us by inoperable cancer in 2003, far too soon. But his legacy lives on, and there have been countless covers of his songs. My no.1 for Halloween is the great Warren Zevon:
I was born and brought up in Kent and am happy to report that I never encountered that character! But, then again, I’m not called Jim so maybe I’d have been alright anyway?
I hope you managed to find something in this selection to enjoy. Do have a great Halloween, however you spend it. I’ll be hunkered down in my flat, pretending I’m out if anyone comes trick or treating and COVID-spreading, but that’s just me showing my ‘fun’ side, isn’t it?😉