The month of October brings to mind changing leaves, the crispness of the cooling evening air, the taste of apples and apple cider, pumpkin patches and, yes, Halloween. Surprisingly, Halloween is a very popular celebration and a great many, good Halloween-themed songs have been written over the years. Some of them actually make you want to get up and start bobbing your head like the apples you can’t seem to grab by your teeth! Here is a cauldron full of certified hits that are simply Halloween gems.
- Monster Mash by Bobby “Boris” Pickett is THE official, first Halloween song and is definitely a “graveyard smash!”
- I Put a Spell on You was written and first sung by Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins. His recording was selected by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as one of 500 songs to shape Rock and Roll. Bette Midler made the song even more famous when she sang it in Disney’s 1993 film, “Hocus Pocus.”
- Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead, written by E. Y. Harburg and composed by Harold Arlen, was the centerpiece of several individual songs performed in extended set pieces by Dorothy, the Munchkins, and Glenda the Good Witch in the film, “The Wizard of Oz.” Ella Fitzgerald actually sang this song on her 1961 album, “Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Harold Arlen Songbook.” It was a hit!
- Ghostbusters is the theme song for the movie of the same name that starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson. Written by Ray Parker, Jr., the song debuted in June of 1984 at No. 68 on the billboard charts but soared to the No. 1 spot by August. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song at the 1985 Academy Awards, it lost to Stevie Wonder’s, “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”
- Who doesn’t know the tune to The Addams Family Theme song? This catchy tune written by famed Hollywood film and television composer, Vic Mizzy, stands out due to the melodic notes from the harpsichord and the finger-snap percussive accompaniment.
- Purple People Eater, written and performed by Sheb Wooley, is a novelty song first rejected by MGM Records executives. They soon changed their minds and decided to produce the record after seeing 50 employees a day listening and enjoying the tune at lunchtime demonstrating the song’s appeal to a wide audience of listeners.
By Diana Blidy