Halloween Playlist

Whether you’re handing out treats or partying down at a monster-mash bash of your own, here are a few songs for your listening pleasure. These are five of my favorites. What are some of yours? (recognize that zombie to the left?)

5. Rocky Horror Cast, “Time Warp”

With a jump to the left and then a step to the right. Richard O’Brien’s timeless “Time Warp” is the most fun one can have in Frankenfurter’s abode. There was a theater in St. Louis that played this show continuously for years.

4. Nina Simone, “I Put a Spell on You”

Nina Simone gives the most haunting, venomous reading. John Lennon once said that her inflections here inspired his and Paul McCartney’s vocal approach to “Michelle.”

3. Johnny Cash, “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky”

This campfire spook story was a hit twice — in 1961 for the Ramrods and in 1981 for the Outlaws — but I prefer the Man in Black’s take on demon-cows who foretell an apocalyptic horsemen’s ride.

2. Mike Oldfield, “Tubular Bells”

When The Exorcist was released in 1973 I was a cocky 15-year-old who wasn’t afraid of movies. This film changed my mind. Several publications have regarded it one of the best horror films in history. For example, it was named the scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly in 1999, by Movies.com in 2010, by viewers of AMC in 2006, and by the editors of Time Out in 2014.

1. Michael Jackson, “Thriller”

We close with the finest Halloween song ever concocted. What more needs to be said about one of MJ’s most enduring moments both visually and musically? The Churchill dance team performed their own rendition at one of the football games each fall.

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