Yes, it’s that time again.
Large and small pumpkins have been appearing in restaurants
and grocery stores and theme parks are attempting to scare the bejesus out of
willing customers on the hunt for haunted horrors on October 31!
Locally, Six Flags Magic Mountain is offering their ‘Fright Fest’, Knott’s Berry Farm becomes
‘Knott’s Scary Farm’ and Universal Studios are pitching their ‘Halloween Horror Nights’.
The 1990 “Monster Rock ‘N Roll Show” CD (pictured above)
remains one of the compilation albums of which I’m most proud to have
produced, partly because the classic oldies ranging from MONSTER MASH to
I AIN’T SUPERSTITIOUS linked so seamlessly with radio horror movie trailers.
Of course, there are zillions of other songs with horror, ghosts, devil, monsters, zombies,
voodoo, witchcraft and werewolf storylines including some alternative favorites such as
A NIGHTMARE ON MY STREET by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
and of course, THRILLER by Michael Jackson.
CASTIN' MY SPELL
(Edwin Johnson/Alvin Johnson)
by The Johnny Otis Show with Marci Lee
Written and originally recorded by The Johnson Brothers on Valor in ’58.
Edwin & Alvin Johnson had previously been members of the R&B group The Souvenirs.
Johnny Otis was the multi-talented singer/songwriter/producer/drummer/bandleader
who charted here initially in 1950 with R&B hits featuring Little Esther and
Mel Walker and later led his Johnny Otis Show charting most memorably with
MA, HE’S MAKING EYES AT ME in the UK in ’57 and
WILLIE AND THE HAND JIVE here the following year.
DEAD MAN’S STROLL
(William Jackson/Thomas Coman/Michael Guerra)
by The Revels
Later retitled MIDNIGHT STROLL.
A drum roll and an ominous tolling bell set the scene for this cemetery tale
performed by Philadelphia doo-wop group The Revels.
Co-written by one of the group’s founder members, Bill Jackson.
DINNER WITH DRAC
(Kal Mann/Bernie Lowe)
by John Zacherle
Pro: Bernie Lowe
Known as 'The Cool Ghoul', John Zacherle hosted a TV horror-show program
on Philadelphia's WCAU and on DINNER WITH DRAC,he delivered a spooky spoken word story
over a guitar and sax-based instrumental.
(DON'T FEAR) THE REAPER
by Blue Oyster Cult
Pro: Murray Krugman, Sandy Pearlman & David Lucas (Columbia: 1976)
Made it to #12 on the Hot 100 on November 6, just after Halloween '76!
Written by guitarist Donald Roeser aka Buck Dharm
of the five-man New York rock band
Blue Oyster Cult. Buck sang lead on the song.
(Ray Parker Jr.)
by Ray Parker Jr.
Pro: Ray Parker Jr.
(Arista: 1984) https://youtu.be/sWMEncznDvI
Session guitarist and leader of the group Raydio, Ray Parker Jr.
created this unforgettable movie theme song...Who ya gonna call?
It sampled the Huey Lewis & The News song I WANT A NEW DRUG.
by Jumpin' Gene Simmons
Recorded by Mississippi-born rockabilly singer Gene Simmons,
this reached #11 on the Hot 100 in '64.
The original version by Johnny Fuller on Specialty in ’59
was written and produced by Bob Geddins.
HIGHWAY TO HELL
(Angus Young/Malcolm Young/Bon Scott) by AC/DC
Pro: Robert John Lange
This was Australian rocker band AC/DC’s first American chart hit and their
initial million-seller, written by Glasgow-born guitarists Angus and Malcom Young
together with their fellow Scot vocalist, the late Bon Scott.
I PUT A SPELL ON YOU
(Jalacy J. Hawkins)
by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Orch Dir: Leroy Kirkland
Screamin' Jay's bombastic baritone
set the lyric alight and turned this song into a bona fide classic.
Dressed like a tribal warrior with a flowing cloak and carrying a skeleton,
Screamin' Jay used to climb out of a coffin on-stage!
