Beyond Billboard’s Halloween Top 10

Rockin' All Hallow's Eve

Rockin’ All Hallow’s Eve

Billboard released a top 10 list of Halloween songs filled with the expected and adequate, songs that performed well on the charts and have an obvious connection to the  holiday.

But composing a playlist is a subtle art. It’s always best to have a few surprises… songs that make certain parts of your listeners’ brains wake from a long sleep like zombies from a cemetery. (Don’t worry… nary a B-side here, and no rap.) Plus, if you are creating a compilation for a Halloween party or to blast tunes from your porch while you pass out candy (because you can’t leave that big bin out front unattended anymore due to the Candy Heist of 2011 that sent your husband racing down the street after a group of teenagers), you are going to need more than 10 songs.

With a little help from my friends, here’s what’s missing from Billboard’s list of Halloween tunes.

“The Devil Went Down to Georgia”

The night of the Halloween Candy Heist of 2011, I was attending a party, and the host had this song on the playlist. I was so jealous! I wanted to be the first person I knew who played this song on Halloween. But since we had yet to host a Halloween party, chances were that someone would beat us to it. I’m a good sport, so I congratulated him on his choice.

“Everyday Is Halloween”

My friend Sue pointed out Billboard’s oversight on this one. Halloween is in the title, so the only thing I can imagine that caused its omission is that Billboard covers the charts. Though popular at fraternity parties in the 80s, it’s likely not going to hit the Neilsen radar.

“Devil Woman”

If you’re going to include “Witchy Woman,” why not “Devil Woman”? It’s probably because they did include Witchy Woman. This is a great alternative, especially considering the possibility that you may be suffering from a lifetime overdose of the Eagles. But if you must indulge in Henley & Frey, “Hotel California” might be a better choice.

“Stairway to Heaven”

Come on! How many times did I hear this song played backwards on our local AOR station around Halloween when I was young? Not only does this song reference death, it also has gives us urban legend about devil worship.

“People Are Strange”

It’s unlikely that most of us have been stalked, escaped from a murderous raisin-like character in our nightmares or even met a vampire. But most of us have experienced being the stranger… the one who is not the same as the others. And if you haven’t, this song title can serve as commentary on the various Halloween costumes you’ll see that night.

“Space Oddity”

Mix it up a bit with some spookiness of the sci-fi variety. Besides, a nod to Bowie is totally appropriate — he’s must be the world’s greatest consumer of Halloween costumes.

“I Will Possess Your Heart”

The bass line is ominous. The instrumental crescendo at the beginning of the song tells you something is going to happen. Then it falls away with the opening lines — How I wish you could see the potential… the potential of you and me. It’s like a book elegantly bound, but in a language that you can’t read… just yet.” Creepy, don’t you think?

“The Lighthouse”

This song about a lighthouse keeper who commits suicide after witnessing the demise by sea of his young bride calls for a classic Halloween ending. And though the lighthouse has long since been shuttered, sometimes, when the fog is thick, you can see a mysterious light shining and hear the wails of a man falling to his death.

“Dead Man’s Party”

This is, first and foremost, a party song. You have to mix the light with the dark, and this one will get bodies bouncing.

What’s missing? Feel free to add your comments about what you’d include on your Halloween playlist.

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