We all mark the changing of the seasons. It’s the indication that time has passed, directions are changed and new starts have begun. For me, that means a new season to declare the change in weather and calendar page. For those who know me, Halloween is my favorite holiday and I make a new mix each year to celebrate the spookiest of seasons. However, what most of my friends don’t know is that Christmas is nearly in a dead-heat tie as my favorite holiday. This is why I make a new holiday mix each year. I’ve been sending out mixes to friends since 2003. It was a good chance to mix what’s old with what’s new.
I decided that a full hour and a quarter was too much to fill with new xmas tunes, so they were peppered throughout a mix of the newest, best songs of that moment. It’s basically a musical time capsule capped off with sweet nostalgia.This year is no different except in the fact that I think the formula has finally been perfected. Usually it was 1-2-1 stack of xmas-indie-xmas songs in repetition, but I think every other track should be a Christmas song. The quality is there on both ends, so this one is the best. The silly naming convention varies a little, but building off of an inside-joke riff from the early 2000′s,I’ve made mixes named for Christmas objects on body parts. Here are the mixes thus far: A Yule Log In My Pants, A Bow On My Elbow, A Wreath On My Teeth, A Stranger In Your Manger, A Tree On My Knee, A Reindeer On My Ear, A Sled On My Head and A Candy Cane On My Brain. I realize that I’m running out of body parts that rhyme with Christmas stuff, so it’ll have to change soon. Without further blah-blah-blahing, I give you my best holiday mix yet: A Candy Cane On My Brian 2010. Hope you like it. Enjoy, spread the word, listen and jingle those bells. Download file, uncompress and dump into iTunes: https://files.me.com/robotpain/jix3fd
A Candy Cane On My Brain 2010 Playlist:
- Up On the Housetop - Pomplamoose
- Golden Haze – Wild Nothing
- You’ll Never Find My Christmas – Bishop Allen
- Not In Love – Crystal Castles feat. Robert Smith
- Got Something For You – Best Coast & Wavves
- Take Me Over – Cut Copy
- Snow is Falling – Darker My Love
- On and On – Girl Talk
- Christmas Wrapping – Summer Camp
- Fall in love – A Sunny Day in Glasgow
- Teenage Christmas – Eux Autres
- Christopher Walken On Sunshine – Shawn Lee & Princess Superstar
- F#@% You, Santa! (Cee-Lo Green Vs. Jackson 5) – Voicedude
- You’re A Animal – Jonathan Boulet
- 10,000 Watts - Crystal Antlers
- Kusmi – Minks
- Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – Jack Conte
- I Wanna Be Adored – The Raveonettes
- Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Slow Club
- Search Party – Small Black
- Christmas Lights – Coldplay
- Comin’ Through – The War On Drugs
- The Christmas Waltz – The Boy Least Likely To
- New Theory (Washed Out Cover) – Teen Daze
- Peace On Earth / Little Drummer Boy 2010 – Jack Black & Jason Segel
Okay, the season is in full swing. Haunted houses and spooky attractions are scaring the pants out of thousands every weekend this month. You’ve already picked your pumpkin and placed it near your front door. You’ve RSVP’d for that Halloween party next week. It’s the best time of year for fun and mayhem. My last post, “Halloween Music 101…Part 1” talked about good sources for Halloween music and what my favorite songs are for this time of year. This post is all about making your next Halloween party a killer with great tunes to create a spooky atmosphere.
In my opinion, you need some music to keep the people dancing at your party. You could add songs like Sheb Wooley’s “Purple People Eater” and Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London,” but they just don’t have the throbbing, oozing, bloody heart to make your party pulse with creepy fun. These songs are found on many store-bought Halloween mixes with myriad cover artists doing instrumental renditions or near-perfect replicas of the origina songs, but the soul to make a ghoul rock ‘n roll has been lost. True, these are classics in some regard, but they are old classics. Most of the songs on Halloween party mix CDs are 25+ years old. I think it’s time to make a new Halloween mix to get pulses running.
Here’s a suggested list of songs to throw into your Halloween party mix. In fairness, I’ll post the old classics your Uncle Mort used to Watusi to, but check out the “New Halloween Party Classics” I’ve listed below. Having done this many times, I’ve learned from past mistakes. Nobody wants to hear a Cannibal Corpse throat shredder or a really moody Christian Death song when most people just want to dance after a few drinks. I recommend mixing great Halloween songs with really good danceable songs that are current or at least in the general taste of your party audience.
