Well this top ten falls under the Halloween banner so it's time for me to scour the archives to see if we can come up with some scary tunes. And not the scary crap of last year's Boo Berry Gets His Ass Kicked by Train or Celine Dion.
It would be easier to post Purple People Eater or The Monster Mash but I think we want to get a little deeper in the dark part of the season, so I have spent a good part of the weekend to come up with things not exactly played on the radio. Will I succeed or not, we'll see what the ratings will be like.
1. It's A Monster's Holiday-Buck Owens 1972 This was country's answer to The Monster Mash a few years down the road and I almost forgot all about it till I heard this on KUNI this afternoon to which I'm sure Bob Dorr may have played this, or maybe not. It's hard to tell with him, I'm surprised he didn't stick Elvis In Paraguay on there during that Halloween special. You really don't hear 70's era Buck Owens all that much, he owned country radio (and KNIX and a few others) in the 60s and country radio always would be playing Buck somewhere in the world but not in this Cumulus owned bullshit Corporate world. Steve at work took the time to compiled the best of the Buck Owens boxset for a cd present to me and I hold it quite dear. In my rock and roll state growing up, I always had time to slip on some Buck Owens when we had the forty fives.
2. The Raven-Alan Parsons Project 1975 Edgar Allen Poe goes with Halloween as well as Vincent Price does and my fave VP movies were always based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe although the 1963 movie with Boris Karloff was more camp fun than scary. Back in the mid 70s Alan Parsons put together a album of songs based on the works of Poe, Tales Of Mystery And Imagination and radio actually played two tracks off that album, Dr. Tarr And Professor Feather was heard on the top forty station Q103 in 1975 but the followup single moreorless was regulated to Beaker Street or the underground FM stations to which the aforementioned Dorr would play from time to time. Recorded on 20th Century featuring help from Ambrosia best remembered for Holding On To Yesterday one of the more haunting songs of that year. Top forty radio used to be fun but that was before any of you out there was even born.
3. Mitternacht-Kraftwerk 1974 These guys had a sense of humor as well as a love for the mystery sounding b horror movies. From Autobaun which came out on Vertigo in the US, Warner Brothers, then Elektra later on I didn't play the second side of that album all that much. I wasn't that much into goofy sounds and this does sound dated but it does fit the Halloween spirit of things going bump into the night. Also Kometenmelodie 1 gets Halloween consideration for the creepy and moody sounds that begin side two of that album. In other words. BOO!
4. The Eyes-Dio 2004 Up to his death, Ronnie James Dio continue to explore the dark and evil side and this cut off Master Of The Moon has to be heard simply of the bizarre effects of Craig Goldy's guitarwork. Sure many many other songs were considered, Strange Highways, Dream Evil, The Mob Rules and between Dio, Sabbath Ozzy and Kelly there would be nobody else that could make the top ten.
5. Joan Crawford-Blue Oyster Cult 1981 They played this song when I saw them at the Five Seasons Center in 1981 and 1983. Nothing reminds me of Halloween of seeing that movie Mommie Dearest and then this track came off Fire Of Unknown Origin that made Joan a monster on the screen but way back in the 30's she was a knockout actress and was seen in a movie that TCM showed with Lon Chaney. I think they were called melodramas back then instead of Gothic horror. With Mommie Dearest Joan brought new meaning to NO MORE COAT HANGERS! BTW, Joan Crawford has risen from the grave and is outside your door! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.
6. The Martian Boogie-Brownsville Station 1977 Not everything from Halloween is all zombies or monsters or evil eyeballs, plenty of songs were written about Martians or Slime Creatures from Other Space. Venus love goddess and Martians also figured into the equation as well and none was better than Cub Koda's song about meeting a little green man with colored sticks known as Martian Cigarettes at 2 30 in the AM at a fine eating establishment known as EAT! An 4 minute edit was issued on 45 which bombed but amazingly still gets airplay on The Fox. If Motley Crue covered this KRNA would have played it. Even though Cub passed away Brownsville Station has reformed, Mike Lutz and Henry Weck and a couple new dudes to boot and made a new CD this year. I heard some of it and Cub Koda is missed even more.
7. The Rubber Room-Porter Wagoner 1971 Perhaps the strangest country song ever recorded that at one point I actually heard this on the radio, from the folks of KOEL in Oelwein back when they played a more variety of country music that KHAK ever did. Back then Porter was more alternative country than one imagined especially of being committed into the infamous rubber room to which the tortured artist duked it out with the demons using plenty of echo in the process. You think Cumulus would ever consider playing this on their crappy stations. Um...I'll take No for Five hundred Alex.
8. My Old Flame-Spike Jones 1959 The RCA best of doesn't give a recording date but if you go by the A and R dude there it was recorded 1947 to which Spike Jones takes an old pop standard and adds a Peter Lorre type of vocals from I'm guessing Paul Frees who would eventually do a retake of this song on the Warner Brothers' Spike Jones In Stereo (or if you the mono album, Spike Jones In Hi Fi) to which Collector's Choice Music reissued and there's two copies of it still at Best Buy for five bucks. Jones heyday was with RCA in the 40s and early 50s till rock and roll swept him aside and made him all the bitter for it. Spike Jones In Stereo was a parody of songs done in Halloween style and it hasn't aged very well. As far as I know the only WB album Jones recorded and after that, he moved over to Liberty to live out the rest of his years doing Dixieland styled hit songs of that era (most notably Washington Square). Although not rock n roll, Spike Jones did influence The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band the British band that would influence another bunch of British actors and comedians you would know as Monty Python. Best Buy eventually "slashed" the price down to 99 cents. Paul Frees can be heard on most of Spike Jones In Stereo with another guest vocalist Thurl Ravenscroft (who's heard on You're A Mean One Mr Grinch).
9. You're Mine-John Entwistle 1971 Funny thing about The OX was he wrote a lot of slight of tongue songs for The Who (My Wife, Boris The Spider and of course, Dr. Jekyll And Mr Hyde) but for our spooky song we choose one from Smash Your Head Against The World as he plays the devil and says that Everybody is mine. Song freaking spooked me when I first heard it years ago as a fifth grader. Good wins over evil at the very end as the devil gets blown away with oodles of feedback and trickery.
10. Matty Groves-Fairport Convention 1969 So many songs and 10 positions to consider. So I leave you with another tale of lies and deception and murder from a traditional song is one of Fairport's better known songs.
More howling at the moon:
Werewolf-Five Man Electrical Band 1974
Heart Attack And Vine-Tom Waits 1980
Who Scared You-The Doors 1969
She's A Goth-The Stabilisers 2007
Underground-The Angels 1984
Warewolves Of London-Warren Zevon 1979