Keith Richards once grinned “Halloween – one night for you, every night for me!”
Possibly a sign of the impact American popular culture has had on the rest of the world, Halloween has in recent times transformed itself from humble folk memory into one of the year’s biggest parties. People across the nation will be squeezing themselves into specially designed Batman costumes, or visiting a make up artist for that oh-so-chic zombie look. Of course, there remain a noble few who make do with a sheet over their head and shouting “wooooo!”
...perhaps you too are a member of the undead
Whatever your plans, here’s the Clashmusic.com Halloween soundtrack. Just don’t play them backwards!
10. Michael Jackson – Thriller
Iconic Halloween party fare. The exact point when Jackson became an immortal cultural icon, its synth riff and video are engrained in our collective memory. If you haven’t guzzled down some suspicious looking punch (complete with spiders in the bottom) and danced like a zombie then perhaps you too are a member of the undead.
9. David Byrne & Brian Eno – The Jezebel Spirit
Taken from their studio-bending masterpiece ‘My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts’ this particular track incorporates a sample from a genuine exorcism. And it ain’t no green vomit, head-spinning affair either. A priest battles for the immortal soul of an unfortunate, while Byrne and Eno get all freaky on our ass. Don’t turn out the lights.
8. Doctor Who Theme
At the very back of your nightmares lies a scruffy bloke in a blue police box. The original theme to Doctor Who was a groundbreaking piece of electronic music, the product of the astonishing imaginations of Ron Grainer and Delia Derbyshire. A piece of music so terrifying you had to watch the program from behind the couch, thus ensuring you never actually saw what the Daleks looked like.
7. Boris Picket – Monster Mash
It’s the office party, and after throwing a bin bag on your back and going as Dracula things have taken a turn for the drunken. The middle aged secretary starts to look quite appealing, and the cupboard is enticingly empty. In the background? The depraved rock and roll sounds of ‘Monster Mash’. Truly, the stuff of nightmares.
6. The Cramps – I Was A Teenage Werewolf
Contrary to popular opinion Halloween has nothing to do with paganism, the undead or even scaring little kids witless - it was in fact invented by The Cramps, the band who turned October 31st into a lifetime of gory thrills. The group once risked life and limb to bring rock ‘n’ roll to an actual insane asylum, and their debut EP was called ‘Gravest Hits’. It’s not make up if it never comes off.
...even after his death he will still haunt her
5. Coven – Satanic Mass
The black mass is the central form of worship in Satanism, but despite existing for centuries it was first introduced to mainstream culture by hippy oddballs Coven. A well-established part of their stage act, the 13 minute studio recording blends transcripts of the mass with French miracle plays and other Satanic ephemera. Pleasingly, it’s a load of boring bollocks thus proving that the devil doesn’t always have the best tunes.
4. Robert Johnson – Me And The Devil
Doomed bluesman Robert Johnson, so the story goes, went down to the crossroads at midnight and sold his soul for the ability to play the guitar. Seventy years after his death Johnson’s spirit still haunts rock ‘n’ roll, with his small but exact canon of songs. Consumed by the Devil, the protagonist of this song beats his wife, and warns her that even after his death he will still haunt her. Chilling.
3. Ghostbuster Theme
Traditional Halloween television fare, having seen the film a thousand times before won’t stop you getting deeply involved with Egon & Co. The theme song was composed by Ray Parker Jr, and remains one of the all-time great movie themes. Huey Lewis And The News successfully sued parker Jr over plagiarism charges. In fact, the group were approached to write a theme themselves, but declined as they were working on ‘Back To The Future’ at the time. The 80s – truly a modern Renaissance era.
2. Jaws Theme
Composed by John Williams, this piece of savage orchestral madness will not only scare you away from the sea but also from any kind of H2O whatsoever. Intricately bound to the deadliest plastic fish in cinematic history, it is impossible to hear those jarring strings without be reminded that they should have brought a bigger boat.
1. Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells
Prog wonder kid Oldfield single handily put Virgin Records on the map with this self-performed piece of orchestral pop, but it is with early 70s horror masterpiece ‘The Exorcist’ that the song is best known. Used as the theme to the classic story of Linda Blair’s demonic possession, it is an almost guaranteed pants-wetter more than thirty years on.