Donielle Flynn

Alice Cooper - Halloween 1987 Joe Louis Arena

Halloween is my personal sweet spot for rock and roll tie-ins. SO MANY of my favorite classic rock songs lend themselves to the Halloween spirit. I have chosen songs that aren’t written with Halloween in mind, but they definitely have a Halloween ambiance. While I love those deliberate Halloween rock songs like “Monster Mash,” the majority of the best Halloween rock is accidental. The exception here is Alice Cooper. Alice Cooper is the King of Halloween with “Feed My Frankenstein,” “Welcome to My Nightmare” and so many more. In my opinion, for Alice, every day is Halloween (no Ministry pun intended).

The only other contender I would put up for the King of Halloween title is Ozzy Osbourne.  Much of Ozzy’s song content revolves around some sort of horror or magic. (Black Sabbath was named after a 1963 horror movie of the same name.)

The rest of my list has an amazing array of Halloween feels, but none of the songs were written to be “Halloween songs.”  It just happened… magically.

Let me know what you think of my list!  Which songs would you add or remove?  I enjoy the conversation of classic rock regardless of opinions… I just love the discussion of classic rock! Happy Halloween!

20 Unintentional Halloween Classic Rock Songs Ranked

  • #13 "Superstition" - Stevie Wonder

    “Superstition” of course, has to be song #13. This song has nothing to do with Halloween and yet it has a ton of Halloween culture wrapped into it. What could be more Halloween than black cats, the number 13, and other superstitions? The history between Jeff Beck and Stevie Wonder behind the song “Superstition” is amazing. Click here to check it out.

  • #12 "Highway to Hell" - AC/DC

    “Highway to Hell” was the nickname for the Canning Highway in Australia. It runs from where lead singer Bon Scott lived in Fremantle and ends at a bar called The Raffles, which was a big rock ‘n roll drinking hole in the ’70s. As Canning Highway nears the pub, it dips down into a steep decline: “No stop signs… speed limits… nobody gonna slow me down.”

    So many people were killed by driving fast over that intersection at the top of the hill on the way for a good night out, that it was called the highway to hell.  When Bon was saying “I’m on the highway to hell” it meant to The Raffles bar to rock and drink with his friends: “Ain’t nothing I would rather do. Going down, party time, my friends are gonna be there too.”  

  • #11 "Sympathy For the Devil" - Rolling Stones

    The lyrics were inspired by The Master and Margarita, a book by Mikhail Bulgakov. Marianne Faithfull was Mick Jagger’s girlfriend at the time and she gave him the book.  In the book, the devil is a sophisticated socialite, a “man of wealth and taste.”  It was a brilliant move for the Stones.  They were the bad boys to The Beatles.  This song helped cement that perception.

  • #10 "Spirits in the Material World" - The Police

    Sting explained the song’s meaning in Lyrics By Sting: “I thought that while political progress is clearly important in resolving conflict around the world, there are spiritual (as opposed to religious) aspects of our recovery that also need to be addressed. I suppose by ‘spiritual’ I mean the ability to see the bigger picture, to be able to step outside the narrow box of our conditioning and access those higher modes of thinking… Without this, politics is just the rhetoric of failure.”  Super deep… no actual Halloween affiliation and yet… It’s Halloween rock.  Sorry, Sting.

     

  • #9 "Boris The Spider" - The Who

    This was the first song that John Entwistle wrote for The Who. He also sings on this track. Entwistle was afraid of spiders as a kid and decided to write a song about the spider dropping from the ceiling and getting squished.  Although the song started out a joke, it became a fan-favorite at their live shows and was a nice balance to The Who’s more serious songs. in between the spider and the baseline, this is definitely Halloween rock.

  • #8 "People Are Strange" - The Doors

    If you saw the ’80’s flick, Lost Boys, you REALLY think this is Halloween rock, but that’s not where it came from.  The song is about alienation.  Jim Morrison was feeling depressed.  He realized that “if you’re strange, people are strange.”  The lyrics followed from there.

  • #7 "Black Magic Woman" - Santana

    Santana didn’t write this song as a Halloween song. In fact, Santana didn’t write this song at all… Fleetwood Mac did. This is a Peter Green song. Santana and Fleetwood Mac both have blues roots. “I used to go to see the original Fleetwood Mac, and they used to kill me, just knock me out,” Carlos Santana said in the book, The Guitar Greats. “To me, they were the best blues band.”  For more songs that you may not know are covers, CLICK HERE

  • #6 "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" - David Bowie

    A song describing a woman’s withdrawal from the world and descent into madness – “When I looked in her eyes they were blue but nobody home … Now she’s stupid in the street and she can’t socialize.”  This song wasn’t written for Halloween, but it definitely has the Halloween feels.

     

  • #5 "Werewolves of London" - Warren Zevon

    This song started as a homework assignment from The Everly Brothers.  When Warren Zevon was working with The Everly Brothers, Phil Everly asked Warren and Robert “waddy” Wachtel to write a dance song for the Everly Brothers called “Werewolves Of London.” According to warrenzevon.com, Wachtel and Zevon were good friends and were playing guitars together when someone asked what they were playing. Zevon replied, “Werewolves Of London,” and Wachtel started howling. Zevon came up with the line, “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand,” and they exchanged lyrics back and forth until they had their song.

  • #4 "Running With The Devil" - Van Halen

    “Running With The Devil” was one of the tracks Van Halen included on the demo that Gene Simmons produced for them in 1977.  Gene is the one who had the idea for the horn blare at the beginning.  It was the first song on Van Halen’s first album.  Although it did not get a lot of airplay when it was released, it’s still a fan favorite today.

  • #3 "Psycho Killer" - Talking Heads

    Let’s jump in the head of a deranged murderer, ya know… just for fun.  This song came about when David Byrne decided to write a song from the Alice Cooper playbook during the height of shock rock.  Byrne wanted Japanese to be a part of the bridge, but when he asked a girl who was fluent to come up with some Japanese murderous lyrical content, she freaked (can you blame her?) Tina Weymouth knew French, so she wrote that part of the bridge instead.  She used Norman Bates as inspiration.  Qu’est-ce que c’est? (what is this).  “Psycho Killer” was Talking Heads’ first song.

  • #2 "Bark at the Moon" - Ozzy

    A werewolf who comes back from the dead and seeks revenge… You have to love “Bark at The Moon” and Ozzy.  As I said, Alice Cooper is the King of Halloween, but Ozzy may have it for a tie.

     

  • #1 "Feed My Frankenstein" - Alice Cooper

    “Let me drink the wine from your fur tea cup. Velcro candy, sticky sweet.”

    – This Frankenstein is definitely looking for some kind of trick-or-treat, but I don’t think it’s specifically Halloween-related. “Feed My Frankenstein is actually a COVER.  It was originally written and performed by the British band, Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction.  Alice’s version features Joe Satriani and Steve Vai on guitar, and Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue on bass.

Sign me up for the 94.7 WCSX email newsletter!

Stay connected to all things Classic Rock, join the WCSX Workforce- it’s free and you can win prizes, concert tickets and VIP experiences.

*
*
By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.