New Halloween Party Classics:
1. “Party Time” by .45 Grave (from the Return of the Living Dead Soundtrack)
2. “Boogie Man” by White Zombie
3. “Everyday Is Halloween” by TRS-80
4. “This Is Halloween” by Marilyn Manson
5. “Pet Sematary” by The Groovie Ghoulies
6. “I Was A Teenage Ghoul Scout” by Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13
7. “Monster Mash” by Misfits
8. “Now I’m Feeling Zombified” by Alien Sex Fiend
9. “Halloween Theme (Boogieman Hip-Hop Mix)” by Boogie Heights
10. “Surrounded By Werewolves” by DJ Throatslice
11. “Living Dead Girl (Subliminal Seduction Mix)” by Rob Zombie
12. “Satan.Omen.Death” by DJ Schmolli
13. “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Godhead
14. “Wicked Insane Evil Dub” by Tino
15. “Munster Beat!” by Martinibomb & The Coconut Monkeyrocket
16. “Spider Baby” by Fantomas
17. “The Grim Reaper” by The Trojans
18. “Don’t Laugh” by Josh Wink
19. “Diabolik Boogie” by Messer Chups
20. “Halloween” by Girls Under Glass
Old Halloween Party Classics:
1. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson
2. “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Cryptkickers
3. “Witch Doctor” by Sha Na Na
4. “The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley
5. “I Put A Spell On You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
6. “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker, Jr.
7. “A Nightmare On My Street” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
8. “Haunted House” by Jumpin’ Gene Simmons
9. “Doin’ The Zombie” by Chubby Checker
10. “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo
11. “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
12. “Teenage Frankenstein” by Alice Cooper
13. “Werewolves Of Londong” by Warren Zevon
14. “Frankenstein” by Edgar Winter Group
15. “I’m Your Boogie Man” by KC & The Sunshine Band
16. “The Time Warp” by Little Nell
17. “She’s My Witch” by Kip Tyler
18. “Don’t Fear The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult
19. “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell
20. “Super Freak” by Rick James
If these above playlists don’t take you to that special Halloween place, then maybe try downloading some original spooky Halloween records from the 60′s and 70′s. There are various blogs out there that solely dedicate themselves to all things Halloween. I’ve found these to be great resources to fill my Halloween music collection with everything past and present. Keep an eye out for such Halloween classics as “Halloween Starring Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids,” “Monster Mash: Sounds Of Terror,” “Mad Monster Party” and the recently remastered release of Walt Disney’s classic “Chilling, Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House ” exclusively on iTunes.
Solid Halloween blogs:
• Mostly Ghostly Music Sharing Blaaahhhggg!
• Monster Shindig
• Horrophile’s Jukebox
• From The Negative Zone
• CreativeTechs Tips: Classic Halloween Vinyl Records on MP3s
• Scar Stuff
Have fun this Halloween and happy trick-or-treating! Now go work on that Halloween mix so your friends and guests are chilled and thrilled by your new Halloween music.
Autumn has arrived! The leaves are falling. The pumpkins are being picked. The local apothecary has stocked up on bags of candy, masks, and spooky merchandise. A cold brisk wind whips up fallen leaves in the sky like hundreds of spidery gossamers blowing out of an old house attic. A fast-paced walk past an ancient graveyard at dusk makes the heart pound. A tense trek through the local haunted house with friends on the weekend. It’s time to discuss what music is best listened to in October and those spooky moments in between – Halloween music.
A daunting task, yes, but I’ll try to start with what makes good Halloween music. This is highly subjective of course, but I’ll take a stab at it. The topic of All-Hallows Eve is peppered throughout most genres of music, so the collection of tunes is vast and varying. In my opinion, good Halloween music must always set the right mood. Songs that simply mention the word “Halloween,” “Dracula,” “Zombie,” or other spooky words in their title and lyrics don’t really qualify as Halloween songs. The song must have an aura of creepiness, dread, spookiness, or a macabre vibe rather than just sharing a name with something horrific.
Halloween, being an imported holiday from the UK, didn’t really creep into American culture until the early 20th century. Before the 1900’s, spooky soundtracks could be found in the canons of classical music. Some ghostly music can be found in songs like Edvard Grieg’s “In The Hall Of The Mountain King,” J.S. Bach’s “Toccata in D Minor,” Camille Saint-Saën’s “Danse Macabre,” and Modest Moussorgsky’s “Night On Bald Mountain” to name a few.
As Halloween became popular in the United States in the 1940’s and 1950’s music started showing up on vinyl shortly thereafter. These records usually came with wonderfully detailed spooky artwork which is a far cry from the crappy $1.99 Halloween CDs you can find in department stores these days. These LPs had orchestras, a cast of voice actors, and sound effects crews all working on a single album until it felt right or demonstrated a quality effort. It wasn’t just some lame guy on a synthesizer cranking out dime-store knock-offs and cheesy atmospherics with his midi keyboard.
Shortly after Halloween broke into the mainstream, instant Halloween classics were released on LP in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s by Walt Disney, Pickwick Records, BBC Records, Boris Karloff, Alfred Hitchcock, Power Records, Scholastic Records, Madacy Entertainment, Frankie Stein & His Ghouls, The Munsters, Zacherley, Spike Jones, Vincent Price, and Bobby “Boris” Pickett.
One LP in particular has been my favorite since childhood – “Walt Disney’s Chilling, Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House.” The female narrator, Laura Olsher, on Side A, has a great storytelling voice and the Disney foley artists created amazing ghosts, cats, thunder and lightning to accompany the spooky stories. Two other great Disney Halloween albums were “The Haunted Mansion” and “The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow” which contains the song “The Headless Horseman” sung by none other than Tony the Tiger himself, Thurl Ravenscroft.