(Bobby Pickett/Lenny Capizzi)
by Bobby (Boris) Pickett & The Crypt Kickers
Arr & Pro: Gary Paxton
One of the finest and most enduringly popular of all Halloween 45's, it features
Bobby Pickett's fine imitation of movie actor Boris Karloff
and was inspired by Dee Dee Sharp's hit MASHED POTATO TIME.
THE PURPLE PEOPLE EATER
by Sheb Wooley
Orch & Chorus dir: Neely Plumb
Created by actor/singer Sheb Wooley who later cut
a string of successful country comedy records under the name Ben Colder.
As an actor, Sheb was in the classic western movie “High Noon”
and co-starred in the TV western series “Rawhide”.
SCREAMIN' BALL (At Dracula Hall)
(Johnny Brandon/Jimmy Williams)
by The Duponts
East coast doo-wop vocal group The Duponts were led on this track by bass singer Ricky Bracey.
Recorded for the Madison label, the master was picked up by Roulette on the recommendation of
Hugo Peretti of the Hugo & Luigi production duo.
SOMEBODY'S WATCHING ME
Pro: Curtis Anthony Nolen & Rockwell
Scoring a #2 Pop hit in March ’84,
Rockwell was a pseudonym used by Kenneth Gordy, the son of Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr.
Both Michael & Jermaine Jackson added vocals to the track.
THERE'S A GHOST IN MY HOUSE
(Brian Holland/Lamont Dozier/Eddie Holland/R. Dean Taylor)
by R. Dean Taylor
Pro: Brian Holland & Lamont Dozie
r (V.I.P: 1966)
Canadian-born R. Dean Taylor recorded on Motown’s V.I.P.
and then switched to sister label Rare Earth under which logo he charted primarily with
INDIANA WANTS ME in 1970. THERE’S A GHOST IN MY HOUSE eventually reached #3 in the UK in June ’74.
The song returned to the best-sellers over there in ’87 via a version by The Fall, a band from northwest England.
THE TIME WARP
by the Original Cast of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"
Pro: Richard Hartley
"Let's do the time-warp again"
This was from the 1975 film version of the 1973 rock stage musical “The Rocky Horror Show”.
WEREWOLVES OF LONDON
(Leroy Marinell/Waddy Wachtel/Warren Zevon)
by Warren Zevon
Pro: Jackson Browne & Waddy Wachtel
Chicago-born Warren Zevon was a troubled singer/songwriter who had a cult following
of such admirers as Jackson Browne who remarked that ‘his songs carried such humor and human truth”.
WEREWOLVES was a chart record and featured Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass guitar.
WITCH QUEEN OF NEW ORLEANS
(Pat Vegas/Lolly Vegas)
Pro: Pat & Lolly Vegas
Led by the Vegas brothers,
Redbone additionally scored with COME AND GET YOUR LOVE in '74.
Along with Jim Ford, Pat & Lolly also wrote P.J. Proby's 1967 hit NIKI HOEKY.
(Dave Bartholomew/Pearl King)
by The Spiders
Pro: Dave Bartholomew
This is the original version by New Orleans R&B vocal group The Spiders
with Chuck Carbo singing lead. Song was a Pop hit in 63 when revived by Elvis Presley with The Jordanaires.
Two instrumental added extras:
Main Theme From THE ADDAMS FAMILY
By Vic Mizzy, His Orchestra & Chorus
Pro: Joe Reisman
Featured in the TV series and the movie versions.
THE MUNSTERS Theme
By Milton DeLugg & His Orchestra
Pro: Sonny Lester
Featured in the TV series and the movie versions.
Finally, one of my favorite break-in 45’s…
FRANKENSTEIN OF '59
by Buchanan & Goodman w/Count Dracula
Bill Buchanan & Dickie Goodman took their
'Flying Saucer' break-in concept into monster territory!
As in all my postings, the recordings listed
are personal choices and recommendations
and are in no way intended as definitive collections of the genre.
© Alan Warner, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alan Warner with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.