Halloween Primer Part II - Tunes!

I suppose there are people out there that don't have a soundtrack to their lives, or at least one that they care about, but for me, music is intrinsically linked to my memories.  I'm officially old enough now to say that hearing a song on the radio has the ability to send me back decades.  This past week I've heard REM's "Everybody Hurts" on the radio no less than 4 times, and each time I hear the familiar intro I am back in Grade 12 hard at work on our Christmas play.  Gordon Lightfoot or Simon and Garfunkel remind me of early childhood.  Garth Brooks and Brooks and Dunn were staples during 4-H Weekend and trips to Provincial Show.  The Pogues and Radiohead are university and pubs and roadtrips.  

Still not convinced of the recollective power of music?  I have three words for you: "Dirty Dancing Soundtrack."   See, I told you so!

Of course, events and holidays have their own special soundtracks.  My aunt has a killer mixed CD that gets played at the family Christmas skating party every year.  You might think it would be full of Bing and other holiday favorites, but it's not.  Instead, we whirl around the ice to Donna Summer and lots and lots of hits from the 60's, 70's, and 80's.  We get our Christmas carol fix a few days later at our neighbor's Boxing Day bash, when we (literally) all gather around the piano with song sheets and belt out songs like "Marshmallow World" and "The Little Drummer Boy."  And my mom and I wholeheartedly agree that once October hits and Thanksgiving is over, we are allowed to (publicly) play our Christmas music.  (I mean, it's not like I was listening to it on my iPod during a walk in July or anything...never mind!)  As for events, well, I think the fact that many to-be-weds are eschewing a DJ or band in exchange for plugging in their iPods is a sign that soundtracks are important to our celebrations, our observances, and our lives.

And so, I feel it is important to have a good Halloween soundtrack.  Much like my annual Christmas Mix, my Halloween Hits evolve each year, usually with more additions than subtractions.  Here is a basic list of songs that I like to play in the weeks leading up to Halloween.  These are the perfect songs to fill treat bags, dip caramel apples, or stitch up a costume to:

1. I Want Candy - Bow Wow Wow
2. Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon
3. Pet Semetary - The Ramones
4. Ghostbusters - Ray Parker, Jr.
5. Thriller - Michael Jackson
6. People are Strange - The Doors
7. Clap for the Wolfman - The Guess Who
8. Bad Moon Rising - Creedance Clearwater Revival
9. I Put a Spell on You - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
10. Monster Mash - Bobby "Boris" Pickett
    If you're planning to have a Halloween Party, there's a few more tunes you could add.  I always like to remember that, for a party playlist, you should consider that there will be a variety of guests with many different musical tastes.  So, don't be afraid to add in selections from genres you may not listen to on a regular basis.  And hey, more often than not it's the song that everybody would normally turn up their nose at that gets everyone up on the dance floor (how else can we explain the enduring popularity of the Chicken Dance and The Macarena?):
    11. Weird Science - Oingo Boingo
    12. Eyeball in my Martini - The Cramps
    13. Dig My Grave - They Might Be Giants
    14. The Devil Went Down to Georgia (Re-recorded) - The Charlie Daniels Band
    15. The Purple People Eater - Sheb Wooley
    16.Black Number One - Type O Negative
    17. Dragula - Rob Zombie
    18. Bela Lugosi's Dead - Bauhaus
    19. This Is Halloween - The Nightmare Before Christmas Sountrack
    20. A Nightmare on My Street - DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince

    Now, as any horror movie fan will tell you, a properly composed instrumental can be very effective at sending shivers up your spine.  The last few selections could be added into the party mix, but they would be equally great played as background music for a spooky dinner party or as trick or treaters come to the door:
    21. Halloween Theme - John Carpenter / MCA Music
    22. Tubular Bells - From The Exorcist
    23. Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Main Theme) - Knightsbridge
    24. Materia Primoris (Theme from The X Files) - Mark Snow25. Overture (The Phantom of the Opera) - Original London Cast
    26. Beetlejuice (Main Titles / End Titles - Danny Elfman
    27. Sleepy Hollow - New World Orchestra
    28. Psycho (Suite) -  Elmer Bernstein
    29. Theme from The Outer Limits - Neil Norman

    And of course, what Halloween mix would be complete without this enduring classic...
    30. The Addams Family - Vic Mizzy

       My list is definitely designed for a grown up Halloween party, but sites like iTunes have great ready made playlists where you can get ideas for your own personal list if you want one that's a bit more family friendly (I found iTunes Essentials super helpful in making up my list!).  Have fun, and be sure to add in any favorites I've forgotten in the comments!

      1 comment:

      1. Great!! I've been meaning to add some spooky tunes to my iPod!! I will put that on today's to-do list. Thanks for the list!! And you're looking fab as always, my dear! ;)


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