Once the big hitters slowed down LP production in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the next phase of Halloween music came in waves of soundtracks and scores on cassette and CD. Soundtracks to all the horror movies from the 80’s to present day, like “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “The Exorcist,” “Scream,” “Resident Evil,” “Saw,” and others paved the way for a terrifying new look at things that go bump in the night. The true pioneers in scary movie soundtracks in my opinion were: Mike Oldfield, Harry Manfredini, Dario Argento, Bernard Hermann, Lalo Schifrin, Fred Molin, John Carpenter, Danny Elfman, Christopher Young, Charlie Clouser, Tyler Bates, and Marco Beltrami.
Currently, there aren’t a whole lot of Halloween related albums coming out these days save for new TV and movie soundtracks with marketing-friendly bands and music labels with sales goals and pre-packaged audiences to buy them. However, you can pilfer your local record store and the Internet for enough tunes to fill a grave. If you’re looking for old LPs that have been out of print or gone the way of the ghost, check out ebay.com. Keep an eye out for classic LPs like the kitschy “Halloween Starring Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids,” the morbid “The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow,” and Disney’s “The Haunted Mansion” featuring a young Ron Howard just before his “Happy Days.”
If you’re into mainstream classics, I’m sure you’re familiar with albums like “Drew’s Famous Ultimate Halloween Party” music. These types of mixes are bland, but do contain the basic Halloween standards like Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters,” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins “I Put A Spell On You,” Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves Of London.” Less commercial but quality compilations include: “Halloween Hootenanny,” “These Ghoulish Things,” “Horror Pop,” “Chiller,” “Fright Night,” “Just Can’t Get Enough: New Wave Halloween,” “Dr. Demento Presents: Spooky Tunes & Scary Melodies,” “Halloween Horrors,” “Halloween Spooktacular,” and “Monster Bop.”
If you want surf rock horror pop, try: “The Bomboras,” “The Legendary Invisible Men,” “The Ghastly Ones,”" Surf Trio,” “Vampire Beach Babes,” “The Moon-Rays,” and “The Mummies.” Other great horror and psycho-obsessed bands are: “Frankenstein Drag Queens of Planet 13,” “Wednesday 13,” “The Cramps,” “Famous Monsters,” “White Zombie,” “Marilyn Manson,” “Christian Death,” “Bile,” “Fantomas,” and many many more. If you want some hip-hop evil for your next bash, try: “Spectre, “Mr. Hyde,” “Mr. Dead,” “Necro,” “Circle Of Tyrants,” and “Insane Clown Posse.”
I’ve listed my 20 favorite Halloween albums and songs below. I highly recommend finding these tunes if you’re looking for a well-rounded Halloween mix. Happy Halloween and many ghastly returns! Keep an eye out for Part 2 of my Halloween Music 101 series.
Felax’s Top 20 Halloween Albums:
1. John Carpenter – Halloween: 20th Anniversary Edition
2. Tino’s Breaks 6 – Hallowe’en Dub
3. Marilyn Manson – Antichrist Superstar
4. Walt Disney – Thrilling, Chilling Sounds of The Haunted House
5. Rob Zombie – Hellbilly Deluxe
6. The Misfits – Collection II
7. Ministry – Everyday Is Halloween
8. The Ghastly Ones – A Haunting We Will Go Go
9. Zacherley – Spook Along With Zacherley
10. Cincinnati Pops Orchestra – Chiller
11. Various Artists – Halloween Hootenanny
12. Midnight Syndicate – The 13th Hour
13. The Cramps – Bad Music For Bad People
14. Alien Sex Fiend – The Very Best Of Alien Sex Fiend
15. Bauhaus – Singles: 1979-1983, Volume 1
16. Various Artists – Gothic Club Classics, Vol. 2
17. Insane Clown Posse – Riddle Box
18. Darwin Chamber – 3D Halloween Sound FX 2006
19. Pickwick Records – Sounds To Make You Shiver!
20. Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers – The Original Monster Mash
Felax’s Top 20 Halloween Songs:
1. “Everyday Is Halloween” by Ministry
2. “It’s Halloween Dub” by Tino
3. “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus
4. “I Was A Teenage Werewolf” by The Cramps
5. “Halloween” by The Misfits
6. “Spooks Night Out” by The Legendary Invisible Men
7. “The Headless Horseman” by Walt Disney & Thurl Ravenscroft
8. “Pet Sematary” by The Ramones
9. “Night Of The Electric Insects” by Mike Oldfield
10. “Don’t Laugh” by Josh Wink (aka Winx)
11. “Halloween Theme” by John Carpenter
12. “Living Dead Girl” by Rob Zombie
13. “Haunted House” by Walt Disney
14. “Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
15. “Friday The 13th Theme” by Henry Manfredini
16. “Hall Of The Mountain King” by Apocalyptica
17. “Helter Skelter” by Rosetta Stone
18. “A Fistful Of Terror” by The Bomboras
19. “Now I’m Feeling Zombified” by Alien Sex Fiend
20. “Monster Mash” by Bobby Pickett & The Crypt Kickers