SATURDAY SHUFFLE: Halloween IV The Hell Of It


In the first three parts of this Halloween-themed Saturday Shuffle quadrilogy, HERC has been the victim **SPOILER ALERT** just once.

Will his luck hold out today in this very special Halloween Day edition of the Saturday Shuffle?  

Or will it prove to be a fatal finale?

Either way, HERC will be just glad to get the Halloween music off his phone!

"Purple People Eater" - Sheb Wooley

single [1958]
It's a toss-up whether HERC heard this one or "Monster Mash" first growing up but they both show up on his mixes year after year.  Came out just a few months after David Seville's similar sounding "Witch Doctor" which was his precursor to Alvin & the Chipmunks who later released their own version of "Purple People Eater".

"(Ghost) Riders In The Sky" - The Outlaws
Ghost Riders [1980]
A slightly more rockin' version for sure but nothing can detract from Johnny Cash's haunting voice on his version from the year before.  Turned out to be the group's biggest hit eclipsing hits like "There Goes Another Love Song" and the Free Bird clone "Green Grass And High Tides Forever".

"Red Right Hand" - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Let Love In [1984]
From the opening tubular bell, this one has Halloween written all over it.  Creepy organ solos and stabs. Sinister lyrics delivered extra menacingly by Cave himself.  His entire catalog is chock full of stuff like this. 

"Rock Lobster" - The B-52's

The B-52's [1979]
It is Fred Schnieder's bizarro reading of the nonsensical lyrics that give this one a free pass at Halloween.  Plus you can't help but dance like a person possessed when this one comes on which is what HERC was doing until MRS. HERC pinned him and put his wallet in his mouth.

"Lullaby" - The Cure
Disintegration [1989]
An effortlessly slinking pop song with a dark heart, "Nightmare" would have been a better title than "Lullaby". "Fascination Street" from the same album is equally eerie and always reminds HERC of "How Soon Is Now", the moody classic from The Smiths. 

"Haunted House Of Rock" - Whodini
Whodini [1983]
The very first (and also last) track on Whodini's debut album, this song has been rocking Halloween parties for thirty years now.  The Oriental keyboard riff only adds to the spooky atmosphere of the song.  A remix was done by Westbam in the late 90s that is worth seeking out.  And vinyl collectors should be on the lookout for the slime green colored vinyl version of the original 12" single.

"The Witch Queen Of New Orleans" - Redbone
Message From A Drum [1971]
HERC's esteemed colleague over at the Frankenstein Place The CD Project called this a "CCR knock-off with awful string parts".  [Full disclosure: he doesn't like CCR.]  HERC hears a swampy rocker with voodoo-like chants that sounds like it belongs on a Halloween playlist though it ends too soon, before even hitting the three minute mark.

"Witch Doctor" - David Seville
single [1958]
Wow, HERC just mentioned this one at the top of the playlist and here it pops up in the shuffle.  Fun song with funny voices that the young and the young at heart find irresistible.  Devo did a cover version for The Rugats Movie soundtrack.

"Strange Brew" - Cream
Disraeli Gears [1967]
Clapton's power trio actually has two other songs that fit the Halloween music mold: "White Room" and "Tales Of Brave Ulysses".  Actually, in a pinch one could soundtrack an entire Halloween party with music from just Cream and their contemporaries, The Doors.

"Halloween Theme (Main Title)" - John Carpenter
Halloween [1978]
Quick, name another director that writes the soundtrack music to his own films?  Nope, John Carpenter is the only answer here.  This theme is elegantly simple and exceedingly effective and sends just as many chills up HERC's spine as it did thirty-five years ago and his spine is longer now.

"Paint It, Black" - Rolling Stones
the US version of Aftermath [1966]
The Stones also have a couple of songs that come up in the Halloween music conversation: "Sympathy For The Devil" and "Gimme Shelter".  This single was released when HERC was but a week old and he has enjoyed for as long as he can remember, which is Monday.  (These are the jokes, people.) 

"The Boogie Man" - Jackson 5
Skywriter [1973]
Often overlooked at Halloween, this one tries a little hard to be frightening at times but it is an enjoyable listen.  Michael and his brothers would go on to have more popular Halloween-ish songs together like "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Torture" before Michael went off on solo scares such as "Thriller", "Ghost" and "Is It Scary".

"How Soon Is Now?" - The Smiths 
single [1984]
That opening, echoing Diddley-esque guitar riff relentlessly haunts the rest of the song as Morrissey details his "criminally vulgar" shyness. The song was sharpened and metallicized by Love Spit Love for use on The Craft soundtrack before being utilized as the theme song to Charmed.  Great way to close out the shuffle and the entire Halloween Playlist.


  1. Happy Halloween from the fine folks at The Frankenstein Place!

    Seeing Rock Lobster on your shuffle list reminded me of this fun song that might warrant inclusion on a Halloween playlist.

    You mention Gimme Shelter, which is my favorite Stones song. However, I'd be remiss if I didn't direct you to this version which may actually eclipse the Stones' effort.

  2. Thanks for the treats.

  3. Happy Halloween from Martin's Booooooo! ;) And thanks too for the treats.