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
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